HOUDINI; Or, The Snail that got Away (A Para-Romance)


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(This story is based on actual events, but names have been changed to protect the identities of the participants)


Click on the links below to read the earlier parts

Part One

Part Two

Part Three


Steve stirs with the change in wind that presages dawn. He catches this wind through his open window. He does not awake, not yet, but will soon do because in less than a minute his internal alarm with go off, and Steve has trained himself to rise at its first chime. Its being a Saturday notwithstanding, Steve will rise. Then a strange thing happens. The alarm has not tolled, but Steve rises anyway. His data centre rapidly updates itself, and in less than the time it takes to blink, he thinks: “snail!”


Only half-awake, he hustles to the kitchen and espies the porcelain bowl sitting as he has placed it. Good, he thinks. He finally decides in favour of plain-leaf at that instant, as the transparent mini bucket filled with yellow garri (from being treated with palm oil during processing) sitting on the cabinet catches his eye. A dish of that garri rolled into eba (as his Yoruba people call it) with plain-leaf is simply nectar and ambrosia, as far as plain-leaf goes. There will be other snails because he resolves in the next instant to raid constantly in that leafy patch for snails. May he always secure such buxom catch. Amen.


He moves closer to take a look, wondering the while at the back of his mind why mum is not yet rendering her usual morning descant of high praise. She gets it on around five, thereabouts, and if he is up, then it surely is past the hour. He is brought up short by the empty space that greets his inspection as he lifts the porcelain bowl. He lays it back, and ponders. The thing makes no sense, so he lifts the lid again. Still no snail. He inspects the insides of the dish minutely, as if the snail could somehow have secreted itself in the tiny pores of the dish (assuming the dish was possessed of such).


The thought flashes through his mind that perhaps there is no snail to begin with, but the slimy trail of waste it left around the edges of the bowl makes that conclusion impossible. Next he considers it may have taken a stroll (he refuses to consider how the bowl was raised and put back in place by a snail that big; at that, an animal lacking limbs) and may be secreted in some cosy corner. He fairly combs the kitchen from top to bottom, and its dusty crevices. Still no snail. Then voodoo going-ons insinuate itself into his imagination, and he felt a momentary trepidation. But he shakes it off. He is a very practical young man, and he knows that snails, giant or not, simply do not exit a fairly enclosed space and vanish from a locked kitchen in a locked house. Not, it does not happen. The slimy bugger will turn up, he assures himself.


Just then, the alarm goes. A harsh jarring note, contrapuntal to its normally euphonious pitch.


Aha, he was not even half-awake after all!


His mind simply came awake ahead of the frame of matter enclosing it and teased it (the frame) with that which was not!


Very naughty, that.


Steve rolls over languidly, gingerly unlimbering his frame from Morpheus’s romancing embrace. He gets out of bed in slow motion as it were, feeling extremely disoriented. He becomes slowly aware of his mum standing over his bed. As he also remembers first the events of the yester night, and in a swift supplant the events of his dawn fancy, he suddenly leaps out of bed and dashes for the kitchen. It occurs to him during this latter flight that he practically snubbed his mum. Now, there will definitely be hell to pay.


Steve’s frenzied dash terminates suddenly as he runs up against the kitchen’s shut door. It terminates in fact in a very inelastic collision, with fortunately only a change in his wind (and later surely a furious forehead bruise) as the collateral damage to his person. The shut door gives a glimmer of hope. And it is soon dashed as he makes the kitchen, sees the perfectly placed porcelain bowl, and lifts it to reveal mostly air, plus a few snail droppings.


The puzzled frown makes an uneven moiety of Steve’s recently assaulted visage, even as the indignant strains of his mum’s ire begin to assault his ears afresh.




