Saturday, January 14, 2017

Music: Art, Revolution

The quintessence African counter-culture that challenged the predominant status quo of corruption, oppression and repressive government policies was the very definition of the Kalakuta Republic, the iconic home of Africa's most prominent revolutionary music icon: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

His iconicity consisted not only in the fact of his genius of musical artistry, his unflappable backbone of activism or his imperturbable stoicism in the face of government-inspired acts of violence against his person and property. It was also experienced in the very charged lyrics of his traditionally long but captivating tracks.

In inventing an entirely brand new form of musical genre, Afrobeat, where he fused Nigerian highlife music, Yoruba percussion, American funk and jazz, the maestro that was Fela imbued the resultant multi-layered rhythms and infectious melody with words that remain today a call to arms against tyranny and injustice. These were borne out of his belief that music in Africa ought to transcend entertainment. It must be revolutionary. It must address squarely the pains the average Obi faces, as it challenges the government of the day to pay more attention to Olu's concerns without turning a blind eye to any of Ali's issues.

In the fearlessness of this activism, Fela endured a life of persecution, beatings, harassments, arrests and raids. Yet, the undeterred soldier of the people, through lyrics that still rank over and above anything that has come after and which reverberate with uncanny sentimental force anywhere it is played today even with new audiences that never knew the man, remained a thorn in the flesh of African oppressors at home or abroad.

The wordings of his lyrics inspired a generation to garner the gumptious nerve to face oppressive tactics anywhere. His life was exemplary, serving as a bastion of hope for those whose fights for their rights and privileges were met with repressive practices from the authorities. Because he stood resolute against the vilest and cruelest dictators even sometimes at the expense of his own freedom, others also stood.

And many today endearingly wish he were still alive.

Why?

Well, one only has to look at today's music to know why. No point spending any time on that score (pun intended).

Examples of today's tracks that not only "uninspire" but actually shepherd listeners and deranged dancers towards consumerism, senseless materialism and blind indulgence in carnality, everywhere abound. You don't have to browse too far to find a TV channel (or YouTube channel, for that matter) broadcasting one right now even as you read.

Try it and see.

And are we surprised that there's no inspiration to rise together against common enemies in the very corridors of power? Enemies fully intent on exploiting every atom of division possible?

What do we get instead? Popular choruses such as:

Excuse me I beg your pardon/
This your story e no dey h'add up/
This your Fabu e dey mad gon
But..
Who am I to take a h’action?

So I say Wehdone Sir x4
Tell am say Wehdone Sir x4
Tell am say Wehdone Sir x4
So I say Wehdone sir x4

(image source: GQ234.com)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Man Died

The Man Died

When Roger died, the news spread throughout the village faster than the rumour that convinced people to bathe with salt to avoid contacting the Ebola virus. The passing of the iconic character that Roger had become evoked varied reactions from each different hearer. Yet, there was one common denominator: all were in agreement that the village was never going to be the same again.

And who could blame them. There was not another figure so divisively unpopular as he was equally popular for deeds both heartwarming and mind-curdling.

Roger, who from his days in elementary school was churlishly rechristened with an irritably vexatious prefix " 'Old' Roger" because of an unexpected outbreak of greys in his jet-black hair, grew up with a rebellious spirit. At least that was how his father, Adi, explained Roger's drab melancholy.

"Don't worry," Adi was wont to calm his wife's growing dissonance with Roger's increasingly perturbing preference for solitude, "it is something that he will outgrow with time. After all, I was even worse than that at his age."

"Hmm, ok oo, my husband," an unconvinced Ebo often replied, though that worried countenance of hers never changed nor did the attempted comforting disposition of Adi tame the hyenas of worry that nibbled at her soul.

Once, Ebo suggested that Roger's case be treated as a spiritual malignancy requiring of realignment by ministers of God anointed with the efficacy for that purpose. The less-spiritual Adi must've blown a fuse in his head that day with such an outburst of vehement opposition to the suggestion that Ebo knew never to broach the topic for a long while.

Meanwhile, Roger got into fights, became increasingly pernicious and easily belligerent. It was enough excuse for him to pick up a quarrel (or a fight) with anyone who so much as used the word "old" even when not used in reference to what had become a vexatious contention: the nickname "Old Roger". This state of affairs was not helped by the fact that before the end of Form 6, he had as many grey hairs as black. The contrast was crisp because the black hairs were so black some suspected he dyed it. But to those with such suspicions, there was no explaining his very obvious and quickly spreading greys.

