Saturday, 27 February 2016

Orange Peels from 2013: Musings

The smell of Orange peels remind me of 2013; January to March, 2013 precisely.  It was a time I decided a lot of things in my life and about myself. Have you ever been stuck?
Growing up, I used to like to play football and a lot of the time, the ball would get stuck under a car and since my friends and I were, back then, too little to retrieve the ball from under the car, our game was abruptly over whenever that happened. I found out what it was like for the ball to be stuck under that huge, ginormous thing with four wheels for days. It is not pretty to be stuck. It is devastating. I cracked. Prior, I had a way of draining my emotions. It was like I had a faucet in my head that I turned open and it ridded me of unwanted emotions; this made most emotions I felt become unwanted and it remained that way for a long time and that, perhaps, was why I cracked in such an unprecedented way in early 2013. Maybe I had denied and disallowed myself from feeling anything at all. I cannot succinctly describe what happened to me. But I cracked.
There is no real link, at least none that I can remember, between that dark time and the smell of orange peels but I have found that I am reminded of 2013 every night I pass through a particular junction close to where I live; by that junction, there is a man with a barrow full of oranges who peels for customers when they come to buy: the place smells of orange peels all the time.
There is a well-known theory in the field of memory called the Proustian Phenomenon named after its founder, French writer Marcel Proust, who in his book, In Search of Lost Time, describes a character who vividly recalls forgotten childhood memories after smelling a tea-soaked biscuit. The Proustian Phenomenon suggests that distinctive smells have more power than any other sense to trigger memory especially of the emotional kind.
Maybe this explains why orange peels remind me of what they remind me of and maybe not. In hindsight, that time of my life ended up not being so bad because even though I got stuck and depressed and could not stand myself, I became a changed person on the other side. I became this person I am now during that time. I found books in such an immensely profound way during that time. I found Harper Lee, Oh dear Lord, Rest her soul! I found John Green, I found Stephen Chbosky, I found Khaled Hosseini, I found Yann Martel, I found Markus Zuzak, I found Jack Kerouac, I found Cormac McCarthy, I found JD Salinger, I found that we can’t choose whether we get stuck or not, just as we can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there. I found that if I worked very hard, my own writing, too, could be as awesome as these people’s. And probably most importantly, I found this blog!

Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!

We Need New Names: Musings

My name, as far as my family and all those who know me through my family are concerned, is Boy. Yes, Boy, and no, it is not a metaphor. It does not stand for something awesome; it is not an abbreviation for beautiful or awesome in Spanish or Latin or Singhalese, it is not an anagram of my real name, it does not mean something different: at best, it is a term of endearment and at worst it is offensive, derogatory: a male servant. In some dictionaries Boy is a synonym for Sweetheart, Beau. But isn’t that the thing with synonyms? A is not a synonym for B if B refuses to be a synonym for A. They are like relationships, synonyms, we cannot force it, you cannot force something to mean something: Sweetheart is not a synonym for Boy. I have been called Boy all my life, as a matter of fact, I have been called Boy more times than I have been called my actual name which was given me on the day of my naming, BOMI EHIMONY . It began, of course, as a pet name, one which would endear me to people, perhaps – an expression of affection, a syllabi of fondness of some sort. However, from my point of view, for the last few years, this expression of affection and fondness has spiralled and has mostly become incomprehensible. How is it endearing to call a person in his mid-twenties looking to start a life Boy?
And this is the thing with names, isn’t it? I have read a million times: The Shakespearian idea about names is that there is nothing in a name. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet went on and on about how a name does not really matter and is just a name. 'What’s in a name?' Juliet asked Romeo. 'That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.' And I agree with Juliet’s logic to an extent. But this fact is ineluctable: a name is among the first and arguably the most important gifts you are given when you come into this world but even more, a name is an introduction, it is, in my mind, the simplest yet most potent first impression there is.
In December of last year, I thought about warning everybody to stop with the nonsense. You don’t call an adult Boy because you like him, I thought. And truly, the name was becoming somewhat embarrassing. Especially when it came from people whose only knowledge about me was the fact that I am called that. And then people who would stand by the gate and shout BOY! on the absolute top of their lungs and expect me to show up. But this is why we are blessed with the gift of thought, thank God. I thought about it for days and I realized that we are defined not by what we are called but by what we are. So I let it be. I suspect that I would never stop being called boy but I also suspect that I would never mind too much.

Till next time,, Keep dreaming!