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FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF REALNESS?

By Toyinbo Olumide

Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! My alarm rang at 6:30am on the dot on that faithful Monday. I slept so late that night, something like twenty minutes after 2:00am, UItes and jacking shaa!

I yawned and thought simultaneously “Ooh! It is another day of ups and downs”.

I stood up from my student-sized bed carefully laid on a wooden bunk. I stretched myself to call my body systems back to work as usual, and then mumbled a few words of prayer or should I say wishes? I did my routine exercise of twelve press-ups; you think I am lazy?  I still try, at least to pass some Primary One pupils. I opened my cupboard, grabbed my mouth care kit containing two items – toothbrush and toothpaste, and took my bathing kit, a bag containing bathing soap, my sponge and a small bottle of dettol. Wrap my towel round my waist in three folds, to tell you how big my towel was, sometimes, it performed the function of a blanket.

“Ooh my goodness! I am already getting late for this class” I exclaimed, glancing at the time on my small Nokia phone whose new-found function was to tell time. It was 6:40am and I had a 7’Oclock class.

Sharply, I proposed how meet up with the time.

“If I can use fifteen minutes to bath and dress, I will use at most five minutes to walk to Zik gate from my room. Then, I will be able to board the 7am SU-provided bus conveying students to different destinations” I thought.

Speedily, I dressed up. Off to Zik gate! Happily, the targeted time was met. The bus was about to go.

Hey! Hey!, I waved. The driver exercised patience.

I entered.

Seeing the faces of the unknowns, foes and friends glaring at me. I waved to some, I hand-shook some and I snubbed some. I took a seat, right at the back of the VC who was on a routine check on the welfare of students residing in the Hall of Residence. He trekked from his lodge as a result of his unchallengeable will to walk down to the Hall.

I tapped him and said “hi”. He looked back, mentioned my name and added “good morning”.

I did more than blushing. Mr.VC knew my name? That was not a big deal anyways, I know of a man who knows everyone in this world. What will you say to that?

Zoom! The bus was already at the Faculty car park. I, alongside some friends raced up to the LLT.

It was 7:05am. If not for the ten minutes ultimatum given to all students offering that course by the lecturer, we would have sat in the Faculty’s over-equipped library to while away time.

A step into the theatre, the lecturer was already in class, projecting the course contents through slides. What a new but another renovation! We hastily took a seat and enjoyed every bit of the life-changing lecture.

Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! The two hours were like dream, the interesting class was brought to an end.

“Ooh! I need to get to the school gate” I proposed.

I had to get some cash from the sum of five thousand naira given to all Nigerian students by the Federal Government as aid to their welfare. I did not really need money as at that time but I just needed some cash at hand.

Feeding in my school was back to the history of its freeness, sufficiency and affordability whereby tickets were used to get fed by students. Also, our taps were now feeding taps, taps having four options. There were options to choose from. The first option brought the undiluted universal solvent in the natural form which was the normal water we fetch from well. The second option was chilled water which has the capacity to cool you down after a hot and stressful day. The third was for “savouring tea”. Ooh my God! This tea ehn, enough sugar, cowbell, milk, chocolate, name it! It was superb. If you hear standard, it is standard. The fourth one was for wine, not for all those wines you are thinking of o! I mean wine in its natural state. Yes, palm wine! The system was upgraded to that level.

“Oh! Enough of all these ever-flowing botherless thoughts, I need to get to the gate!” I exclaimed. I would have used the Automated Teller Machine beside my Faculty car park but I didn’t want my colleagues see me withdrawing. Other faculties’ ATM nko?  No, I couldn’t. No student must know that I wanted to withdraw even no lecturer must. Automated Teller Machines were all around the school. Kudos to our union leaders who have the will and made the way.

I headed towards the gate. Out of my pleasure to walk, I trekked.

Getting to the ATM spot, I sighed sadly.

A big frown took over the expression of my face.

Alas, I left my ATM card in my room.

Will I have to go back to the Hall? That would be a great waste of time and energy.

A count of three seconds, happiness descended on my frown face.

“Ooh! Thank God, my school Identification Card is with me, I can withdraw with that” I sighed relievedly.

I inserted the card into the ATM. Flips of new notes came out.

“Chei! This is 11:40am and I have another class by  12:00pm”

The sun was out and hot. I needed to hurry up. Straight to UI gate, I got there at the right time, the SU bus promised by Mr. President to always be at the gate to convey students to their destinations was already waiting for the last passenger. I walked in strides, sweating and full of thanks to God for the close-to-perfect world. Some alighted at Queens, Admin, SUB, Science… “Ooh! Only me remained; going to law!” Hoping that I will be dropped at Science too.

The driver moved on saying;

“The Union leader told me that everyone’s interest must be served, no matter how!”

Gladly, now sweating profusely, I dropped at the Faculty’s car park. Feeling anxious , it was already 12:00 on the dot and I might not be let into the class. I hastened my steps, looked behind, luckily, I saw the lecturer who do take us, talking with one of his colleagues. I headed towards the LLT. A step into the LLT, my sweat dried mysteriously in a skyrocketed rate. I forced myself to accept the reality of the existence of working air conditioners and ceiling fans at the nooks and crannies of the class. They cooled me off with immediate effect.

Just then, the lecturer came in, I walked to a seat, settled in it and pulled out my concentration to hear the illustrious lecture under an extremely too good academic environment.

Just as the lecture was about to come to an end, I got SMS that there would be an hour power cut in the school community as a result of a technical fault. We got an average of 20hours electricity everyday and it could be better. Anytime there will be power cut like that, we all do get SMS.

I hissed, “Technical fault? After paying no more than such amount we do pay for accommodation, why couldn’t they foresee to correct it?”

I took a race to my Hall of Residence to have a drink of cold water from my block’s tank of multiples.

I got to the tank, I then turned it on, nothing came out, I tried it again, same result. Again, I tried it, finding it quite hard to believe. Shockingly, I responded to a touch, it was a guy that tapped me saying:

“Bro, water no dey there, you go go Indy to get water, are you new here? That is what we have been doing since”

I exclaimed; “water? En en! Not even cold water, tea, wine? No water here? All the way from Zik, I will go to Indy to get water? Oohh! My Goodness! I have been stand-dreaming? So all I have been experiencing from the beginning of this work of narration is fantasy or close to fantasy?”

I am confused someone should just console me, I have been drifted from reality today…

 

*Kindly note- This is just an ‘unserious’ work of fiction.

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