Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Once upon a time..

Last week I bumped into Bunmi.

I hadn’t seen Bunmi since primary school
( A lovely place called Dalfred. It's right next to Sesame Street!)

The last time we met was during the send off ceremony the school had thrown in our honor.We were leaving the school into the big world. The world of secondary schools; Dating, Biros, Increased pocket money and a whole new set of teachers to learn about.
What was there not to like?
The last image I remembered of her had her weeping terribly as the choir sang “Roses in the valley.”
It was almost as if after the 3hr sendoff ceremony was done she would be sent off too war.
Hell. Come to think about it most of my class cried that day.
Everyone had tears in their eyes because they knew, they just knew, that leaving primary school was the end of the world. The absolute worst thing that could happen to them.
This was it. Their lives were over.

I wanted to yell out at my Class.
“Come-on. Why the tears? There was nothing for us here anyway. We’re going into the world man. Suck it up. You’re leaving primary school for crissakes. Look around you. Except for the slides and swings…Nothing happens here!!”
I didn’t.
I just joined them and cried.

So here we were a decade and then some years later and I see her smiling happily at me.
“Carlang Xertnghotli!” She screamed with delight displaying that most annoying of infant traits. Somehow everyone you went to primary school with remembered your surname. They flaunted this by yelling it out loud whenever they meet you.
Not to be outdone I replied.
“Hey! Bunmi Thiguyeser!”I looked at her “Wow…”
I was right on both counts. Her surname and she looking wow.

Last time I saw her she was some 9 year old girl with a head to large for her body and braids riddled with ribbons. Now she was a gorgeous 5 ft 7.Her, lips shining from gloss, was the beckoning center piece of a perfectly made face. Beneath her face she carried a figure that begged to be hugged. Her dress clung to her skin highlighting the gentle curve from her flat stomach to the soft swell of her breast. Long legs, toned a lovely brown, shot out from her plaid skirt ending in delightful sandals. Her Toenails were colored the same lovely shade of pink as her fingers.
I swallowed hard.
This was skinny Bunmi?
Wow.
If i had any doubts about evolution they were gone now!


She gave a chuckle and gave me a hug.
“I can’t believe it’s you. Is it really?” She said with a warm smile.
No.
The real Carlang died after the send off ceremony. He got run over by a herd of cows that were trying to escape from their herdsman. Distraught by the disaster the local school PTA donated money and cloned the cells of the dead boy, recreating another kid in his likeness. Carlang's parents wept with joy as they unwrapped their kid when the gift was delivered.
“He looks so much like the old Carlang.” His mum wept as she cut of the cello tape from his right nipple. “I think we’ll call him Carlang as well.”
“Yes! Lets.” His father agreed.

Naturally I didn’t disclose this closely guarded family secret. I just nodded my head and smiled.
Yes..
It’s is me.
Really.

We chatted about a couple of nothings for a bit. I focused completely on her face. My pose all degage. Inwardly my nerves were shot.

It just didn’t seem right that she had grown a fantastic pair of jugs with age. It didn’t seem fair either. If I had known she would have turned out this way I would have been much nicer to her when we were in primary school.
I wouldn’t have laughed at her when she said the capital of Egypt was China
.
She stopped smiling at me and ran her hand across her hair. It was a habit she had had since primary school. This really was Bunmi!
“You know I thought about you just last week.” She said.
“You did? That’s nice. What about?” I asked with a wary smile.
I shouldn’t have worried needlessly.
“The books” she said. “Do you remember? I was talking with my sister Lamide about primary school episodes and then I remembered it.”
I didn’t remember Lamide. But I remembered the books.