HOUDINI; Or, The Snail that got Away (A Para-Romance)


, , , ,

(This story is based on actual events, but names have been changed to protect the identities of the participants)


Click on the links below to read the earlier parts

Part One

Part Two


Steve emerges from the patch at that moment, and lets out a breath he is unaware his is holding. The luminous dials of his wristwatch inform him, on inquiry (executed in the time-honoured sign language of raising his wrist to vision level), that the hour of eleven has been struck. He by this time is advancing parallel to the enclosing fence on the east side of his yard. He forgets momentarily the warm reception he should expect from his mum. He gives no further thought to the vigilante; nothing they can do to him now anyhow. If he were a biologist, intent on taxonomy, he would by this time be thinking of the outlines of the paper, papers even, he will milk out of this discovery. As things go, however, Steve is a very practical young man, and in the best utilitarian tradition of his society, the snail is already gracing, in portions generously carved, a dainty stew in his thoughts! What he hasn’t quite yet resolved is if the stew should have only leafy vegetables or have in addition a dash of ground egusi.

It is a problem he tackles as he slips his key into the gate’s lock and tumbles it open. His personal gastronomic aesthetic dictates that on the one hand he should need fresh crayfish and other fresh choice seafood for the egusi stew, while on the other the plain-leaf stew will require tripe, simmered cow hide (what is known to his countrymen as ponmo or kanda) and smoked ice-fish (along of course with all the usual spices, as well as kitchen traditions to observe). He is possessed of none in his kitchen at the present but the requirements for the plain-leaf are far easier to procure the following morning in his neighbourhood. But then, he hadn’t had the egusi in a long while. Visions of steamed white pudding, and its ensuing soft moulded foo-foo, tempt him to decide in egusi’s favour while the plain-leaf, not to be outdone, piles on her ubiquitous appeal.

Steve is still undecided as he passes through the portals of his yard and shuts the gate behind him, shoots home the bolt and tumbles the lock to. A sudden lassitude descending upon Steve’s frame, decides the snail’s fate, and stays its immediate conversion to a gastronomic epitaph. He drags himself wearily to the house, noting that there is no light burning in the lounge. Could I have been locked out, he wonders.

Steve soon attains to the entrance, and strangely finds that the metal door is neither locked nor latched. He pushes the door open and inserts himself into the gloom of the shaded interior. He flicks on the flashlight feature of his mobile phone and wends his way to the kitchen to secure his catch till he would have the time and tools to execute the deserved honours. He plops the mollusc down on the kitchen cabinet and upends over it the heaviest deeply hollow porcelain bowl he can find. He thinks to secure the bowl with a heavy weight, and then dismisses the thought as overkill.

He seeks his bed shortly after, having shorn himself of apparel and accoutrements (leaving them mostly where they fell). He sinks into slumber soon as he settles between the sheets; his customary shower missed didn’t impede Morpheus’s accession.

So great was his fatigue.

His last conscious thought is that it is most uncharacteristic for his mum to be asleep before his arrival, yet leave the front door open.

HOUDINI; Or, The Snail that got Away (A Para-Romance)


, , , , ,

(This story is based on actual events, but names have been changed to protect the identities of the participants)


Read Part One here


In a moment of pure panic, before the compensatory sensory enhancements that accompany the deprivation of one sense is activated, Steve has the impression of a sudden immersion in the deep; the earlier frolicsome pool now assumed the proportions of a forbidden main. He could almost hear his ears pop as they forthwith begin to process the sounds of the night they earlier chose to ignore. The thoughts of the un-neighbourly reptiles nudges every which way the overwrought furniture of his excited imagination, causing the most fantastic construal to be assigned to the minutest of stimuli. He glides ahead faster, all antennae attuned to the void, and harvesting thereby a rich plethora of sensory chimera.


In the midst of all his heightened awareness, smack in the middle of the patch, Steve’s leading foot connects its toe suddenly with a rock. No, not a rock, his hyper-tuned mental data processing centre informs him milliseconds later, you aren’t hurt and surface topography all wrong for rock. Best bend and investigate with main probes – better adapted to task. Steve bends almost automatically, leading arm outstretched to probe the tenebrous depths. It takes, in fact, the cool droplets bathing his face (as he dips his head in the green pool that held him) to make him realise what he is about. He completes the task his modified reflex arc has already initiated anyway, and straightens up, clutching what can only be a snail, yet he vigorously disputes his senses.


