Disclaimer: This is my first attempt at serious writing in almost 3 years, I’m kinda rusty.
There were standards that we’d always looked up to and hoped to attain growing up. They’d usually be preceded by a phrase like “If only I can/could”. At the time, we just wanted to get to a point we thought was “the point” but the truth is you’d always get to that point only to find out the point is actually a starting point and not “the point” (well… except you’re not the kind of person I thought this title will appeal to). Enough with the points and back to standards; I used to be satisfied with the label of being “good” but that satisfaction is probably the fastest way to becoming “not so good“. I guess I had always known this but I was reminded again by my new nothing-short-of-Excellence minded boss (Thanks Boss!) and I thought to remind like minds who dreads the idea of being seen as a mediocre. We are in very competitive times with standards and performance levels being the differentiating factor between you and the next good guy.
Newsflash: a lot of people are good and being good just makes you one of the numerous good guys. My conclusion; best case scenario, being good gets you a shot at the big leagues but you’re gonna have to be better and possibly the best to operate effectively on that wavelength. Continue reading
If you say I fell in love with her, you’re so right. I fell for her person, her character, her charm, her voice etc and most especially our friendship.
Bringing what seems like a biblical myth. “Substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen” to life, its probably Etokhana Faith you’re refering to. The kinda person you hope existed, the kinda person you can’t but overlook her faults cos of her unending pleasantries, the kinda person you wanna call FRIEND. Whose very delight is your unalloyed happiness, who would stop at nothing to put a smile on your face. Indeed this is a rare creature. Whose existence, seems like a make belief tale of the existence of angels among men, A rare gem , royal diadem. An embodiment of grace and candor, am short of words to describe you and right about now, my literary prowess has failed me in coming up with a suitable description of your person. My dear Faith , I’m privileged to call you: FRIEND. Baskets of roses, Droplets of tears and a heart filled with joy I give to you. Cheers. Nifemi cares.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.
Tears practically ran down my cheeks as I sat glued to the chair and was staring at the TV screen with so much concentration that I could easily have been mistaken for a student who was preparing for SAT exams (the American version of JAMB).
Prior to my emotional outburst I had been browsing through the channels on the decoder (as I usually do when I’m bored or when there’s no soccer game going on) and then I stumbled on this reality show: “The Biggest Loser”.
It comprises of a bunch of overweight folks in 2 teams (Blue and Black) with each team having a trainer who supervised them. They hit the gym and carried out several weight-loss programs and the end of the week, each team chooses a member of the opposing whom they feel has lost the least weight as a way of finding out the more productive of the 2 teams. The show had gotten my attention and so I decided to stick around and see the episode through. Skipping some of the rather boring details the blue team lost and all but one of the 6 members of the team were up for eviction. Each of the 6 members of the team were to vote for the person they wanted out; after the voting exercise there was a tie, 2 members had 3 votes each to their names and the tie-breaking responsibility fell on the black team (their opponents). The black team however, had the luxury of overturning the votes and evicting someone other than the 2 members that were tied; but every member of the blue team had some seconds to tell the black team why they needed to remain in the game show. Each of them took turns to speak and believe me their stories were quite compelling; perhaps the most touching of them was that of a man who wept upon seeing that he had lost 18 pounds in the course of the week and now weighed less than 300 pounds (136kg) for the first time in 14 years.
Here are a few of the things I was able to pick up from this TV show; it was a game and most of the contestants were there solely to shed some of their weight. Each member of the blue team had given a rather compelling and moving reason for wanting to remain in the program and some of the black team members got caught in the ‘emotional bubble’ at the time. However as soon as the black team guys were to make their decision; the speed at which they changed from sympathetic and concerned faces to calculating game faces was quite remarkable. Their decision on who to evict was eventually based on the member of the blue team who they felt has been making the most progress and could turn out to be a threat to the safety of their team.
I’m not sure if I’ve been able to paint this picture a clearly as I would have wanted but I would like to share some of my thoughts.
Often times in life, it is when we start to make progress and we are getting close to realizing our dreams that we need to be most steadfast and of good (if possible best) faith. It would shock you to know that the person who was eventually evicted had attained the 2nd highest weight loss percentage that week and he had certainly put in a lot of work that week to have achieved such impressive weight loss figures.
