July 22, 2008

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi - My Thoughts

Amazing, beautiful and unpredictable! This tale of a young girl with split personality is embroidered artfully and brought home with ancient Yoruba beliefs about twins and the mystery surrounding the surviving twin. For a debut novel, I'm impressed. Helen is a writer to be watched. She went back to her ethnic roots and tailored her native beliefs to this tale, making her story more beguiling, more Nigerian.

On the Road

I left school for Port Harcourt last week and returned yesterday. I had to travel on the same road as I did last time (You may have read my post 'Robbed'. The Umuahia-Okigwe road is the only one connecting Port Harcourt and Enugu). I wasn't afraid to pass the road again...I wasn't!...seriously... I wasn't afraid. I was...nervous?...worried?... Yeah! worried is the word. To forestall my arriving Enugu penniless, I hid my money - part of it, in my socks. Images of them cutting my leg from my ankle down just to get my money, swam to the surface of my mind. Was that silly? For the first time, the frequent Police stops did not annoy me. I smiled and nodded approvingly a couple of times. Here were Nigerian Police men being Police men! They were dressed smartly; stopping vehicles randomly; checking vehicle documents and occupants; wielding guns to protect us from robbers in case they showed up, ready to blow them into nothingness (Don't scoff!).

Everytime we slowed down to a crawl to get past the many potholes on the road, I peered warily into the dark forest from where I sat in the bus, perhaps I would spot them motioning each other wordlessly. I dragged my eyes away from my reading material often, craning my neck and staring far ahead, maybe I could alert the driver this time and maybe, just maybe we could turn around and speed away like the vehicles behind us did that day. Thankfully, nothing happened. Some conditions were the same as the last time. For starters I was using the same Bus Company as the last time (they are the best in Nigeria), I was sitting in the same seat like the last time and I had the same ticket number. Somewhere between Port Harcourt and Enugu, rain fell, this time it was light. I did not sleep like the last time, I battled it, putting aside my comfort to save other people's necks. Once in a while, I paused to admire the view. I have travelled so frequently along that road that I no longer stare in awe at the breathtaking hills on both sides of the road. I remembered my mp3 player, Sansa C240. It was taken from me then. That gadget was perfect (only Dera Igwe will disagree). I decided while on board the bus to move up the next level by acquring an iPod...Igwe watch out!

I finished The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi on my way. Yeah, I'm just reading The Icarus Girl. It doesn't matter if you read a book the day it is released or ten years later. The important thing is you strike it off your mental list of books you want to read. Hopefully before the year runs out, i'll strike off The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

The second half of my journey- from Enugu to Nsukka was uneventful. The road was bad and had many potholes; the driver was speeding dangerously, causing our bodies to sway roughly from side to side. Deaf to our pleas to slow down, he cursed drivers who swerved to avoid him and sped on recklessly, braking only when we got to Police stops. Our seat did not have any cushion, so my buttocks began to ache early in the nearly two hours long journey. Nigerians don't nag about uncomfortable journeys many times over(except this jobless writer), they nag about more important stuff like - where our oil money is going or where our country is headed...those perplexing national issues. The unpleasant bus experience is a frequent occurence for those of us on the pedestrian level- and we are many. But don't listen to what you hear on Cable, there are many people here who have cars and don't have to go through this.

I like travelling. I remember one of my trips to the South. Throwing caution and everything my loving parents had ever taught me about dealing with strangers to the wind, I accepted groundnut from the lady seated beside me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my brother's eyes widen in shock(his seat was across from mine). I remember seeing him try to get my attention surreptitiously - tapping his booted foot, shaking his arm so his silver wristwatch would catch my eye. When he noticed I was ignoring him, he shook his head sadly and turned back to his PSP. I have to admit I began to worry about being bewitched after the pleasant taste of the groundnut had worn off.

I wasn't tempted to accept groundnuts from her because she was beautiful or persuasive, but because we hit if off immediately the journey began and I was really hungry. We were both up-to-date on international and local celeb gossip...sorry gist; we had both been robbed in the past month; we stood on the same side of most issues - embezzlement in Aso Rock, displeasure at why the only road to the South should be in such a terrible condition, it would delay us for four hours. My only regret is I did not collect her number.

July 16, 2008

Dear Reader: No Comment

I have been watching the number of visitors to my blog rise. That's great, it makes me happy. But I have to say I'm surprised that none of these visitors bothers to comment. Why? Your comments encourage me a lot. I love to read them, even the unpatronizing ones. Please next time you read a piece, COMMENT

Thank You

Osondu Nnamdi Awaraka

July 07, 2008


The most appropriate title for this post would be "An Eventful Bus Ride". It's funny that eleven days after I posted the piece "An Uneventful Bus Ride" I was robbed by armed men aboard a bus taking me back to school. I and thirteen other passengers were made to lie on the road, under the heavy rain for a little over ten minutes while we were dispossesed of our belongings by gun toting bandits. I have never been robbed before and I will never forget this experience. Lying with my face on the tarred road while one of the men searched my pockets roughly; murmuring prayers fervently along with the other passengers- a couple of whom were weeping, while the cold rain beat us; rushing back into the bus after the bandits retreated into the forests; hitting my head on the bus door in my blind hurry to get back into the bus so we could speed away from that scene. In that fleeting moment, nothing material mattered. All we were begging God for, was LIFE. We were begging for the chance to see our loved ones again, we were begging for the forgiveness of our many sins. Many minutes later after the shock of the whole experience diminished, we were wringing our wet clothes, laughing and talking about how scared we had been. Inevitably, we began to discuss the contents of our bags, wallets, the monetary value of our stolen phones. . . we were thanking God none of us were beaten or shot.

Dear Readers, I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for so long. It must have been disappointing or perhaps irritating to visit my blog and see nothing new. I'm really sorry. The robbers took all the traveling bags on the bus including mine. Contained in my own bag were all the notebooks I write in. Those were the most valuable things I lost. All my book ideas, the completed plot sketch of my novel "Lost Prose", the uncompleted short story series I was working on to post later on my blog. . . and so many other literary stuff I was working on. All of them were lost. I have bought a new notebook and I have started scribbling stuff. The yet to be titled short story series is coming on just fine, you'll read it later.

Another reason why I haven't posted any piece in such a long time is that I stayed back at home for five weeks while school was going on because I lost my dear Aunt and had to remain back for the funeral. I have missed lectures and i'm trying to catch up. I have an important exam soon so I might not be blogging actively, Please bear with me. I'll keep scribbling and i'll post as often as I can.

Thank you all very much.

Yours truly,
Osondu Nnamdi Awaraka