The entire world is in dire straits right now. The uncertainty is palpable and we are almost at the point of resignation to the possibility of darker days ahead. Like a meteorite, a hitherto unknown virus struck with the vengeance of a serial killer. From one country, the Coronavirus has spread its raging tentacles to more than 150. Asia, Europe, and Africa have felt the wrath of the unwanted guest and its unrelenting in its efforts to bring humanity to its knees.
He wasn’t prepared for the reaction he got when he posted the video on Twitter. The young lady in the clip needed to quench her thirst but was at a loss as to how the water dispenser worked. After trying to figure out its operation to no avail, she turned to a staff of the company with a sheepish smile to ask for help. The poster went on to body-shame the lady; alluding to her inability to operate something as uncomplicated as a water dispenser even though she had an ample derriere. But he got more than what he bargained for when commenter after commenter condemned his action.
We have been taught to be in a perpetual state of hunger for attainment. We want to be more, achieve more, get better, be wealthy, attain a higher level of influence. I can aver that this is true in my case. I plan to die empty, therefore, I am always looking to be better than I was yesterday. I also realise that life is short, there are no guarantees, and so everyone is essentially in a race against time to do what they have to do before they check out of this realm. There’s nothing wrong with ambition. To be driven is to be eager to self-actualise and contribute value. It’s not a bad thing.
I am not afraid of death. What’s more, I think it’s ridiculous for anyone to be apprehensive about a phenomenon that is inevitable. I became even more comfortable with the idea of not existing anymore when I lost my father a few months ago. It is this acquiescence to the potential visit of the grim reaper that reminds me to not take things too seriously.
The feelers we get from the new world is to be liberated in the most unconventional way. It’s the new cool; this campaign for unfettered self-expression regardless of how one is perceived or how it affects others. We are the ones without any scintilla of inhibition. We live for ourselves and ourselves only. We can stand up to anyone. We do not believe that balderdash about respecting people because they are older or on the premise of their senior citizen status. Everyone must prove themselves worthy of our regard else they will be denigrated without a second thought. What’s more, all that righteous indignation about eschewing nudity or being circumspect about divulging details of happenings in our lives are borne out of inexposure and insecurity. We will have none of it.
Na poor I poor, I no crase loosely translates to “I may be poor, but I’m not crazy.” The first time my mum said this to me while recounting an episode that happened—one in which she had refused to entertain a slight on her person; I thought it was a funny but apt expression. In essence, it means that in spite of a man’s penury, he can still muster some dignity. And more often than not, the insatiable appetite for the good life is not an aftermath of poverty, rather, it is a product of avarice along with the absence of dignity.
My mum once told me the story of how, during the early years of her marriage, a friend of her friend had expressed concern over her “apparent” childless state. My mum’s friend had stared at her with a mixture of shock and amusement. “She has three kids already,” she announced to this individual. It was their turn to be surprised; they had had no inkling that my mum had even one kid, let alone three. They had been so certain of their impression that if the new information wasn’t from one who was so close to my mum, they would have doubted it was true.
Influence is a word that increasingly features in our daily vocabulary; so much so that we now have people who go by the title of Influencers. Impacting the behaviour or thought process of others is a concept the vast majority of us could relate with since we were kids. Our parents warned us about peer pressure and how it could derail us from the straight and narrow path. At school, we were admonished not to join band gangs to ensure we weren’t tempted to engage in untoward activities such as drugs and heavy drinking. All our lives, we have been lectured on the potential danger inherent in influence.
Nearly 2.5 million Muslims participated in the Hajj (a spiritual exercise that constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam) this year. The figures have risen steadily over the years, and it is safe to presume the next couple of years will follow the same upward trajectory in numbers. The El al-Adha holiday is one both Muslims and Christians can identify with even though it is not officially celebrated by Christians. The story of Ibrahim (Abraham in the Bible) and God’s command to him to sacrifice his son, Ismail is recorded in the two most popular holy books. Eid-el Kabir is tagged, a festival of sacrifice—one that commemorates a test of faith and belief in the supreme being.
At the basest level, humans go through the same challenges: juggling family and vocation, giving attention to the things that really matter—making and sustaining a living, staying healthy—nurturing relationships. For people in developing countries, poverty is an ever-looming possibility, so there’s a constant battle to stay afloat financially. Add political turmoil and insecurity to the mix, and there’s no doubt that everyone has sufficient burdens to keep them busy. However, there’s a challenge that never ceases to rear its head. One that’s designed to break anyone who isn’t deliberate about self-awareness and authenticity.