She was talking about an incident that happened in primary four.
I’m not sure how old I was then.7 maybe or 8? I was definitely young though. It was about noon and we were in class having a lesson.
The lecture (Did we call it lecture back then) was about some boring science topic.
About how you could mix two atoms of Hydrogen with one of oxygen and get this mix called water.
Big deal. I had my head bent over my desk in a seemingly exhausted pose. I was anything but. What I really was doing was reading a novel that I had placed on my lap.
Bunmi was seating beside me so she could see what I was doing. Ignoring the droning voice behind the lecture I dived into a world of magic. A world of flying chairs and distant worlds made out of chocolate. I was so engrossed in the tales of the Wishing chair that I didn’t notice the silence in the class until it was too late. As it was my first warning of the danger I was in was Bunmi’s quiet cough.
I looked up into the eyes of our lecturer. Wait a sec… I think I remember. We used to call them Class teacher…
AhH!!
Right. So I looked into the eyes of our…class teacher and I knew I was in trouble.
He had stopped giving the lesson and had the look in his eyes. The “Who the hell do you think you are you little punk” look. I suddenly wished my chair was a wishing chair.
“What are you doing Carlang?” He asked sternly.

I looked at him with my innocent doe eyed bambi look. I had been practicing it for weeks. Everyone was supposed to fall sway beneath its spell.
“Nothing!” I replied. My Bambi look on full beam.
Everyone in class laughed. In the world of kids and babies there is no such as thing as doing nothing. When we say nothing we mean something and occasionally everything. But never ever do we really mean nothing.
The class teacher had hung around long enough to understand the lingo of infants.
He walked over to me and looked beneath the desk.

Page 59. The Adventures of the Wishing chair. Author Enid Blyton.
The bench would like to present this as evidence against the accused.

It was an open and shut case against me.

My school was preppy. But they had nothing against the occasional use of the rod. The teacher brought out his cane with masochistic swiftness and asked me to stretch out my hand.
Whack .Whack.
Two strokes were quickly delivered across my palm for doing nothing.
I didn’t cry.
Girls did that sought of thing. Girls actually started crying before they were caned so most of the time they never really got around to actually being caned.
Smart Tactic.
I couldn’t cry. If I broke down and cried in front of the class I would loose my position amongst the top 20 coolest boys in the class.
There were 22 boys in the class as it were.
That would be terrible.

After my punishment I was asked to seat down.
The class teacher (May the pox of a thousand camels infest his nose) returned to the front of the class with a satisfied gleam in his eyes. After a quick look around the class he continued the lecture in his boring drone.
The class, as it is want to be after such executions against its members, was decidedly quieter.
“I’m really sorry about that.” Bunmi whispered to me.
“Its okay” I answered. Smiling as if the teacher had just given me a pat on the head and a tickle.
My palms hurt like hell.

For the next two minutes I focused on the teacher. He was still droning about the makings of water. It seemed pretty silly to me anyways. Was he trying to say that if oxygen flows in through one window and twice as much hydrogen flowed in through the opposite window we would have a fountain sprout in the middle of our class?
After two minutes of pretending to listen to his ridiculous lecture (who needs water?) I stopped looking at him.
I opened my desk.
Beside me I heard Bunmi Gasp. I didn’t blame her.
Inside my desk, beside my lunch box and stationary kit, were 7 novels lying in wait.

I gave a quick scan, The Adventures of the Wishing Chair had been my favorite but The Enchanted forest was just as nice. I settled for that one.
“Let me know when he looks at me.” I told Bunmi with a smile.
And with that I went back to reading.

Tale closed.
That
was the episode Bunmi was referring too. Tales of our youthful exuberance.

I looked at Bunmi and smiled.
We had migrated to a soft drink booth during our recant. Now we were seated. I had a bottle of coke in my hand .She had settled for soda water.
Dieters. Yuck!
“You were crazy back then. “ She said with a laugh. “Supposing the teacher had seen you again.”
“Oh. I had you to back me up then.” I replied laughing with her.
“Thanks. Not that I was much help. If I remember correctly half the time I used to read during class alongside you. We were crazy about books.”
“I still am.” I said.
I couldn’t help it. I finally stared at her boobs. They looked. “Wow!”
“What’s your number” I asked.