The cloud that held the moon captive chooses this moment to let go its prisoner, seeming to bestow upon her a boon of lustre as compensation for an unjust detention. The moon emerges with a sharper silver gleam though remaining still a crescent, and Steve can see by her tiny light that what he holds is a snail, albeit the largest he has ever encountered. With the return of sight, the enhancement of his other senses fades, and he returns to an even keel of perception. The patch of vegetation he is traversing ceases quite to register as an obliging pool, and even becomes mildly incommoding as the straggling undergrowth, entwined around one another in a kind of vegetative cooperative, seeks to impede his progress (which by the way, but quite unrealised by him, disrupts their tranquil community). The wetness now only adds to his discomfort, and his earlier pleasure transmutes into irritation. He contemplates the mollusc recently liberated from the unlit depths, and the thing squirms in his grasp, frightening him a little by the amount of power surely packed in this dense mass of solid snail flesh.


Steve has been brought up to regard snails as dainty savouries, rather than a repast in their own right or as (in the best Yoruba tradition) the main accompaniment of one. But this thing he holds in his hands, the thing he is reluctant still to call a snail, and which thing he would sooner have as a rodent but for its very obvious shell, will furnish meat (yes, the exact thick, tough fibres relished by Yoruba elders) to serve, unstinting, two adult dishes. If he were a bibbing fellow, and who had had a drop or two, he will conclude that the liquor were exacting its due. But he is stone-cold sober, maybe a little drained from all the imaginative flights of the immediate past moments, and he is quite with his feet on terra firma holding what his unabridged senses affirm is a snail.


Very well.


Snail it is.

ON TURNING TWENTY; Or, An Epitaph on a Truncated Flight (of Fancy)

Navigating the arid wastes of being
Investigating the whys and wherefores
Plumbing depths considered unplumbable
Making forays that give one the jitters
Sailing on dark, deep, uncharted waters
In need of a beacon but none is had…
Will he abandon the quest,
This mad, hamstrung voyager?


He seeks a metaphor that can’t be seen
Desires a tune that may never be heard
Such a tune as can never find its bars
At home in any of our instruments
Not even the fabled filched royal horn
Can dare to hold its otherworldly wind…
Does he ever realise,
This sad, moonstruck voyager?


He set out one bright and fair spring morning
Turned his back on the only life he’s known
Shunning all the pleas, and disdaining all threats
He opted to sail purely by his lights
To live on his terms, to find his reason
Or to perish in the very attempt…
An obstinate fool he proved,
This scatter-brained voyager!


For many moons he journeyed on his way
He got into scrapes and bogged down in mires
Unfazed and undaunted he carried on
No wiser nor readier than previously
Galloping forth on his merry fool’s dash
He came within a breath of wrecking ruin…
But we need not have feared for
Our audacious voyager


Eureka! Eureka! Madly crowed he
And hopped, and jigged, and wiggled he his waist
As emerged he upon the horizon
Muddy and begrimed, and in such a state
Full of discoveries that can’t be expressed
Full of delight that he scarce could withhold…
We it were who end up shocked
At this mad voyager’s find


At long last he gathers his wit enough
To give an account of his wanderings
And what a tall tale he regales us with
Only slightly less taller than the horn
A curiously carved crudity used
As the sole prop in his bizarre theatre…
His narration casts a spell
Woven thick by his gestures


But as he lifts the strange horn to his lips
The vision dissolves in morning’s glad glare
Its birthing gloom ousted in effulgence
That streams unbidden twixt the parted blinds
And we are saved from the poisonous draught
The mad voyager drank to turn his head…
Plucked off in the nick of time
Recalled to life’s daily humdrum


The voyager recedes into the mists
Shrouded over like the bad dream he was
Yet the vision isn’t completely cleared
And scary reminders crop up often
Although our teenager is all grown up
A dark inner voice whispers mockingly…
Surely the voyager’s dead, but
In the ash lurks his Phoenix



HOUDINI; Or, The Snail that got Away (A Para-Romance)


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 (This story is based on actual events, but names have been changed to protect the identities of the participants)


Steve strides briskly along the rutted tarmac towards home, a faint crescent moon attending his progress. The moon’s wan glow highlights the regnant act of power once again imperiously enacted by the power distribution company – which label works out mostly as a legal fiction for power hoarding (and unconscionable extortion). But that is the least of Steve’s concerns at the moment. It is a minor irritation that he and his countrymen have learned to live with. Or without, as the case might be.

