Starting Early: Girls

 

This is the third installment in a new series I started called “Starting Early”. It’s a chronicle of my early and first interaction with some of the things that come to define me today and how they have influenced me greatly. I would share stories of my first contact with Emails, Books, Music, Girls, Internet, Computers, etc. Enjoy! You can read the previous one on how I fell in love with emails here and the one on how I started writing here.

The first interaction I had with a girl was when I was two years old. I had this very beautiful cousin who was roughly my age too, she was a few months older. On my second birthday, we took a picture together in front of my cake, and the picture turned out fine. For some weird reason, everyone thought it was cool to refer to us as husband and wife despite the fact that we were cousins. We would play together, do the whole mummy and daddy games and all that stuff. I grew up getting fond of her until we grew apart at some point mainly because her parents had to relocate to another part of town so they couldn’t come over as frequently as they used to.

The second time was in primary school, I was in primary three or four, there was this girl names Fatima or something (or was it Folake, not sure), I must have forgotten her name. Fatima was one of the finest girls in glass. One time our class teacher, one Mr. Ajetumobi or something flogged me for flopping my book reviews. They had given me a book to read and review, but because I didn’t like the book, I chose another one and read, then came to review the book of my choice, he was having none of it, so he flogged me mercilessly. Fatima was the only person to console me in the whole class, she shared her biscuits with me so I would stop crying, I was crying really mercilessly without shame. Fatima was there by my side. That was how we got close and we became friends. One incident that makes me laugh till today – one time when we were done with school, I was waiting for the driver to come pick me up, and then Fatima walked by, and *drum rolls* I put my hands in my pocket, and then called her, she came and I asked her where she was going to, she said she was going home (wasn’t it obvious??), then with hands still in my pocket, I told her to go on. She gave me a hug and I think I tried to steal a kiss on the cheek like I had seen on TV, I only ended up getting one on her shoulder, I didn’t have the guts to go through with the original plan. I felt so good that day that I could call Fatima with my hands in my pocket and she could come. We would share our lunch and do every other thing together. You know, I’m not even sure her name is Fatima, but I’m pretty sure it starts with an “F”. I had to leave town abruptly and change schools so we lost touch. Never been in touch with her ever since. Didn’t even know I still harboured these fond memories of her before I started writing this.

There were several other interactions with girls but they were pretty much subdued because I had gotten involved in church, was a Child Pastor, knew the ills of adultery and fornication so I didn’t even bother coming close to girls. I used to be so immune to “girl-awe” that at some point people thought I was abnormal – it wasn’t a thing to be gay then so no one felt I was gay – but even at some point, I had to ask myself if I was normal until I met one girl. Her name was Stephanie, I was in JS 2 or something, she must have been the first girl I made knew I liked her, we were both young so it was a bit funny to us. She changed schools before anything could even materialize.

Hold on, I can’t really go about mentioning names. I’ve had encounters with a whole lot of girls. I remember one time I when I had to hide my number to talk to one girl in my class, I’d steal lines from those “200+ Text Messages” books and send her romantic messages about how my heart burns for her and blehhh, then one time I called her, she kept trying to figure out who it was until I blew my cover. I couldn’t even talk to her the next day in class. That was the end. Or was it the one time I sent a girl a text telling her I loved her, and then she called me almost immediately saying she loved me too and asked for us to meet the next day. I was freaked out, I didn’t know what it meant to love someone, I was so naive, the next day I ran away and kept avoiding her till she got tired and got angry with me.

So many funny memories. I grew up seeing a relationship as a sin, and basically trying to struggle against the desires of my flesh and the things I had been taught in church. That struggle continued all through my adolescence until I getting to the tail end of my teenage years. And I wonder what my life would have been if I was taught earlier on. The first time I felt I was in love or so, I remember asking myself if this was what if felt like, it felt so wonderful that I was angry that I had missed out all through the years.

On the flipside, that orientation helped me in my interactions with girls, was never distracted or neither did I try to be phony. As a result, I got very good with the girls, had many of them as friends, I think my best friendships have been with females. I also like the fact that I was introduced to this world of emotions late, at least it meant I was able to do something meaningful during my teenage years.