She was right. I loved reading as a kid. As I smiled with nostalgia, I got thinking.
It didnt seem to be the case anymore.

It seems to me that reading has taken a decline amongst our young ones? What most children want to do now is watch some animation or zone out on the various game consoles out there. I’m not against that ( I’m still guilty of the same) but no one seems to read anymore. I used to stay locked in my rooms for hours on end reading books after books. In my world Enid Blyton was a Goddess and the chronicles of Narnia were masterpieces that were Shakespearean in accomplishment. There used to be great importance and credence given to the game of I’ve read more novels that you have. It wasn’t just enough to read. But to read as much as you could. The pace setter series, The Nancy drew mysteries, the hardy boys. All the eponymous books about kids solving crime. Reading was fun. It was loved. The thirst for knowledge was a virus that gripped us all. The few of us who didn’t love to read actually pretended too, just so they could be cool.

Some of us where so passionate about it we were willing to ignore the lecture of water making just to find out what adventures Moonface or Dame washalot was up too.
It was cool to read.
If you read. You were cool!
When did all that change?

Make no mistakes about it. Change it has. Over the past two decades the number of children who enjoy reading has reduced. How did that happen?
It’s a sad thing to loose. The culture of reading. In a lot of ways I am more reconciled to the notion of adults not reading. It’s easier to forgive. Life has a way of taking up your days when you’re an adult. As much as you’d love too, finding time to read is a lot harder as you age. There’s so much else to do. Work , fun, sex and sex.

But Children have so much time and so little to do. Reading as a kid made me half the person that I am. Aren’t children today missing out on all the important lessons I learnt because of their dislike for reading?
I fear that, in Nigeria at least, reading is a culture that is slowly being lost amongst our children.
Where did all the love go?
How can it be brought back?

“I’m not sure. “ Bunmi answered when I asked her. “I think it’s just the way of the times. Most parents don’t read themselves so they don’t feel the need to urge the same trait in their young ones.”
Perhaps.
I took a sip of my coke and stole another look at Bunmi’s Bosom.
In the end perhaps there was still hope. Maybe it was one of those dictated cycles in life. Maybe after a while the child hood lust would return.
After all, not all my childhood lust was gotten over as quickly.
Take Bunmi’s chest for instance.
“What are you staring at?” she finally asked me.
Girls. Some things never changed. Girls were still as observant as they had been back then. She probably had been aware of my gaze for the last thirty minutes.

I looked at her face.
She had a mischievous smile.
I smiled an innocent smile in return. My doe eyed Bambi look planted firmly on my face. Over a decade after primary school, I had gotten very good at it.
What was I staring at?
There were a million answers to that question. Her button. Her necklace. Good old nothing.
I could answer the question.
Or I could ask her one of mine. The Nigerian way.
Answer a question with a question.
I rubbed my hand across my hair and asked.
“What’s the capital of Egypt?”

43 comments:

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

hahaha. Interesting story. Can't believe that that was the best question you could come up with. Nice one.

bumight said...

2nd!!! ok, off to read1

bumight said...

U took me waaaay back! I every single Enid blyton book there was to read: the whole famous five series, secret seven, everything....then I moved onto mills and boons :-( and then James Hardly chase...and then when I was done, I started with the dictionary...

little miss me said...

LOL!! Carlang ur so funny..starring at Bunmi's boobs so much,cmon where are ur manners?!!

i hope her reply wasnt china again tho!that would have been classic!hehehe

now 2 d more important msg lol...books!my first love,really why are the kids of today depriving themselves of the magic of books >sigh< oh well....

Jaycee said...

