By Amarachi Okpunobi

The passengers were beginning to board the bus gradually.Dumebi a young, tall and beautiful girl sat by the window. She sat with her earpiece in her ears and  her phone in her hands. Her earpiece was co-operating today, at least it wasn’t one of the days it malfunctioned. She looked through the window and saw people walking about the bus-stand. She took time to admire the clothes displayed on mannequins very close to the bus she was in. She admired the lady who sold the clothes and the eloquent and smart manner with which she convinced her customers to buy her wares. Then the girl hawking ụkwa, cashewnut and groundnut came to the window where she sat and caused a distraction for her.

“Aunty, my ụkwa dey fresh, you go like am. Make I bring am? The hawker pleaded.

Dumebi who was still looking out and listening to her music waved her hand to indicate that she didn’t want to buy, but the little girl insisted.

” Aunty abeg na, I never sell anything since morning. As you fine like this if you just buy one, I know I go sell very well today”, the hawker went on.

Dumebi paused her music stared at the girl and muttered some words. She dipped her hand into her small bag and gave the hawker a hundred Naira note. Then she picked one wrap of ụkwa. The hawker smiled sheepishly while appreciating her, “Aunty  God go bless you”, then she left.

Dumebi took her time to look at this little girl who in few minutes was so persistent and appealing with words that she had to buy ụkwa from her even when ụkwa was never her food. She continued looking at the little girl who was dressed in torn pants till she disappeared into the crowd. She couldn’t stop wondering what condition could have left this little girl with no option except to be hawking nuts during school hours. She knew that it will make a great story seed for one of her songs. As she kept ruminating over this, she tapped the play button on her phone and gently plugged her earpiece into her ear one more. She dippped her hand into her bag, brought out her writing pad and powered it. At this time, the driver was about to start the bus. The conductor jammed the door and signalled the driver to put on the radio.

Dumebi closed her eyes and listened with rapt attention to the instrumental playing on her phone. She wished her parents would understand her better. She was on her way back to school for a course she hated to study, how on earth was she going to thrive? What was she going to tell her children in   future about her dreams to be on the stage and perform her songs. Would she be proud to show them the songs she had written without recording any? How about selling them to other artistes? No, I want to play my songs myself. The thought of failing her own dreams to become what mum wants or worst still, what daddy wants was not pleasant at all. What exactly were her parents thinking of her? Dad wants her to become a medical doctor to succeed him in his hospital while mum wants her to join her company of metallurgical  engineers. At this moment she wished her parents had another child. She prayed God to have mercy and bless her family with another child. She cares less what the gender would be. All she wants is a sibling to share  her awkward dilemma and life flooded with so much quest for fulfilment in life.

The vibration of the bus as the driver kicked the engine to life brought her back to reality. The driver quickly put on the radio and began to drive. Dumebi went back to her writing pad looking at a blank page and not knowing the exact word to describe what she was feeling. She kept gazing at the blank space and admired how beautiful and clean the spaces were. She wished she would live a life of less trouble and enjoy peace of mind  just like the blank page which has no word written on it yet.

The voice of the on-air-personality issuing from the radio startled Dumebi. She removed her earpiece to get a  clearer sound. She could not hear everything clearly but she was sure she heard the voice say “life offers us a lot of opportunities to explore, some we may not understand.  We are going to be pushed from one end to the other by friends, family and even self in what they think we can do or even what they feel will be good for us and for them too. The fact remains that we cannot find happiness in what we have not chosen to do by ourselves. Learn to choose the path that brings happiness to you. Understanding your…… ”

She couldn’t get the remaining part, as a big lorry drove past the bus causing an uproar in the bus.

When the passengers gained their peace, Dumebi wore her earpiece again. This time with a concrete resolution to enroll in a music class once she gets back to school regardless of what her parents will think. No turning back. Maybe the motivation from the radio is what she needed to drain the unwanted particles flooding her life.

She looked at her writing pad, double-tapped it  and wrote:

Dear blank page,

Can you hear me?

I want to sing for my life

I want to play for my heart

I am flooded but I hope to rise for my life.


Dreamline Nuggets

Raise Your Value!

When a customer comes to a trader to make a purchase in the market, the seller puts up a price based on what he thinks is the value of his products. The buyer often  bargains for the price of the goods and of course he requests for discounts.

The seller on the other hand tries to maintain the price by sweet-talking the buyer into believing that the price he sells a particular product is worth its value.

The simple ideology here is that the seller in his own capacity convinces his customers to see the value of his product even when it may not be authentic. If you have gone to Emeka Ofor Plaza, Main market Onitsha, you will understand what I mean by fine-tuning a person  into believing the value of a product whether it’s original or fake.  These products are for the sellers, for them to make good sales, they must preach and convince people how authentic their products are and of course their value. The buyers don’t come to market the value of the seller’s  product, it is in the hands of the seller to do so.

You don’t expect people to value you when you don’t raise your value. People don’t increase your value, you increase or decrease it.

See, the truth is that the increment of self-value is personal, if you don’t increase your value, nobody will.

If you don’t know how to present your self-worth, nobody will do that for you. If people must value you, you must give them reasons to.

Learn to preach and raise your value. The world is revolving so fast, if you don’t place value on yourself, you will certainly be devalued and trampled upon.