My Soulless Hometown

My Soulless Hometown

Obiro slightly opened the window to take a look at his hometown. The topography of the valley appeared quite straightforward to him from the bus.

He was returning to his hometown, after a long gap of 8 years, and it didn’t seem to him that much had changed. The small town was still bearing the same old sleepy sombre look. The drizzling afternoon rain was also throwing some additional gloom to its appearance.

Many wooden and bamboo house with rusted tin roof were still looming over nearly all landscape. The distant smoke emanating from a house suddenly brought back all his childhood memories. He vividly remembered how he and his siblings would gather round the hearth, on such dull day, to make popcorn over an open fire.

His siblings – all married and well-settled – now lived in a different town.

Obiro was oblivious of his surroundings. He was lost in his thoughts. So he didn’t heed the bus conductor entering the  passenger cabin. He cleared his throat and announced out loud that all passengers must alight at the station as they were not allowed to drive through the main market, and this roused Obiro from his daydreaming.

He didn’t expect any of his relatives to receive him at the station. He disliked the idea of sharing information of his travel plan to anyone. And most of his friend had also moved out of town to make a living in cities. So they won’t be there either.

Some passengers seemed to be in a great hurry. Obiro saw them retrieving their luggages before the bus pulled to a halt.  The energy of this sudden activity became very infectious, and the other passengers seemed to be drawing it in as they also started salvaging theirs from the rack. When the bus finally stopped at the station, everyone struggled to get off before all others. Obiro waited for all of them to disembark. When, at last, he stepped off, he found his one foot in a pothole, which was filled with muddied rainwater. He had to ignore his wet shoes, soiled trousers and the muddied pothole lest he might knock over his luggage in the puddle.

The muddy road ahead was all too familiar. The potholed road had been disregarded way too long by the officers. Obiro said to himself that the corruption had sucked the last bit of life from his hometown.  Suddenly, it occurred to him as if a black carpet had been laid out to welcome him.

He decided to persuade his widowed mother to live with him in a city and walked home silently.

The Ginger Cat

The Ginger Cat

Benj Adwga wasn’t very fond of cat. Yet he didn’t mind all his neighbors’ cats’ occasional visit to his house. He disliked them especially during the mating season when they would wail into the night, much like the cries of human babies, in search of a sexual mate. It used to send shivers down to his spine.

It was a day off for him from his daily grind. He was on his porch, enjoying his free dosage of vitamin D, drop-shipped by the mother sun, when he noticed a solid ginger adult cat near a drain.

The cat was male. Benj instantly recognized this after seeing a bulge between hind legs, which was visible even from a distance, which also gave away the sex of the feline.

The cat was trying to cross the drain.  But he appeared to be a bit hesitant. He would put his paw forward and would retreat it immediately.  It went on for a while. Finally he mustered all his courage and leaped. Instead of landing on the other side, he fell right into the drain.

Benj decided not to interfere and remained where he was, as an observant.

Perhaps the cold blackish water of the drain stunned the cat and it triggered a panic in him but he somehow emerged from the drain, completely soaked in sludge. He turned and fled away in horrific excitement.

Benj couldn’t understand why the cat landed on drain rather than on surface of the other side. He wondered if the cat decided halfway not to cross the drain. It puzzled him.

The cat returned a week later. He saw him resting on the piles of firewood that had been set out in the sun to dry. Benj was in hurry, but saw his gooey watery eyes in some way. He stopped and gave a second look. In fact, the ginger cat was blind.

By hook or by crook

By hook or by crook - wordpress Even on cold days, I tend to let in as much liquid into my stomach as on any hot days, though I knew in my heart that it would keep me busy all day.

Sometimes, my female colleagues at school, would often eye it suspiciously as to why I need to use the rest room so often. However, they never mentioned it openly.

I even once visited a clinic to know if it is an illness which is causing me an unusual thirst and the frequent urination. The doctor ran some tests. A day later, I was told by the doctor that all tests were fine. And he said, “You’re in good health”.

That was it.  I was finally composed. I said to myself, “There’s nothing I should fret about”.

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After conducting term-end examinations for the school children, the entire school staffs were invited for lunch at our school principal’s residence.

Before we set out on our short trip, I excused myself and headed directly towards the rest room so as not to cause any trouble on the way.

As soon as we reached his home, the sky turned really ugly. The bright blue sky was hurriedly overlapped by dark gray clouds. While we were having our Poré O, the rain prolifically poured down upon the land.

In the following hours, after downing a few mugs, the bladder urged me urgently to empty it.

Rain was noisily drumming on the corrugated tin roof. It was even difficult to hear our own voice. Such was the uproar.

Amid such commotion, I went down to use the toilet. The bathroom-cum-toilet door was open. The door had a hook locking system. As I was unzipping my pants, someone hooked and locked the door.

I called out to someone. I called out to Principal. I called out to principal’s wife. I called out to my colleagues. But the clamor of unremitting rain had utterly muffled the call for help.

Suddenly, I remembered my cell phone in my trouser pocket. I could phone my colleagues or my principal to tell my dilemma. To my ill luck, there was no network signal.

I looked around the bathroom for some solid materials to unhook the hook through the narrow gap between the door and the frame.

Near the soap case, I saw a broken metal tongue cleaner. I prayed and hoped that it would free me from confinement. I slid the metal through the gap and tried to raise the hook. Alas! It was too lean to unhook it. I attempted several times to hoist the heavy hook with the lean metal. But it won’t budge.

I got frustrated. I was hungry. I decided to wait for the rain to stop. I decided to wait for someone to come and set me free.

Above the WC, there was a window ventilator. I thought there’s no harm in trying. Besides, it was almost an hour since I got trapped inside the toilet.

My colleagues asked, “Where the hell have you been? What’s that in your head?”

I had no idea what was on my head. It felt sticky when I run my fingers through my hair. It was actually a cobweb. Perhaps it got stuck to my hair while I was slipping away from window ventilator.

They wanted to know how did I get dry cobweb on my head on such rainy day and they insisted. Finally I succumbed and told the whole episode. They all had a hearty laugh and so were the rains. So it seemed.