Tuesday, September 29, 2009


A good week to everyone once again. I know what I want to talk about this week but I’m not sure how to go about putting it down. This is probably because I know little or nothing about the subject even though I sojourned at the subject’s home a long while ago – children.

My very close encounter with this incredible specie came for the first time in the past weekend when my very dear friend Dekunle came to Nigeria spend to celebrate his mother’s 70th birthday in Lagos. He came with his family: his wife and two young sons aged one and two and a half. Having not seen him in almost a year, I naturally went to spend the weekend at his house. We, our circle of friends; Dekunle, JB and Lamide hung out, as is our custom, at his, despoiling platters of suya, grilled chicken and yes, quaffed copious amounts of liquor amidst raucous jest and laughter. Mostly throwing jibes at one another especially JB whose turn it was to be the butt our jokes this time around owing to his usual tall tales. This time, when we asked him why his car was so badly smashed in front, he told us he smashed it against his gate in a rush to get home so he wouldn’t blow his head gasket because his engine was overheating. We all knew that the road to his house was so bumpy anything above 3km/h would be breakshock speed. His car would have to travel at speeds of at least 40km/h to effect the kind of damage inflicted on it and we hounded him mercilessly with this theory until at last, in exasperation, he stalked off much to our glee. But JB my spoilt silver spooned brat friend is not the subject of my post today but Dekunle’s George and Tim, and David their cousin.

I was partially given charge over George, Tim and David, their cousin, for a substantial part of the weekend by their parents. I think what was more daunting for me was that it wasn’t so much as cleaning up after them that was my task, which I hardly did, as it was that Dekunle seemed to want me to be a part of the boys’ upbringing in their formative years. This I found the harder of the two tasks as I found myself watching the boys’ every move, their motivations, their motor skills, the ways they tackled different challenges that presented themselves to them. Like I said, George is two and a half years old, Tim just a year old and David four. Before this time I had a wariness of children especially from infancy to the toddler stage, I wouldn’t say morbid, but it was paralyzing all the same. I always pictured them as eternally screaming tearaways who seemed perpetually bent on putting themselves in harm’s way, pooping all over the place, smashing everything in sight and putting a permanent end to their parents’ peace and independence until they (the parents) were too old to enjoy anything they would ordinarily have done in their youth. I slowly began to see the reward loving parents have in the midst of all this ‘chaotic’ behaviour.

Because I couldn’t just let them be, just in case they curiously stuck their fingers in an electric socket or pulled a television set unto their delicate heads, I had to keep them within sight and engage them in play, conversation, admonish them when necessary and encourage them when tackling a problem. I slowly and surely began to see their individual personalities begin to unfold as they played, fought, tried to get my attention. I began to see which one was the most focused, which one was the most caring, which one was the most cunning and instinctively found myself working out how best to strengthen each child’s weaker point while administering the same love to all, which was the main thing I found they thrived on. It was like watching a budding flower unfold; it was simply beautiful. Suddenly all the wahala (trouble) children are known for simply paled to insignificance in the face of this wonderful potential to be cultivated and harvested. I found myself thinking of what games to play with them, what lessons to teach them, what things to shield them from and such like. What was even more miraculous was the blueprint was already there from birth to be worked on, A blueprint that even a half witted but loving parent could, with dedication, mould the child into the most wonderful swan (if I may be permitted to use this figure of speech) ever to be with the best of them. Their propensity for learning was simply astounding. They soaked up knowledge like the desert does water.

