Monday, 18 March 2019

Flaming Home! (Episode Nine)



Najwa’s Point of View

Where am I?

My eyes flutter against closed lids as I struggle to open them. I feel so uncomfortable…it is like the whole world is resting on me. My head throbs and my hands and feet are hurting.

I open my eyes…lo and behold, I’m in a different place…like a different world. Everywhere appears blurry and I can hardly understand what is happening.

Where am I?

I try to move my arms but I can’t.  My hands and legs are tied together. I can barely move. I try to scream for help but I have been gagged. My mouth has been sealed and I can hardly utter a world.

Ba  yuhdbbbfuuu.” I try to say ‘Anyone here?’ but what comes out is beyond comprehension.

There is a gnawing pain that makes my head feels like it would be rented apart. My stomach hurts badly and the sharp pain makes my legs tremble. My hands and legs feel like they are in flames and my body is starving for food and water. My shirt is composed of dried blood stain and I am stinking like the pile of dust bin at the backyard of my house.

For how long have I been here?

I struggle to keep my eyes steady as I scan around the room. It is a small cramped room that smell of dust and reeking of a foul odour like the smell of a dead rat. The room is dimly lit so I can hardly see very clearly.  But I am tied to a corner like the body of a dead animal.

I strain my eyes as I try to read what is written on the wall. Despite the dizzy state I’m in, I can read my name on the walls of the room.

‘Become Najwa! Kill Najwa! Anas is yours! Najwa is you, you are Najwa!’

These phrases are painted on the walls of the room. I can also see my pictures with a cross sign stained over them with blood…my pictures marked with a dagger symbol…my pictures are torn apart and littering the floors of the room.

“You should take over Najwa’s position now since no investigation has proven her innocent. She is even nowhere to be found. Who knows…maybe she absconded so as to avoid bearing the truth, the fact that she sold our ideas to a rival company. Barakah, I understand that Najwa is your friend and you love her so much but you can’t support her every time. We all know that she is guilty. She hated Mutmahinat and tried to frame her. She doesn’t care about you while you follow her like you’re her puppet. It’s time for you to get promoted and desert that evil lady you call your friend…”

I can hear a voice over the phone which is undoubtedly that of Mrs. Bola. I struggle to tilt my head upwards. There she is! Barakah! She is standing by the right corner of the room, dressed in a black nightgown with a phone pressed to her ear.

It is then I remembered what had happened. Barakah poisoned me andsmack my head with a pestle. I remember the sight of the red-thick blood that streaked down my head. Anas was right…Barakah is the enemy that I’d trusted all these years!

“No, Mrs. Bola,” Barakah is saying in between tears that are definitely fake. She takes a few seconds break to blow her nose before she continues. “I’m certain that Najwa is innocent. She is my best friend and I trust her so well. I won’t assume her position until all investigations are being concluded. We still have a few days to tell is she will be sacked or not. Till then, I will strive to ensure that the truth is clear. That Najwa is innocent.”

“Okay, till then. Have a nice day, Barakah.” Mrs. Bola says and ends the call.

Just the second the call drops, Barakah burst out into a staccato of laughter. Her roar of laughter fills the whole room and makes me shriek in fear and disbelief.

Barakah? My best friend? The woman I trusted more than my family? How can she be a devil? Now, it has dawned on me that I’ve been in total oblivion. That the person I’ve trusted with my secret is a traitor.

Barakah paces around the room, swinging her phone in her right hand, sipping from her glass of wine and laughing loudly. I try to yelp for help but I can’t…my mouth has been sealed.

Finally, she turns to me with a look of sheer mockery and satisfaction. “She has finally woken up. Najwa has finally woken up…” she walks towards me and bends down to stare at me, eyeball to eyeball, “How do you like your new home? No husband...expensive clothes…fancy cars…make-ups…just you, tied here like an animal waiting to be slaughtered.” She says wryly, stands up and laughs again.