It took new happenings for Roger's case to reverberate around the family house again.

"God forbid bad thing!" It was Ebo's trademark reaction for anything that challenged her reality. "No bi my pikin! Lai lai! God forbid!" saying the last words with a swipe of her right hand around her head and ending the action with a snap of the thumb and index finger as she pushed her arm away from her body. It was a reflex local reaction to ward off evil.

"I know you want me to ask," Adi finally dragged his eyes from the Tribune Newspaper he was reading at the time, set the pages carefully on his lap and turned to her. "Oya, tell me. Wetin happen?"

"My pikin no fit bi winch," she blurted, shrugging her shoulders and shaking her head vigorously. Then, she proceeded to explain to Adi how the news had filtered to her that people around the village were hush hush about the way the renowned village mad-woman (whom everyone agreed to have been possessed by a legion of demons) behaved around Roger. For someone famous for violent reactions and acts to self and anyone within the vicinity to noticeably calm down whenever Roger was about had set tongues wagging. The maleficent links beginning to be drawn as explication for this series of events was unnerving for Ebo.

For the first time, Ebo noticed that Adi was disquieted by her apprisal. Stories surrounding that particular madwoman were unsavoury and there was no denying their authenticity. Only the most vile acts could've merited the consequences that befell her. And there was a history of repercussions for each and anyone with dealings with her. That was an outcome Adi was bent on avoiding for himself and his family.

In his calmest but sternest voice, he said to his wife, "Send Roger to me as soon as he returns. You hear me?"

Looking forlorn but relieved, Ebo nodded and retreated. With no more appetite for the news, Adi cast the newspaper aside and stood up. He was talking to himself as he walked into the room he shared with his wife.

"Let this be the last I will hear that you are within shouting distance of that woman," a visibly nettled Adi was laying it out to Roger later that day.

"But, I just..." Roger had begun in his defence only to be stopped by a right backhand across the right-side of his face that shifted his standing position and sent him staggering backwards. It stung and a scream escaped his lips out of sheer reflex.

It drew out an eavesdropping Ebo who rushed towards the now bitter and sulking Roger. She was cautious not to allow Roger think by her actions that she was on his side but didn't want him to feel unloved.

"You know we only want the best for you," she was saying as she tried to give him her customary comforting hug. She noticed his obdurate reactions in avoiding comfort but didn't relent. "We don't want you coming to any harm."

"That should teach you not to speak back at me," it was Adi talking. "It's like you're becoming too big for this house. It's time you know that I'm still in charge here and you're going to do as you're told. You hear me?" Adi moved menacingly towards the pair as he spoke these last words.

He saw the fear that caused on Roger's face. But that wasn't the only thing he saw. Just below the veneer of that emotion, he also saw a steely stubbornness that reminded him of his own younger days of careless abandon. Only that he never could muster it in front of his dominant father as he could feel Roger doing.

"You better make it clear to him that there will be hell for him if he steps out of line," he said resolutely to Ebo who was still endearingly placating Roger.

With that, he stumped out of the house. He needed some fresh air and with another power cut and the familial tension in the sitting room, the outdoors will do him some good.

He was not four paces from the frontage when a fleeing Roger wheezed past him shouting, screaming and crying all at once. It left Adi aghast. He was able to make out a few words of the retreating figure of Roger: "Wicked people", "No one cares", "Leave me alone"...

As he turned from the disappearing form of the one who used to be his beloved son to look at the distraught form of his wife silhouetted between the frame of the entrance, he could only shake his head. "What has become of him," he wanted to ask but he knew the question will break his wife who was remaining strong because she believed he was firm and solid. If he gave her any cause to think he was flailing too, there'd be nothing left for her to depend on. So instead he took a silent but deep breath to muster the conviction behind his voice and verbalised, "I hope that rascal knows he's sleeping outside this night?"

It lacked the power he wanted the words to have but before it was out of his mouth, he turned swiftly and strutted off.

Everyone minded everyone else's business in the village such that before dusk it was supper gossip that Roger's parents had confronted him about his diabolical (in their opinion) relationship with the ominous madwoman. Some debates were held over how soon evil will befall the Adi family. Everybody laughed and went to bed that night. Like every other night.

Except that it wasn't.

At dawn, the Adi house lay in ashes. Burnt to the ground. When people came around, two ashen remains were discovered among the ruins. Roger's parents. It wasn't long before a village thrown into mourning started to point fingers. And it wasn't only unanimous, it was overwhelming. Roger's culpability was either direct (three people had claimed to have seen a person like Roger sneak in and out of the house before bedtime) or diabolical (something was bound to happen eventually as soon as Roger started hobnobbing with maleficence).