I could go on and on but space and good sense dictates that I be frugal with my words. I desperately hope that I have managed to share some of this glow that warms my heart with such hope, faith and love. And I am not being syrupy here – I absolutely hate soppy syrupy stuff. This is the manly me saying, “Hm, it wouldn’t be bad at all going for this stuff”, and if I hear any “Awwww, that is so sweet!” from anybody, I’ll crack that person’s skull! Now I understand why and how children are such a blessing, why they are our future, our reward and why we must not be just biological parents to them but really be their guide to their future. Just a few hours of concentrated attention devoted to them will make all the difference. Sadly I have to stop here or risk writing a thesis but I leave in the hope that I have shared something of my experience. Have a blessed week everyone!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Good week everyone! I was going through some of my family pictures the other day and with a wistful smile paused at my late father’s photograph. This particular one he had taken when he had just received his doctorate degree with my four year old self perched on his knee with a quizzed look on my face, probably wondering why I was asked to sit still and look at the mechanical eye staring at me. I remembered the admonition my father used to instruct me with when I’d actively begun appreciating the female form. I was in my last year of secondary school and my ever tidying mother had found some irreverent pictures of women in various forms of undress. My ears, while being too old to be pulled, knew no rest for the best part of a fortnight – a larger percentage of the assault being from my mother. My father in very few words, at four o’clock in the morning, that time most old school parents feel their words sink into their children’s obstinate heads the most, instructed me on the evils of chasing after vagrant women (as he called it) because they were the downfall of would be great men.- a heavy robe he had hung on my broad shoulders from childhood, one I have come to appreciate.

I, as all teenagers are born to do, rebelled (passively of course) against my dad’s instructions. I saw it as him being a spoilsport, and my opinion was enhanced by my uncles’ tales of my dad’s escapades with the fairer sex before he got married to my mother. I wrote this poem in university in my third year with a smile of mischief playing on my lips as I put pen to paper. I want to share with you my thoughts then and hope you’ll enjoy it. Have a great week ahead. Cheerio!

Never again a woman will I chase!
For the evils that abide within
Are such that have no depths.
Eve to Adam
And the fall of Mankind!
But ooooh…
What bliss lies therein the secrets of woman?
Those breasts
Those buttocks
Those thighs
So sweet, so intoxicating, so comforta-
I shall be wise!
Solomon fell!
Samson fell!
I refuse to be beguiled!
But then…
Sweet is the fall caused by women
For bloodless is the fall.
Like opiated sleep it is.
Retrospect shall now I
On the moonlit blanket beneath which we lay,
Freda and I,
As we writhed and…
Truly, sweet and sour
Is the weapon of a woman.

Copyright Notice (©): All poetry, photography, art work and images appearing on this blog page- Kalu Ikeagwu Blog Spot- may not be reproduced, reprinted or retransmitted or altered in any form without the express written consent from the author. Individual poems/pieces remain the copyright of the poet/writer appearing and the poet holding the copyright must be contacted prior to any use of such said work.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Calabar For Real This Time 2

They sat (Good week everyone!) down beside us. They were both on the full side, size wise, not fat, just full. One was light in complexion and the other dark and both were good looking in a hard sort of way. The fair complexioned lady, who seemed to be the more dominant of the two, looked to be in her thirties or a very matured mid twenties and had a set smile on her lips and an even more set look in her eyes. She sat at my left and leaned precariously towards me while her partner sat at the other side of X. Leaning forward to put away the serviette I’d just wiped my hands with, I caught sight of her chest under her open necked shirt, and discreetly paused to take a closer look. Half the vee of her chest that was revealed was covered in a mass of tight hairy curls. The odd thing was that she seemed oblivious to this ‘anomaly’ and instead seemed to flaunt it, promising furrier delights underneath to those for whom it was a preference. We took pictures with them and went into the ward to complete the scenes we had left. When we came out four hours later we saw to our surprise, the two ladies seated calmly right outside the ward, waiting. The fair fuzzy lady had the same set smile on her lips, and eyes, looking like she would never take no for an answer no matter what harsh or derogatory words she’d be assailed with.

We greeted them and walked past to our car. Fortunately for us, we had been given one of the props, an SUV, to drive about with since Calabar was a relatively safe and quiet city which was quite convenient for us as we could move about at night as we pleased - never mind that we didn’t get the chance to utilize this rare gift. Our dilemma started when we realized we had no clue on how we were to make our way back to the hotel. The main crew wasn’t done with their location shots and so couldn’t accompany us. We were scratching our heads over what to do when two angels of mercy came from nowhere to rescue us from our maze – yes, our very ladies in waiting. See, it does pay to be kind and accommodating. They had a car of their own and asked us where we were headed. We told them our hotel was in Asari Eso road just near the airport and they exclaimed they knew the place; it was
‘right’ near where they lived, so we spat in our palms, shook hands in agreement (just kidding) and set off behind them. As we drove on we began to discuss what their motives could possibly be and I stated the obvious; they probably wanted to cuddle us to sleep. We then fell into an argument about which one of us was their target and I teased X to take a chance. The ladies weren’t bad looking, they wanted him and made no bones about it, plus he had curly hair to nestle into – that evoked a cry of panic from him. We looked around to see if there were any landmarks we could recognize so we could veer off the beaten track and escape to safety but there were none. We meekly followed; and then God intervened.

