Perhaps we will

Cute-couplesPerhaps we will be together in many places, in many phases of our lives: Chatting with friends, dancing to slow jams in different places, competing in sports for fun, enjoying intellectual and deep conversations, sitting on the beach, enjoying various delicacies from all the ends of the world (yes we will eat food), wrestling with the rhythmic motion of our bodies intertwined. Perhaps through all these times, places and phases, you would grow to love me and trust me, to know in your heart that I will never hurt you. In your own chosen time and in your own chosen way, you may be willing to let me into your heart. To see, to touch, to feel the deepest part of who you truly are; the part of you that is precious, that is soft, vulnerable and beautiful. I would sell my soul to the devil to have this opportunity. Letting me love you is the most valuable gift you could ever give me.

Perhaps, at the same time, I may be willing to trust you wholeheartedly; to let you into my hard outer shell I put up to keep me safe inside. Yes, I’m scared too. Yet I don’t want to keep myself too safe, because I don’t want to be too distant. Both go hand in hand, both are cousins, when you trade one, you trade the other.

Will you promise not to laugh at me when I need you to hold me? Will you promise to listen and not judge me when I feel sensitive? Will you promise to feel with me when I have enough courage to share vulnerable feelings with you? Will you promise to confront me when I step on your toes unintentionally? Will you promise to argue with me when necessary, and stand up for yourself when I’m upset with you? And then be willing to reach a mutual agreement that is good for both of us? And, after that, will you rejoice with me in our relationship that says it’s okay to have conflicts and it feels so good to get them out and get them resolved?

I really desperately want to let myself feel free with you. If I don’t, you and I will have missed a valuable, beautiful experience. I hope we let the flower of our relationship unfold, let it grow at its own pace. Just let it go, let it flow. I will continue to enrich your life as you continue to enrich mine.

Thank you , because I know you will love me.

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Raining Sunshine

The wind after the heavy rain is never warm.

Storm clouds gather over the city of Lagos; looming, threatening, and looking like it would pour with unrepentant and unyielding venom. A lot of people going about their business, wary of the rain about to fall often find themselves stuck in its middle; some armed with their umbrellas, a handful feeling hapless, desperate and ready to enter the downpour of heavy laden precipitation without regard for whatever consequences may result: A decision some regret longer than others. Cough, cold and productive catarrh are definitely not enough to convince the vigilant and the virtuous to take such daunting and unreasonable risk.

Sometimes, when you notice the assembling thick dark clouds, the blinding lightening, the deafening thunder, it is best to remain indoors, lock the main door and close a couple of windows to prevent the chill from getting to your chest. Often times you only learn after you’ve been soaked to the point of dripping, each falling droplet from your body reminding you of the decision you made rather poorly. You always know when the fluffs in the sky are gathering, you see the warning signs but choose to ignore them, maybe because you attach more importance to the party you want to attend than to the damage the cold is capable of doing to your own self.

Once in the rain, it’s irreversible: The visual stimulation of the lightening and the emotional detachment of the thunder. Your feet get wet and your shoes get soaked, they suffer for it. Then you suffer for it. You know better than to walk into what could turn you into ashes of fluid, the ashes would vanish but the chill will remain. Your moral and puritanical upbringing serves as a warning, a prophecy way before the rain falls, before all the rains would fall.

Sunshine warms the skies when it appears, and it is the best time to do anything you need to do. It has all the trappings of safety, comfort, sensibility and security. And it is the time to remind you never to get caught up in the storm. It may look like a small cloud that would drizzle and be over quickly; it never is. Almost every time you expose yourself the harsh darts Mother Nature shoots at you, a part of you changes: some parts die and some parts awake to the realisation that some parts are dead. You make Paracetamol a premium selling product.

You get wiser after being beaten by the rain? No you don’t. You think you do, but you don’t.

After the rain, the sunshine doesn’t just magically appear. No: Just the wind of cruel bitter realisation that the clouds could have passed without a drop of water touching the sole of your feet. Just a cruel bitter realisation that the rain didn’t have to fall.

I wasn’t talking about rain.

Why I Don’t Love My Fiance

Michael J. Pittman

In 130 days I’m getting married, and a friend recently asked me why I love my fiancé. I wanted to share a deeper perspective on Amanda and I’s relationship, so before I answered why I love her, I had to first explain to him the reasons I don’t love my future bride to be.

I came to two conclusions:
First is, I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the outside. I know. It sounds cheesy, it sounds sappy. This perspective is not a novel idea by any means. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t love you for what’s on the outside. I love you for what’s on the inside.” But that brings me to my second conclusion.

