My parents, especially my father, were people who could not be cheated when it came to paying utility bills. Living in a compound house where there were others sharing one electricity meter with us ensured there was always a misunderstanding on utility bills. The issue of quarreling over bills was an unending abyss. No one wanted to be cheated and everyone always ensured there was fairness, ( in this case, any bill that favoured them). One of these instances saw our power being disconnected.( Story for another day).
Being the TV addicts that we were, my siblings and I decided to formulate a plan to watch TV at a neigbour’s house, whenever we were sent on an errand there. Unfortunately for us, there was a shortage of errands. We fought over any errand that would take us to the neighbour’s and my parents wondered why. We couldn’t come clean because it would mean being beaten and forced not to go there again. However, our neighbours had already noticed that it was because of TV we were so excited to come to their house. This was because we glued ourselves to their open living room door anytime we went there. On days when there was no errand, we stood on stools, propped against their room, peeped through the window, straining our eyes to follow the programme being shown. This was due to the dull nature of the pictures on the TV. We argued about who was which ranger and chose our favourites. On those stools, we had arguments, laughs and fun.
One fortunate afternoon, as we stood on our stools watching Power Rangers, we were called by one of the neighbours to enter the room and watch instead. We lept from the stools and quickly rushed in. We cleaned our feet even though the room had no carpet in it. We sat on the floor, directly in front of the TV with our eyes widely open. Through, commercials, we sat. When the show was over, we still sat there and watched the next. Our entertainment came to a premature end when someone passed gas and it was blamed on us even though the neighbour’s children too were present. We denied vehemently but the stench of the flatulence cemented our exit.Giving us each two knocks on the head and throwing us out, the man said,”momma mo maame nsa mo, na mo yam b)n dodo.” Meaning we should let our mother perform enema with herbs on us because our stomachs stank too much. We left there clothed in anger and shame. On the way home, with our stools on our heads, we started pointing accusing fingers at each other. None of us accepted the blame turning it into a fight that left us with pains all over our bodies and the youngest crying. On entering the house, my younger brother with tears streaming down his face narrated the whole incident to our mother. She thinking it funny, then narrated it to our father, and oh was he pleased! He lashed us for going to watch TV in someone’s house and farting in return. Our mother’s pleas fell on rocks as he meted out the punishment. I being ever sharp-tongued, amidst tears and hiccups shouted,”if we had light here, would we have gone to someone’s house?” That remark earned me two extra lashes and a pull of my lips.After this incident we dared not go anywhere near someone’s TV.
Our sorrow was cut short when power was restored to us. The TV wept as we kept it on constantly, switching between channels whenever our father wasn’t home. After sometime, the TV stopped working properly. We had to slap both sides for it to stay on. The slaps caused the zigzags on the screen to vanish for a while. A hard tap on the head of the TV brought the sound back. We went through this till we got tired and started designating who to hit the TV and when to do so. One afternoon after school, we rushed home to watch cartoons. On turning the TV on, we realized no pictures were showing again. We slapped, tapped and shook the TV but to no result. We then resorted to turning the nob. I turned and turned and turned till the knob came off. With the broken knob in my hands, I started trembling because I knew I was in for fireworks. I tried to replace it but it was impossible to do so. I left it dangling on the broken part, making my siblings promise to hush the incident. When my father came home, the knob came off as soon as he touched it. He screamed my name and till this day,thoughts of that scream send chills down my spine. I lied to him that I didn’t know who did it. When my siblings were called, they also lied. But he knew one of us had done it. Therefore he beat all three of us. After the beatings, my brothers came clean and I was given extra whips for lying and coercion. With the TV gone, we went back to the stools behind the neighbours’ window and this time, they ignored us completely.