Friends, we are to brace ourselves at all times especially when we start to succeed because that is the period we are most susceptible to ploys designed for our downfall. However, we should not be discouraged when we suffer setbacks or stagnation after we’ve enjoyed a phase of success; always remember that “the success you’ve achieved is a clear indication that you are capable of much more than that”.
I will wrap up my thoughts with these 2 scriptures, both from the book of Romans chapter 8. Verse 18 says “for I consider that the sufferings this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” and verse 28 also says “and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose” (NASB – New American Standard Bible). Having these in mind, “the biggest loser” if you ask me, is “the adversary”.
It’s my first time at the Mall, and I’m kinda thrilled and excited at the level of sophistication therein. Several thoughts flash across my mind as I stand at the entrance of this gigantic edifice. As I stepped in I wasn’t too surprised to find that the place was a “Madhouse”, people trickling back and forth exchanging one good/service for another. That’s of course if you consider sight seeing and window shopping a service. Nonetheless I’m excited at the prospect of being perceived to be a member of the well-to-do social status that can actually afford to buy stuff there as is the common though very wrong perception in this country as my economics background helped me figure. Incase you didn’t know basic stuff is cheaper there than from the average retailer, so if you ask me going to the Mall should be considered with as little regard as going to Aleshinloye market.
Away with the elementary economics, and to the very first incident that tickled my fancy at the mall. I spotted this young lady who had started to make her way up the stairs and all of a sudden she came down hurriedly, the “olofofo” in me wanted to see where she was headed in such a rush only for her to stop at the foot of the escalator to hitch a ride, at that moment I burst into uncontrollable laughter that saw tears roll down my cheeks, as I climbed I pondered over thoughts that could have been running through her mind and I figured maybe she was a Mall JJC like me, why would she come all the way and miss out on a ride she would probably remember for life. I was to learn a great lesson that very day (if you ever make jest of anyone in a public place please don’t get caught). As she got up the stairs beaming with a huge smile and sense of accomplishment (try picturing that face, enjoy a good laugh or playing it down a little a smile and then look at what happened next) she looked up and saw my camera aimed towards her, I had caught the whole thing on camera and Yes, I was still laughing. Her smile instantly disappeared and was quickly replaced by a look of embarrassment, I felt bad to have been responsible for the disappearance of her smile and I turned away immediately.
Here is some of the things I had picked up at that instant, that girl could have been anybody that was new at something or some place. Not necessarily an escalator, maybe you and mathematics, your first time driving or using a sophisticated device and you certainly wouldn’t want to be laughed at. Of utmost importantce is the fact that what seemed to me as a funny gesture wiped a smile off someone’s face. I have never set out to be the person to do that to anyone let alone a stranger. I prefer to be the one to put the smile there in the first place but here I was. I was fortunate enough to run into her afterwards at the hot-dog stand outside the cinema where I tendered my unreserved apology and paid for her expenses. I couldn’t undo what had been done but I tried making amends.
I would leave you guys with this, “a lot of things are fun till you get caught, why do them?”
Color me Shrewd if you would, but I pour it as I see it.
It grows like a Seedling
And it doesn’t shrivel
Blossoms like a Flower
Yet, it withers not
Rises like the Sun
But doesn’t set
It can be likened to honey
Out of a feeling so Strong
And capable of hurting one
Comes something so sweet
Scholars have failed
In this gruesome task
Of coming up with a unified definition
Such level of indescribability is rather perplexing
Searching for a description
Ends up putting one at a loss for words
It’s a Phenomenon
It’s a Symphony
It makes one (in the words of Peter Pan)
“Overghasted and Flabawhelmed”
It’s that one sensation we’ve come to call……
TO FALTER OR NOT TO FALTER
I had just concluded my youth service, with a fresh lease of life, pumped and psyched with half-thoughts of a plethora of possibilities that lay in store waiting to be grabbed and fully utilized. To be more candid though, I had mixed feelings of excitement and uncertainty as I was about delving into a new phase in my life, one that would best be described as “UNKNOWN”.
