The Crucifix: A Fad Or A Symbol Of Faith

ImageI see it all around as I walk down the busy market road in the scorching mid-day heat. I’m trying to be early for a scheduled job interview, yet I can’t help noticing the crucifix swaying from side to side. The guy who has it on just bumped into me. The Bus Conductor yelling, Kubwa, Kubwa, a few metres away also has one wrapped around his neck. I almost trip as I watch him try to coerce people into the half-filled vehicle. An outstretched leg is responsible. It belongs to a lady who’s getting a pedicure from a make-shift beauty shop jutting out from the roadside and encroaching on the sidewalk meant for pedestrians. Her slim hot leg bears a golden anklet that is decorated with a miniature cross. Another bus comes along. ‘Area 3, Area 3′, its Conductor calls out. I shove the guy who hawks chaplets and rosaries of varying lengths, shapes, sizes and colour as I try to beat the mad crowd jostling to board. I smoothen my tie in a fit of satisfaction.

Perhaps, a strong wave of spiritual renaissance is coming through’, I say, startling myself by my loud thoughts.

I remember the hint of luck I had a few hours back, while I prepared for this very same interview I was now headed for. A television broadcast begins while I dither over which of my ties to combine with my new shirt. A short man with a podgy frame is dressed in a red robe. He has a white waist band which further accentuates the protruding shape of his mid-section. To complete his bishoply appearance, he wears a long chain that ends in a sparkling crucifix. He talks about the wonders of the cross and speaks with so much conviction. His baritone voice has a compelling power. But I’m too busy staring at the reflection of light on his shiny bald head, wondering how easily it could be mistaken for a ball-shaped mirror. Then he suddenly blurts out, “There’s someone out there watching this telecast. He has lost count of the number of job interviews he’s attended so far. And for the umpteenth time, he’s been scheduled for another, as I speak. I’ve been asked to tell you this will be the last. Your fate is sealed by the wonder of the cross!” THE CROSS! The camera zooms in and focusses on the piece of T-shaped jewelry- so long- that dangles beneath his lower abdomen. Something tells me I’m the recipient here. I’m tempted to doubt those words, but still I believe.

Back to the present; I’m wondering if the ubiquity of the crucifix is a sign of renaissance or a telltale sign of wicked perversion. The other side to those people I saw bearing the cross suddenly hits me. The guy who bumped into me had red eyes and wobbly steps. He looked every bit like a druggie at the height of ecstasy. The bus conductor had a weird haircut. He wore earrings and had a crazy tattoo on his upper arm. “Your head like isi-ewu”, he said when I turned down his invitation to board his bus. He reeked of cannabis smoke; Miss Hot-legs who almost had me tumbling, blinked seductively in this brazen come-and-do manner, when our eyes met. Her legs were bare up to her laps and her breasts struggled to free themselves from the stranglehold of her tight-fitting top. She chewed endlessly with irritating ‘Pa-Pa-Pa’ sounds, very much unlike ruminant animals that chewed curd quietly. I could easily decipher that she was one of those ladies of easy virtues who exchanged their bodies for money at the popular rendezvous spots in Zone four.

The bus speeds past a large billboard that has a famous music star endorsing a popular household brand. It gets me thinking about music and its famous superstars. Hip-hop is fast becoming a culture; a religion where the artiste plays god. Rap is my forte; First because I love words. Secondly, because of the beautiful puns and metaphors laced on groovy rhythms. They take my breath away, but only for a short time. I hate rappers. I hate their attitude. I hate their guts. I hate their dress sense. The list is endless. The tight-fitting, body-hugging and sometimes sequined tops hanging over a falling pair of denim pants. Around the neck a chain sits, studded with precious stones and glistening metals. The chains, commonly known as ‘blings’ bear pendants from giant crucifixes to weird-looking skulls and other absurdities. They go on to whine about their fame in d ‘game’ clad in the ‘holy crucifix’; Their conquests- the drug, the women- form the common themes. I find it really desecrating; the mix of this sacred symbol of God-in-human-flesh with so much evil is too appalling to be true. I learnt about the significance of the crucifix as a tot, and how it represents God’s huge attempt at redeeming mankind.

As I near my destination now, I see the robed bishop through my mind’s eye. I hear the words again, “…your fate is sealed by the wonder of the cross”. I experience peace as I decide I’d rather wear the cross as a symbol of faith. It’ll hang around my neck for a very long time. Long after the chaplets, rosaries and anklets of this world go out of fashion

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My childhood series (1)

It’s been very many years now, but I still remember how it played out. Somewhere in a rowdy delivery ward, I could hear the doctor’s husky voice asking my mum to push. It was what actually jolted me into action. I said to myself, “YEAH! Let’s do it” just as I came out headlong. On arrival, I threw an appreciative glance at my mom as if to say, “thank you for carrying me this whole time”. She still looked awestruck but with some sense of fulfillment.

Now, the moment everyone was waiting for had come. Even though, I knew, by instinct, what was expected of me, I was in no mood to act like a weakling. “I am here on a mission. Letting out a cry at this point would only be taken to mean cowardice on my part”, I thought to myself. I was still busy acting like Dolph Lundgren when I felt a squeeze on my bum which was followed immediately by a gentle smack. It was the doctor urging me to let out what would be my first of many tears. I was overwhelmed by this feeling I had never felt before- I now understand they call it pain. There and then, I cried all the way.

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My Childhood in Series (part 2.)

I know I’m a Man now but there are times when I miss those moments of throwing kicks in the air, letting down a hot tear, rubbing those really watery eyes with the back of my palms; letting that pain off my chest… Believe me, it used to work wonders back then… I’d fall asleep. A deep quiet plunge that felt like I was taking a deserved break from all the cares and worries of this world. Each time, I’d wake up feeling freer and happier! Need I say I miss the innocence and freedom that comes with being a child?

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My Childhood Series (Part 3a; The Battle to live a normal life)

I may have finally decided to share stories of my childhood, but believe me it wasn’t easy deciding on whether or not to reveal this particular episode. I rarely ever had cause to talk about it. And of course, nature didn’t give me any serious reason to.

Here I was experiencing accelerated growth. I had mumbled my first words at six months and taken my first unaided step at seven. Stature-wise, I was also making tremendous progress- looking chubbier than my peers, despite my parents’ worry over my seemingly poor appetite. I still remember striking those funny deals with Dad who happens to be one of the greatest storytellers I have ever known. He’d offer to tell me stories in exchange for my co-operation at d dining table and I’d gladly oblige him- even if it meant picking on the food for a while. That was the extent I could go to listen those compelling folklores I always loved. Moreover, those deals often suited both parties and so we got by without much hassles. Academically, I was flying high. I had been enrolled in a nursery school before my first birthday; by my fifth, I was already a terrific reader. Everything appeared to be just fine, yet my parents had to wake up every morning feeling anxious about the state of health of their firstborn- A son that had given both their lives a whole new meaning.

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