#4...

lemme go and read (nobody shd take my spot o)...lol

ogonna said...

ohhh ure good. i'd almost forgotten about dame washalot. wish i could get my hands on those books again

ogonna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onome said...

yeah i used to dig enid blyton a lot....she and...and....and...er....well, nice post anyway(lol)

Ms. emmotions said...

can u imagine i rushed to comment on the few lines i read? shouldn't i go read thru the post completely b4 commenting on it?

sori dear let me correct that mistake...lol

fantasy queen said...

i agree with u about the reading culture today, i'm one hell of a reader, in my jss 2, a wannab boyfriend brought his whole collection of pacceters for me, just so i would talk to him...now that was sly yeah?

whats the capital of eygpt? thats what u could come up with? o carl, plain nothing would do or are those real?...

Afrobabe said...

Lol..you are just very silly...capital of egypt kuh...

that takes one backkkkk...that long ago! loved books as well..by secondary i was being beaten left and right by my folks on account of my advancement to mills and boons...

the problem now is too many computer games, computer and cable tv...reading is just not as magical for them as it was for us...i mean if u had a choice back then would you rather watch shrek or read it????

Sherri said...

i agree with u on the reading culture issue
i remember devouring every enid blyton, barbara cartland, mills and boon, james hardly chase,ireke onibudo,ogboju ode ninu igbo olodumare, the babysitter's club book i could get my hands on.(am still a voracious reader even tho it interferes with my love life. lol)
did u read the comics too?(mandy, topper, bounty, archie&veronica etc)

lovely story
so, did u get her#?

still loving ur mind.....

princesa said...

Carlannnnnnnnnnnnnnnng!!!
Mr Fabu! Another tal;es by moonlight jist abi.
Who teaches primary 4 kids about mixing two atoms of Hydrogen with one of oxygen?? That’s chemistry !!

As a kid I could give my arm for Enid Blyton books so you were not alone.
Your writing is so humorous, you just write a comedy.
I likey, keep ‘em coming jare.

BTW whats this [if !supportEmptyParas]stuff?? I also saw it on Omosewa’s post recently. Na blog virus abi wetin??

bumight said...

I did it!

Queen of My Castle said...

This was such a cute story. I loved to read as a child and I thank GOD that my eldest son does, too. Don't know if the younger one will like to read.

Okay, reading this post made me understand a comment that my Mr. made about me when we first starting dating. He asked if I could have more children. I asked him why did he want to know. He asked me what happened in my marriage. I asked him to tell me specifically what he wanted to know. He again asked if I could have children. I asked him did he want any children. Finally he shook his head at me, smirked, and said "Woman could you just answer my question?! I swear you are almost Nigerian as we are very skilled at avoiding questions."

Yeah, I know my comment was long. LOL

Arewa said...

lol... u r something else..what is the capital of Egypt ke.....Lord have mercy!!

Afrobabe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Afrobabe said...

@ princesa...you even know what it was...i failed so much at them integrated science,intro tech classes that i dont even know which is which..

oh but i topped the class in the repoduction/puberty class...was dead serious!!!

hmmm deleted the previous comment...see spelling error!!!

UndaCovaSista said...

Excuse me.
What is all this survey business? Of course you should write a novel! It would be crime if you didn't!!! I wouuld be be your most enthusisatic fan and groupie as you embark on you book tour!

And unlike you, i had the act of surreptitiously reading novels in classes down to a fine art. so much so, that i never actually ever got caught...

Naapali said...

Thanks for the memories; Secret 7, Famous 5, Magic Faraway tree, Pacesetters, James Hardly Chase (thanks to him many American cities I had never previously visited felt familiar on my first visit), Nick Carter, Mark Bolan, Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer, Harold Robbins (from whom I first read about sex lushly described), Jackie Collins,etc. etc.

Your nostalgia however belies your age, every generation bemoans those that follow as being the end of civilization. You blog because you read as a child. Many of your classmates did not read then and are not reading or blogging now. I know many comments share your views on the seeming demise on reading but what we have is a sampling error. Bloggers read, readers blog.

Carlang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carlang said...

@ Solomonsydelle: Yeah. Me too. lol.
Thanks for the compliment.


@bumight:
The Dictionary? lol. Yes...seems most girls seemed hooked on the Mill and Booms franchise. At some point my sister persuaded me to read some. I can never forget the name Debbie Macomber!