The first time I tried to ask a girl out, I had to google, then do rehearsals with my friends and memorized all my lines, it was quite funny, and then when it turned out well, I was happy. I remember all the taunts I used to get back in school from friends who always went through the length to remind me of how I was not making moves. So, when I finally got one over the line, at my first attempt too, I felt good. I actually have a good record of not having any girl say no to me ever. But that is also because I’m not driven by testosterone or other hormones. I would advice young boys to leave women, these days I don’t see them as a big deal, I don’t even think there’s any female I can’t walk up to, because I grew up seeing them not as sexual objects but as honorable species. That respect remains visible when I talk with them, it gets mutual.

So yeah, that’s my early experience with girls

 

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

Fathers’ Day: Where is the Noun?

Few months to my Junior WAEC exams, I lost my phone in a public bus. I remember vividly the drama and scene I caused that day in the middle of the road as I made sure the whole bus was searched, I didn’t find my phone. I laid in the middle of the road begging for cars to crush me, no one paid attention, no one even came to drag me away from the road, even the motorists I had delayed did not honk their horn. I was chaotic and dramatic for four reasons;

The first being that having a phone then was a big deal. This was a period when GSM phones were still getting into Nigeria and were expensive, that I had one was a big deal. I had gotten used to the phone and the status it gave me, coupled with the fact that my phone number was special; it contained just three digits, was easy to memorise and recite. 

The second reason was that I had lost my only mean of communication with my mother. Then I used to live alone as my mother was faraway, she was in a place where there was no network so daily she made a short trip to a place where she could make calls and always called in the evening. It had become a ritual to always expect her call every evening. With my phone gone, there was no way to reach her and vice versa. I imagine the trauma she would have gone through when she didn’t get across to her baby boy that day.

The third reason was because I was also terrified of the punishment I was going to get from my mother. She regularly warned me not to take the phone out unless I needed to, she had threatened fire and brimstone on one particular day when I went out with the phone and narrated how it almost got lost. At that juncture, I wasn’t really thinking about my lost phone, I was more concerned with what my mother was going to do to me.

The fourth reason was that I had become so immersed in Nollywood that I was adrift of reality. I had felt that amidst all my drama, a good Samaritan was going to console me and buy me a new phone. I didn’t think anyone would see a barely twelve years old boy in such disarray and turn a blind eye. Guys, I was disappointed that day, in fact, I had sighted a man in a Mercedes and went to his door to cry, he quickly wound up his glass.

When my mom finally heard that I had lost my phone, to my surprise, she was not mad at me. She was more concerned with how her baby boy was going to cope because she knew how attached I had gotten to my phone (and all the wonders I did with it). Later on, she said she contemplated sending her own phone down for me to use since there was barely network where she was for her to use hers. You know, she actually bought a phone for me when she was coming back.

But this article is not about my phone or my mom. This article is about the aftermath of my phone story. I want to talk about the man who really became a pillar for me during my transition into adolescence. The day I lost my phone, I went to his office after all the shenanigans and cried. I told him about my phone and he told me not to worry. He told me to go home and relax, told me to concentrate on my upcoming exams instead. He was the one who broke the news to my mom. The next day, he was knocking on my door with a brand-new phone and a new sim card. No kidding! Like the very next day.

You see, I had little interaction or experience with my own biological father. He left when I was six or thereabout so I didn’t really know what fathers were supposed to do for sons other than what my mother did for me. But this man made sure I never had to worry too much about it. He bought me books regularly. When he saw my prowess with a computer, he quickly bought me computer books to read and hone my skills. Whenever he saw something beaming in me, he quickly bought me books. I owe my affinity for books to him and my mother. What did he not do for me? I always looked forward to seeing him or going to his office because there was always a gift waiting for me. He’d take me round his office then and tell everyone I was his son, you needed to see the confidence on my face.

