life diary · non-fiction · out of my head

The boy must Know Book!

So, my mum steps out of the car at the market to buy some items
I’m in the car, I stare at her back.
Every time she gets down from the car without a second thought in order to buy stuffs regardless of the fact that we’re(my sisters and i) in the car and she could as well send us to buy whatever it is, I’m awed. And she does that sooo often.
I even feel guilty. Grown up as I am, I sit in the car. Sighs.

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Got a scene at the market.

She walks to where the mallam had set up his stand for the fried rice ingredients.
Another woman at the same spot looks away seemingly uninterested while my mom prices the items. From here, I can tell my mum bargains in Hausa language.
When my mum shifts slightly and unsuspecting such that her back is turned to the other woman , the seemingly uninterested woman keeps glancing at her.
I smirk.
That’s not my focus Today. I only want to capture details however mischievous.

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See that sky

From this vantage point where I sit in the car,
I sight a market woman perched on a bench, her legs on either side of it, as a man would sit.
I first notice her when my mom, on whom my gaze is fixed, asks “who is crying?” when a young boy of a year plus is wailing badly. Waiting badly!

 It is then I see the market woman, and I see another boy of about four years of age with her. She inclines her head towards the bench on which a flimsy note book is spread open.
Then I begin to hear her “oya, write four, write four!”
The boy looks at her, no defiance on his face. No expression. He just looks at her.
She hits him
“write four! ” she says as she raises and keeps her right hand hanging in a position set to hit him. She does hit him again.
” oloshi alabukun omo-ale”
And I gasp.
I know, I know, children are insulted everyday but really what has this boy done?
She doesn’t understand why he wouldn’t write “four”
The boy is crying. The younger lad of one year plus is also crying. But it’s a market, noise is allowed.
She threatens the four year old that if his tears drop, she would beat him even more.
He keeps crying.

What I see next as I picture an intervention in tones of sepia, is my mum walking up and explaining to the mother why she should cuddle him a bit and tell him to write the number she desires.
We know after rain, comes sunshine right? Surely there must be another way to tackle this crying child.
Yorubas in Nigeria say “ta ba if owo osi na omode, a fi owo otun fa morawhen we use the right hand to discipline a child, we use the left hand to pull him close
As I imagine my mum explaining to the boy’s mother, I imagine the woman flaring up and insulting my mother.

What could she possibly know? To this woman, her son must “know book” he must be literate. Must drive cars and care for her. Must be more influential than the woman who comes to tell her how to make her son successful.

So I imagine the good intentions with which this market woman now orders her son to kneel down.

Without the imagined scenes and without tones of sepia, the boy doesn’t kneel down and she doesn’t beat him any longer either. I’m not in the market for much longer to see her(a market woman howbeit a mother)  train her son in the way she thinks best.
This one thing I know, the boy must “know book”. 

This brings to mind the words and phrase “motherhood” “understanding” “a means to an end”. 

Share your thoughts… 

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