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  By @Maskuraid I woke up today with a question on my mind. Maybe I should confess now, that ‘woke up’ part may just be stretching it a bit, considering the fact that only the harshly insistent ringing alarm got my unwilling and complaining behind out of bed. The question itself however survived shower hour and stayed with me throughout the somewhat frenetic dash to the office. Would I be willing to leave Nigeria and relocate abroad? After thinking about it long and hard (that’s not what it sounds like), I’ve decided that staying here is the best that can happen to anybody and the reasons are not too far-fetched. From all I’ve seen, life in the abroad can’t be that much fun. Forget all the hype and the false airs adopted by ‘IJGBs’ when they manage to come home for Christmas in December, buoyed by the lenient exchange rate and the false brawn of credit card dollars (or any of the other currencies for that matter).What kind of life can a man born and bred in Nigeria (Lagos in particular) have in a place where everything works and all rules and protocols are observed? Imaging a situation where one is not afforded the opportunity to do one’s shopping for domestic or everyday consumables right inside traffic. No array of rat poison and various denominations of recharge cards or pirated compact discs (both audio and video), no soft drinks, no popcorn or gala and LaCasera. Absolutely nothing to distract, entertain or appease hunger as one slowly stews in the humid heat of Lagos, squashed together with many others like sweaty human sized sardines in a yellow painted can, serenaded by the city’s noise, grumpy and praying for some miraculous deliverance, before the nauseatingly potent mix of mouth and bodily odors in such close quarters slowly chokes one to death. Imagine the horror of not being able to buy hot roadside fried akara to partner akamu for breakfast, no early morning ewa agoyin carried around in precariously balanced semi – circular silver pots, no roasted boli/yam/corn for chow as snacks during daylight hours, no indomie and egg (cooked while you wait) from the aboki on the corner, no agege bread, tea and fried egg from the neighborhood mai shai, no fried fish to fire afternoon garri, no roasted fish to concoct vegetable soup in the evening. Nothing! How will someone survive? What will make a man want to live in a place where he can’t urinate or defecate in full public glare as it catches his fancy, totally assured of the absence of any punitive consequences or the toga of shame? Why would I want to move to a society where you can’t drive from Ile Zik to Iyana Ipaja on the wrong side of the road and facing oncoming traffic, while still impatiently honking for sane people to give way? Why? I’m sure oyinbo people won’t take kindly to what’s normal here, like jumping queues and rubbishing order just because the person involved is a big man. Do they even know how to quake and tremble when somebody rather than address a situation, threateningly brings out his phone and continually screams “do you know who I am?” I’m sure they are not that advanced a people to have sacred cows who are a law unto themselves, above and beyond mundane rules, set for ordinary human beings to obey and follow, impatiently rushing red lights – sirens blasting – their paths smoothed by dedicated and heavily armed policemen, fed on tax payers’ sweat (God help you if you ever get in their way). How will one worship God over there sef? People that don’t even fear the Almighty enough to equate their pastors to Him and make them currency billionaires, but choose to leave their fellow sinners hungry and in need. Selfish savages who won’t build massive places of worship in residential areas, then erect giant loudspeakers outside the walls to share the ‘good news’ with the whole neighbourhood – night and day.  Soulless atheists, who rather than pray to God to provide all the basic needs of a human being, will rather go ahead and put systems in place to provide and maintain infrastructure, rendering prayers redundant. Nah! Movement to other climes is not an option for now, maybe not even for some time, maybe not forever. I love my Country too much to risk new pastures. God forbid someone leaves here where life is simple and fun, only to find himself amongst a people, who ignorantly equate stealing and corruption. I shudder at the thought. Photo Credit: MarkCantPark via Compfight cc

9554434237_3b30a9a52b_b The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night — Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance. I don’t know about you, but I still constantly find myself starring longingly at the endless horizon, where the sweeping pale blue sky aligns with rusty roof tops to create a contrast between the substantial and the abstract; between solitude and longing for the unknown, and in the midst of my desire for escape, I also wonder – why is the sky blue? Science tells us sunlight is made up of all the rainbow colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet, but when it reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, it is scattered by nitrogen and oxygen, and deflects the colour with short wavelengths (blue) towards our eyes. It is the same particles that scatters in large body of water, and paints it the hue of blue. Sometime in the middle ages, artist replaced their stoic, unimaginative space in the background of every painting with the melancholy and the dreamy essence of the blue horizon. It became a symbol for time and space – a technique since used to render distance and build perspective. In art, distance and desire are represented by the colour blue. Artist use the sky with it endless horizon to suck us into a false desire for the unknown, and somehow, to convince us that the ideal is only a step away, when in reality, the ideal, no matter how many steps you take, will always remain a step away. The sky, like art, highlights the depth of our loneliness and insatiable nature, and paints the story of the human condition mired in the notion that what you don’t own is better, and also acts as a symbol for man’s endless desire for a destination he never arrives in – that he never conquers. Maybe the sweeping dreamy grandness of the blue sky is nature’s ironic way of reminding us of our minuteness in the grand scheme of things; of telling us instead to find joy in the tangible. Almost every religion directly or indirectly harps about the myth of the sky or our desire for escape into the unknown, as they portray a saviour that elevates skywards, beyond the mountains, and into heaven, seemingly to escape the human condition of frailty and inadequacy. Science further explains that the blue of the sky gets pale the further you look because the particles will need to scatter, and re-scatter the more it travels, but in abstraction, the distance of the blue also taunts us as the more we reach for it, the more it eludes us, only to retire into a cloud of emotions. It remains one of life’s greatest paradox – that in as much as the sky’s beauty bestows us with infinite possibilities and creativity, we still need to temper any such idea and desire with a dose of reality and awareness. The strongest, usually, are those who can love without guarantee, and the happiest amongst us will probably be those who seek to conquer their reality above all, and have come to terms with the fact some things will always be far away, and cannot be possessed – like the blue sky. Photo Credit: sarahstewart☼ via Compfight cc