I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the inside either.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things on the inside and outside that I love about

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The Rebellious Life Of A Flying Fish

I wanted to start writing this but, for some reasons I can’t explain, finding my pen eluded me and led me to a frantic ‘needle in a haystack’ search; which would uncover a lot of discoveries. Unnecessary discoveries. I stumbled on things I had no idea were still in my possession; souvenirs of a more decadent and wasteful past, reminders of when I was young and rather foolish like a lot of people still are in this boiling cauldron called life. A lot of dusty items made me realise that the dustbin rightly deserved them more than my wardrobe did. Dustbins live unappreciated and undervalued lives. ‘Searching’ can be a bastard, but the cleanliness after could be priceless: This is a subjective opinion.

How the only pen I had got lost in my little house, or how a grown man can have only one red inked pen in his possession is inexcusable and almost irrational. The fine art of pen location control is a skill I’m yet to posses. Seen at last, between the bed and the wall; joint conspiracy it seems. I would have been forced to borrow from the next door but it might mean owing favours, which I frankly frown at. I like to believe you owe nobody and nobody owes you. I’m quite bullish about that too.

Fishes don’t need to fly. It’s debatable whether they fall from the skies or not; I know they do, but there is a gap between what I know to be true and what is provable. I used to believe goats grow to become cows and with every person that knew my in my early years, I get reminded of a ridiculous statement I made about seeing a cow eating sand. I was like 5 years old and I saw a goat eating on a refuse dump. In hindsight, maybe I was right. I believed a lot of things.

The moon used to follow me as my personal halo back then, as it shined its light on my little head. Now I realise the moon neither followed me nor does it shine any light of its own. Quite a big let-down when my almost inhumane diminutive geography teacher ingloriously revealed that the moon only reflects the awesomeness of the sun. I lost a bit sense of admiration because, like some people, it just feeds off the light of others. But it does enough to get the job done quite frankly.

This is nothing new.

Everyday I look back to the previous day and realise how much I’ve learnt. With every ‘yesterday’ I examine, I realise I was naïve and could have done better; that is the beauty of daily learning. Every year I look back into the previous year and realise all the mistakes a life contained that, given the opportunity, I shouldn’t make again. Every person you meet influence you in a way and magnitude you allow, then you begin to realise just how small an experience could change your view. With every passing minute I learn new things and I unlearn a few old things. The more some things change, the more some remain the same; defiantly some things won’t change, things like my faith in God, my love for football and my sexual orientation.

I’m happy I was born, on the last day of the tenth month in the year of our Lord to an awesome family. Shame all of us can’t be born on the same day, you would’ve understood why I’m so lucky to have that date. Each day I remember things I used to believe and do not believe anymore, or things I now hold in esteem that I never gave a thought before now. The inane pleasures I thought I would never indulge in but now do, the things I plan to do that I cannot even remember. I eat more, sleep less, love more, trust less, seen more, and speak less. A little chaos within, so I can birth a dancing star.

It’s my birthday by the way. And this is my life, hardly what it was before. With each October thirty first that comes I thankfully realise one thing, I have grown. I have changed, my preference in movies, food, drink, clothes and women have changed; subtle at best, dramatic at worst. I now hate some songs I used to like and I now listen to jazz and classical music. I’m neither afraid nor ashamed to be the person that I am today.

There’s a photograph

In my father’s house, there’s a photograph.

The greatest days, the fondest moments, away from the loud glamour of metropolitan living to the serenity of bright milk gold sunshine, some place where you will but bend your knees and whisper a sincere line to your maker “Thank you for silence.” Happiness they say is a journey and this place embodies the biggest journey of my life; one I’ve revelled and enjoyed every step of the way. A journey where my many appendages became apparent, for everyone here had held my hands as I walk through life. It is a place where the night falls quietly, so as not to upset the twilight nor disturb the constant state of peace. It’s the place I call home.

A few words may suffice to describe the transcendental, impartial, selfless, positive home I grew up in. Everybody gave me their time, showered me with their love all of every day. Lights shine though their hearts into my spaces. I was given the best, I was taught to fly and was raised up high, and then I flew like a butterfly. I’ve heard of titans and giants, I have them in my household. In my home, there is happiness, roars of unrepentant laughter tearing up the atmosphere relentlessly refusing to set with the sun, the joy isn’t time bound, and every moment is savoured.

As my life unfolds, I grew up knowing they would protect me and I would protect them. Now I realise why grandchildren are often spoilt, because when the parents were growing, the parents were working. Now they aren’t working anymore, the grandchildren get the pampering. I’m not jealous, not entirely. I was given life by them. I appreciate my family and I will have an awesome family too. I grew up knowing people I can stand to side by side in war.

