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BILQEES

My name is Bilqees, that is the spelling on my birth certificate which was issued 11 days after my birth in the late 80s.  According to Islamic history, it is the name of the Queen of Sheba.  Blessed with different spelling variations, one of the first things my mother told me about my name was if an official document issued to you  is not spelt - B-I-L-Q-E-E-S then that document doesn’t belong to you. Well, I almost got kicked out of primary school because the accountant spelt my name wrongly on the school fees payment receipt and I refused to collect it.  Aunty Maggie, the accountant insisted on not writing me a new one, so I left her office. Some weeks later, I was not allowed on the school premises because I was not with the receipt.  I tried to explain but I was sent home, I am not sure AbdulGaniu (my older brother) realized I was not allowed into the school premises. I went back home and my Grandma (May Allah grant her Al-janah Fridaous) followed me to school and said – “My daugh

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This life has all kinds of tests. A smaller test can break one. And a bigger test can prepare one for an upcoming smaller test. Having gone through a bigger test, one might not realize it when one is going through a smaller test. Having gone through a bigger test, one might unintentionally invalidate other people’s experiences by disregarding their struggles. Having gone through a bigger test, one might be ungrateful for “scaling” through a small hurdle.   When I jumped down Moses Mabhida Stadium's(The Big Swing) in 2015, I was super scared of jumping but when I jumped, I didn’t feel any adrenaline rush. Weird right? When I reflected on the fact that I didn’t feel any rush, I concluded it was because I had experienced a “bigger” rush in 2013. A 240km/h rush which was as a result of being on the fastest roller coaster in the world - Formula Rossa. So, when someone who had been on The Big Swing talks about their adrenaline rush, I cannot relate. Instead of disregarding

The amateur photographer

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I have called myself an amateur photographer for a long time. If my memory serves me right, I have been calling myself that for 6 years. I am thinking of changing it to DSLR owner – it sounds funky right – I know 😊 . Somedays ago, I stumbled on my first camera. I got it towards the end of Senior Secondary School.   I think a day student helped me to buy it, I do remember my childhood friend Rafiat playing a big role in getting it. It is an analog camera; I took a couple of secondary school graduation pictures with it. I still wonder why I did not include the camera in the list of things I own.   I guess it is time to update my asset register. Well, the first thing I must do is to download it from my brain and keep a soft or hard copy that is accessible to relevant people. My "second" camera was not mine really, it belonged to my Dad, but I used it most of the time till it spoilt.   Well, it did not get spoilt on my watch. My Dad did not want to fix it in Nairobi (the Cap

Ise abi alafia 2.0

As I waited for my turn at the paying till I couldn’t help but hear everything the man behind me was saying on the phone. “Yes, I understand he is ill and on admission, but this update cannot wait. Do you know if he has his laptop with him at the hospital?  He’s one of your best subordinates, those figures should be top of mind, I do not mind an estimate at this time”. He kept talking while I wheeled my shopping cart out of the supermarket. As I was about to judge him, I wondered if I have ever done the same. If there were times, I should have been more compassionate.   Hey, I am not feeling too well. I spoke with the doctor and she recommended some medications. Once the pain subsides, I will log in and attend to important tasks. As I laid in tears, praying for the pain to go away I could not help but think about the meetings I have missed and all the updates I promised to share before COB.   As I was about to judge myself, I wondered what I could have done better to prevent the pain.

Omitted!

People told stories of how their Mothers cooked a whole chicken when they attainted womanhood! aka saw their monthly period aka the visitor aka that time of the month. Whatever it is called, you get the gist, right? I was in boarding school, so no one cooked a whole chicken for me, but my friend did celebrate like I won a lottery. It was a tradition back then to celebrate your friend when their period came. People who started their period while on holiday came back to either announce it in the hostel or “display” an unused pad in a manner that sends the message. I can’t remember when I started my period, but I can remember taking sanitary pad to boarding school and “lending” it out with the hope of collecting it back when my period finally started. I never had the opportunity to collect it for some terms, in fact I never collected it back but las las my period came. It came after our teachers and parents had started talking about reproductive system and sexual education. I thought

Àbè̩wò

Have you ever chatted with someone one day and then the next, the person was dead? At least, I knew my friend was ill because we spoke on the phone a couple of times. It took me a while to forgive myself for not visiting her in the hospital, but I find solace in the fact that we spoke a couple of times. “Asake, it is not possible, I chatted with her yesterday and she said she was fine when I asked her how she was doing. We chat every week and she never mentioned she wasn’t feeling well, she never mentioned she had been on admission for a month. How was I supposed to know she went through a surgery? I thought we were close, I thought we were best of friends…” Yeni kept lamenting with tears in her eyes. Yeni hadn’t spoken with her friend for months but they chatted every week. Tola, her friend went to the hospital for minor surgery (that was what her doctors called appendicitis) but never left the hospital alive. Life of the party, you are out this Saturday again, I commented on Omot

Ile-Epo

When I started driving, I had three guiding principles – 1.        Top up my fuel at half tank 2.        Always buy full tank when I drive into a fueling station 3.        When broke, buy fuel - at least I can still move around. Topping up my car at half tank made it easy to mentally calculate the true value of the fuel I bought 😁 (Yeah, I sometimes use excel but I have to know at the pump) One day on my way out, I decided to top up my fuel which was a little above half tank but something weird happened. The cost was over my usual spend and my tank was far from full. I told the station attendant to stop when it was a ₦ 1,000 above my average spend then challenged him. “Madam your gauge might be bad o, “he said. While driving out, I told him he just lost a customer. I wasn’t paying any attention to the fuel meter because I was trying to get out the keg I use to fuel my generator. “Your money is ₦ 5,000 she said, this one is ₦ 1,500 and the one I sold into the car