If there is one thing to love about fashion, it is its ability to continue to change, evolve, adapt and recycle itself to trends and times as they come. This year has seen a lot of new styles and trends in every area, one of which is the explosion of turban.
Then, when our sisters from *DLBC were wrapping it round their pretty natural head, we thought it old-school fashion and nothing in comparison to our scarfs and gele which we thought gave us more fitting, well look how fashion is getting back at us now!
Ever since it resurfaced and gained prominence; the streets of Lagos have never stopped blooming with the array of different and captivating colours that the turban has to offer. If really you did not know that the colour pink or say blue had different shades to it, then you should go study the turban. Yeah literally study it and simply be amazed.
“And you’re thinking what?!” Betty shrieked, her scoop of ice cream suspended in mid air.
“Accepting the job” I say casually and shrug.
“Have you finally lost your mind? Yeah I know you’re crazy with this career idea of yours and independency and feminist what’s not, but going suicidal, accepting this? That’s beyond acceptable!” she has her spoon down now and was gradually building up a fit.
“It is not a suicidal attempt” I say calmly and drop my spoon “It’s a job offering”
“A Job offering to go kill yourself!” she screams, drawing attention to our table. “What do you think it will prove? Ese, you’re taking this whole independent career lady stunt of yours too far. I thought you were aiming to work with the BBC as a living being!”
“Yeah, that too is the point. It’s also part of why I am taking the offer”
“And how does that add up?” she replies, perplexed.
“Don’t you see, I’m building my resume. Do you know what having an experience as an embedded journalist would do to a career in journalism?”
“That’s if you’re alive to experience it!”
“I am not going to die! this is part of my job, why are you been paranoid and discouraging, it is what reporters do all over the word, self made and acclaimed ones, how can I attain that if I…”
“Ese, this is not America” Betty cuts in painstakingly, like someone being patient on a recalcitrant child. “no one cares for such sacrifices here, Bayelsa is not a place you’d wish even for your enemies at this time, every day we hear news of kidnaps, killings, rapes, bombs and all sort, but guess what? You’re accepting an offer to go there and work, right in the middle of all that chaos, reporting God knows what!”
“Betty”, I will be staying at a military camp, I will be safe.”
“That doesn’t change anything”
“It’s the way you’re looking at it”
“Because that’s the only way to see it.”
My God! Betty can be so annoyingly stubborn and interfering in her misguided concern for me, I am the one accepting the job, the one going to get myself killed like she said, yet here she was acting like I had asked her to go in my place. We had decided to hang out at a KFC restaurant around, and there I told her I was contemplating on taking the job and now she was acting like my mother.
“I know what the problem is?” she says now in all seriousness.
“You don’t have a husband, children or a man in your life. That’s is why you’ve decide to go kill yourself, if you had children who would cry for your attention, you wouldn’t even contemplate this”
Oh really, now she was going to pull the “get a man” stunt? Well I’ve had enough lecturing for one day, whatever she said wouldn’t still make a difference, because come tomorrow I was going to go accept the offer.
“well, when you think of it, that is the beauty of it, nobody gets to care what I do with my life” I reply curtly, stand up and started walking away. I was done arguing a point that was already decided, besides Betty never seem to quiet down when she started her ‘get a man’ stunt.
Betty made no move to stop me, she just pushed her melting ice cream away and stared steadily at the chair I had just vacated.
At least she knows when to give it a rest.
It’s amazing how rumour travel the fastest around the news room, amongst people who are supposedly the epitome of news credibility. Maybe it was due to the fact that the pervading environment was fertile enough to nurture both the real deal- that is news, and the fake deal- unconfirmed stories. Either ways, it was mind numbing…
The office was in a buzz when I entered into its hall-like premises, today is Monday like I said and the editorial meeting was coming up in about…one hour from now.
The dreaded editorial meeting.
Scent of various perfume hung thickly in the air, masking the underlying trepidation that each reporter presently felt. Editorial meetings didn’t quite sit well with majority of them, It meant a time when everyone had to lay their cards out, where they had to tell the management and Editors what stories, features, articles or leads they had slated for the daily publishing of Sunset Newspapers.
