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Last night in my weird dream, I found myself walking across town with my cousin. We walked through the crowdy, untidy and noisy street, giggling and having fun as we gossiped about issues only important to us. Apparently, we were out shopping (or window shopping as it were) because as we walked down the street, my cousin found something that caught his interest and he stopped to price. I joined him of course, and together we priced the roasted yam and plantain that seemed/smelt delicious. The woman’s makeshift shop was just by the road-side, and behind was a vast grassland along which dotted shrubs and small trees in what was an ascending hill. It was indeed a sharp contrast from the bustling, untidy street beside it, and it fascinated me.
Meanwhile, my cousin continued to price the roasted food while I observed the beautiful landscape. The woman was exceptionally persuasive as she insisted on her price. Her two little children ran about her, distracting me because my focus was shifting to the sudden change that was taking place; a white smog was filling the air. As this continued to happen, it was obvious everybody else was oblivious of what was going on. But I sensed something had terribly gone wrong. Just then, the horrible stench came. It appeared to have come from the smog, a horrible odour so strong it wrenched my stomach. At this time, everybody had become aware of what was happening, and the smog had become so thick I could hardly see far.
My cousin used his handkerchief to cover his nose while the woman used part of her wrapper to cover hers. With her palm she shielded her little boy, and in that moment of confusion I could see the horror in her eyes as she looked around for her daughter but could not find her. And just as she was about to panic, the little called from a tree in the grassland beside us which she had climbed to play “squirrel”. I looked to the street and everyone went about with face-masks on. The smell continued to grow more and more nauseating, while I was still completely confused by what was happening. By this time, the smog had so thickened I could hardly see. Across the grassland, the landscape was almost hidden by the white smog.
The smog began to change its colour from white to smokey-black, its smell becoming too unbearably unpleasant. and in the street beside us, total chaos had broken out as people screamed and ran, car tyres screeching as everybody just tried to get away. I was completely scared at this point, but I realized fear would not help me much. I quickly jumped over the gutter to the other side and then began to run towards the grassland. The only thing that continued to occur to my mind was that a disastrous fire outbreak might have occurred somewhere burning some chemical and releasing both the thick smog and the stench…
TO BE CONTINUED
Emmanuel Abara Benson
NOTE: Story was a true dream. Photos credited to GOOGLE
It’s been a long while since I last posted, and that’s because I’ve been busy with school work and other engagements. I know I should keep up the fervour; one of the tricks to successful blogging. This I must do as soon as I get my act together. In the meantime, ensure to check out Durasic World and Spy. Have a good one…
Child 44 is a mystery thriller (my favourite genre) based on Tom R. Smith’s novel of the same name. Screenplay was written by Daniel Espinoza, and the story tells about a series of child murders that occurred in 1950s Soviet Union under Stalin’s autocracy. Everyone is in denial over the existence of the serial killer having been brainwashed by the government into believing “that it is capitalism not communism which creates serial killers”- Wiki.
Written by Carlton Cuse and starring action star Dwayne Johnson, San Andreas is another film you must definitely see as soon as you can. The story goes this way- an earthquake devastates California and Ray Gaines (an LA Fire Department Rescue Plane Pilot) embarks on a dangerous mission with his wife out in San Francisco to rescue their daughter.
You may also like to check out “Tomorrowland”, “Mad Max”, “Pitch Perfect 2”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, “Blackhat”, and “The Age of Adaline”. I hope you enjoy…
-Emmanuel Abara Benson
Welcome to 21st century Nigeria, a place so good at being backward no other country could effectively compete. Do not mind the pessimism; but it must be known that being Nigerian in this present age is a sad thing!
Shortly before I decided to leave entertainment and talk about this very pressing issue of bad economy, I recalled a news I heard last week about workers in the US state of California clamouring for minimum wage increase. So I did a little research and discovered that they were asking for $15 per hour. I did the calculations, and if my mathematical skills were right, the Californian Minimum wage increase (when implemented) would make it possible for the average employee to make as much as three hundred and sixty thousand Naira per month. That amount is like twice the salary of a Nigerian school principal! The average Nigerian lecturer does not earn up to that in a month. Even workers in the banking sector (presumably the highest remunerated) do not earn up to that on the average. How much less when you compare this very huge minimum wage to the very low maximum wage of the Nigerian civil servant!
Meanwhile, as if it is not sad enough that the Nigerian worker is grossly underpaid, s/he is also owed for several months; sometimes up to six months it is the case with civil servants in Osun and Abia states. And then to complicate the entire situation, there was immense fuel scarcity across the country, further grounding the economy to a halt and hindering any possible way these very oppressed workers could make ends meet.