But this night, he is late. Very late.

Later even than is usual for him, and the weak silver light distilled from the pale orb above affects to reproach his tardiness; the little euphoria earlier gleaned from the bonny company he kept till about three-fourths of an hour ago seemingly shrivels in its ineffectual beam.

It is wanting a few minutes for the clock to strike eleven. Not that any clock in his immediate vicinity will. But the internal one that kicks in in times of emergency is hammering away stridently, drowning out even his now-amplified heartbeat. He usually is ensconced in his favourite corner by this time, taking in his favourite cable TV programme, though he rarely gets home earlier than ten. Or engaging the world from his AndroidTM mobile phone via diverse social media platforms, if the power was out.

Mum has given up on what she terms his “late night wanderings” and his after-hours ingresses scarcely draw any comments at all these days. But he is prepared to swear by the tiny tufts of beard adorning his lower jaw that verbal rockets will surely dog the trail of the new personal record of lateness he is now setting. He is hoping, however, to be spared the chili con carne of running into the neighbourhood vigilante on top of it. It isn’t a very nice prospect to even contemplate. This thought of the termagant neighbourhood vigilante infuses new strength into his already cramping calves and spurs him to an even quicker cadence of march.

Steve turns the corner into a back lane that shortens, by about three or four minutes, his homeward tramp, and finds himself in a veritable sea of vegetation.

All weed. To his waist, thereabouts.

What waste, he thinks, for such a fertile patch to sprout nothing but weed.

The leaves still hold the moisture bestowed by the precipitation received earlier that evening, and this lingering wetness seeps through the legs of his pants, deepening his sensation of wading through a pool. The leaves caress Steve’s calves on rebound after their supporting stalk has bowed, as if obliging, out of his path at his shin’s prod. He thus strangely enjoys his progress through this romancing pool. Who knew such a patch of waste could hold such magic, he thinks. He holds himself at alert however, for this delightful patch is known to harbour also, a not-so-congenial specie of reptiles, supposed to stalk abroad at this very hour in search of victuals. They are reputed to particularly to relish tasty human veal in salsa sangre caliente! He shudders involuntarily at the thought of parting with some of his blood to ravish the palate of some slimy bugger. And to be paid in a toxic coin for the service!

Just then the moon slips behind a cloud.

Human vision is turned off.

And the world is plunged into inky blackness that settles with the feathery lightness of a velveteen shroud.



Sometime in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, a certain government functionary in Yorubaland lost his head as an excess of office. Literally. This incredible tale, no myth of course, took place in Yorubaland (though the area went by a different name then, and was only beginning to assume this moniker due to the interference of the imperialist incursion). I would like to share the tale, and draw one or two pointed lessons, if I may.

We know from the study of history – that is, those of us who have before now deigned to study our history – that in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the emergent state of Ibadan was holding together a partially restored Oyo Empire wrested from the marauding hordes (or civilising cum reforming influence, depending on whose view is being aired) from the far reaches of the northern wastes (not unlike Charlemagne’s partially restored Roman Empire wrested from the marauding Vandals in the eighth century of the Common Era, but I digress) as a fief-in-perpetuity for a rather figure-headed Alaafin lately restored to his throne in a newly-built capital. We doubtless must have learned that Ibadan maintained its vast empire holding by a system of overseers (Ajele, or district officer, to use the earliest extant English rendition of this political title) presiding over conquered territories which nonetheless were allowed to retain their natural rulers, like in the the old Oyo Empire before it.

The absence of a lettered bureaucracy, and the sheer distances of the furthest reaches of the empire from its capital metropolis, however necessarily dictated that these overseers be given a lot of leeway in the discharge of their functions. This gave scope for a lot of petty highhandedness in these imperial officials, and against the backdrop of military opportunism and its attendant administrative impunity that pervaded nineteenth century Ibadan imperial ethos, this administrative highhandedness of its overseers degenerated into frank tyranny.

