Northern Saffron

One, two , three,…..

Sometimes I hear it, sometimes I don’t. The voice of the Imam calling all the righteous to pray. It seems the sound is coming right from the room I share with my two older sisters.

Will father wake up this time?


I don’t wait for an answer as it is totally in my head. I do not know that Papa would not wake up for prayers. Instead he would wake the house to a fit of violent coughs. They would be followed by loud heaving sounds.

He is rushed to the hospital at my insistence. A part of me hates myself because I think it will do no good. Umar said we should have done that long ago. He says we are too content with many things. Even content with letting Papa die…. I let the question trail off. I am in no mood for unanswered questions as it is. Umar works in the big town as a messenger, not like it’s much of a job. Ohh! but the way he goes on about it makes me feel sick. Not the vomiting sick kind but the sickness for a new kind of life, one that I would never have. So, yes I despise him. I envy him a lot and if I don’t say it, my eyes betray it.

Enough about me and my troubles, let’s talk about the village. The biggest and only hotspot in it will be community’s shop. I have no idea how the man, originally Sule got his nickname. But, it kind of stuck. I still think it’s stupid though. Well, any community issue is discussed in his barber shop. I meet a very hot argument as I make my daily rounds of hawking kunu and zobo in the shop. I love listening to their arguments. I think I am argumentative. I don’t know the meaning so I make a mental note of checking it up in Sulisari’s dictionary. Sulisari is my only friend and the only one who truly understand me not even my sisters do. I guess because she is educated. I never had a chance to go to school. Mama says I don’t need it instead I should train to be an obedient and submissive wife. Sulisari does not agree with this, she says I should carve my own path.


I am back at home and the house has this invisible fog hanging over it. This fog that could just fall and release itself. I heave a sad sigh thinking I can repel those negative thoughts. I know it before anyone tells me. I know Papa is dead. Its like how I know what he is thinking even without telling me, how I know he is worried when I see the distant look in his eyes. As if his eyes were searching for something but couldn’t quite place it. It was that single thread Papa and I shared. Now I feel it snapping away as the other fades away.

I know what will happen next . I will be married off to one of those rich Alhajis , no, more like sold off. Papa is the only one who knows I am not ready for marriage. He is the only one who has been to school in our family. He calls me his northern saffron who blew to the north from a better p!ace and will ultimately find my way back. I think it is his way of telling me I deserve a better life than the one he is able to provide.

I can read though and my eyes can not believe what I read in the will constructed by my brothers. They will squander Papa’s life savings. Then a sly thought enters my head, “not if they find it of course”. That is because Papa entrusted me with them. I am leaving tonight as I pack my meagre belongings I fight back my tears. I realise in the next few hours I will be leaving all I know behind.

This doesn’t stop me. I will write my own story. I won’t let my circumstances define who I become. I leave by dawn tomorrow. If you are reading this, wish me well. Oh! Forgive my bad manners I am Rasheedat. Like the saffron in the northern desert I stand undaunted. I am looking at my village from Kana hill. My eyes are glazed over. I do not cry because my heart is not here neither is it where I am going. My heart like a wanderer has no feelings of loss when leaving. Instead it resonates and sings with hope.

Okay so I finally posted it. Took long enough. Mostly cause there is a strike….so I have plenty of time on my hands. Hope you love it. Denying education to the girl child is a norm in certain parts of my country Nigeria. I hope this really short story is able to tell the stories of these girls.


Be in love with my mind not my looks

“She is very beautiful”, you say. But you forgot that she was the best graduating student in her class. You read the letterhead but you still forgot. You always say what a pretty girl , you never say what an intelligent girl. Why? As humans we tend to focus only on what we see, pushing other details to the background.

Yeah, the scenario just described above is replayed in our society like a DVD without a control. When will we stop measuring the girl child according to her looks alone? I was going through Facebook a few days ago and came upon the success story of young female student who emerged best student in her department. Imagine my dismay to find out that there were few likes and even fewer comments. Why is it that on social media girls who post pictures that portray their beauty get the most likes? Why is it that the world is in love with the beautiful not the intelligent? Stephen Hawkins was never the most handsome kid on the block but he had one thing that no one could take from him. What was that? It was his mind. One thing we fail to realize is that beauty is transient and fades away with time. Let’s leave the matter of his looks, he was also chronically disabled. Confined to a wheelchair and without the ability to speak, he communicated his thoughts with the world through a device. When he died he was remembered not because of his physical disability but because of his beautiful mind. Yes, beautiful I repeat because intelligence to me is beauty. So girls WAKE UP ! Yes wake up from that disillusionment, wake up from that school of thought , pack up your bags and leave and not go back. Truthfully, when I was younger I felt I had to dress a certain kind of way, have a certain shape, have certain possessions, even look a certain way to be beautiful. Looking back, I laugh at my stupidity. I became a very sad person, my whole world revolved around a circle of crying over my looks and hating others I felt were beautiful. However, things changed when I realized I was actually good at schoolwork. I gained the respect of my mates and teachers. Even when I left that school, I was still remembered. Don’t get me wrong, one can be beautiful and also intelligent but one’s main focus should not be on the physical beauty but on the mind’s beauty. So all said and done what do you want to be remembered for, your looks or your MIND?

I don’t just want to be remembered but also be loved for my mind. What about you?

#self_development self_discovery