Barakah brings a seat and places it in front of me. She removes the seal from my mouth and I gasp for air. “Barakah…I am in pains…what did I do to deserve this? Why do you want to kill me?” I say in a strangled voice.

“Because you deserve to die. That poison I put in your drink, it will kill you slowly. You’ll be dead days from now.” She fixed me with an unwavering stare.

“But Barakah, we are friends. I’ve never offended you. I’ve treated you as my sister…” I cough and splutter, tears coursing down my face.

“Treated me as your sister by making me feel like a slave? Boasting about your enormous wealth and family because you know I don’t have one? You are wicked, Najwa. You care only about yourself. All those times, you weren’t trying to help me. You were trying to make me realize how lonely and unfortunate I am. You were trying to prove to me that you’re better than me in all ways.” She says as she cleans a tear that is streaking down her face.

“No… no…I truly did…”

“Shut up, dratted Najwa! Now, it’s my time to talk. You’ve always felt superior all these while. Now is the time to put you in your rightful place. Yes, I’ve been longing to see this day for a long time…the day Najwa will become nothing before me…”

“You framed me at the office didn’t you?” I say in tears and my forehead is wrinkled in utter disbelief. My bones are hurting and the ache in my head is worsened.

“Yes, I did. I will take your position at work and get married to Anas. I will become you. Mrs. Bola will find no evidence to prove your innocence. No one will believe that you didn’t do it. Your name will be long forgotten and Barakah will reign!”

I stare at him incredulously. I remember what Yasmin had said. She had warned me about Barakah but I turned deaf ears. Anas never liked him…I never inquired to know why…I’ve been a fool all this while.  I could have listened to Anas…I shouldn’t have stepped out of the house…oh, Anas…I’ll never live to tell you how much I love you and become the best wife for you…I’ll never live to show Sahadat how much I care about her as my daughter…

“You haven’t eaten for three days best friend. I’ll get you something to eat.” Barakah chuckles and smirks at me. She reaches for a plate and cup from a high table and places them on the floor beside me.

It is the remnant of spoilt white grains of rice which is reeking of a revolting smell and has turned milklike. She pours them on the floor and instructs me to eat with my mouth.

Dog food isn’t as worse as this! Me, Najwa! The wealthy, beautiful and famous TV presenter should eat spoilt food from the floor? Is this what my life has become?

“Here is water…you better eat this because you won’t be eating for another three days.” Barakah laughs mockingly.

I stare at her with a perpetually disdainful expression. This is unbelievable…Barakah making me pass through all this? I don’t deserve this treatment!” I spit on her face in anger. “You are wicked and shameless. Is this how you pay me back for all I have done for you? Tie me down like a slave, thrust an object on my head till I bleed on my clothes, hide me in this enclosed room, poison me like people try to kill rats in their homes, feed me with food worse than that of a dog? You are heartless, Barakah and I’ll never forgive you for this!” I howl in anger and struggle to get released. Instead, my hands hurt and my stomach stings me intensely. I fall to the ground with a loud thud and let out a piercing cry.

There is an awe-struck silence. Barakah gives me a resentful look, cleans her spit-stained face slowly and packs the rice to the plate. She takes the cup of water and frowns at me. “Fine.”

“Please, I need water.  I am thirsty…please don’t let me die. Please, Barakah…please…”
She seals my mouth and walks out of the room. I screech but I can only mumble incoherently. Bakarah is gone and I am in pains.

“Oh Allah, please grant me rescue and save my life.” I pray silently as the room door is shut. And everywhere turns dark!

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Review of Skinny Girl in Transit



Skinny Girl in Transit is a web series produced by Ndani TV. It is a comedy series that centres on the life of a young, chubby Nigerian woman and her efforts to lose weight.

The main character, Tiwalade; who was played by Abimbola Craig, is woken up by her mother, played by Ngozi Nwosu. Her mother informs her that the Holy Spirit conveyed a message that Tiwalade should lose weight for her to be able to settle down and find a husband.

