When I remembered the good olden days in primary school, I couldn’t stop laughing. The memories are still there. Some were good and interesting, while some were painful especially when the victims were my own good friends. It was the best moments in my life. What am living now are just the leftovers from the product. Things have really changed. I felt like turning the clock backward.
I grew up in a family that upheld sincerity end truth to a high esteem. Both could never be separated for no reason. Religious beliefs, ethics, and morals were the key qualities one must possessed in order to live peacefully with both parents and siblings. Coupled with the environment where development was a nightmare, love and solidarity were things uniting all.
I would like to talk about the recreational aspect of those days. Then, as a normal pupil, one should and could never forget his or her school materials. Every other things could be forgotten but not writing materials. Mine was the contrary. Sometimes, I used to forget my school bag but never cashew nuts because they were the first thing I put inside my pocket once I put on my school short.
There was a game played with cashew nuts then. The game has no limit in terms of number of players. Each player would bring a certain number of cashew nuts depending on the number agreed by all players. The cashew nuts were then placed inside a small circle drawn with a piece charcoal on the ground. Then, players would stay some certain distance away from the circle, and from there, each player would throw another cashew seed towards a wall that served as a barrier just in front of the circle. Turns in playing would depend on the distance between each player’s cashew nut and the wall.
Then, from that distance, one had to aim at the bulk of cashew nuts inside the circle. Once aimed or hit, any nuts outside the circumference of the circle would be yours. I was a professional player in that game. How I learned it, I could not tell. It was a game I liked playing then. For a better and interesting game, where incomprehension would not exist, one had to play it with his age mates. But mine was the contrary. I used to play with those who were older than me. I would go to school with just 6 nuts and came back home with hundreds of nuts in my school bag. It got to a point that, I became popular in my school and many players would not allow me to play with them for the fear that I would not win. My nut which I used in aiming was flat in shape and hard in nature. I used a white masking tape to protect it from having cracks when been hit on the wall or ground mistakenly.
On several occasions, I had been beaten mercilessly, rubbed of my nuts, and sometimes my school wears just because of I won in several games. I never gave up. I continued playing with those who were above me in class. Sometimes, I used to sell nuts to players who had been defeated in multiple games and had no nuts to continue playing. From the little cash made from this, I lived like a prince then in school. Many players used to hire me to play game for them especially when they saw that they couldn’t win. Through this game, I became a friend to some and enemy to many.
One fateful evening, a friend of mine came to my house to look for me. His intention for coming was to ask me if I could help him play a game the following day in school. Unfortunately for me, he met my mother and told her his intention for coming to see me. OMG! It was hell for me that day. My mother was very angry. Her annoyance was that instead of going to school to learn, I was busy learning how to become a professional player in cashew nuts game. That day, I received one of the highest punishment of my life. Never mind the kind of punishment. A pure Nigerian child would know it. But nothing changed. Another thing that provoked my mom that day was that, my friend didn’t call me by my name but rather by my nickname “Eti okwe, eri okwe, which means ‘One who hits the game and wins it ‘.”
When my dad came back from office that very day, he was informed of the incident. The old man laughed and said nothing. A few days later, he called me and advised me to pay more attention to my studies. My joy was that he too liked the game. I was surprised when he said that. For good 3 years in primary school, I hardly heard my real name. Once it was break time, all angles would be echoing with my name “Eti okwe a’biago.” It really gave me joy and self fulfilment. It was really a life filled with fun.
NEXT PART LOADING!!!!