They had to have something cooking before unprecedented events and impromptu interviews occurred to add currency to the daily papers. Problem is that most reporters spend their weekend’s doing God know what instead of brainstorming for story ideas.
But that is where I am different. Why I can never be caught off guards in times like this; why I always look forward to Mondays and the pleasure of proving my worth before my colleagues. And why some of them were presently peeking at me in jealous contempt soon as I stepped in.
I smile knowingly as I walked the few steps to my cubicle, stopping briefly to greet some journalists who have a good rapport with me.
Now settled, I was busy with the story on the Cash Estate bank explosion on my laptop when Mabel, one of the intern intakes came to me. She was visibly restless and immediately started speaking fastly:
“Hi. You just have to help me here. Someone said this piece is stale, but it’s an article I worked on throughout the weekend without even knowing it already existed. I was banking on it for the editorial meeting and I have worked so hard on it, what am I going to do if it is not accepted? But isn’t it strange that it even does exist? I mean how can two remotely faraway people come out with the same story? What I’m I going to do? I have just a week to school resumption and I need something to submit as evidence that I…”
“Okay! Stop Mabel, I understand. Let me just see the article” I cut in sharply before she started crying or something since she was already becoming hysteric. I wonder why she even came to me plus I don’t appreciate females who cry over little situations.
She handed me the document.
As it turned out, she was either a good liar or there was a big mix up somewhere because I definitely know that I’d read an article such as this somewhere before.
“And you’re sure you wrote this?” I ask looking up at her.
“Yes! Very sure. I’ve always wanted to write about this since school and decided to finally do so now” she supplied.
After another minute I spend going through the work, I say: “Well then, there’s no problem. It all boils down on the angle you’re taking it from…You witnessed it yourself? Considering the style…”
One of the soldiers held me down while the other kept up with his assault. He was hitting at me with his fist, his boot, and now his baton while he continually screamed:
“Come and see our captain!”
I tried dodging the blows with my hands but it was pointless because the other soldier pinned it effortlessly to my back. He was fair in complexion with a scar that ran from his temple to his cheek. I remembered him as the calm solider from the other day while my assailant was the hostile one, Musa.
I didn’t know how or why I was being beaten up, especially since I had already seen their captain. But the blows kept coming more and more while I wriggled this way and that from the sheer pain and my inability to protect myself. I tried to scream, tried to say a word but found out that I couldn’t, even my eyes couldn’t open because they felt heavy and bloodshot.
“What’s going on there?” A deep voice thundered from afar, immediately the kicks and blow stopped while the hand restraining me seemed to loosen and I heard my assailant say:
“The Captain is here”
I tried opening my eyes which proved herculean but I tried nonetheless to see the Captain who had finally stopped the assault. From the little slit my eyes could manage, I saw his powerful form tower high above me but it was silhouetted by a shadow that suddenly appeared from nowhere.
Paradigm shift (3)
But alas, I thought wrong. What else had I expected the captain of a bunch of bullies to be? A bigger bully, that’s what.
After one of the soldiers had narrated to their Captain on what my crimes were, he who had seem compassionate and somewhat condemning of ‘his boys’ actions when he had first met the scene, suddenly thought the situation amusing and had gone on to sit at the bench that directly faced me, to join in the fun of my humiliation.
I felt anger boil inside me the more.
“So miss, you didn’t know that only soldiers are allowed to wear the army uniform?” he asked now, a sarcastic grin on his face.
I said nothing in response. What more was there to say? It’s not as if they would give it a second thought.
“if you no open your mouth enh, I swear I go hit this gun for your head ” It was the Aggressive soldier coming for the kill yet again.
“Musa, take am easy, no need to go violent” The captain said, putting out a restraining hand. But he still looked amused by everything that was going on though.
I followed the soldiers quietly to see their ‘infamous’ captain while my mind kept rolling over, trying to remember how or why I had attracted their attention, but couldn’t fathom any reason. The trek down took longer than I expected, I had thought that with the way they urged me back at the bus stop, we would have arrived and I would be facing a mean and desperate looking soldier who would roll out my offence.