There was a police checkpoint ahead of us and they let the ladies pass; we weren’t so ‘lucky’. Our vehicle had no number plates, was a luxury SUV, had tree male occupants – the still photographer was with us, all potent ingredients for armed robbery suspects. We were pulled to the side and had torchlights shone in our faces and then an exclamation, “Na you? And you! I know una now! Una dey act film!” We smiled and said hello to them and after a little banter about what we came to Calabar for and pleasantries they let us go. To our relief we found the ladies’ car was nowhere in sight and better still, we were familiar with the area. We zoomed off and spotted their car waiting in a side street nearby. X didn’t need me to tell him what to do. He stepped on the accelerator and I was hurled back in the seat I espied their car reversing onto the main road through the side mirror. It was a race back to the hotel and as soon as we got to our street X leaned on the horn and we blared our way to the hotel gates. The foolish gateman obviously had more important or no – thing(s) on his mind because he drowsily opened the gates thirty seconds later, by which time the ladies had caught up with us. Cursing, X drove maniacally into the compound, jumped out of the car without bothering to turn the engine off and ran into his suite – the judas – leaving me all alone to contend with them! I turned off the engine, locked the car and walked up to them and thanked them for their help. They pooh poohed my gratitude insisting it was their pleasure to be of help and then Fair asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink or if I wanted to stay up and chat a little while. I told them I was smashed and had an early day the next day. They told me they’d be back the next day. True to their word, not only did they turn up, they also got “waka pass” roles in the project we were working on. Suffice it to say it had nothing to do with X or me.

Here almost ends my tale about my trip. There’s so much more to write but it would probably turn into a soap opera by the time I’m done; this story alone has been stretched a little bit. I think it’s a good thing to be on the lookout for events or people that could turn into wonderful or interesting memories to us that will make us remember them and smile. I think this is the difference between living a relaxed and fulfilling life and living a stress filled one full of bitterness. There’s always something to carry away from every experience we go through no matter how drab. Let’s lighten our load by stashing away memories we can pull out in future to laugh at with our loved ones. Have a great week everyone and thanks for being patient with me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Calabar for real this time...

Truth be told, I went to work in Calabar to get away from it all. To be in a place were life is leisurely, listen to the locals thrillingly mystify me with their singsong encrypted Efik tongue, enjoy their neat town and, well much else – touch nose. Alas I played the lead role in the project I was working in and had no time whatsoever to myself except to sleep. Be that as it may, drama still managed to find its way into my tight schedule right where I was on set. God, why do You have to follow me everywhere I go?

Good week to everyone. It’s about 10am on Wednesday and Nkem my manager is hopping mad at me – to use her Americana lingo – for being late. Yes I know as a business woman she has to do things right on schedule but I at the same have to write about things that are real to me. If it does not connect with me I simply cannot write. I just freeze and remain there with a blank look. Sometimes I go inside my head with a torch looking in every rounded corner of the cavernous space for something to grab and run out to the keyboard with. Sometimes she just doesn’t understand. I love her though; she does look after me very well. You see what I go through for you guys?!! Just kidding; you are the best.

It was in the second week of our work there and we just had about four more days to get to the end of the production. That day had been dedicated to all the hospital scenes in the script and we had found a very good location on the outskirts of the town. It was small but very welcoming. Everywhere had the characteristic neatness, cleanliness and tidiness the Efiks are known for. The staff was very friendly and we soon settled in comfortably to get to work. I was working there with two very notable artists and the news of our coming soon filtered out to the local community and hordes of people came to see us especially one of the other two I will call X, for the benefit of those of you who are familiar with algebra. Most of the adoring fans were kept outside but some, probably those with whom the staff were familiar, managed to wangle their way into the premises. One of them, a young impressionable lady of about eighteen or nineteen, was simply dressed in a tee shirt and a pair of jeans. She wore no makeup and flirted outrageously with X. He, in his typical ebullient manner, was very accommodating and friendly to her and everyone else, whom she saw as competition. After a short while, she got up and left the place and came back with a significantly altered look. She was dressed in a new tee shirt and wore heavy makeup on her face. Her hair was not to be left out of the loop as it was let down to sprawl over her shoulders and she kept twiddling at it as she batted her lashes at him faster than a high speed camera’s shutter. We were to tease X mercilessly after the incident but we little knew the best was yet to come.