Ready I thought I was to put aside all my misdeeds and juvenile tendencies as the journey into manhood and self dependence got underway.
The First of the many decisions I had to make was finding an answer to the cliché question “WHAT NEXT”? The funny thing is prior to this time I had been so sure of my answer to that very question, I always blurted it out easily with my response being starting a Masters Degree program immediately after youth service but now reality as set in as the ongoing ASUU strike means that cant start anytime soon; at least not for a couple of months and believe me I have no intention of spending all that time doing nothing. I opted to start applying for positions at various firms and before long I was scheduled for an interview in one of the leading banks in the country. I didn’t know anyone in the bank (I no get Leg) so I half expected to hear back from them and then decided to still apply for the Masters program before the application period elapsed. As I began nursing thoughts of getting the Job and getting admitted for the Masters program I decided to cross the bridge whenever I got there. The following week I got a call for a second interview at the bank and by the end of the interview I was to resume in a matter of two weeks. I had just landed a job with a six-digit monthly salary and I sure did feel like I had arrived.
It was the 1st of July and I had just resumed at my place of work, I and 6 other fresh recruits who had also just resumed were being given an orientation of the Bank and its operations. As our designated guide dished out instructions we were supposedly never to forget I caught a glimpse of that smile that was capable of lighting a Stadium well after dark. The name of the custodian of that refreshing smile as I was soon to find out was Temitayo. She was one worthy of the Qualification, Beautiful…………………….enough about Temitayo’s smile, where was I? ok, so we ended the orientation exercise but not without me creating a scene after literally dropping my jaw at the sight of one of my colleagues which our guide was rather quick to notice plus his reaction made sure my actions were a talking point in the office which left me quite embarrassed at my perplexing lack of control. I was in for a huge surprise when the lady in question walked up to me just as I returned from my lunch break having gotten wind of my earlier actions, and there that smile was once again as she gracefully introduced herself to me.
That was to be the start of our “friendship” and in a matter of weeks we had grown really fond of each other, colleagues were quick to assume we had something going on and we did nothing to debunk any of the boundless stream of rumors that flowed on and on…….. (Errhhhmm…in case you were wondering NO, we weren’t dating).
I had settled well into my job sometime around September when I got a mail stating I had been offered admission into the Masters Degree program I had applied for a couple of months back. I had to make a decision quickly. My options were: quit my job for my Masters, try to work and study at the same time or forfeit my admission for a lucrative career. The rest of the day saw me very moody and gloomy or you could say distraught (someone actually used that word on seeing me) and my countenance didn’t go without my office “bestie’s” notice and she was quick to quiz the situation of things out of me. SHOCKED!!!! I was when all she said were “Are you going to leave me?” there was no answer for that question or at least not at the time.
I spent most of the next day making inquiries and checking the feasibility of working and studying as I wasn’t sure I was ready to pass up on my too good to be true salary. I concluded I was going to quit my Job at the end of the month (not an easy decision) because combining both was going to stretch me thing one too many times and this decision meant I had to relocate for the duration of the program. I suddenly realized I had been trying to make this decision on my own and with every sense of remorse I could muster I turned to God in prayer for direction. I got a word of confirmation that said I should resign my appointment immediately but I quickly discarded it as I thought to myself what would 2 extra weeks do to me.
It was a week to the termination of my appointment and I closed from work particularly early on this very day, I had just gotten home and was fresh out of the shower when I heard a knock on my door, it was rather surprising because my newlywed neighbors had left for another one of their weekend getaways earlier in the day (initial gragra if you ask me) and I seldom had guests at that time of the day. I opened the door to find it was Temitayo and as she stepped in she threw her arms around me and into my ears she whispered the words “please don’t leave me” and as I turned to look at her she kissed me and I returned the kiss and that night I ate of the Biblical forbidden fruit which I had stayed away from all my life.
I woke up the next morning to find that she had left, probably because she couldn’t bear to face me after what we had done. She had a fiancé!!!!! What was I thinking getting caught in the middle of this? I had committed multiples sins against man and God in one night with that one misdeed. As I took my bath, I scrubbed myself like my skin was “shaki”, if only the sponge was capable of giving me the desired effect.