The tale alluded to in the first paragraph took place in one Ekiti dependency of Ibadan, and the hero of the piece is one Fabunmi, a type of the condotierri that featured prominently in Yorubaland’s sanguinary landscape of internecine warfare. He, according to the most reliable accounts, cut off the head of a particularly gormless Ajele (whose name did not pass down with the tale) who was interfering with his wife (others say it was the wife of his liege ruler, and a few give her as the wife of his commanding general) and sent the parcelled head to Ibadan by the late Ajele’s slave. Of course, such a course of proceedings was interpreted by Ibadan as an act of war – particularly after his town refused to hand him over to face judicial proceedings in Ibadan – and hostilities were accordingly initiated.

Soon the Ekitiparapo (fielding a sizeable Ijesha contingent that accompanied Ogedengbe Agbogungboro – the undisputed generalissimo of the condotierri of nineteenth century Yorubaland – who was invited to lead the Ekiti forces, and Ijebu mercenaries) and the Ibadan allies were ranged against each other on the low-ranging hillocks that separated the Ijesha commons on the plains and the Ekiti dwellings in their hilly country, a region that would soon acquire a moniker of Kiriji, reputedly from the sound made by the field guns utilised for the first time in Yorubaland (and those hills soon assumed that name as well) and see the founding of a new town near the site of a sixteen-year bloodbath. All because of the stupid entitled act of one government official, which stimulated an equally rash reaction of a hot-blooded mercenary captain.

The war eventually ended with a truce brokered by British Captain Bower (of Bower’s Tower fame in Ibadan) and ushered in the occupation of most of Yorubaland by British Government forces (Lagos had been annexed almost a quarter century earlier, Ijebu country had been lately conquered, and the rest had been either tricked or cowed into surrendering their sovereignty; only the Egba managed to hold out for another quarter of a century by initiating extensive reforms in government before the juggernaut of the British Empire steamrollered them as well). The situation might have developed into a North Korea/South Korea type of antipathy but memories are quite short in this part of this world and the two sides in the conflict have quite forgotten their quarrel and the ensuing sixteen-year mutual blood-letting by the time the British left some seventy-five-odd years later (though other rivalries had flared and petered out in the intervening period, but it is not my purpose to discuss those here).

Now what lessons do I wish to draw from this tale? There are undoubtedly many lessons that may be drawn, but I wish to draw only two.

The first is that the people that people inhabit this geopolitical space addressed in international diplomatic discourse as Nigeria have a chequered history of forcefully altering the conditions of their society when it becomes too intolerable (the other nations making up this ethno-political hodgepodge of a state have their own similar tales of tyrannicide too). But the functionaries of the governments of the day that subsist in various parts of the country seem blind to this fact. The political behemoth recently introduced into the Nigerian political concourse particularly seems to be towing the path trod by the Ibadan Empire of yore, and its many votaries, functionaries and acolytes seem to thrive on giving offence to all and sundry by their rank unfitness for many of the high offices they occupy, and the uncouth addresses of a good number of them to the masses of Nigerians that elected them to office and underwrite their enormous expense accounts while in office (which add biting brine to already sore sores).

Here’s a warning to them. The uncertain social and economic conditions that threw up Yorubaland’s own condotierri in the nineteenth century have once more been at work, subtly though, since the commencement of this fourth republic. The seeds sown then are in full flower now, and soon will begin to bear fruit. Let not the grisly harvest of heads become an inevitable outcome of this current round of the national democratic intercourse. If heads will roll, those of the heads will assuredly fall first this time.

The second lesson is like to the first: if this country fails, we will all lose our birthright, and history’s verdict on those that watched it and helped it happen will be very damning. Also, we keep better records in the present day, and we have longer memories in the land now. No villainous name will be lost to history again. And their progeny will wear their toga of ignominy for as long as the Nigerian people subsist on this terrestrial plane.

IROKO© 2017

I Protest This Price!

The increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit announced a couple of days ago by the federal government, in my opinion, is another instance (and the latest) of the disregard by our self-proclaimed ruling elite in this country (of whatever ethical persuasion or political affiliation) for the intellect and humanity of the common citizen, a disregard that has become almost the norm as to render its very allusion trite. But the proceeding of the current APC government and its myriad apologists is that, far from leaving matters as a simple though unpardonable indifference, they must now positivise their particular insult by insisting that all their actions, inactions, reactions and misactions (not just in the pump price increase now, but all their policy moves up till date) were in the interest of Nigerians and Nigeria!


The interests of Nigeria and the interests of Nigerians are two distinct and sometimes mutually opposed ideals to be sure, but not utterly irreconcilable, and it is the triumph of statesmanship and steersmanship to effect such reconciliations time and again (and further, one would think this was the change we signed up for). But if, for argument’s sake, we have a situation where the good of a state clashes irreconcilably with that of its citizens, the moral and ethical ruler will side with the citizens every time (for in the final analysis, he is a citizen and can rise no higher than that in the sociopolitical concourse, assuming of course that his morals and ethics are brought to bear on his rule) even to the dissolution of the former state and the reconstitution of a more congenial one to its citizens’ welfare. To do otherwise is to reveal one’s colours as an apostle of naked fascism; one who wills the state on as such in its progress, even when such progress implies the ruin of some constituent segment, or all constituent segments, of its polity. One fears that the emerging consensus in the new behemoth introduced into the Nigerian political discourse may be tending to that ideal.


All thinking Nigerians will, upon some reflection, agree that decades of profligacy and public mismanagement (which we are all in some varying measure aware of or privy to) must present some bills to our national commonwealth for settlement. And if we cheered and applauded the former spendthriftness, we must be equally prepared to adapt ourselves to some form of austerity in the present (all by the way in the public sphere). That much is obvious and commonsensical. What is neither obvious nor commonsensical is why government should itself wield the whip, why its decisions should ape the application of the cudgel of correction as it were; much as if the present citizens must pay penance for the misdeeds of their past rulers, who have somehow proven themselves beyond the reach of the justice of the land. One would rather have thought the government anxious to protect the citizenry from the worst of the effects of our past foolishness. Moreover, in the Christian communions and traditions where penance forms a part of the process of repentance process, the priest who prescribes penance never undertakes to carry out his prescription on the penitent faithful. Rather he strives to provide words of comfort and encouragement as the ordeal is borne. It is only a fiend who revels in the suffering of others and persuades them the suffering itself as such is nothing but mere utility. As we resist such diabolical suggestions in our devotional life, we must stoutly repudiate the shadow of it in our political transactions.


One can have a certain sympathy for the unenviable position the government of the day finds itself. But one must balance the sympathy with a hard look at all the mischief its sponsoring party alongside cronies fomented for the previous government (which most thinking Nigerians are agreed is the worst thing to have befallen our country in a long bad stretch, but that notwithstanding) by suggesting impractical governance schemes that was unworthy of even the most imbecilic nonentity. On one view, one may say the great mass of Nigerians had it coming by voting in the present government. But then on another, simple decency and simple morality common to all men dictate that a man strive to fulfill his promise. An honest man no less (do we not define treacherous and faithless men by their failure to keep their word, by their failure to discharge obligations freely undertaken?). No one forced governance on the party; they stepped forward (so they collectively claim) to help stem the rot in the apparatus of state. All well and good (even if we have our reservations about particular members of this “dream team” and other fellow-travellers they collected as they campaigned). But now, having got inside, and having discovered the reality of the control room as it were, and presumably discovering or determining that their earlier programme is unworkable (that is assuming they did a sort of SWOT analysis on the raw programme to emerge with SMART objectives, which one has no very great assurance has been painstakingly done), have they not enough decency and political savvy, and yes morality (which was the principal high ground the party campaigned from) to come back to inform us of the situation. Instead, all we have got is a lot of despicable sneakiness! And another attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. But this time, our many privations over the past couple of months sound a very discordant note in the national symphony they are attempting to conduct.