We had just finished six scenes and decided to take a break wherein the producer, X and I decided to have something local, something bukaish (roadside restaurants), oh I just love them! Sorry where was I? Ah yes, we sent one of the PAs to order for fried yam and plantain with tomato stew and as soon as it arrived we fell upon it with great gusto after offering a cursory invitation to the people in the reception which was declined. We were licking our chops when two more ladies walked in and wedged themselves between us without much preamble. We looked at one another and looked at them. Sensing their manners might not have been interpreted as cordial, they apologized and asked if they could take a photograph with us while at the same beckoning the still photographer round to come take the picture. We, nonplussed, agreed in the hope that, satisfied they would leave us alone…

Sorry guys but I’m going to have to stop here because this tale will take up a lot more space than usual and I wouldn’t want it to become to tedious for you. Be rest assured that I will complete it next week so in the meantime have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Battle of the Bulge

Hi and a great week to all and sundry. My back is almost breaking from the grueling work I’ve done today but it has been full of fun and stress. One thing I have to say is I know that when this film comes out I dare not show it to my mum. I don’t care how brave I am or will be in future there is no way I can stand up to my mother with what I did on set yesterday. Actually I did a couple o very raunchy scenes which I don’t know what the editor’s going to do with. But that is gist for another day. Today is what I promised to dish up two weeks ago and that is about Calabar.

I’d love to say Calabar was exciting and all, and that I sampled every local cuisine there was to offer but alas, it was work I went there for and every waking hour there was, was completely dedicated to work. The cast and crew were so wonderful and most of us worked as a tea… You know what the truth is? I’m struggling to resist talking about food as I have had so many jibes from my friends, old and new, over my fixation with ‘food’. I want to make one thing very very clear. I love good food and not food – there’s a difference! The former is simply poetry while the latter is just the run of the mill stuff. Sometimes I wonder and then opine that maybe I should marry someone who’s a terrible cook. That way I’d hate to eat and stay slim. What I’m struggling with is where my priorities lie; my mouth or my tummy. I’m now at the stage where everything I eat goes straight to increasing my girth or widening the spread of my bottom. It is no longer a subtle approach but a full fledged battle of the bulge. I now call my rear guard buddy ‘broadband megahertz’ in a desperate attempt to continually remind myself of the relentless onslaught of Mr Fat. I can’t eat my beloved pounded yam or akpu (fufu) anymore. Rather I go searching for healthier alternatives like tofu, soya extracts and suchlike supplements to replace my addiction to swallow food. My metabolism rate has dropped twice this year alone and every little thing I eat goes straight to the pantry for storage. If I don’t eat, trouble, I become so dizzy and I immediately wear the look of one who’s just trekked across the desert. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t! it wasn’t always like this.

As a teenager, my motto was ‘ Kama nri g’adoro n’ite, ka o doro n‘afo!’ Meaning, food is better placed in the tummy than in the pot. I could eat! I could wolf down a family sized loaf of bread, chug a jug of ovaltine beverage before jogging over to my friend’s house three streets away. I ate in one meal then what would take me two days to eat today and I was still as thin as the space between prison bars. I think most of what I ate then was put into making me grow from a runt of just 5 feet at fifteen to a dizzying 6”2” by age seventeen. Thank you my Lord. Someone once told about some native fetish or magic spell that could make one eat and the food would be diverted straight to the stomachs of those seated around him. While I may doubt the veracity of that claim, I can’t but think about it sometimes and then with a sigh bend down to pick up my jump rope to begin my dreary routine of 600 jumps. I hope, no, I pray (I’m very serious Lord) that it will be a very very long time before my best buddy - the one downstairs - gets tired of eating. Say, another fifty years? Please? Thank you!

Calabar? Ah yes Calabar. That, once again, is still a topic to be snatched at another day. Have a great week ahead folks and I love you guys!