“Kpa kpa kpa ra kpa”, the sound of knockout could be heard from the verandah of the two storey-building my family and I dwelled in as my sister and I simply enjoyed the breeze and beauty of the night.
“Udo, let us throw our own knockout from here now” my sister said.
“Ahn ahn Ifunanya is it not because we do not know how to participate in the fun going on outside that we decided to stay in-door with mommy and daddy, now you are telling me that we should throw our own here, hian!” I replied finding her statement absurd.
I decided to go check up on our parents and before I knew it, she had already struck a stick of knockout from its packet causing it to light up.“Shh…”
It was the noon of watch night, Thursday 24th, 2009, aunty and mommy were already back from the market, they had even started to kill the chicken one after the other so I went to join them in the kitchen. As I stood there to watch them as they were very much indulged in their actions, the only surviving chicken attacked me as it pecked my legs, I then excused myself.
Ifunanya was in the living room with our two brothers who were setting in motion their big plans on planting of the knockouts in different areas and containers. While they discussed their mischievous plans, I simply reminded them of our Christmas traditions, which are inescapable.
Yes, we do have our own festive traditions which has in one way or the other succumbed to the Nigerian culture. The morning of watch night is for the women to cook, the children simply look for one activity or the other to indulge themselves in, the men go out to pay friends’ visit, buy drinks to put in the refrigerator as well as relax. For every festive period, the Nigerian culture expects every family to celebrate it with rice and chicken, pepper soup, local music and often times Palm wine (especially those who dwell in the rural areas).
“Ifunanya, what are we going to do this night when all our friends and brothers will be out there throwing knockouts?” asked Udo.
“Me oo I will just stay at home with mommy and daddy before I injure myself all because I want to throw knockout but you Udo can join them because you are stubborn and love boy stuffs” Ifunanya replied teasingly.
It was noon, the whole members of the family were gathered around the dinning table to eat (white rice with tomato sauce and fried chicken). “Close your eyes and let us say our father’s prayer before munching everything placed in front of us” daddy said as he smiled briefly at me, Udo. We bowed our heads in prayer immediately after which we dug into the food.
Later in the evening, the boys escaped to the outside. Aunty stayed back with Ifu and I to tell us tales in our native language, it was one of the very rare reasons we loved her very much, after spending about thirty minutes telling us about some really incredible, she went to pack and fold the washed clothes from downstairs so it was Ifu and I left.
“Shh…”, I turned back only to see thick smoke in the air. “Udo! Udo!! Wake up now honey, wake up okay and tell us what happened”. I opened my eyes to see everyone gathered around me including Ifunanya, who had mischief written all over her face. I was not angry at all, the very least I was astonished as to how the knockout ended up entering the house when Ifu intended to throw it to the outside.
I looked at Ifu and gave her a smile, everyone else stood there wondering what we had cooked up. The choking smell of the knockout was all over the place, which frightened me, “did they or did they not know that Ifu or anyone had thrown a knockout into the living room?” was the thought that ran through my mind. All the same, I ended up spending the rest hours of wash night in my bedroom.
Photo Credit: Pinterest.
Bibiana Ossai © 2016.