Mama Tiwa perfectly played the role of a typical Nigerian mother and the exchange between the mother and daughter is very hilarious.

Tiwalade’s struggle to lose weight turns out to be more hectic that she had imagined. Also, she had to deal with her mother and her slim and pretty sister, Shalewa, played by Sharon Ooja.

Tiwalade, who has been involved with several handsome and cute-looking guys, has her own share of funny relationships.


Skinny Girl in Transit isn’t your regular movie where the lead actor will be a slender looking lady. The lead character is fat and imperfect and displays a real-life situation.

The movie balls around family love, the struggle to find a husband, pressure from the society over being single, striving to follow your passion, work rivalry and envy, the spirit of confidence and decision-making, learning when to speak the truth, knowing what it takes to get married, knowing that love isn’t perfect, etc.

Major Casts in Skinny Girl in Transit
Tiwalade- Abimbola Craig
Shalewa- Sharon Ooja
Tiwa’s mum- Ngozi Nwosu
Mide- Ayoola Ayolola
Hadiza- Ini-Dima Okojie
Didi- Bisola Aiyeola
Derin- Beverly Naya
Wosilat- Chioma Okolie

Notable Characters in the Movie
Mide

Tiwa is surprised that the man she got into a fight with earlier in the morning turned out to be her boss. Life takes a different twist and they fall head over heels with each other.

Mide, played by Ayoola Ayolola, displays a confident and handsome man who isn’t afraid to fall in love with the woman he chooses, irrespective of what others say. Lots of viewers seemed to be gushing over this fine bobo!

He is the definition of a romantic, loving and caring man. Mide will do all it takes to ensure that Tiwa is treated like a queen.

Well, Mide, as an imperfect man, is seen to have temper issues and will surprisingly turn to a different version of himself when he is irked. This trait shows that love isn’t perfect after all and there’s no perfect being.

Tiwalade

Tiwa is a bold, big and beautiful talented OAP who isn’t afraid to be herself and do what it takes to excel. She is self-willed and headstrong. However, she is a woman who is forbearing and ready to fight for love.

Mama Tiwa

Mama Tiwa is the perfect example of a typical African mother who believes in revelations and will poke her nose into her children’s relationships. One time, she is a sweet and caring mother and the next, she’s difficult to bear.

However, she is a loving mother who is ready to fast for seven days, just for her daughters to get married!

Hadiza

Hadiza, the delusional colleague and office bitch who wants to stand out from everyone and detest anyone that rocks a designer clothing better than her.

Desperate to fight for Tiwa’s lover and position, she ends up getting fired and leaving the company.

Didi

The sarcastic and witty colleague and friend of Tiwa, Didi is the definition of true friendship. She supports Tiwa always and ensures that she is not intimidated. She is also someone who can’t stand Hadiza!

Shalewa

Played by the pretty Sharon Ooja, Shalewa is the kind of younger sister that we should all pray to have. Witty, loving, caring and very understanding. Sharon Ooja played the role of a naughty little sister is a natural way. There’s no doubt that she will be one in real life!

Also, her love life with Mohammed showed how patient and understanding we should all be. Her jealousy over Mide’s display of affection also proves that men love in different ways and we shouldn’t compare our lives with others.

Also, her taste for fashion is incredible. I’m sure most of you were always looking forward to seeing her new styles!

Derin

The list can’t be completed without mentioning Derin; the obnoxious and detestable specimen of a woman. She wants the world to revolve around her. She believes she is better than others because of her family’s wealth and status, and she wants her brother to herself.

The other characters brought top-notch performances that make SGIT one of the best web series in Africa.
During each episode, Tiwalade adopts a documentary style by talking to the viewers directly.
However, some episodes seemed like they were dragged for too long. For example, in the first episode, the scene where Tiwalade and her mother were discussing went on for too long.