One cannot fail to remember at this time all the attractive promises made during the electoral campaign, the rosy vistas painted of the “El Dorado” that would ensue on the installation of a certain honest man in Aso Rock Villa, a man who has now managed, personally and by proxy, to unsay almost all that was said in his favour), and the many debunkings aired on diverse electronic media. We may excuse much that was said as mere election propaganda (to a further debit in the reputation of the Man), but except we now glorify frank deceit as the proper practice of politics, we cannot simply wish away every promise the present party in government made to the electorate. And it is no use complaining about the state of the treasury or the level of foreign reserves; these things can only be excuses except the powers-that-be wish to add intellectual cretinism to their growing list of short-comings which is the only viable explanation for not having anticipated the most obvious obstacles that could arise in the delivery of their electoral programme (one begins to wonder if the said programme did not in fact consist in its entirety of clever combination of words designed to impress and possibly to mislead, but not for much else, and certainly not for implementation).


Frustrated indignation may continue to spew forth words to fill several pages, but the case against the government cannot be made stronger than it has been made, except to descend into bald obloquy. One cannot resist however, as a parting shot at the conceit of the government and ruling party’s proceeding, likening all that has being inveighed against to the self-delusion of a physician who undertakes to cure a patient whom he has not properly diagnosed and to whom he administers foul-tasting nostrums in the ineffectual hope that somehow a cure will emerge from all his humbuggery! It takes no seer to forsee that his intervention will end only in the certain death of his patient. And a probable bankruptcy of the patient before he is nudged into the Final Indignity. The patient is thus well-advised to put up a stiff fight for his dignity at least, if wholeness can no longer be had. And of course for the sanctity of his purse, to ensure a real bequest for his heirs after he is gone.

Verbum, aiunt, sapienti satis est!

The Inaugural Post: Manifesto of the Fair



:a gathering of buyers and sellers at a particular place and time for trade

(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)


I’ve been urged upon by friends, for well nigh on half a decade now, that I ought to start a blog (funny how your friends seem to be the best judge of what you ought to be doing, and funnier still how you’re never spared their opinions) but I never really got around to it. And it wasn’t from a lack of what to say.

Of course, the friends urging me to start a blog weren’t the type to put pen to paper because it suited some ill-defined fancy of theirs, nor because it was the thing to do. We all grew up in the era when people generally opened their mouths because they had something worthwhile to say, and we still largely subscribe  to this ethic (some of them didn’t even have blogs then, and a few still don’t have till the present time). So I took their views a little seriously when they aired them to me.

But no blog emerged. You are entitled to ask why. In fact the excuses were myriad…

Quite apart from a certain perverse and churlishly contrary streak which baulks at being told what I ought to do, I convinced myself that I needed time to organise my thoughts, but because educational evaluations (read exams) kept interrupting every four months or so I never got around to fully organising my thoughts (thus sadly after almost five years they remain unorganised).

I came to recognise, though, that I would like to write on, about, for (and over and under) a great many themes & topics; that I will like even to experiment with diverse forms of expressions, and assume different personae to exhaustively yet authentically deal with the various strands of the fibres that compose the yarn of our existence. I foolishly convinced myself I needed a blog for each strand I wished to examine!

The spectre of work looming ahead interacted synergistically with the aforementioned contrariness to ensure I never wrote more than five lines (and nothing fit to be published at that) on any subject. The tale behind my liberation from this expressionistic cul-de-sac is not for here, but you can be sure it will be told (when the tale is complete).


I’m sure some folks may be like, so this dude too has started “blogging”…what’s he got to say? In other words, what should readers expect? The name gives a clue: there’s no set theme and no guiding “philosophy” beyond the legitimate desire to explore experiences and experiment with expressions.

Lessons will necessarily be drawn, but the primary aim is by no means didactic; fun will be poked at foolishness, but there won’t be malice aforethought; curios will be neatly dissected, and intellectual trophies taken. Most importantly though, we will strive for a symphony of discordance; an open market where all can come to observe and to trade, and of course to be entertained.

That, my friends, is the manifesto of the Ekletica Fair; a place in short where anything goes.


(Join me on Tuesday for Haiku-Tuesday)