Tuesday, February 19, 2013

THE BURIAL TRIP AND OTHER TALES (1)


Ok. I must admit – just in case it’s not apparent enough – it has been a very long time I blogged about anything, schoolwork has just been overwhelming and funny thing is, they are still mounting. It’s quite impressive – or disappointing? – how most survive this hellish reality in the four walls of the University only to get out there and start tussling on a whole new level to get gainfully employed. But, won’t that be a discourse for another time!

Thing is, we had been on break for about two weeks now - inter-semester break - and I surprisingly haven’t felt like I was on any break. Why? I can hardly figure out. But then, the culprits are not far-fetched, the final year project for one has left one with no breathing space at all with the deadline looming like death.  
Over this break, lots of things have happened which I can’t possibly clump into one post, but then, I’ll just have to give it my best shot. It’s been event filled; three friends and a brother have had their birthdays, which I had all but forgotten were it not for Facebook that saved my head.

Over this same break, Valentine’s day had been celebrated, the one I celebrated by ducking in my dorm all day buried in literatures, diverting calls and waiting for the one call that didn’t come until late in the evening. I guess I was the least of her priorities. But then, the call came and we both watched the sun set together with a bottle of water between us. No artificialities and dinner tables with candlelights, just both of us gazing into the endless darkness of the sky with the wind whispering and we sipping from one bottle of water, quipping at every chance. It was funny, weird maybe but it was fascinating. It’s funny why I had not blogged about that.

Well, the next day after Valentine’s was Friday, and there came another break defining event for me. And that is what this post is about. My friend’s grandpa had decided to buy a one-way ticket to the kingdom beyond, and we are setting out to the country home to see to the final rites, basically, we were going to funeralize.

The Aweda’s country home in actual sense seems to be all the way outside the country. As we drove through the dirt road that leads to the village, I kept thinking of how a path along the road might actually lead to heaven. There seem to be no end to the stretch of dirt that lay ahead of us.
Meandering through the jagged dirt-road in the scalding February 15th Ilorin sun was not an envious experience, and the fact that we were riding in an old Nissan hatchback with no functioning air-conditioning system did a lot to amplify our already hazed experience. All the windows were rolled down for air, which came with grits and sand fumes in tow, clogging our lungs, blurring our vision, painting us in a form of brownness that only a dirt road can produce, even as Jeremy – the one with the dead grandpa – sped on in the mist of that blinding dust.

The gravel kept growling under us and we kept on bumping against the tiny rocks that lined the road. Jeremy was being a speed-demon, even in this haze, and we all knew why; we have about thirty minutes worth of lost time to cover.

On the tarred stretch from whence we veered onto this rough road, Jeremy, myself and three others that included Jeremy’s prospective *winks* had been carried away with whatever we were talking about that we forgot to turn off at the right point. Jeremy had gunned right past the junction to his village and it was not until 15 minutes of mad speed later when he eased on the accelerator and declared as a matter-of-factly , “were are lost”, that we were made familiar with our state of lostness. The shriek that followed his declaration didn’t seem to faze him, he expected just that. We all had good laughter over that.

Well, we had to double back. After about fifteen minutes of intense and constant examination of the vast stretch of the uncultivated lands that lined each side of the road, we finally found the junction where we should have turned earlier and with a sigh, Jeremy eased into it, to begin the second phase of the journey.

We drove in silence for a while, noticing more of the uncultivated countryside and each of us, aside Jeremy ofcourse, hoping we will be home any moment. We kept hoping for forty five more minutes.
Roughly thirty miles of grinding, growling, dirt-road later, we finally took our final turn that lead into Okaka – Oja, the village where the man for whose reason we had endured the troubles of forty five minutes past would be swallowed up by mother earth.