Roger was to spend the rest of his life with an unofficial tag as the one who orphaned himself. And if he was belligerent before, he worsened appallingly. Stubbornly refusing to leave the village and daring anyone with proof of his complicity in the deaths to do their worse, Roger kept no friends, picked up fights with everyone, young, old and anyone in between. He needn't be provoked to engage.

He beat up a farmer's children for having their football enter his living area and when their father complained, he pelted him with stones he kept for that exact purpose. He killed the neighbour's goats that dared left their droppings near his door. He sprinkled their blood in the space between their houses. He scattered the fruit baskets of two fruit vendors left temporarily on his path to the village square and produced a dagger when they confronted him, sending them scurrying. He slapped the White suit-wearing mendicant missionary who dared knock on his front door.

And each episodic misdemeanour was magnified and exaggerated to no end to add to the disturbingly frightening imagery of Roger. Several ill times that befell anyone who so much as fell under Roger's shadow or whose paths crossed Roger's were interpreted with the broad strokes of the diabolism of Roger's existence.

Then, when he was as much a part of the village as was the very harmattan dust for which it was famed, the man died. Just like that. People woke up to find that he picked his own final resting place because they found his remains in a rather peaceful posture on a piece of land originally owned by his dead parents. It was, for the villagers, as if Roger foresaw his own death and prepared adequately for it. His life and death split their history to the time before and after him.

After purification rights had been done to shield the village from any further influence from the passing, the entire village partook in the obsequies. Roger had gone. To his grave. The farmer whose children he beat up, to spread further loathsome stories about old grey Roger, made a show of planting mango seeds at the grave. He knew these seeds were corrupt and wouldn't germinate. What better way to add to the eventful life of this enigma? To continue those perverse filthiness that became Roger's aura.

To thwart this particular farmer's insidious attempt, the mango did germinate. In fact, it became more productive than those tended to by the expert farmer. However, no one dared pick the fruits. But one evening, when the elements threatened to rain a flood, the skies darkened and the wind blew a storm, sending everyone running to the safety of their homes, one of the farmer's daughters, who was now an old widowed fruit-vendor in market-square but who had run out of her mango stock had the idea to go pick the unattended-to fruits at Roger's graveside.

Everything went smoothly as she picked some of the biggest fruits she'd seen (or rather "felt" because it was pitch-dark and she went around feeling for the fruits on impulse). At several times she felt a "presence" but the chase for profit boosted her adrenaline to keep up the pick up. Until, as she later relayed her fellow market-women, Roger thought she'd had enough. He therefore got up and gave her the knock of her life. She claimed to have been left neck-stiff by that knock. It added to the Roger folklore.

But there were stories that didn't get the same exposure as these perversions. No one shared the fact that Roger took care of the madwoman's feeding until her death. Rather, the emphasis remained that he must've poisoned the last meal she took from him. Only the three different wayfarers who at different times in passing through the village but couldn't go further because of the darkness of night can accurately tell of Roger's extreme kind-heartedness as host of the helpless against whom others shut their doors. Little children unable to speak will also not spread the little joys Roger brought them with the funny faces he made to make them laugh when no one was watching.

It'll also never come to light that a power-surge at midnight caused the fire that claimed Roger's parents' lives and that were he at home, he'd have died well. That if his parents had listened, they'd have understood that Roger was trying to be friendly with the madwoman because he felt more comfortable with the less-privileged than the entitled. And he may have been Old Roger. He may have died and gone to his grave. They may have planted that mango tree over his head and that old woman may have come to make a living from picking those mangoes but he never gave her a knock. She, cut out of the old cloth of her farmer father, was an old lying hag.

It was the wind that blew the biggest mango down. It just so happened that it fell straight on her head. But she obviously deserved that stiff neck.

