The Chronicles of Miss Shola

The blog's epitaph: Miss Shola came and went as she pleased

Archive for May 2011

Martyrdom

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“Look Ma, so many of them! Smooth, round and shiny, scattered all around. Lighter than the ones I had played with. Do you remember I was playing with them that morning too? Before you took us away, forever? And now there are only coins in the well to show I existed. To salute our martyrdom.”

~ Jalianwala Bagh, 2011

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Written by Miss Shola

May 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Shots

Confessions of a List Maniac

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I give life to that scoundrel in good faith every day. The moment it is born, I hear it laugh, a devilish one that echoes for a long time. In the beginning it’s all fun; thoughts to words, words to paper, short and sweet, separated by my favourite bullets, arrow for level one and circles for level two. By the time I reach the last bullet, I almost climax. To know that the woes of the world are contained in just that tiny space and I now have the freedom to wipe off the big and tiny scrawls in the blackboard of my head, is cathartic.

It serves its purpose at first; I glance at it now and then and get down to doing what it commands. Efficiency is the name of the game and I ride high in triumph. But as the day wears on and my mind too, a slight disobedience makes its way into the system. I am drawn to a stray link in the corner of my screen or a phone-call (no, not the one that has been listed) or experience the most gravitating pull in the pit of my stomach that prevents me to take up the next item on the list. And as the exacting little thing lives and thrives through the day I become its mortal slave. Focus slowly transforms into a willingness to do anything but the bullets; yet I feel guilty at doing anything but them. When the day ends and I look at it one last time before putting it in darkness forever, I expect it to glare back at me. But it just smiles wryly, condescendingly even, and I hear it tsk-tsk as I make my way out of work.

Then there are days when I do just as it says, and nothing else. I’m the king of the world then and anyone who comes between me and my master is sure to face sudden death. As I tackle one item and move on to another (as if it’s the most natural thing to do), I tick it off with great aplomb. Sometimes in vengeance I strike off the items with single and maybe double horizontal lines, so that by the end of it I see a once alive and kicking list now bruised, battered down, about to be dead. Those days, I prepare to enjoy the fruits of my victory before I shut it out. But then I see it sitting still, glum and quiet, and disgustingly enough feel sorry that it’s over.

Since I’m obsessive, I can’t resist it on weekends too (ssshh!) Like a drug I need a dose of good old list-making to keep me light and flying through the day. But “a holiday is a holiday”, says my mind resolutely, “have some pity on me, will you?” it cries out in anguish. I sprawl in the favourite corner of my room, quietly reasoning with my mind that I need to organize those clothes, pay that bill, listen to an old album I have been meaning to, or go for my weekly swim. And through all this it sits pretty in a little red dress (that amply displays its long legs), with a whip casually by its side, looking outside the window. I glance in its direction and quickly look away. But the bitch catches my eye. THWACK! goes the whip and I shudder.

I have tried to go into self-administered therapy several times. This is how I do it:

  • Create it with earnest every morning and when done make a rocket of it and aim it at the bin. Then put the bin away, lock it preferably.
  • Repeat the mantra ‘I-can-do-this-without-you’ every time there is an urge to succumb (alright, I confess that sometimes I scribble short-codes in the corner of the sheet when the urge is too much to conquer).
  • Limit the list to just three major items of the day (okay, five) and keep it in my head. Try not to go over the five items over and over again in my idle time till my head spins.
  • Get inspired by other non-list-makers around me and stop myself from smirking when I see them all scatter-brained. Finally feel like a groupie then.

But a few days of this and I’m drawn to the nasty habit again. It seems as if the world and me in it, is an easier, peaceful and more logical place to be in with lists at the stretch of a hand. I start counting the pros (I could make a list of that even!) and get snared. The next day seems brighter with birds chirping and flowers swaying in the wind. That’s when I hail “long live lists”, and bow in obeisance. And all it does is turn me around and kick me in the butt!

Written by Miss Shola

May 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Posted in Ramblings

No Woman No Cry

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Chris Ofili is a British painter, now based in Trinidad, best known for artworks referencing aspects of his Nigerian heritage, particularly his incorporation of elephant dung. This painting No Woman No Cry stands on two dried, varnished lumps of elephant dung. A third is used as the pendant of the necklace.

It is a tribute to the London teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in 1993 while waiting for a bus. After the initial investigation, five suspects were arrested but never convicted. It was suggested that the murder had a racist motive. In 1999, an inquiry examined the original Metropolitan police investigation and concluded that the force was “institutionally racist” and has been called ‘one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain’.

The artist has painted a hidden message ‘Stephen Lawrence 1974 – 1993’ on the canvas in phosphorescent paint that can only be viewed in full in the dark.

Written by Miss Shola

May 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Art

Sights from my window

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On most days, sights from my window
They make me cringe:
Concrete walls screaming out for colour,
Indolent pigeons playing mindless games,
Dull scenes of meaningless existence,
Gaudy clothes-lines with no room to breathe.

But some days, sights from my window
They touch my heart:
A palm tree peeking in to say hello,
The seasonal bird flying past,
A mother rocking her baby to sleep,
A colourful sari that yelps in the breeze.

Every day, sights from my window
They are sights into my heart;
And the whole world seems to depend on it.

Written by Miss Shola

May 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Poetry