The sunshine here is brighter, the leaves are greener, the food is tastier, the air is fresher, the water is purer, NEPA is sane, the environment is quiet, and the memories are sharper, everything about this place tells me about the peace and quiet we can only dream of in the big city; that is if we dream at all. Why are we in Lagos?

In my father’s house, there’s a photograph; of a family to which I’m proud to belong.

Her Rusty Elegance

The lonely lady standing at the intersection

The lonely lady squating at the intersection

On Saturday 22nd June, I did the heavily herculean task of not attending a friend’s wedding ceremony just to take a time out and relax. Not like a party junkie, but I seem to have a lot of weddings going on around me these days that turning them could be deemed as inappropriate; I had to do the inappropriate.

Living in Lagos has robbed me of a lot of sanity and creativity, that it became imperative for me to cool off. What better place to cool off than the intersection of the elements, earth and water. I’m a beach enthusiast and I desperately wish I could have my wedding at the beach for some reasons I can’t explain. It makes for great photography too. I went with a niece and a nutmeg, metaphorically speaking. It started as a borefest until we decided to make the best out of the situation. Oniru beach right now is a situation, a pathetic seemingly victimless shady condition almost devoid of any visual appeal. The high tides have eaten deep into the shoreline that what used to be a fancy beach now looked a distressing specimen of what it was. But out of the nothingness came one of the most awesome moments I’ve ever had in my modern day mobile phone photography endeavour.

I revel moments and not substances; not necessarily. Walking down the encroached shoreline towards the extreme left, wading through coastal deposits of poop and slippers within packets of twigs, I stumbled on something really stunning, an abandoned ship. The beauty in the dead beast would be oblivious to the naked untrained eye, but the consistent hitting of the tides on her over and over again made it suicidal to climb on it and enjoy. I didn’t plan to die on Saturday; I didn’t. But leaving the abandoned ship behind, she looked lonely and deserted, as the words “Celtic navigator” spread across her rusty face.

I turned around and took a random picture, and my word! The best picture these hands have ever taken; at least to me. I was moved at the loneliness of the Celtic ship; so rusty, unkept and deserted, yet would delight the disappointed lot who would venture to Oniru beach. In its solitude, it provided a moment of pure joy: A gift given to me by the situation of the ship, as she sat at the intersection between land and water. A bridge between the elements it seem. I missed the wedding, but not the Celtic Navigator, in her rusty elegance.

Present in almost the most inappropriate beach dressing you would ever see.

Present in almost the most inappropriate beach dressing you would ever see.

The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. In no particular order.

The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. In no particular order.

Lagos: Menace of Overpopulation

overpopulation in Lagos

Overpopulation in Lagos

Lagos, the centre of excellence with an official population of ten million, is the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria as a country. The former national capital is popular and whenever the name Nigeria is mentioned, the state Lagos comes to mind immediately. Outside the glamour and well deserved popularity, the state is the most economically important state of the country and is arguably the largest urban area. The figure of its population is an issue the jury is still out on, but nobody can deny the immense number of people living in Lagos state. Few words may suffice to describe Lagos state, but ‘Densely Populated’ has to be one of them.

The allure of Lagos life and living, which agreeably has all the enchanting fireworks that other states so desperately crave, is so appealing that I can dare say other state dwellers dream of living in the state. But away from the glitz and glamour, when the topic of population is put into perspective it poses a valid argument. Is the population of Lagos state a part of its cure or parts of its disease? Many people have tried to rationalise the immense benefits of having so many people in the state, sighting it to be a pool of human capital, this cannot be compared to how other countries have gainfully used their population to foster development at a faster rate: China comes to mind. Their seemingly unending population drives industrial production and has given them a big factor of production which they had used to their advantage; this is not the case with Lagos. It has become a problem. So we can conveniently say, overpopulation of Lagos state is a menace. And with it comes stinging poverty.

The figure of population in Lagos is a matter of concern, the menace of overpopulation has been haunting ever since the high influx of citizens of other states into Lagos started. The fight for shelter, food and mere existence seem to petrify the people; not only the slum dwelling classes at the maximum but also the middle class and upper classes as well. More than a thousand people reportedly in into Lagos daily with less than one percent of them leaving. The number of issues affecting every individual is humongous; poor quality of drinking water, improper sanitation, aberrant politics, unpredictably frustrating traffic jam and the list goes on.

