WHERE’S MY JOLLOF? 

I sat in my room
that morning, one of those days when you wake up and lie down lazily on your
bed, thinking of sweet nothings.
I had been invited
to a wedding by my friend and I couldn’t fathom the joy that I would see
wedding jollof again….it was mind-blowing. I laid on the bed reminiscing on
the slightly orange, no it can’t be red that would be too much tomato, single
grained rice, with a distinct aroma that could still be perceived days after,
and that piece of fried meat sitting gallantly in the middle staring at you.
Please do not insult wedding jollof with plantain; you can carry out that
sacrilege at home. This is a revered meal.
I am not a glutton,
but my oh my!! There is something about wedding jollof that makes it stand out
from the ones we cook all at home. I dunno
if it’s the firewood used in cooking, or the condiments and spices, I can’t
just place it!!
Who
is feeling this testimony, brethren? Glory !!!
One of my favorite
hymns in church says “I need no
other argument, I need no other plea”
…for Jollof, I need no other
invitation.
I took my time to
bath, after pushing out the excesses of the previous day, to give room for the
meal of the day…the meal to come….my jollof. I put on my Asoebi, I have
never liked gele…my “off shoulder
sleeveless flowered gown, just on my knee, my navy blue shoe with red heels, I
held a small red clutch, my phone and that was it. I don’t like baggage,
straight to the point. You know my signature ponytail hairstyle na…with
little makeup…I was good to go.
I called up my
girls and we met at the junction. Never!! And I repeat never!! go to the church
service, you won’t make it in time to the reception venue to get the best
seats. We arrived at the reception venue, one cool hotel, looking all tush, my
eyes scanning the hall for the location of my jollof.
See, Jollof needs
no introduction at any event. Burial, naming ceremony, wedding, birthday,
please name it! We allowed our noses guide us to the perfect seat, not too far
from where you can see the couple, and relatively close to where the buffet
table was. Gbam!!
You know in
Nigeria, many people abuse this word – buffet. I mean, you go to a wedding and
they say its buffet, but they don’t let you serve yourself. It happens in two
ways; either there is a mean looking lady behind the table, bypassing all the
chicken laps on top of the tray, to look for the wings, ribs and chest to serve
you, while you seethe behind that tight smile.
 Oya lets do that smile….1..2…3…smile,
shut your teeth together(to avoid calling her a “beach“), blink three to four times (to stop the tears)…then
mouth thank you. I suggest you walk away calmly.
This same buffet in
Nigeria also means; these same mean girls, will share the food, and now hand it
over to very partial sets of girls called ushers, who look at your table and bypass
you if they find no eligible bachelor.
Trouble started
when it was time to share drinks. Lemme tell you something, if they share wine
and soft drinks for everyone, and then drop water, serviette and tooth pick on
your table, I can assure you with 98% confidence that you are getting no jollof
that day.
During the
chairman’s speech, they started serving the food, beginning from the high
table. The ushers kept passing my table with hot steaming jollof as if we were
invisible. I acted cool because they just started serving like 15minutes ago.
I kept glancing at
the tray of jollof rice behind me, rubbing that invisible spot behind my neck,
and watched as it kept reducing in quantity. I was sweating lightly now,
despite the cool AC close-by. I was praying in my heart, wondering what I did
wrong in my past life to deserve this treatment. By now, the visitors in my
stomach had started grumbling; they took part in the cleanup exercise, and were
expecting a reward by now.
I continued sipping
my water as I professed faith that the pastor preached about the previous week.
I tried every trick I knew, even smiling at the ushers as they passed, all to no
avail. Could this be payback? Did karma remember when I hid my pot of jollof
rice that hot afternoon my friends visited? Ahhh!! Karma is a “beach” that suffers no amnesia!!
Respite came my way;
I saw that dear usher walk towards our table, after extra 30minutes, with a
tray holding one plate of jollof, coconut and fried rice. I was forgiven of my
past sins! I smiled ever so beautifully, as I stretched out my hands to collect
my food….and the “beach
just walked past us. I had to gently drop one hand first, scanning the faces
around and dropped the other hand 4seconds later.
I didn’t know when
I muttered “where’s my
jollof??”
My world had just crumbled. I couldn’t take it anymore. My
stomach visitors were in revolt and my friends wouldn’t stop laughing. They had
eaten at home, an advice I refused to take so I won’t contaminate my jollof.
I stood up calmly,
my face drained of all emotion. I couldn’t quite place if the pain I felt was
from the betrayal of no jollof, or the war going on in my stomach. I picked my
gift and started walking towards the door (the things I can do for jollof,
oh!!), then I began to think about “WWJD“…What
Would Jesus Do? I came back, walked up to the stage, danced with the couple, shaved
my sadness away and gave her my gift.
When I saw that
usher, the one who made my testimony incomplete, the one who betrayed my trust,
who tried to test my love for jollof, I chose not to get angry. I purposed in
my heart not to say anything to her. But In my mind, I just kept repeating the
song CHIGURL taught me.
 “You can’t do more than a hanging shimi
 You can’t do more than a hanging pant,
 You can’t do more than a hanging trouser
 Hanging…ha….ha….ha…hanging!!!!”
I woke up from this
nightmare!!! It was all a dream!! Affliction shall not rise a second time. I
will attend that wedding next week, and eat JOLLOF!!! I also looooooove pounded
yam and white soup (you can use goat meat or chicken), afang soup, edikanikong
soup, coconut rice…
 Calabar is Bae!! Akwaibom Ado okay!!!
Which meal can you
die for right now??? Let’s gist!!

About the Author
 
Here is what Andikan Inyang also known as ‘Sparks’ has to say about herself………………….



As
a Chemical Engineering graduate, former Immigration Officer and present
day banker…..and most importantly, a foodie, I hide behind my
pen…….therein lies my strength. I hope to pursue a career in writing
and explore the world of poetry. So help me God.

Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.