@Little miss me: I’m guessing starring is a bad thing?
lol.
I'm with you. Why are kids avoiding books and the magic within,
Sigh.
Here's a comfort hug!

@Fantasy Queen: I think I got over my love for the pacesetter series really quickly. But I still have my favorites.
I loved the action stories by some chap named kalu Okpi. I wonder where all those books are now. It would be fun to see if they still are as much fun to read now as they where back then. Although somehow, sadly, I doubt it....

@ Arewa: Me? Something else? Lol. Isn’t the capital of Egypt...? Baghdad?

@Afrobabe: Good point.
Given a choice between watching Shrek and reading it .. I just might choose the former. But then again. I’ve watched so many movies adapted from novels.
(Lord of the Rings, Davinci Code, Narnia, The James Patterson books on Alex Cross) and none of them has done justice to the novel they were based on.
I think you’re being unfair.
Animations rock.
Nothing can beat Disney’s version of Sleeping beauty, or Aladdin, or beauty and the beast.
With few exceptions (lets not go near the Hunch Back of Notre dame) most animations are masterpieces because unlike movies, they have the ability to portray the world of fantasy and color that we can only imagine when we read the book.
They’re better tools than movies.
Still...not all novel to movies adaptation fall flat on their faces.
The James Bond franchise for one
That’s a movie I’d watch any day over the book.
I’m sorry Ian!

@ queenofcarlscastle:
Nice. Your eldest son reads? Lucky chap....He doesn’t read your blogs does he? Lol.
Give him a hug for me.
So you’re Nigerian huh? That would explain all those quaint cool things about you that I’ve noticed. It’s okay if your comment was long. Like most things about you..... I kinda liked it!!!



@Princessa;
Fabu?
Me?
Not true. I did infact get the aforementioned lecture. I can’t forget it.
loll.
Thanks dear. I'm seriously thinking about writing that comedy. I’m working on an outline already.

@ Sherri: Thanks dear.
Most of the time i love my mind too..
Salacious freak that it is.
lol.
Yes i read the comics...
Until i noticed that the guys where gven me strange looks.
Then i abandoned archie comics for more testerone clad features like COnan the destroyer!!

@ Onome: Thanks for.....for.....for..... the comment.
:)


@Ogonna: Yeah. I wish so too. Tell you what I’ll go back home and see if I can dig up any old novels. Things fall apart anyone?

@ Undacovasista: lol.
Okay point made. I’m heading to my pc to start work.
You as a groupie is something I’d looove to see.
So you never got caught in class.
Typical.
Girls.... they always escape unhurt...

@Naapali; Perhaps...
While I agree with you that my current stance and social status as a reader is affecting my perception of society at large (i.e. society beyond ours) I still insist that as rare and small a group as we were in the past...
we are decidedly smaller!

little miss me said...

update please
lol

Afrobabe said...

This young man....You are close to watching as many animatics as I am but you cant beat this!!!!!

Lighty said...

awww how so cute. wot is the capital of egypt? you culdnt come up with something else? lol!
about reading, i blame it on computer games like u said, and the fact that parents dont even encourage their kids to read anymore.
i remember when i use to disturb my mother to buy me more and more books, good old days. altogether, lovely read.

so sweetie how has life been without me? did u notice i was away at all?

Arewa said...

Sweetie.. just stopping by to wish u a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year .....May God Almighty grant all ur wishes for the comming year... Thanks for all the love and support... nuff love x x x

Sherri said...

wishing u a merrry Christmas luv.
u are so sweet!
re:ur comments to desperate lady

Hug
muah

N.I.M.M.O said...

I find some truth in what Naapali says; 'Bloggers read; Readers blog'.

Most Naija bloggers seem to have been readers growing up and we all seem to have read the same books, series, comics etc but as you says, the small circle is getting smaller and THAT is worrisome.

What do we do to get the books back into the schools?

