I’m starting to learn there are some things that cannot, and will not, happen anywhere else in Nigeria, but Lagos.
Growing up, whenever there was a party (birthday, child christening/dedication, burial) or Christian/Muslim festivities in our area, it was certain that the lunch that day, and some times, dinner and breakfast for the next –depending on how close your family is to the celebrants or how good you are in the neighbourhood, was settled. I mean, we’d even use the remaining meat to make rough pepper stew or to drink garri. Those meals usually come with bottles of soft drinks.
This practice may have reduced a bit because, hello fenced houses, but it’s still pretty common.
Until I relocated to Lagos. Here, it’s either you shamelessly beg for it or completely forget about it. Well, I don’t know about the ghettos sha.
At my former house, I recall that during Christmas, I bought my landlord, who’s a Muslim, and his family provisions (milk, beverage, sugar, etc.), salt and seasoning cubes, as I sure wasn’t going to cook. My nextdoor neighbours, also Muslims, I bought their kids packs of sweets, biscuits and chocolates. Even bought Christmas things for the nice woman selling akara at my junction.
Okay now, when their own festivity came, I was in my room inhaling the aroma of their cookings but dearly beloved, they didn’t as much as offer me minerals. Like, nothing nothing! Phew!
This was a first for me. I was both surprised and disappointed.
As though that wasn’t enough, my landlord was now asking why I didn’t give him something (aka money) to celebrate. Walahi, I wanted to punch his face. All that meat that was flying around the house, none came near my dwelling place, yet you want celebration money from me. Come and thief it now! Mtcheeew!
No, this is not a Muslim call-out because, my Christian neighbours didn’t do better either.
So, here’s the gist… Last Christmas, I was the only spinster in my compound, yet none of the Christian families offered me even a plate of food. The thing was doing me like film trick because I trust my mothers; everyone in the compound, especially the singles would have had their bellies filled.
To think I always gave their children chocolates and sweets too. 😩
Let me now tell you the one that happened recently…
About three weeks ago, I came out to find big cooking pots, utensils and gas cooker right outside my window. Not long after, a big bowl of plates and cutleries were brought too. Then came the truck with plastic chairs, tables, canopies and loud speakers. Need I be told a party was about to go down?!
Yaaay to free food! Was my first thought.
The next morning, I was awoken by the sizzling sound of onions in hot oil. The aroma filled the room before I opened my eyes. I smiled to myself, this is going to be a great day.
As much as I tried, I couldn’t go back to sleep. Not with the caterers chattering and laughing, and the pots clanging at my window. I honestly didn’t mind, it was a prize I was willing to pay for the promise of party jollof, fried rice, turkey and moin-moin. I didn’t care about their salad.
Just before noon, my friend asked if we were not having breakfast.
“Break what? Abeg, why would I want to cook when there’s food cooking right outside our window? Please help yourself to some cereal”, was my response.
Did I mention that it was my turn to cook that day and y’all already know I hate cooking. So yeah, my joy knew no bounds knowing we were going to be sorted for the day.
Somebody shout TEARS! 😭
Because… 2pm came and they still hadn’t knocked on our door. Aaah! How is it that they’ve stopped cooking since and no one had brought our food. And the party was about to start!
I did not want my friend to see my disappointment or even ask that I go cook, hence, I pretended to be asleep.
Moments later, I was in a sexy pair of shorts and a cleavage-revealing top, party jollof nicely seated in my stomach, peppered turkey in one hand and a red plastic cup in the other, dancing and singing along to Rema’s Bounce.
The DJ scratched his turntable, the music changed and I seized that to turn to my friend and ask, “Have they brought our food?”
Of course, all that rice, peppered turkey and red cup drink was in my dream!
“No o, nothing yet”.
“Ah ahn, what’s all this now?! What’s delaying them since morning or do they want someone’s child to die of hunger?” I was mad pissed.
Picked up my phone and screamed when I saw the time was 4:50pm
“What the heck?!!!”
I legit wanted to cry. I hadn’t eaten anything all day because I was waiting for the party food and there were the hunger pangs reminding me of my foolishness.
Pissed by the noise outside produced by both the DJ and the well-fed party guests, I stood up, got dressed, picked my wallet –all in a robotic manner– determined to save my poor belly…
“Do you mind noodles?” I asked my friend who was on a video call
…and stormed out of the room. It didn’t help that I had to pass right through the party guests to go buy the fresh pepper I needed for our noodles. I was boiling inside. I wished the DJ’s laptop would suddenly crash or the canopy would fall on the guests.
Such violent thoughts, I know, but I couldn’t help it.😂😂
“Wait, don’t cook yet. Let’s give them till 5:30pn. I don’t want you to start cooking now and they’ll bring the food”. My friend said to me as I was washing the pepper.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, just a few more minutes”.
Well, no be say I gbadun to dey cook before anyway. Na so I drop pepper siddon dey wait for party jollof like the second coming of Jesus Christ.
To while away time, I decided to do something productive. I worked on the post, Boy, take me home now, and by the time I was done with the blog… *Sighs*
Let’s just say that by 9pm, I was angrily digging into a plate of over-seasoned noodles and sardine while trying, but failing, not to think about how I got starved all day FOR NOTHING.
If I tell you say the thing no pain me ehn, na lie I lie! Can you imagine them starving us after disturbing our nostrils and peace since the night before cooking right outside our window? Like guys, right by my window! That is pure wickedness from the pit of darkness!
When it’s not like I’m living in another compound or that they’ve offered me food before that I turned down. Aaah, e pain me gan, I no fit lie give you. 😔😐
Only in Lagos!
This kind of wickedness can only happen in Lagos! Or does it happen in your area too?
Bolaji Gelax & Gail of Lagos