Old Roger must have smiled six-feet under.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Being Your Neighbour's Goalie

The choir was singing but these two were not. 
“Ah ah, Johno!” Ikay was signalling to John. “No bi Captain Eselu bi dat?”
John raised his eyes from his smartphone on which he’d be typing a reply and followed Ikay’s prompted direction.
“Na im na,” he replied in that absent-minded way that Ikay was used to. Ikay knew not to be offended. That was how John was when he had to round up what held his attention on his phone before giving his full attention to anything else. John’s penchant “Tunnel Vision”. So, Ikay allowed him finish, power off his phone screen and re-pocket the device.
“Guy!” Ikay exclaimed before continuing, “so all dis time wey you don dey drag me com una Church, you no fit yarn me say una get timba and caliba for here?”
Ikay was shaking his head and frowning at John. But John’s reaction surprised him. There was that characteristic, unmistakeable look of disgust that Ikay knew so well.
“Abegi,” John reacted with a click of the tongue and a dismissive wave of his hand. “That one?” he queried, signalling with his chin in the direction of the man Ikay had referred to as Eselu. “So, if you dey cant timba and caliba, you go cant dat one join?” he finished with upturned lips that depicted the full expression of his disgust.
Ikay was taken aback. Slightly. He looked from John to Eselu and back again at John, the latter who had brought out his phone from his pocket again and was smiling at the screen while beginning to compose a reply.
Outside the concave of their conversation, the choir had just finished the rendition of their post-sermon number and the minister was rising to head to the lectern. He had not reached it when Ikay noticed that John’s phone had gone from sight and back into the recesses of his right jean pocket. So, he broached the subject of his interest again.
“John, wait, wait. You wan talk say dis guy wey get dat filling station for Ajinga junshun, pesin wey dey use Humma 5 jeep and wey don cari all im family travul away so dat recession no go wori dem, you wan teh me say dat kain pesin dey una Church and you dey use am do yimu?”
All through this rendition, John was shaking his head but he allowed Ikay finish.
“You don finish?” he asked with a tone flavoured with sarcasm.
It didn’t escape Ikay’s notice.
“O’boy, I tire for you oo,” Ikay fired back. “E bi like say you go toast di guy pikin and im catch you naim make you dey beef am like dis, abi na wetin?”
John turned sharply to face Ikay who was seated on the right of him on the same pew.
“Na thunda go fire dat maut wey you dey take talk rubbish!” John shot back.
His voice was a little louder than he had planned. This, and the fact that the minister was in-between sentences and had paused to dramatically add verve to his statements meant that John’s voice when he said, “…take talk rubbish” was heard three pews away.
A few heads turned towards the both of them immediately. But these inquisitive church members were not fast enough because by the time they swivelled their necks around to see who was causing a nuisance in the area, John and Ikay’s countenance bore such rapt attention at what the minister was saying that they appeared heavenly angelic.
“And that, brothers and sisters is the reason why we ought to be charitable on the Lord’s behalf so that he will also open a book of remembrance for us to provide for our needs,” the minister finished just two minutes after the friends stopped discussing and focussed on his words. Not a word had passed between them since the “thunda fire” exchange.
When the minister called for a collection towards philanthropic giving in support of his prepared statements and some flurry of activity of people singing, dancing and moving meant that the area around which John and Ikay were sitting was not as quiet as it previously was, Ikay nudged John.
John still had a frown on his face when he turned right towards Ikay.
“Sorry na!” Ikay entreated, “no bi joke I bin dey joke.”
John let out a thickly deep hiss followed by a click of his tongue.
“Which kain nonsens joke bi dat,” John blurted after his hiss ended. “Na you go befren Eselu pikin no bi me. Tufiakwa!”
Ikay was astounded. His jaw hung open as if he was singing the Alleluia chorus with the choir.
“Ah ah, no bi blezzin to get Eselu as father-in-law?” he asked John with a quizzical look furrowing his forehead.
John was frowning. “Blessin? Blessin?” he said, shaking his head. “ Haaaa!!! God forbid!” he finished, snapping his thumb and index finger in an arc over his head while chucking his shoulder to his cheek.
“Ah ah, e no fit bad lik dat na, na wetin?”
John simply hissed, shook his head and both shoulders this time.
“A whole Eselu, Captain Eselu, di one and…,” Ikay was saying.
John interrupted him with words dripping with venom, “Dat stingy tin!”
Not for the first time that Sunday, Ikay was at a loss. Stunned to silence.
When he found his tongue, Ikay’s voice had lost some decibels. “Eselu? Stingy? Jisos Christ!!!”
“I dey teh you sontin…” John started.
As if the fates themselves wanted to clear the air of doubts, the line-by-line movement towards the collection box for the charitable giving got to where the so-called Eselu was seated. It was with wide-eyed consternation that Ikay noticed his Captain Eselu remain seated while everyone around him got up, joined the line and dropped something in the collection box.
With his smuggest look, John turned towards Ikay with that full-blown “Wetin I teh you” mien. But the awestruck Ikay didn’t notice. He was looking more shocked by the minute. And not a little distraught. He couldn’t believe that he’d just witnessed something he could’ve argued against to eternity and back with John were it not that he was a living, eyewitness. He tried recalling what little he heard from the minister’s words. The latter had make it clear that the money realised from the collection will go towards helping motherless babies and what was left will be shared by the Church’s committee for helping their in-house indigent members. The minister couldn’t have been clearer and though Ikay was not paying attention from the start, that much was obvious from the part he heard. So, why will anyone with the means not assist? Even John and himself had committed N50.00 each to the fund and they were both underemployed graduates.
