Nobody seems to be calling me my name in school these days, everybody seems to have forgotten the name my parents gave me at birth – Daniel Chinyelugo Okonkwo.
What pains me most is that the foolish people have not even swapped my name for something fanciful and tangible, just like that of Collins who takes the first position in my class who has been nicknamed ‘Zeus’ or Neto the rich handsome boy in SS2 who has been nicknamed ‘Bieber’ or even Kingsley my first-cousin who entered SS1 together with me in the school. He now answers ‘Marce’ after the legendary ‘Marcelo’ of Real Madrid FC due to his unequalled prowess in being at the heart of defence of my school team.
No! Nobody has called me a good name since I stepped my feet into this school seven months ago.
Rather, everybody calls me ‘Stingy Koko’. Can you imagine that? ‘Stingy Koko’ why would these foolish people give me such a name.
Dear Diary, even as I am at the back of the Internet Studio pouring out my heart to you, I can hear voices discussing about me in the studio. What worries me is that though I always try to shut my ears to the horrible things they say about me, I cannot but help feeling pierced by their words, like I am hearing that of Nnaturuchi, the obese bully in my class who is shouting at the top of his voice now.
“Do you boys know that Stingy Koko is a pig? Ewu ahu enwere ihere.” He pauses to regain some breath lest his body fails beneath his weight. “The ezi wore a single singlet the whole of last term and is still wearing it till now.”
Tears form in my eyes as I hear the deafening reaction of his jobless audience. Echoes of “Hei!!!” “Chineke!!!” booms in the hall.
I am so perplexed at their foolishness.
Why will they have headache over my wearing the same singlet for a whole term? Is it their body that is wearing the singlet?
What perplexes me most is that it seems I have become ‘Ogugu’ the sacred deity whose every action is noted and actions viewed as a calamity.
No! Rather it seems I have become an object of mere curiosity and amusement to these ‘Bulls of Bashan.’ These mad people do not think or else they would have known that it is pure madness to waste money wearing a dozen of singlet for an entire term while one can serve you for the entire duration. They will continue wearing and buying new singlets while I will use the dozen I have and possibly finish the university.
Who has more sense?
It was this same way that Obinna after having a little argument with me went and revealed to the whole class that I had, instead of buying a new toothbrush from him for N100 I had opted to buy the one he had used already for N50. To my chagrin and utter disdain, these people instead of seeing the sense in what I had done and praising me, the crazy people rather insulted me almost to the point of tears.
I thought every human being has the unique ability of proper reason.
What is the harm in using an already used toothbrush? Don’t siblings at times make use of each other’s toothbrush and before our quarrel I had taken Obinna as my brother. I had saved the N50 and put it to the N5000 I was saving to use and buy an Infinix Hot 4 after my WASSCE. Is it not a wise philosopher that once stated “Drops of water make a mighty ocean?”
No! These people are really mad and at such cannot see the reason in what I do. They are like the biblical barbarians who have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear.
O Diary, as I am writing now I hear the familiar bell signalling the time for siesta. I will have to drop my pen here, beloved diary. Also, I will like to give u a name and title since you are my only friend and companion in this school, I will think of a befitting name and give you.
* * * * *
As I enter into the hostel, the familiar scent of perfume mixed with sweat, and sight of flies perching on some cupboards and some obedient students already in a sound sleep.
However, I wonder how some human beings can sleep under such noise as I see a large group of students chatting excitedly. I normally would have avoided these group of mad people as I had no time for their madness but I couldn’t help approaching them as their madness was being exhibited in front of my bunk. My bunk mate approaches me and drags me into the middle of the crowd. I can now see their object of curiosity and amusement. It is no other than my large ‘Ghana Must Go’ bag. I look at the open bag and my first thought is that there had been an attempt to rob me and the mad thief had been caught. However, on a closer look into the bag, I am filled with terror and dread. There, inside my bag is a large banquet happening. The honoured guests are no other than ‘dignified’ rats in different shapes and sizes. Just like the biblical wedding feast of Cana, a horde of rats are already through with my belongings and were waiting for a miracle of multiplication; my shorts, new school uniforms, provisions, underwears and worse still my N5000. Instantly, goose pimples fill my body and my eyes are red with tears. The rantings at my back do not help in easing the pain as I hear chants of all manner; “Stingy Koko!!” “Fall of aka gum!!” and much more horrendous words from these mad people.
At that instant, I am hit with a sudden revelation. I ponder
“Who is really mad?”
These people who are rejoicing at my misfortune had warned me but in my ‘normality’ I had ignored them. With my eyes blurred and ears hurting with the screams of the students who are now to me no different than a mob. I realise that there is no mad person in the hostel other than me. I force my way through the group and run out. I keep on running until I see the familiar surroundings of the school orchard. I then find a shade under our ‘Udara’ tree and run to it for shelter. There away from the world and entirely alone in my new world I bring out my diary which now looks ages old. I also get my pen and on the first page of my diary, I engrave the words ‘THE DIARY OF A MAD BLACK BOY’