Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Word for today

vertigo |ˈvərdəɡōnouna sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nervegiddiness.

Seemed like a fancy word at the time we officially 'met' but I was no stranger to the feeling. It all seems like a long time ago.

I don't remember the first time I experienced vertigo but it was probably in an elevator. The metal types that probably had poor sealing. It didn't matter if it was going up or down. I would feel this lightness in my stomach and head either way. I eventually learned to tolerate it - "no point going up any number or flight of stairs just because of a minor discomfort" i must have thought. I had a big fear of heights for the same reason too, even up to going out on balconies on floors that were far up above the ground (I don't think I have quite overcome this one).

I don't remember the last time I experienced it either - might be because the elevators in use these days might be better designed. I remember clearly though, the few weeks following my accepting to work for this company that required you to do a lot of fitness training as part of induction, I was worried about how far I would have to push myself. I was determined mind was made up to not be a wuss. In one of those exertive-type trainings though, as I was at some 30ft height or so, going to make the drop in a spiral made of basket-like twine, I realized I could do anything I wanted to - vertigo or not. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tales by moonlight

The tortoise and his mother 

As a kid, I used to love listening to folk tales - whether it be tales by moonlight or tales by no (electricity) light - of course if we had power, chances are that we would be watching TV. My dad has a gift for story telling - one I didn’t inherit sadly - and he would regale us with stories any opportunity he got. We used to look forward to it as kids (I think) especially so we could re-tell it at school too/when we were with our peers. My dad was brilliant at telling these tales - complete with songs and always something to learn. 

One of the stories I remember is about the tortoise- who had become for me, an exotic animal - full of cunning and trickery and who made his way through life by being smarter than all the animals in the ‘animal kingdom’. The story I am sharing with you today is the one about the tortoise and his mother. 

Story, story.... Story! Once upon a time...

In the animal kingdom, there was a great famine as the rains were not falling. So the animals had nothing to eat. Many animals were dying from starvation and the King Lion had to call for the animals to assemble at the village square. Because they hadn’t eaten for months, none of the old animals could make it to the village square. The lion addressed the animals “Hail my fellow animals, it is with heavy heart I call this meeting and I hope at the end we can be in a better place than we are at now. In all honesty, I am at a loss as to what we need to do to contain the death of our people till the famine is over. Any suggestion is welcome”. 

Everyone was silent for a very long time, then the snake spoke and suggested: “Long live the king! I am of the opinion that the only way to make it through this drought is by making the best use of what we have. Since we don’t have water or crops, I suggest we use what we have judiciously - ourselves. You see, the older ones are already at death’s door, as is evident by their inability to make it down to the village square. I think we should take turns in killing our old and feeding the young till the famine is over!”. All the animals agreed with the snake except the monkey. The king ordered that the monkey’s old father be brought to the palace and killed first as punishment. The king was pleased with the snake’s wisdom and put him in charge of executing the plan. 

The snake and the tortoise were good friends and although the tortoise didn’t raise any objection, he was deeply worried about killing his mother as she was his best friend and close confidant. The tortoise approached the snake and asked the snake to allow his mother to be the last one to be killed as she was currently sick and might ‘infect’ the others with her illness if killed now. The unsuspecting snake agreed. And thus it went, each animal took turns to kill their parents for food. Except the tortoise who shared his portion of food with his mother. 

Then came the turn of the tortoise to bring his mother to be killed for food. Unknown to the rest of the animals, the tortoise and his mother had perfected their plan of survival - storing food and making their house inaccessible by building it up on a tree. The only way to get up the tree was if the tortoise sang out a code song to his mother, who would then throw down a rope ladder for her son to climb up with. 

Days went by and the tortoise kept finding excuses not to keep his side of the bargain. The animals were fed up with the tortoise and decided to teach him a lesson. The snake was assigned the task of finding out what was going on with the tortoise and report back to the animals. He followed the tortoise to his house and watched in amazement as the tortoise sang beautifully to his mother in code, and how a rope ladder appeared, as if from nowhere. The snake was indignant and reported back to the animals at the next meeting when the tortoise was absent. The animals then decided to pay the tortoise back in the same cunning coin. The animals followed the tortoise back to his place everyday for weeks until the learned the code song by heart. 