Wow! He shook his head to clear the webs of disbelief and let out a deep sigh.
“I.K, abeg leave dat guy story, jare,” John was trying to bring him back from his reverie, “no bi today sontin. Every man know alredy for di church say na so Capt’n bi. Na bicos say you jos arrive naim mak am dey do you like fim.”
“O’boy, na wa oo,” Ikay finally managed. “If to say I no take my korokoro eye see am, I no for gree oo! Chaii!!!” It was Ikay’s turn to shrug his shoulders in accompaniment of the word “Chaii!!!”
That exclamation was heard by the lady seated directly in front of Ikay. She momentarily turned around and gave him the eye, with a frown. The minister had returned to the lectern with the collection over and was expressing his appreciation to the members of the congregation and Ikay’s voice was interfering with the lady’s listening.
“You no go face front na,” Ikay said under his breath with his lips scarcely moving.
Yet, it was audible enough to be heard because the minister had become quiet again while he was waiting for the ushers to count how much was collected so he could announce it. A habit he cultivated for the sake of accountability and probity.
There was this burly man seated next to the lady who gave Ikay the stern eye and whose reaction made Ikay ask her to face front thinking it was not loud enough but which was in the end. He slowly turned around and looked at Ikay. He had a face like concrete slabs joined together by an apprentice workman. The edges jutted out acutely and the dips were coarse. This made the frown he wore all the more menacing. Ikay believed that if the man got any angrier, whiffs of smoke might begin to emanate from his wide nostrils and fiery blazes from his wild eyes. He made sure his discontent was registered fully on Ikay before turning his broad shoulders, which were twice that of Ikay’s and John’s combined, and massive neck back to face the altar.
Ikay, who didn’t know he’d been holding his breath the entire time, exhaled. It was as if he’d been a balloon blown taut and after exhaling, felt his entire body go limp. Flaccid.
That was the last time he spoke a word to John for the rest of the service.
Service over, John was summoned by the minister and Ikay decided to go with him. As the assistant to the head of the caretaker of the Church, John had responsibilities that were multiplied any Sunday the caretaker was absent from church like this Sunday. So, the minister had John, and Ikay with him, go through the checklist of what was to be done, members to pass series of information to from the desk of the minister and errands to run. Just before the minister could wrap up the delineation of duties for the Sunday, Captain Eselu’s Wrangler Jeep came into view as it headed for the exit of the premises. The minister asked that John hang on while he signalled Eselu and moved towards the Wrangler.
“Man of God,” Eselu mused as he quickly alighted, bowed and accepted the handshake the minister offered.
“Capt’n, Capt’n,” the minister boomed, smiling profusely.
“Hahaha,” Eselu laughed, “Your Lordship,” he continued, “I’m loyal” he said bowing again with both arms behind his back.
“You this Capt’n, funny man, you always make…” that was the much John and Ikay could hear because they were walking away from the duo as they exchanged pleasantries.
Ikay shook his head. John simply shrugged and continued taking down notes from what he was discussing with the minister before the Eselu episode.
“So, na dis kain tin you dey see everyday for church?” Ikay was asking. “How you com dey still wok for here like dis? If na me, chaii, I trus mysef. I for don cut out, tey tey.”
“Say who die na?” John retorted. “Me I know who I dey serve na! No bi God? I no dey serve human bein oo! Na God. So, notin fit make me cut out bicos of wetin anoda pesin dey do.”
Ikay shrugged. “Well, na true sha. You dey on point. But eh…” he shrugged again, “na wa. God dey sha. E go beta.”
“Abi oo!” John finished as the minister rejoined them. Just behind him, they could see Eselu climb back into the Wrangler and before long, he passed them with a glance in their direction and he was out the gate.
John watched the Wrangler go until it turned right into the T-junction at the end of the road and disappeared from sight. And John prayed silently in his heart. He prayed that if this was the kind of wealth that people had that will not bring them to the ground enough to contribute in aiding others less privileged, then let him not be wealthy in his life.
Meanwhile as Eselu drove past John and the minister (Ikay had gone to ease himself), he felt glad to be of help. While discussing with the minister, he had told him to use N500,000 from the N1million he donated for the care of the indigent to begin to pay John (the assistant caretaker) and the caretaker himself so that they both will be encouraged to continue to do the work of God they were doing for free all these years. Eselu was pleased with how quietly they both contributed to the work of the ministers and thought it was good for some pay package to be arranged for them and like he’d always done since he joined the church a decade ago, he took it upon himself to shoulder the financial responsibility but secretly. In agreement with the ministers through the years, he’d financed most of the church’s projects especially when the contributions from members fell short of budget and two of the three pastors’ remuneration came from his pocket. His only request was for prayers and anonymity.
So, as he drove away (and as John’s prayer ascended to the heavenly altars), the Captain prayed. He prayed that God will bless John for his contributions and answer John’s prayers.
It is safe to assume that both men (Assistant Caretaker John and Captain Eselu) had their prayers answered.