I now realized why the Holy Spirit had told me to resign immediately a couple of weeks back. She had kissed me earlier in the week at the office, one that I did not return but I had fallen prey (True is the word of God in Matt. 26: 41 that says “Watch and Pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is week”). One week for me to leave and I faltered having been steadfast all these while and there that Yoruba adage was ringing in my ears “ibere ki se onise, aya fi eni toba fi ori tii dopin”….(Lemme try to interprete that: its not about †ђξ way you start but making sure you see it through)
There various ways to view this, I really hope every one of my readers are able to draw a lesson or two from this piece. For me:
Many are people who know what their calling, purpose and or ministry in life is, BUT they decide to stay a little while longer at a point that should have been nothing but a Bus Stop to their final destination probably because it seemed comforting at the time.
A lot of folks are steadfast for so long but that one time they decide to lower their guards they fall prey to that thing they’ve spent most of their lives guarding against.
Color me Shrewd if you Would, but I pour it as I see it.
Sentiment: perhaps one of †ђξ greatest factors militating against Nigeria’s Progress and Development. Many are times we appreciate †ђξ progress made by some of †ђξ World’s foremost economies and Ђδω far they’ve gone often relishing when our very own Nigeria will get that far but we are quick to forget it came with a “Huge” price.
Until a time when we are ready to damn †ђξ immediate cum comparatively minute consequences of actions that serve “†ђξ Greater Good” on †ђξ long run and embrace radical yet constructive changes that come with it, we are still gonna be far from our much desired progress.
My very good friend Yinka in his comment on my Poem about we Africans “Its About Time” raised †ђξ questions, “Will we ever be Great? and Will we ever amount to anything akin to a World “Superpower”?”, he then concluded saying we should at least try to find a honest answer to †ђξ questions. My answer to †ђξ questions is WE WON’T, not until we’ve gotten rid of Sentimental attachments coupled with myopic views towards necessary changes that most occur for a better society.
Back to †ђξ Govt-Road Expansion scenario from my earlier write-up, “Motives”.
Sentiment comes in when Govt is expanding our road and demolishing road side shops and buildings(bearing in mind they shouldn’t have been there in †ђξ first place) and such Govt is colored Wicked and without concern for †ђξ Masses. We as fellow citizens are compelled to pity those who have lost their sources of income and livelihood in †ђξ process but it is worthy of note that if these things aren’t done today, necessity would ensure that they be done in †ђξ very near future except we are praying for things to remain stagnant. Why don’t we just swallow †ђξ bitter pill now and get it over with?
Fine, sentiment made me reflect on this last paragraph and feel like I’m mean or perhaps “Cold Hearted”, I am still of †ђξ opinion that “†ђξ Greater Good Trumps Sentiment”.
For those who are conversant with Hollywood, you’d agree with me that an American won’t mind sacrificing a life to save that of several others, hey! am not asking anyone to kill anyone but I agree with that school of thought.
Until we stop all †ђξ “aburo mi ni -he’s my broda”, “omo egbon mi ni -she’s my niece”, “omo wa ni” and †ђξ likes, ther would be no moving forward. Of course as †ђξ Yorubas say “teni n teni”, they also say “tiwa n tiwa”.
Yes, its gonna be difficult but if we can’t change at once we can reduce it gradually till it fades into oblivion.
Color me Shrewd if you would, i pour it as i see it.
IT’S ABOUT TIME
Arise, Great African
It’s about time
About time you woke up
About time you stood up
About time you represented something with worth
About time you came out and reflected your beliefs
It has been a seemingly endless era of quietness
A run of myopic and progress crippling views
A run of hypocritical and cowardly positions
A run of shallowness and absence of will
Alas, it’s the dawn of a brand new day
A day filled with hope and endless possibilities
A day that symbolizes change and upliftment
A day that brings a sun that rises to set no more
That day we have long awaited is finally here
It’s about time the beautiful ones came of age
It’s about time you looked in the mirror and see what I see
It’s about time you realized, there is a giant in you.