On the fateful day the executed their plans, the king sent the tortoise on a long errand to a far city. The monkey and the snake went to the tortoise's house and sang in code to the unsuspecting mother who let down the rope ladder thereby granting the monkey access to the house. The monkey got in and pushed mother tortoise from the house to her death. The animals served her up for dinner and served the tortoise who ate with relish.

On getting home, he sang himself hoarse and realized what had happened. 

The moral of the story?
a) nothing
b) political
c) religious
d) a lesson in story telling

Monday, November 28, 2016

The sum of all fears (1)

I have a poor habit that means I rarely take notes, pictures and generally document things especially as they happen.

  • At work (there were insights I could have shared - from the office to the field experience)
  • In school (my sojourn through the city of Dubai could have been better documented)
  • At home (when we moved houses, the progression was very slow but sure. It'd be good to have captured many more memories)
  • In business (I took it for granted that I'd remember how far I had come from the beginning. Most of the pictures I took were either for troubleshooting or specifically because someone asked - you know how they say 'pictures say it all')
This is hardly intentional. At least in the first two instances, I planned to give 'live' commentaries on my day-to-day not-so-normal-routine, but life happened! Honestly, life happened big time. 

At work, the romance was quickly over. Sea sickness, 12-hour shifts, time zone changes, food wahala, the real business of the day - namely working in a dynamic environment, with people of diverse cultures, bad bosses and not-so-nice colleagues, having to do this everyday for at least 5 weeks at a time - then press repeat! So, nope. My feeble attempts to keep the memories alive and keep you 'posted' died a quick death beneath the reality called life.

In school, I was sure I had it all covered. I hadn't had a bad enough experience with learning yet. So even if this wasn't going to be a walk in the park, I figured I was up to the task. Then came in lecturers - the good, the bad and the outrightly incoherent
and course works - that made me wonder whether I should quit now or later. It was 'la overwhelming'
and colleagues - some smart asses and some just outright devious 
The usual routine - Sunday to Thursday - was 9am to 5pm lectures with a one hour lunch break; and expected something like 20hour per week after school hours. Haba! I cooked most of my food while in school and the shopping mall wasn't a 'quick dash'. I had to do laundry too, eat for goodness' sake and of course pretend socialize - sleep was a natural offshoot of tired brain. Where was I supposed to get at last 4 hours everyday from? Plus I am a slow coach in these things. I was lost and panicky and a lot of other discouraging things. Blogging or taking frequent pictures wasn't on my list of things to do to survive this ordeal.

The common denominator through all these was, I was too busy dealing with the specifics that life sent my way that I forgot to 'smell the roses' - namely take pictures and make the best memories I could all the time. The good news is I plan to redeem myself somehow. I'd stretch my photographic memory and bring back as many 'highlights' as I can. So I say .... WATCH THE SPACE 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sameness of things

A popular belief is that: The more things change the more they become the same.

There is more than just an iota of truth in this and something happened yesterday that makes the above saying more relatable.

I had a conversation with an acquaintance which was so dated it got me furious with myself.
The kind of conversation I haven't had in a long time.
The kind that I have since concluded is a pointless battle of the sexes if you are not having it with a rational version of your better half. Pointless in a very disheartening way.
That kind that even fellow women will disagree and scorn your audacity to think/talk like that.

It's not about being feministic or any other label. Although I don't shy from being called a feminist - but to me, it is being realistic and questioning the way things are (especially when it comes to human relationships) with a view to understanding the real reasons we do what we do.

For the record, I don't dislike guys. I have more guy friends than girls and my best buddies are predominantly male. This is despite the fact that I went to a female-only school for 6 years. But am yet to understand the dynamics that go into marriage such that many-a-woman goes through it feeling short changed. I'm getting ahead of myself so I'd try and present the conversation that irked me so without being colorful.

