“Kelvine! You look like a man man.”
This was Bwetcha, saying out loud with her Nigerian accent. I had come across the most energetic human being I had ever met. She was part of the delegation from Nigeria. A group made up of the most pompous and jolly Africans. In such high-level meetings, I was used to people from Africa and Asia having the most subtle personalities. Could be because of the inferiority complex that they felt among Europeans and those from the Americas, probably emanating from history?
As soon as I landed on the Indian soil, thoughts about Jessica had temporarily skipped my mind. After we had said goodbyes without even a hug to show the affection that I had developed, I had vowed to myself that one day or the other we would meet again. As is my nature when coming to goodbyes, the “I will meet you again” conviction removes the emotional impact of the separation.
The flight to New Delhi had just been a quiet one. I kept to myself, not even saying a word to the Indian guy who was sitting next to me as I tried to finish my bowl of spicy biryani that he otherwise had voraciously eaten without even taking a drink. I was so tired that I slept a greater part of the journey only to be woken up by the impact on landing. When I disembarked, I felt suffocated by the thick, hot and humid air as the country was at that time in its monsoon season. After going through customs I made my way to the hotel with the aim of diving into the shower the moment I checked in. With that heat, the thought that I would be staying in the country for a fortnight made me sick.
The journey to the hotel was one of the most dramatic Road experiences I had ever had. Bustling everywhere, with deafening car honking sounds which I think were being done for no apparent reason. The driving was what I would call organized chaos. Overtaking without indicators and braking in the most unsuspecting cases. Indian drivers must be the best in the world as during the whole experience, I never witnessed a single motor vehicle accident. The graffiti on the walls along the road screamed talent and beauty such that I couldn’t even keep my camera down along the way. As my taxi driver only spoke Hindi, which I had no idea about at that time, we could have a decent conversation but just smiles and a response to a question I had asked him about the name of his Hindu god who was displayed on the dashboard.
It was during dinner that night I had met Bwetcha. She had come to network and try to convince people to vote for her country to host the upcoming meeting.
“Tell me why we should come to Nigeria?” I asked as she moved the chair to sit next to me. I guess this question probably triggered the fire in her.
“Oh Kelvin!” She said looking at my name tag. “ Let me tell you why you should come to Abuja next year!” She added tapping her right hand on the table.
“Abuja is one of the best cities in Nigeria where the rich rich people live.” Meanwhile I was just marveling at her accent which I had been mostly exposed to when watching African movies.
“It also boasts of harboring people from different cultures. Talk about the Igbo chiefs you see in our movies. Nigerians love to party and flash money hence we will be having the best of times. You will also try out many different Nigerian meals that we will offer you. I see you like food,” she said in response to my smile at her last statement.
After what seemed like two hours of fun and talk at the table, it was already 2 am in the morning but we still decided to go have a separate talk downstairs in the hotel lobby. Why sleep when you only live once. It was the most relaxed chill in a place of comfort and tranquility. For a moment I forgot of all the bothersome events that had happened in my life in the past days and got absolved in the moment. The conversation made me come alive as we talked about life, school, business and future plans.
“Kelvine! You look like a man man.” She said .
“What exactly do you mean?” I asked with a confused smile on my face.
“ I mean you are handsome, intelligent and the way you look spells out will power,” she said shying away and facing down.
At this moment, I knew I was headed for a long six days!
4 November, 2023