(image source: 
https://clubadventist.com/forums/topic/64043-buc-news-edition-956-18-december-2015/)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Rainbows

There was this rainbow colour that felt it was not bright enough. Whenever all the other colours came out in their brightness to shine after a downpour, it hid behind their brilliance and marvelled at the spectacle. And with each passing moment of its marvelling, it reinforced its interior conviction that it was not good enough to feature in the midst of such glorious splendour. When it was allowed to see how people who see the kaleidoscopic beauty of the colours in the raiment of their glory, it felt more downcast than ever telling itself that it will have to wait until it can be sparkingly stunning before it will ever find it's place among with the others.
One day while the others displayed their beauty for the world, the red colour turned around and saw the dejected colour mesmerised by the display but with a shadow over its face.
Colour Red called out, "Hey! Why aren't you taking part in this splendour?"
But dejected colour shockingly looked up and was at a loss as to explain his demeanour.
So, momentarily leaving it's place in the spectrum of the rainbow, colour Red walked over to the dejected colour and the most remarkably wonderful thing happened. The closer it got to dejected colour, the more resplendent colour Red became and by the time Red was helping dejected colour to stand and bringing it to join in the array of the rainbow, its red quality was blindingly bright.
Colour Red explained it to the stunned dejected colour.
"Alone, we don't appear that bright. But," colour Red insisted raising a finger to drive home the point, "when we all shine in our different shades and colours, together, whether bright or grey, brilliant or subdued, when we all bring those qualities peculiar to us into the pool of our beauties and nothing is brighter, nothing is more beautiful."
Dejected colour was only just beginning to understand when it noticed that it was beginning to glow as well. It began as a little warmth at its core, but as that joined the vast array of the other colours that were beautifying the world below by their different shades, it had become a burst of joy inside of it. At that close proximity with other colours, it realised that they were not all the same. Some were darker than he thought when he saw them from a distance. Others were blinking their colours and not as constantly as the rest. Some didn't have a colour of their own but reflected a mixture of the colours around them. But one thing was certain and he found it in the final words that colour Red said,
"Only when we bring the little in us - that part that no one else has because no one else is us - only when we bring that to the front does it make a difference to the world."
It was a lesson Dejected colour didn't forget in a hurry.
So, you may feel too small, too unprepared, too young, too this or too that and that is why you don't want to come to the front. But, in so doing, you deny the world what it could have gained from your presence. That which only you can give to it, because you are unique and you are different from everyone else.
Agreed, you may not write like me, but there is something you can write about which will never occur to me because I'm not you. And when you bring that uniqueness out, the world is a better place.
Don't wait till tomorrow. The best time to start was yesterday. The second best time?
Today.

Now.

(image source: express.co.uk)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Why Over Pay for a Smartphone?