Is it not sad enough that we have to suffer in the so called schools we have here, struggling to make good grades with the hope of finding employment which forever eludes us? Most Nigerians have indeed come to terms with managing with whatever they could find. They have come to terms with the reality that they have to perform basic municipal functions for themselves. But as if the oppression is not enough, they are owed salaries for work they have done. And to compound that, they were denied the right to buy the very commodity that could help them sustain. How wicked can our so called leaders be?
-Emmanuel Abara Benson
The Cannes Film Festival is arguably “the most prestigious film festival in the world” according to Wikipedia. Well what can I say, the description really qualifies it! It is a ceremony of films attended by the creme De la creme of global cinema. The annual festival also witnesses the premiering of lots of latest film projects. The 2015 ceremony lived up to expectations as the red carpets rolled out to welcome the beautiful/handsome stars as they arrived in droves with their high fashion, glitz and glamour. So far, the twelve-days event has been memorable, and observers cannot wait to see how it wraps up on the 24th of May. I am now going to relieve some of the most interesting moments of the events that have taken place so far. with gorgeous photos.
Emma Stone appeared in these group photographs with her collaborators on a new film project which also premiered at the festival. She looks particularly beautiful in the second photo wearing that little black dress after gusty French winds earlier lifted the dress and flashed her #business to photogs who caught the happy moment on camera.
Lupita Nyong’o looks happy but bony and over-dressed in this luxury apparel as she twirled before the paparazzi.
One of the major Hollywood stars at the event, Chaliz Theron posses on the red carpet shortly before the premier of her latest film MAD MAX even as her fiance Sean Pean admires her.
Eva Longoria was present, posing in mega fashion while displaying “her bum for photographers”.
Bollywood was also represented by Ms. Rai. This left me asking- where is my Nollywood? #Diarizgod.
-Emmanuel Abara Benson
Human beings are difficult creatures; my self inclusive. To understand our varied characteristics and different preferences, one needs to learn the art. As a writer, one needs to understand that literary consumers have different tastes, and therefore try as much as possible not to upset them. However, sometimes the writer cannot help offending some people in as much as others are pleased; and this is the kind of situation when the controversial fascinates and appalls. Some writers for instance are very descriptive when talking about the romantic encounter between two characters. These writers describe the “electrifying chemistry” that takes place when the lovers kiss, and then the description goes a lot further to describe the entire bedroom activity. Some readers practically “savour” such reads as it is the case with Fifty Shades of Grey. But some other readers certainly find such vivid descriptions disgusting, and then you find them flipping through the pages. The same mixed reception applies to depictions of violence and various other controversial scenes you can imagine. The question then is- what is the writer supposed to do in order to avoid this kind of dilemma? Bear in mind that some of this scenes are central to the story, and altering them or even removing them altogether affects the way the story comes out eventually. Moreover, such scenes are often actual events in real life; and fiction tends to emulate reality while being fiction nonetheless.
The 2014 film GONE GIRL best illustrate what I am talking about because almost the entire story is replete with violence, sex and darkness. Now these are the things that captivate the audience, yet they are the very things that appall some others.
I was too young to understand the incident that changed my life. It was a cold harmattan night, early December 1993, and my mother was in our open-yard kitchen making dinner with my elder sister Nneoma. My brother and I lay on our backs side by side beside my father’s rocker chair, staring into the starry night sky while waiting for the food to get ready. I was hungry, but I dared not say it lest my mother scold me for being “such a foodie”. So I diverted my mind from the hunger to my family’s recent relocation to my home town. I wondered to myself- we have returned early to this village for Christmas; does this mean we would be leaving for the city before new year?
All of my attempts to divert my mind from food proved abortive because the delicious aroma of my mother’s cooking kept me constantly aware of the hunger pangs that was practically chewing my stomach. And by this time, I could not keep it to myself anymore as I complained quietly to my brother. But he was quick to remind me that even if dinner were to be ready in the next second, I would not still have it until my father returned from wherever he had gone to. By this, my heart sank with sadness.
But my father did return soon. Unfortunately, I wish he never did! Trouble started the very moment he walked in. I could tell by his staggering movements that he was drunk. Moreover, the reeking smell of alcohol that exuded from him as I embraced him confirmed my worst fear. I hated to see my father drunk because he acted erratically each time that happened. His drinking caused a lot of problems between him and my mother, and that harmattan night was no exception…
Culled from a manuscript of the same name written by: Emmanuel Abara Benson