The phone incident was one of numerous instances when he was there at my aid. Oh, and there was also a period when I hadn’t paid my school fees and I was sent home, I just went to his office from school, that same day he gave me the money and told me to go pay my school fees. I can’t even start, or was it the time when someone was harassing me and he called his Police friend and they brought their Police vans to make a statement. With him I always felt secured, I did whatever I wanted to do because I knew people had my back. 

I didn’t understand it then but I now know what that face on my mom’s face meant. I know she must have been relieved to see her son happy and have a father figure to always run to. I was too young to even understand it, like this man had a family compete with three children. But he introduced me to everyone in his family. They all knew my name. he always called me “my friend”, till today he calls me friend.

Today is Father’s Day and I want to say thank you. Thank you for filling that void, you are a grandfather now so you’re not lacking adulations and I know your children and grandchildren are the luckiest set of people in this world. Thank you for all those years when you stood by my side and held my hand. You make the word Father more than just a mere noun to me.

Your Friend,

Miracle Roch.

Starting Early: Emails

This is the first installment in a new series I started called “Starting Early”. It’s going to be a chronicle of my early and first interaction with some of the things that come to define me today and how they have influenced me greatly. I would share stories of my first contact with Emails, Books, Music, Girls, Internet, Computers, etc. Enjoy!

Source: checkupnewsroom.com

I created my first ever email address in 2002, I was only 8 years old then. The email was “imo4real98@yahoo.com”. The first email I tried was “miracle@yahoo.com” but it was already taken, I had tried several variations of my first name before I decided to use my initials. “imo” are the initials of my first name arranged in no particular order. The first email exchange I had was with an Uncle who lived in “America”, and then subsequent email exchanges with people I met in chat rooms (more on that later)

The actual word “imo4real98” was suggested by the cybercafé receptionist where I sat. I didn’t think too much about it, I was just happy to finally get an email that was not taken, and I wasn’t born in 1998 neither, but maybe she felt I was; I was definitely so small as an eight year old, I must have passed as a four year old in her sight, or maybe it was just random. “for real” sounded like the mark of authenticity in those days (akin to “official” and “real” these days). It’s fifteen years now and I still have that email (although not really really active, prefer Gmail these days). There was a period when it became redundant for over three years, but I was able to recover it. After being used to the world of emails, I switched to “kenspaco@yahoo.com”, the inspiration came from my obsession with the name “Kenneth” as a kid, I loved the name “Kenneth”, I’m struggling to remember the source of my obsession right now.

I also created an AOL account and a Hotmail account but I used Yahoo! more than the rest because of Yahoo! Messenger. I also used Hotmail often too because I loved their light blue background, and because of one other feature that I can’t remember now. Oh, and I also had to falsify my eight on numerous occasions because I could find my year of birth on the dropdown list.

I’ve lost “kenspaco”, and it didn’t fly as a nickname neither because my classmates as at that time were either dunces who knew nothing about emails or they were just being annoying and would rather stick to calling me “mmiri oku” (an Igbo variation of my name meaning hot water).

Because I didn’t have a computer then, I was always at the Cybercafé. I would always rush to the cyber café after school and stay there till dawn. One of my early obsession was Yahoo Messenger. I was told there was a chat room where you could chat with people from other countries, and because the person I watched using Yahoo Messenger always went to the “Romance” Chat room, that was where I always went. Back then, I didn’t know it was odd for an eight-year-old to be in a romance chatroom, neither did I understand what “Romance” really meant. I had thought that was just the only chat room, in hindsight I now understand how and why everyone was always shocked whenever they came to my computer screen. I did meet so many people from that Chat Room, most of them would send me vulgar and explicit private messages which I didn’t understand but I would play along with them in a bid to sound smart. Most of those friends are nowhere to be found now anyways.

That early introduction led me into a decade old obsession with Yahoo! The Yahoo homepage was an invaluable news source for me as it covered every segment and category. It would be another thirteen years before I would create a Gmail account. Even as a full-fledged adult now, I cringe from time to time whenever I remember Yahoo!’s demise, really sad stuff.

