I remember childhood.
Then, I was one of the best Civil and Mechanical Engineers, without a degree though. My mud house, which I constructed without any foundation made my foot firm and I was usually the last to fall; and my car, which my elder brother constructed with mostly ply wood and small wheels, was second to none when it came to the street Formular One, and then I drove faster than Hamilton can on a Mercedes (LOL).
My airplane was faster than any airline, and was stronger than any fighter jet, with just a polyethylene and broom sticks or even a piece of paper. I constructed the best plane ever, except mine had no division of class, and wasn’t a passenger aircraft anyway. (Chai……)
When it came to the game of Canter (bottletops), we were at liberty to place any player anywhere…. That was the days of Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo and the rest.
All thanks to Pepsi for giving us crown bottle tops that had pictures of those legends on it. I wonder how those tops went into extinction.
Canter games then was our Xbox and PS4, there was no computer tricks; we came up with the tricks ourselves, and anywhere could be used as a Stadium; our veranda in most cases, was my Wembly stadium, as long as my parents weren’t at home. Our balls were often the rollers of any old radio cassette or any small rounded stone that can move about freely.
We tried all forms of sports, and even created many that had no names. What would you call shooting of rubber bands? I think IAAF should include that as a game in the Olympics, and maybe also in Military training; that game made us Grade A snipers (LOL).
Whot and Ludo made us forget our troubles. Each time we were done cooking those tasteless watery soup we prepare with any green leaf found around the yard – even poisonous ones – and sand, I always wondered how a tin of tomato could serve one person, talk more of the whole family, in the street play we always acted.
As a child, I always prayed for the rain to fall in other places instead so that my friends and I could play the ‘Suwe’ game. In that game, we usually draw a line in a box shape drawn on the wet floor and throw a piece of glass on it…..
The boys had their own interesting play of running around with guns trying to imitate actors of the action movies we watched. In those ‘war games’, their guns were carved with ply wood or anything that could pass for one. Believe you me, if the Nigerian Army had trained the boys well, by now, Boko Haram would have been history, because as kids, they were champions in guerrilla warfare. Trust me, you can’t find my brother when he goes into hiding during those games.
The only problem I had with the game was that it always ended quickly, nobody wanted to die, and they all wanted to be the hero and not the ‘Boss’ (villain). Whenever you ‘shoot’ and he refuses to die, you too would not ‘die’ on your own turn. Everybody gets upset and the game is over.
Thanks to technology, I remember the pain our television suffered at my hands. I really dealt with the box each time my favorite cartoon comes on (Sesame Street) and the antenna starts misbehaving (Chai) I get really furious and start to cry.
Cyril Stober. I remember that name, because he was a favorite Newscaster on NTA network news by 9pm, with his Hausa attire. You can tell that NTA back then preached our culture. I still can’t forget that signature tune for the network news, even if you were sound deaf, you could tell it was Network News at 9 that was about to come on air.
Sunday Newsline was another of my favorite. I loved it because it was like a magazine program, longer and more of human interest news, unlike the boring news at 9.
These days, African Magic has taken over the best of us; I don’t even know the channel frequency for NTA…! SMH!
Each time I think of the joy of my childhood, I feel like becoming a kid again, I am nostalgic as I recall the role my upbringing played in shaping me into what I am today, and the role it would continue to play in my life. For every now, there was a then; for every present, there was a past.
Those evergreen memories would forever linger, it is one memory that draws me close to kids, making me understand what and how they feel.
BY MAIMUNA BAGUDU