Nowadays, students dont exchange novels or comics again, they exchange Nollywood Home Videos - some teachers even ask the students to bring films for them from home - and if you are familiar with the intellectual content of 99.9% of Nollywood films, you will be worried.

Nice write up.

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

You are a darling. Pure and simple
I am of the same generation as you. I remember that my best friends were brought to me through books and reading. Till today, they still are.

Enid was the JK Rowlings of our time and in my opinions she is still as powerful if only children will allow their imaginations to breathe beyond PS IIIs and X boxes. So sad.

Afrobabe said...

Merry christmas love, will soon send the elfs to beat you up for not updating...

nameless.poetical. said...

ok, that was wildly entertaining...:D
i luv it.

theicequeen said...

awww...you wont believe how i can relate to that story! at some point, somewhere between 8 and 10, i vowed to read enid blytons books until i was 50. and the wishing chair, enchanted tree (thats the name right?)..and being that im a chick, mallory towers.. i have no idea what i would have done without them!

lol, i praqctically had a collection..and used to read them in class. MR. Patrick, the most evil math teacher in all of history was not amused..the silence thing happened a lot. and then i look up to fing everyone sniggering and this mountain of a man towering above me...those were the days...and its sad that kids nowadays dont read

like, a person shoukldnt be allowed to grow up if they havent gone through the enid blyton phase!

gr8 blog by the way..im adding to faves asap!

theicequeen said...

@naapali no kiddin, harrold robbins educated me on sex. all credit goes to him. no competition at all.

ah books...what would we be without them? oh, and who used to read dennis the menace comics? lol goooood stuff eh?

fantasy queen said...

merry christmas carl, and have a beautifully happy new year...

the fact that i might love u doesnt mean i wouldnt kill you if you dont update...

desperate lady said...

Lmaoooooooooo omg i looooove ur blog.
U couldnt think of anytoher last name for both of u than "Xertnghotli" and "Thiguyeser"?
"The real Carlang died after the send off ceremony. He got run over by a herd of cows that were trying to escape from their herdsman. Distraught by the disaster the local school PTA donated money and cloned the cells of the dead boy, recreating another kid in his likeness. Carlang's parents wept with joy as they unwrapped their kid when the gift was delivered.
“He looks so much like the old Carlang.” His mum wept as she cut of the cello tape from his right nipple. “I think we’ll call him Carlang as well.”
“Yes! Lets.” His father agreed.
lmaoooooooo again, i swear u make ma head hurt. Me like u o.

guerreiranigeriana said...

happy new year carlang!!!...what a great post!!!...memories and saudades for those days of escape via a book and the imagination and adventures it sparked at the conclusion...i pity children of today who don't even know how to play...we used to go to the backyard and just play with the plants and animals there...let alone reading...oh, for those sweet days!!!...

...still don't understand the male fixation with breasts...doesn't look like 2008 will be the year i figure it out either...

...you are crazy...i laughed so hard at your story/comment on afrobabe's blog about armed robbers...hahaha...but i definitely paid attention to the process used and will keep it in mind in case i ever need it!!...kisses and cheers for the new year...

guerreiranigeriana said...

and is that really your last name?...

Atutupoyoyo said...

I surely left a comment........

Masterful and hilarious. I have come to expect nothing less.

Happy new year bruv

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

se u sabi say 2008 don knack?

i just dey check o

Owumi said...

this was so hilarious!!! great read... and I used to sneak books to read too, all thru primary and secondary school!

Florida of Free Spirit said...

i sure feel like a broken record if i say once again that u r hilarious. dis is so interesting, particularly d boobs staring part. & yeah, we chicks knw when u fellows have ur ears buried in that part of our anatomy!!!!

Toochi said...

dude!!!1 sup mon?
did you really spend the yuletide with stolich?
did stolich do it again?
the men and the yellow hummers?:)

babeandahalf said...

Famous Five, Secret Seven, Sweet Valley High, Malory Towers, St. Claires ...