I was getting rather uncomfortable and wanted to speak out when we took a turn off the highway into a busy street. There I saw an army blockade and a number of soldiers standing around. Two pairs of them stood beside two cars checking out a man and his driving papers.
Another group clustered around a tree shade beside some bags of sand which formed a heap. Two of the soldiers were sitting down while the rest stood around, chatting animatedly while they shared a glass of liquor. It was to this group that my escort led me.
I didn’t remember seeing this army block when I passed by earlier on. But It was actually not my route, I defended. And the earlier they stated their reason for accosting me, the earlier I went on with my own business.
When we reached, both soldiers left my side, the aggressive one went on to take a sip from the communal bottle while the other simple joined the rest. I was not in their middle, all attention diverted to me even no one said anything yet. Instead their eyes cast at me with different expressions –disinterest, excitement, nonchalance and even amorous.
It wasn’t in my mind to greet any of them, so instead of the fear that a normal Nigerian would feel in the midst of these lots, I felt irritation.
“Na true Musa talk be that then” one of the solders finally said, puffing out a thick smoke from his cigarette while he stared menacingly at me.
Paradigm shift #1
I love Saturdays! They are guaranteed drama-free days at the office; days where I don’t get to cross part with the reporters from the entertainment department, them and their love for frivolities and hearsays. I mean, how could people go to college, get a communication degree and come back only to stalk celebrities in their ludicrous pattern of life? Putting a tag on them like they make the world go round? I don’t get it, never did and never would. Females, who major the entertainment beat, to me, are just the worst of it – the very betrayers of female fight for independence.
I mean, if they don’t take themselves serious by going into careers that show the male counterpart that they are ready for equality and independence, then who will?
Now don’t get me wrong, I do not secretly envy my colleagues nor strongly champion the cause of the radical feminist, far from it. I am way contented working in the political beat where I double as a reporter and an assistant editor, chasing political sources and investigating stories that touch the polity and affect people’s lives, gives me the thrill. I don’t dwell in make believe nor do I disguise the reality at hand with flimsy soft sell.
And as for my feminist view, let’s just say I am conservatively liberal, whatever that means. I believe that women should be given equality as the men in every way – career, politics, business, marriage, finance and what have you. Yet I still feel the female should make an effort to show the world that they are ready for such responsibility, problem is, most of us females want to eat their cake and still have it and there I do not fault the men.
Now, although I never get tired of telling Lola, Esther and their ‘gangs’ why they need to find something more dignifying to do with their lives aside from making babies, catering for husbands and playing fashion police to fellow celebrity air-heads as themselves, I don’t feel like it today. I have quite a lot of pressing work on my hand.
The exclusive feature on the recent surge of terrorism and militancy in Nigeria needs to be fine tuned and sent to the chief-editor for final appraisal before it is published on Monday, I have two interviews I just conducted to transcribe but most importantly is the cover story I’m working on for BBC Africa which would be due on Wednesday.
I am looking forward to the next level in my career and BBC pose as my utmost target, something is definitely in the pipeline and that’s the more reason I need to focus. No distractions.
I had decided against driving my car, didn’t feel like getting caught up in the Lagos traffic, plus I needed to concentrate My chosen outfit mirrored the state of my preparedness- depending on your perspective though – I am wearing a slim-fit black top perfectly tucked into an army patterned khaki trousers and an army face cap to match. I have a one handed back pack casually slung on my back, it contains my mini-laptop, a jotter and my tape recorder.
A journey of a thousand miles they say, begins with a step. Now this might just sound so easy, but take it from the ‘journey steppers’ that it is not.
So much is involved before that one little first step can be taken. There’s the problem of ‘No time’, ‘No funds’ ‘Little motivation” and the big one…. ‘Procrastination’.
But as they also say, the best way to start is to exactly start! And that little leap of faith has been taken today (not exactly today though).
Either way, welcome to my blog which would mainly cover literature, arts and the likes. But of course, the list will get bigger with time and it can only get better.