I'd be amiss in my responsibilities if I don't sneak it in that in the midst of all the fanfare and glamour and glitz about flagship devices from top brands that go from anywhere in the region of 150k to 250k+ and which whet the appetite with gizmos and features from here to Timbuktu and which some "big bois and gehs" flaunt about to further increase their desirability, there are considerably comparable devices from extremely competitive Asian manufacturers that have given these top dogs a run for their money in the West and back home in Asia (even giving Apple an iPhone headache with a second consecutive quarter of drop in earnings).
(Wow, that was a mouthful to get in one sentence *dusts shoulder*)
Ehen, where was I? Right, considerably competitive devices, yes.
But, playing on widespread ignorance and just outright nonchalance, these top phone brands and their colluding sales outlets will continue to make a killing of a profit here because of status symbol of this brand or that. While for a fraction of the amounts expended on a Note 7 with an S-pen that'll be redundant for 95% of the time, you can buy 8 other considerably competitive smartphones. For the exact same price of an iPhone 6S plus in Ikeja Village, there are 10 smartphones to be bought that'll give the buyer a competitive advantage.
And just before you say "Chinco" *cough cough*, where do you think these other more expensive brands are mainly made? Probably a little history course will fit into this space. Indulge me.
There was a time when assembled parts in smartphones were quite expensive. Time was when a phone manufacturer couldn't get the right camera components, when the battery units were beyond reach and the glass parts of smaller phone manufacturers were too brittle or the charging ports were too prone to despoliation. It was impossible at some point to Dolby sound and stereo speakers into these devices at a bargain price that'll keep the device cheap, so we got those "Chinco" speakers that could resurrect the dead. And there is a history of absence of innovative in-house Research and Development teams to add features that people will need in their devices even before they knew they needed these features.
Of course. But, the history didn't stop there.
With advanced development of the Android platform and other congruent mobile progresses so much has changed so fast on the smartphone landscape. Manufacturing has innovated so much that assembled parts of phones have not only become more durable but mostly availably affordable. Whether it's a unibody metal casing or glass front-and-back device. Whether it's solid and unshakeable type-B or type-C USB ports. Sony's camera parts are available inexpensively for all manufacturers today who wish to use them. Miniature speakers for devices with advanced performance are commonplace today that some phones are dedicated music smartphones. Different battery components litter the landscape with more and more lesser known brands able to put a lot more mAh per unit than the big dogs and optimise it for longer durations with Android's most recent iterations. Gorilla glass is now the go-to solution for screens and their toughness isn't up for debates. It's there for all comers. And with exceptional use of processor, optimised RAM management, efficient battery performance, advancement in leaps and bounds in speed and compatibility and ever growing play store for apps, Android has removed the need for smaller manufacturers to need in-house R&D departments.
What you get is device manufacturers who are Asian neighbours of the Samsungs, HTCs, LGs, Sonys and Apple assembly-plants unveiling devices that considerably match those brands in features and performance. And since these smaller brands now have to sell in countries that measure standards, they have had to up their game be allowed into the smartphone markets in the West. The little points of differentiation that these top dogs advertise as why their devices are so good and different are minutiae and in some areas not even noticeable to the unaided human eyes nor by normal average daily utility (sometimes needing special equipment to measure them). And for that, they overprice their offerings.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum are devices that serve the daily purpose of smartphone use admirably and some more. And remain affordable doing that.
(I didn't intend writing this much oo. Choi!!!)
Please, don't mind me. Just give the most recent devices (2016 mostly) from these manufacturers a look. And see for yourself.
1. Xiaomi
2. OnePlus
3. Oppo
4. Honor
5. ZTE
6. Elephone
7. Ulefone
8. Meizu

Enjoy.