The national government continues to demonstrate obliviousness of it responsibility towards the citizens. As things stand, the future of the ordinary Nigerian citizen living in his/her own country is bleak, given that the population of the country is expected to double within 30 years if statistics are anything to go by. The situation in Lagos is replicated albeit on a smaller scale, in towns and cities all over the country. People living in other states find it hard to hope that there is anything viable to do over there, and they get glittering report about life in the Lagos metropolis. This attracts them and gets them happy to ditch what they are doing in their cities to come to Lagos in pursuit of a better life; regardless of the ‘downgrading’ work they might get, or with them coming with absolutely no work planned out for them: just coming in to make the numbers. Getting to the state, a lot of them are shaken by the rude awakening, there are no jobs! Even residents of the state do not have jobs, yet wave after wave of Nigerians and neighbouring country’s inhabitants keep flooding into the state, in pursuit of happiness. Had other states developed themselves to a good model, the inhabitants would have no need to come to Lagos. Why leave a town where you have a good work and a great life? With them having none of both where they are, the only logical thing they can do is come over.

To understand the gravity of the issue of overpopulation in this state, u just needs to visit the popular Idumota market on a Tuesday morning. Take position at a vantage point and have a good look at the termite-like movement of the people; make sure your valuables are well kept. There you would observe those that are there to work, those that are there to watch and those that are waiting for an opportunity for chaos to happen and they wreck evil. With all these in mind, we can sectionise the various facets of life within Lagos that suffers from the menace of overpopulation in the state.

Food: Producing food for two as you would for a thousand; the food produced and transported in is not even enough to feed those present, yet a lot of others are coming in. It would be unfair for us to castigate them for pursuing a better life. But the overpopulation is such a problem that food security has now become a struggle. “Too many people consuming too many things too quickly” is the best way to describe the situation, scarcity kicks in and food price climbs a ladder. With the future projection of population even getting increased, how would people feed? The upper class should maybe consume less, and subsidise food for the lower class, but then it’s their prerogative and you can’t force them.

Of the three basic needs of man, the one that ranks second is a nightmare in Lagos. Shelter is an extremely important need and the availability of it is limited in Lagos. Housing is a major problem in the country generally, but the population of Lagos gives a new dimension to the problem. People leave their states to ‘struggle’ in Lagos and a lot of them end up sleeping in buses and under bridges, exposing them to insecurity and the elements. For a typical example, visit the Ilaje area of Bariga in Lagos and be in awe of the volume of people living in these slums. Their fight for survival is hinged on finding a roof over their head and you would be surprised at the number of them that sleep in boats. How can people with such living conditions contribute positively to the development of the state? They simply cannot. And when they cannot solve problems, they become problems: Problems that the central government seem to have turned a blind eye to.

Aside from the devastating economy and the rather poor standard of living, overpopulation is also one smirking culprit in making our environment polluted. Due to the need for more space, drainage and waterways are now being converted into housing projects in various cities. As greater quantity of water is being reduced in the construction of more houses, Man makes living difficult for animals that heavily depend their continued existence on water, thus, creating a reason for more fish species to become extinct. And as Lagos urban areas continue to expand, the water that men drinks and the air that he breathes also continue to become polluted.

Healthcare; health is wealth and the apparent lack of good health shows the lack of wealth. The shocking figure of mortality in the state is totally appalling and looking around the health care facilities, you would be surprised at its inadequacy. Health care facilities are not enough in the state and the population keeps growing arithmetically, making it hard to cater for everybody. The lack of adequate checks and quarantines even mean a lot of diseases are imported along with various people coming in and the pollution rate also makes health care very difficult.

Overpopulation has never failed to smite any country’s economy with unkind effects like scarcity of resources for food production, low gross production and high unemployment rate that consequently leads to equally high crime rate. Listen to the experience of Lagos dweller about the security problems overpopulation causes and you would stare in awe. A lot of people inhabiting Lagos neither have jobs nor anything to keep them busy. They desperately lack food, shelter, proper hygiene and the only thing most of them take on themselves to do is commit crime to make ends meet. This is very rampant as even sellers of consumables turn to rob people inside their cars when there’s traffic on the road. Traffic lock being another unquantifiable problem on its own. With a large amount of docile population, the security risk is sky high in the densely populated state.

In conclusion overpopulation brings food scarcity, scanty housing, improper healthcare, pollution, scary crime rate, the starving margin and the insanctity of human lives, whereas it could have been harnessed for increased production to the benefit of the state. The situation is not all lost as it could be salvaged positively. Security has to be the start; that goes without saying. Then industrialisation is key; bringing in more industries. But then, why bring in more industries and risk population explosion? When industries can comfortably go to other areas in the countries, gainfully employ their citizens and leverage on the resources there to foster development. Other states should look at good paradigms and develop themselves to be made an envy of all states, so that its valuable population would come back home and develop it. Some credit to the government of Akwa Ibom state, a lot of their people have gone back ‘home’ because of the many feats of the government at making the life of the people easier. Develop other states and Lagos would decongest and population would become a cure.

Thus, overpopulation is one of Lagos’ biggest challenges. Let’s shorten the queues.

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