Generally, Skinny Girl in Transit is a great series with relatable and funny characters. Dedicating ten minutes out of your day for SGIT is worth it and it is a must-watch!




Saturday, 9 March 2019

Flaming Home! (Episode Eight)


Anas’s Point of View
Where is Najwa?
It’s three days! Three days of fear and uncertainty…three days filled with high hopes that Najwa will return home…but no, I still haven’t seen my wife.

Najwa has been missing for three good days! I wish I had stopped her from stepping out of the house…I wish I had wrapped my arms around her and convince her that all would be fine…we would start our life afresh and get back on our feet again.

I’ve spent these three days running around and checking all nooks and crannies of the mega city for my wife. I’ve paraded the police station more than five times a day and called Yasmin repeatedly to inquire if she has seen Najwa. I’ve also called Barakah to inquire if Najwa had been to her house.

Despite Barakah’s denial, I’ve explained to the officers that Najwa was on her way to Barakah’s house…and she never returned. They have searched her house and invited her for questioning…but it all balls down to nothing.

Najwa is still missing! I haven’t set eyes on my wife for three days! I’m sprawled up on the living room floor, staring at the ceiling and remembering the great moment I had with Najwa before she left the house.

We admitted our love for each other, snuggled up and kissed passionately. My beards are unruly and uncombed and my face is a mess. Around me are boxes of stale pizza. I feel downcast and hopeless. It seems like the world has ended for me.

“Why are you so sad? It’s not like you love each other.” Sahadat is saying as she walks into the living room.

She has missed most of her continuous test. Sahadat has been crying since she got back from school three days ago. Her eyes are red and swollen from constant cry. In fact, we spent the night crying on each other’s arms and praying for the safe return of Najwa.

I scratch my rough beard and glare at her in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“You are always fighting and insulting yourselves. Why are you sad that mom is missing?”

Najwa, see what we’ve caused. We’ve portrayed a bad image in the presence of our daughter.
“We do not have hate ourselves, Sahadat…”

“What of the ‘I hate you!’ ‘I hate you too’ screams you yell at each other? Dad, I’m going to my room.” Sahadat says in tears as she storms out of the living room.

My world has truly ended. First, I lost my job. Second, I can’t find my wife. Now, my daughter sees me as a bad father.
“Baba Sahadat!” a voice calls from outside.

I grumble in irritation. I am sick of receiving visitors and answering the calls that wouldn’t end. None of them has a solution to my problem. All they say is, “Take heart and remain patient. She will be fine.”

Will that bring Najwa back?

“Who’s there?” I scream at the door, realising that my mouth reeks of a foul odour. I haven’t brushed my teeth nor had a bath since yesterday.

“Mrs. Susan, your neighbour. I need to see you urgently.”

I schlep towards the door, hoping that she has good news…maybe Najwa has been found. Maybe Najwa is even with her.

In a hurry, I open the door and raise my eyes in anticipation. Mrs. Susan is putting on an extra-large t-shirt and holding the wrapper that is almost drooping from her waist. She is alone. Najwa is nowhere to be found.

“Where is Najwa?” I ask impatiently.

“Baba Sahadat, I have no idea where your wife is. Please can I come inside?” she says, eyeing me suspiciously.

“Okay,” I mumble, watching as she holds her nose while surveying the living room. “I know this is very hard for you…but you have to be strong for Sahadat. I believe that Najwa will come home soon.”

“When? If she is being kidnapped, shouldn’t we have received a call from the captors? I will sell all I have in my possession just to make sure that she returns home.”

“I understand how trying this moment is for you. Where was she going on that day?”

“She was going to her friend’s house.”

“What if she had an accident on the way…and they can’t trace her family members to claim her b…”

“Stop there Mrs. Susan. Najwa is alive and I’m very sure about that. I can feel it.”

“Okay oo. People sha! They can do anything just to make someone unhappy. We have many bad belles in town.” Mrs. Susan is saying with a frown.