It began with general talk about how the day went: I had done some laundry and run some other errands - so in summary it had been busier than my average day. I mentioned that I'm one of those people that take forever to do laundry the hand wash way so I was grateful for washing machines which gave me some time to do other things.... and I was ready to move on. Mr acquaintance sounding like I am incredulous says: You sound snobbish. I wash my clothes by hand. What are you going to do when you get married and your husband bans washing machine in the house? I bet you will wash his clothes and yours.
I should have shut the conversation down right there. But I couldn't believe my ears - honestly? Does the guy not have money to buy a washing machine? Then that is a different matter 'cos if I do, I'd buy one. If not, I guess we'd have to pay to get the bulk of the laundry done.
At which he bullheadedly goes: No! The guy has the money to but refuses to buy a washing machine for his wife. And there is no option of going to the laundromat or dry cleaners.

It became apparent that I was talking to the antithesis of my ideal men - Men, because I've met or read about men who don't have it all put together but try. The mindset Mr acquaintance was carrying about was archaic at best. He mentioned some use of violence and did not give any reason whatsoever why a man would deny his wife the comforts that modern day technology has provided that is within his means - just because he could.

After a few minutes of trying to shame me into cowing under the guise of 'I'm sure you are joking', I finally shut down the conversation. I kicked myself mentally for many long minutes after that conversation because in all honesty and without meaning to be mean to him, he is a non-issue. He is not my problem and I wish his future wife all the best. Yucks! Really, I am disgusted.

In conclusion, I had told him that I don't even have friends like him. My friends don't all agree with my sometimes extreme take on things but I bet you that 99% of those I call friends will feel as disgusted as I felt. Maybe I'd never talk about this from the perspective of a married person, maybe when I get married I'd not be such a hardliner - maybe I'd even do a radical 360, maybe my friends actually think I am an unrealistic fool who refuses to get with the program called 'a man's world'...whatever the case is let this be me saying exactly how I feel about lazy men that hide under the excuse of 'ego', 'tradition', 'religion', 'false superiority' - and the list is inexhaustive - to lord it over their wives. I pray that I never cross paths with such backward people again.

Thank God for those articulate enough to say it as I think it. Thank God for Mrs Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (insert Husband's name)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Network marketing and easy money

I have been called practical to a fault before - even if more by myself than anyone else.

I actually prefer the synonym - realist.

For those of you who don't know what either entails, it more-often-than-not means that I am averse to risk taking. So even if I am not the most creative person in the room, I have had brilliant ideas thrown at me over time - most of them business ideas. I find that between disinterest, laziness and being risk-averse, I drop most if not all the balls.

Yep, women are supposed to be multi-taskers but I find that I am the exception when it comes to making commitments. So when I pick a side, I must be sold to the idea of belonging to that side and most probably 'fight to finish'. Also, I am not emotional about making money. If I do the maths and it adds up, it waters down my aversion for risk-taking. If it doesn't, then I just waka pass.

Notable on my list of no-go business areas is network marketing of any kind. My biggest excuse is that I'm not good at marketing and I don't know that many people I'd like to be inviting uppanda. But at the bottom of all this is that: one plus one doesn't equal two.

MMM is not necessarily network marketing in the traditional sense but I don't understand how it works. So when a friend told me about 'providing help' and 'getting help' I shrugged it off as one of those schemes I am not supposed to get involved in. That was until another friend decided to market it to me. First of, I was worried at the increased level of word-of-mouth marketing going on especially because not one of the people involved has been able to tell me how this unregistered charity company stands to benefit from 'helping people to help people'. To my amazement, many of them don't care to lose whatever 'change' they have invested even when I pointed out that the circle of trust, which the scheme is based on, can easily be broken.

Oh, well. As I no get chanji to spare, let MMM epp who she wan epp! We'd see how this one ends.