img source: Android Headlines

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tomorrow

The seat belt held his torso suspended. He couldn’t feel anything from the waist downwards. Or was it upwards? He couldn’t tell. He winced as another strain of pain shot from his back to his skull. He must’ve fractured something behind as well. His entire frame was a receptacle of hurt. Something warm wormed its was down from his chest to the left side of his chin and divided into two rivulets. As both sleeked their slow journey further down, one streamlet made it over his lower lip and into his mouth. He tasted his blood.
But his attention was riveted elsewhere.
From what was left of the broken side mirror of the car, he craned his neck, forcing his body to adjust as little as was possible to see the path down the road from which he’d just passed. The effort only served to dish out more pain. He screamed involuntarily. The hurting came from a jammed foot underneath the crumpled dashboard. Or what was a dashboard.
Yet, he still obdurately continued his effort to look behind at the road. Was it worth it?
Exactly two minutes ago, Adi was driving back home. It was one of those weekends where his attention was needed in the office. He never got used to working weekends and always thought it was a violation of his hours of rejuvenation wherever it was required of him to be in the office when the rest of the natural world was resting. The only difference this weekend was that it was on a project that he had initiated and that had become the model for new market innovation by the company and for which he had received a personal note of appreciation from the oga patapata. In fact, his exhilaration today was that his line manager, Isa had confided in him that the boss was putting Adi’s name up as subsequent line manager when Isa leaves in two months.
Adi knew what that meant. He was on the move up. It had been hectic getting to where he was. The sleepless nights spent in school trying to make the grades. His penniless parents who sacrificed life and limbs putting him through school. His 4-year sojourn as a “will-work-for-peanuts” job applicant whose shoes were angry at him for inhumane treatment. His loss of friends who went on to big jobs, happy marriages and the lifestyles of the “employed and married”. His perpetual “friendzoned” status among those who only date those with white collar jobs. He had quietly exited all that inglorious past without fanfare and now, he was going to even levels not imagined by his ever supportive and now contented parents.
Adi was going up. And he was going to celebrate this news as he always did. With his parents.
Tomorrow.
He would surprise them with a visit. He’d be waiting for them when they return from church. Their new apartment which he’d paid for in full on their behalf was only an hour’s drive from where the company accommodated key members of staff like Adi. So, it will be a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday. He had earlier made plans to see a movie that Sunday. It was about an accident survivor who was thought to have flat-lined and pronounced medically dead for all of 5 minutes. Only to live to tell his story of the out-of-body experience he had for those minutes. That was right up Adi’s alley. The kinds of things that excited him. But that will have to wait. This news of his elevation trumped that and his parents were going to see their child…
That was when the image of someone’s child crossing the road while Adi was speeding through came into his field of vision.
And everything slowed like in the movies…
Adi glanced at the rear view mirror. There was a Carina 4 seconds behind him at quite the same speed as he was going. Just behind the Carina was an Accord. He didn’t have the time to know how fast that was travelling as he engaged his brakes. The screeching was loud. He spun the wheel, drifting to place the car horizontally across the vertical travel of the road. This gave him enough time to look left (see the wide-eyed shock of the child who stood transfixed in the middle of the road not more than ten normal paces from where Adi’s Camry stood like a bulwark of protection) and look left to see the panic on the face of the woman driving the Carina.
And then impact.
As the woman attempted to brake and minimise the impact with Adi, she was rammed into from behind by the Accord whose driver was in a haste to go see the premier league opener between his team and another. The force of the collision drove the Carina violently into the midriff of Adi’s Camry, mangling the part where the driver’s door meets the frame. It sent a jolt through the entire form of Adi’s body but he’d never have imagined what it’ll do to his car.
It was too fast for the mind to register. He could only remember being spun over and over and the violent contractions his seat-belt bound body endured. He couldn’t number the knocks his head got nor describe the searing pain that he felt when the dashboard caved in on his torso. In less than a minute he’d gone from thoughts of Sunday to a wreck of epic proportions.
When the car finally stopped wheels-up, he’d no idea he was upside down. All he cared about at that moment was trying to see if he’d been successful. Was the sacrifice worth it? Did the child escape unhurt? Was he now safe? A scream had escaped Adi just a few seconds ago but he still laboured to find out. If he could just spin he body a little, it’ll allow him stretch his neck enough to see the rest of the road from where he was suspended on the upturned crumpled remains of his Camry.
As he forcibly stretched, a scrappy metal edge of the door frame sliced through the vein in his left arm, letting out a stream of warm, gushing blood. Adi felt the warmth not the pain. He still stretched some more. But the blood loss was too much. He willed his body to move more trying to see the road and see the child safe. It was not to be.
As his body became limp, his eyes closed of their own accord.


image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Auto_katollaan.jpg

Friday, August 19, 2016

Podium Calls

I was concluding one of those pieces that one re-reads with ecstasy (y'know, acknowledging one's own expertise with words *dusts shoulder*) about how excruciatingly embarrassing our Olympics participation was becoming Olympic-year by Olympic-year when I stopped mid-sentence. Reality had set in. I was abruptly shoved back to earth, literally.

It was accomplished rather easily, this clarity. It came as one word.

REALLY?

Yea, that was it. Really? So simple. So short. So clear.

REALLY?

Pardon the cliche, LIKE SERIOUSLY? I mean, it's not like (another cliched expression, sorry) it really matters. I mean (sorry, again), we have a myriad of problems and all you can think about is the Olympics? Are you alright? Common Kerosene is not there and you're looking at Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh? Oops, sorry, what are those other medals again?

*vigorous shake of the head*

That's all.

Oh, I deleted that earlier piece. Painfully, though. It took me time to research all the details I had included in it.

*sigh*