Barakah…she can do anything…but would she go to the extent of harming Najwa?

“Excuse me, I need to go somewhere.”

“Okay…if you need any help…breakfast or anything…”

“Please, let Sahadat stay with you till I return.”

“Okay, that’s fine.”

“Thank you.” I reply hastily, jostling towards my room to grab my car key.
***
Barakah opens the door at the first knock. She is dressed in a red-long flowing gown and she is smiling broadly. “Welcome Anas.” She winks at me as I enter the house. “Have you finally accepted?”

“Accepted what?” I glare at her in confusion.

“That we get married and start a family. Najwa is nowhere to be found. Maybe she got fed up of everything and decided to flee. This is the perfect time for us to be together irrespective of what others think.” Barakah says as she walks towards me.

I move away and sneer at her. “I’m certain you have a hand in Najwa’s disappearance. You look so happy and relieved. If you are truly her best friend, you would be worried about her safety.”

“I know you’re as relieved as I am that Najwa is nowhere to be found. You don’t love her.”

“I do love my wife. And for your information, we settled our differences before she left the house three days ago. To confront you! Barakah, where is Najwa? What did you do to her? Did you harm her? Where is she? I need to see my wife!”

“I have no idea where she is. If you would excuse me, I’ve got important things to do inside. Shut my door when you’re ready to leave.” She blurts out, walking out of the room with a deep scowl.

A/N: Hey readers! I guess you've been fine.😍 I'm sorry for the late update. Work has been stressful and Lagos traffic is getting crazier. Thanks for your patience!!!💕💕

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Monday, 4 March 2019

Cooks' Corner (Akara and Pap)

Photo Credit: pinterest


Akara is one of the well-liked breakfast staples in Nigeria. It is prepared with the combination of bean paste, fresh onions, and salt.
Akara is a kind of popular food that you would see street sellers, frying at different areas, especially in the early hours of the day, and late at night. It is mostly served with ogi (pap), garri liquid and bread.
READ ALSO: Caribbean Rice.
What are the ingredients?
-          2 cups of peeled and washed beans
-          3 balls of ata rodo
-          1 chopped onion
-          Oil for frying
-          Salt to taste
-          Seasoning cubes
How do you prepare akara (bean cakes)?
1.      Grind the peeled beans.
2.      Mix the paste until it becomes very smooth.
3.      Pout the pureed beans into a bow. Use a mixer or whisk to turn for close to five minutes.
4.      Set a clean-dry pan on medium heat and add some oil. Heat the oil.
5.      Add salt, seasoning cubes, diced onions, and chopped pepper into the mixture and stir.
6.      Fry on each side until golden brown.
7.      Use a spoon to remove the akara balls from the hot oil and drain on a paper towel.
8.      Repeat this process until everything is well fried.
9.      Serve with bread, garri, ogi (pap) or fried yam.

     What you need to make pap
-          Wet corn starch (ogi/akamu)
-          Evaporated milk
-          Sugar
-          Water (hold and cold)
How do you prepare pap?
-          Find a medium-sized bowl and put some lumps of pap. Make sure you get a big bowl because pap rises during preparation.
-          Crush the lumps of pap into small pieces with the help of a tablespoon.
-          Add cold water and mix the pap till you have a medium consistency with no sign of lumps. The pap should as thick as possible.
-          Boil water and ensure that it will be enough for preparing the pap.
-          Stir the bowl of pap very well because of it might have settled at the bottom of the bowl. And this can cause lumps.
-          Pour the boiled water slowly and steadily in a circular motion into the bowl and stir. You prevent lumps in the pap when you stir slowly and steadily.
-          Once the mixture is setting, do not stir again. Reduce the flow of water being poured until the pap is completely set.
-          Stir the pap well. Add more hot water if it is too thick for you. Ensure that you do not pour too much water to prevent the pap from getting too watery.
-          Add your liquid milk and sugar, and stir the pap in the perfect way that you like.

 

And enjoy!!!