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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog. radio, Imo Broadcasting Service, Owerri, a cup of water, drink.

“Mama, this is a new radio for you,” Obinna said to his eighty-year-old mother in the village as he tore open the carton, revealing the sparkling new radio. “Eziokwu? (Really?)” His mother asked elatedly. “Ijaya mma, Ijaya,” his mother began to dance. She attempted to bend over for a popular dance routine, but her old waist refused to cooperate. “I wish my aged waist would allow me to rock like I used to,” his mother bragged. “It is okay mama; you don’t have to dance for me. Please be careful.” Margaret, his mother waved to the skies, instead ditching the idea of dancing. “Let me plug it to the power socket to make sure it works very well,” Obinna explained. “Good, my son. Make sure it works very well. God will bless you my child.” “Thank you, mama. With a radio, you can listen to music and news so you can know what is happening in the country. The radio will keep you company.” “Yes my child. Mama Chinasa has one. She plays that thing loudly so that the entire village can hear. Now, I can play mine too.”

Obinna plugged the radio into an electrical socket and flipped the power button on. A baritone voice came on the air. “This is Imo Broadcasting Service – IBC Owerri. Here is the news at 4 o’clock,” the voice said. “I na anukwa? (interesting!!!) He is talking to me from Owerri,” Margaret remarked. Owerri was the only word she understood from the newscaster’s message. “Yes mama. They are operating from Owerri.” “So, all the way from Owerri, he can talk to me? This is amazing. From Owerri to my house. Someone is talking to me from inside that thing!!!” She pointed at the radio as though it was an alien gadget that fell out of the skies.  “Will they speak Igbo to me at all?” She asked Obinna. “Yes mama. There will be Igbo news after this one in English. You will get to listen to the radio drama Ojemba too.” “All the way from Owerri, they will be talking to me?” “Yes mama.” “Bekee wu agbara (the white man is a wizard),” Margaret concluded.

“Please show me how to make that man talk to me and how to keep him quiet,” she requested. “Just turn this thing here mama and it will start talking. When you turn it this way, it will stop,” Obinna demonstrated. “Please do it again,” she pleaded with him. Patiently, Obinna demonstrated it to her again. She tried it by herself. She touched the power knob with ‘delicate care’, as though her touch would ruin it. She smiled shyly as she turned the radio on and off. “Mu na ndi ocha ekwumele (I am now operating at the same level as the white man),” she said with excitement. They left the radio on while she prepared fufu and bitter leaf soup for Obinna.

“They are speaking to me in Igbo now, Obi,” she pointed out when the Igbo news came on air. “Yes, mama. They have both Igbo and English news. She walked closer to the radio, placed a hand on it and ran her fingers along its surface. She was grinning with palpable excitement as she felt her new pricy asset. A few days later, Obinna returned to Owerri. Margaret listened to the radio every day. Sometimes, she would turn it on and off several times in a space of a few short minutes as she savored her new toy. One morning, she went to the farm with her house help, Chilota. Some young men were tilling the ground for her, so she went to inspect them. All through the time she was on the farm, she could not stop wondering if she had turned off the radio or not.

“Did I turn off the radio before we left?” She asked Chilota. “I don’t know mama,” Chilota answered. “What do you even remember?” She shot back at him in frustration. “If it were a piece of fish or meat, you’d remember everything. She spent far less time than she normally did inspecting her laborers. She could not get the radio off her mind. She walked as fast as her weak old legs could carry her. When they reached home, her fears were confirmed. Loud music was blaring on the radio. “I knew it! I could not stop thinking that I had left the radio on!” She said as she fiddled with the door. She was eager to access her room to turn off the radio. She dashed to her room, took a good look at the radio and said, “I am sorry for leaving you talking all day. Are you mad at me? You must be tasty. “Rest my friend…rest for some time,” she said as she headed for the kitchen, having turned off the radio. “I feel so bad,” she said to Chilota. How could anyone talk non-stop all day? I should have turned it off before leaving. I made him talk all day.” She scooped a cup of water from her earthen pot in the kitchen and returned to her room.

“Please get some water to drink. Wet your throat after talking all day. You voice must be going hoarse,” Margaret said as she poured a cup of water over the radio. “Drink my friend. Please drink. I will never do this to you again,” she declared. Thankfully, the power company struck, so there was no power in the area. She doused the radio with more water before walking tiredly to the kitchen. “Chilota, you should never let me leave the radio on when and leave the house. I made that man talk all day,” she said to Chilota. She refused to turn on the radio as she strove to allow it to recover from the day’s talking marathon. By night, she decided to turn the radio back on after power was restored to the area. There was no sign of life from the radio. Margret turned it off and then back on again, yet there was no response. “I served you water and you would not talk to me anymore? Are you still mad that I made you talk all day? Please bear with me. Would you talk to me now? Please talk to an old woman,” Margaret pleaded. Disappointment was boldly scribbled across her face. Her attempts to bring the radio back failed terribly. She quickly sent a message to Obinna, summoning him back to the village to fix the radio. It was not until Obinna returned that she realized what a mistake she had made, even though she could not fully grasp the concept of radio waves. The radio completely stopped working forcing Obinna to buy her a second radio in one month.


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