I shared the story of my early introduction to emails because my initiation into the world of emails has had a great influence on how I like to conduct my businesses these days. I love emails, I’d prefer you send me an email even if it’s a one liner. I also love closing my emails with a remark. My strong affinity for emails certainly has roots in my being introduced to it at an early age. That was the first thing I knew I could do with the internet — send emails, before the other things. It also tells a great lesson in loyalty and efficiency, I remained with Yahoo! despite the mass exodus to Gmail, but the minute I used Gmail and saw how effective it was, I didn’t think twice.

In a nutshell, most of the things we have become strongly attached to these days all have roots in our mode of initial contact with them.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

Roch; the Lad who refused to grow up

My name is Miracle Roch. This is just an inch of my story. The story of the lad who didn’t have a childhood. The lack of unseriousness which generally characterizes infancy I have sorely lacked. I should have what people call a comfortable life now, I mean; I’m in a Federal University, will be graduating soon, I’m still young, I’m very tall, dark, handsome, I can speak very well, I’m eloquent, I’m brilliant, I know too much, I know the girls, I make people happy, I play football, I wear good clothes, I use a good phone, I have a laptop, I have good grades, I mean, what else qualifies a good life? I’m a Christian, I’ve got God.
I like writing about myself because my life as a whole is a degree. After the first paragraph, one could say my life is blissful eh? Many look at my life now and want to be like me…they see a perfect life but what they don’t know is that I’m not really better than that guy you see hawking things around motor parks, I’m not better than any of those Lagos area boys who loiter around, seems funny but that’s the truth. I didn’t plan for any of these, I can’t even say I’ve been fortunate enough sadly so I can’t even attribute it to fortune. I’m not better than anyone, that’s the sad truth. What I presumably have is a “working mind”. I have just been blessed with the right kind of mind – the one which continually longs for form, for completeness.
Yes, I may have had a mixed childhood, one where I was the prince and then quickly turned into the pawn. Maybe that’s why I will never rest until I find out if my value as it were came as a result of a lack of competitors(competition) or as a result of my true worth. It’s a question I still ask…am I really all that? Am I as good as people portray me to be? Parents tell their children to follow me but am I worth following? Everyone see me as some perfect article and I keep asking…Are they following me because there is no one else or because I’m really that good? Some fork and knife to ponder on.
I’m proud of my history, what have I not experienced? Why did life become more than just a fairy tale at the tender age of 4? I never watched cartoons as a kid maybe that helped me see life as something more serious than phantom aliens and magical wands. Most of the things other children had the chance of seeing, I didn’t see even with the same chance. How can my earliest memories of watching the TV be vivid images of NTA’s network news? That can’t be right, can it? How can the rare visits to the beach not even spring to mind? How can the swimming pool visits not feature prominently on my thoughts? Something’s gotta be wrong!
I remember going to a different area from where I was living and I went to a field around to watch some boys play football, somehow I ended up as a goalkeeper and at the end of the match, everyone was hailing me, I was new to the area so no one knew me, they saw me as one kinda whiz kid, I think I still have vivid images of me flinging myself to the far right and making one save that even Oliver Kahn would be proud of. It’s no surprise really that I have not forgotten that particular incident, it wasn’t the praise or anything but the fact that I really felt I deserved this one. Right from when I was a fetus, sycophants have always praised me, and because I struggled most often than not to really understand what I did, I was oblivious of it so you could imagine my joy that day.
As a kid, I already knew how to configure a phone, how to configure a television set, I was into many technological things, I was a guru, doing well in school; that was heaven. I basked in the euphoria of being a genius. At that age, I had begun to take responsibility for many of the things happening around me. The things I had to take care of and learn as a young man was too much that in hindsight I always ask myself in surprise how I could carry those thing on those tender shoulders of mine.
But like I said, this is just an inch of my childhood story…that of a young lad who refused to grow up and grappled with adulthood even when childhood was at his beck and call.
Will there be a follow up piece to this one? Let’s see how it goes.

Stay True!
Miracle Roch

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