My first two weeks in the university made the most annoying memories I’ve got steaming in my brain case but today, I’ve chosen to throw them down the pit of oblivion as I write…
I got to the campus as a new student and I felt the aura of maturity streaming around the four corners of the university walls.
The entire Sunday preceding the Monday which will host my first appearance in my department was lavished on envisaging, fantasizing and imagining how my classmates will receive me and what encouraging impression I can make in the eyes of the lecturers.
Of course, I didn’t fail to consult my blind seniors in the school to put me through on how I will attract friends to myself and among the few orientation I got was to always dress well and probably answer questions in class.
The next day dawned and I knew it was already the long-awaited Monday, so I bathed, dressed up and set off for school.
Seeing me in my sunglasses in such an early morning made many of my supposed classmates conclude that a new fashion monger had joined their midst, most of them even considered me a snub judging from the way I stood alone quietly while we were all waiting for the class representative to unlock the class door.
O ye reader, if you’re wondering on how I knew these people’s mind, I later conducted a kind of opinion poll among my friends to know their thought on the first day they saw me, so it’s not like
I’m thinking for them or something…
The day actually went well, I made two good friends in the class who volunteered to help me with my school fees payments and other registrations.
Days were passing by and I was getting acclimatised to the new custom. Kingston who also stayed at my hostel was my mobility angel, he would walk me to class in the morning and return me to the hostel after the day’s lecture.
Invariably holding hands with Kingston and religiously following his direction finally revealed my blindness to the whole class and before the first week ran out, I’d already got few of my classmates coming around to offer me assistance.
But there was a problem, the problem of many of my classmates not spotting the difference between a blind student and a blind beggar.
In as much as I knew such mix up was bound to happen, I never expected that I could also be seen as a brainless human being all because of my inability to see
Normally, I’m not a type who likes arguing in public merely to display some steep sagacity, I would rather I share knowledge with my friends and put my convincing points down during exams to earn my marks.
But as a jambito and a blind student who had got the minds of his classmates filled with doubts on how possibly someone without sight can study, I started answering lecturers’ questions in class to prove to people that I’d also got brains just like them.
Sometimes I would get the answers right and at times, I would go off point, even luxury is not always a bed of roses after all.
One troubling experience I had like twice in my first week of resumption was what actually themed this episode.
I was already forming a habit of answering questions in class, so giving my own view on an intellectual discussion going on among a few classmates started interesting me as well.
But once I parted my lips to talk and make my own contribution, the whole discussion would fall into silence and I would be forced to have a re-think on what I had said to ascertain its correctness. “Ahah, I’m right of course”, I would say speechlessly to myself, but the interlocutors were interested in the speaker and not the answer.
Being a blind student had automatically floored the authenticity of my answer, they would all murmur for a while before continuing with the discussion.
What an embarrassment! I would still yell in my mind, then getting to where I can consult a shrewd coursemate who had a better knowledge would begin to starve me.
After having asked around from those ones I call oracle, I would still notice that I was saying the right thing.
I honestly could have succumb to inferiority complex assuming I’ve got no mind of my own.
A similar experience to the above was that of my class representative at the time.
If there were four of us standing and he was passing by, he would individually greet the other three and walk away as if I was invisible. I used to feel hurt at first but later got over it on the day I pulled his head closer with his beard and gave him a taste of his own medicine. #wtf!
And today, all these people have turned to my family whose love and support for me cover many kilometres.
But recently, I had another funny experience which can be likened to my first week’s in the university.
I was at the cyber cafe with a friend for some printing out of forms online, he was the one operating the computer while I was only seated next to him so I could supply him what information to fill for me.
Right beside me was an intermittent mumbling from a masculine voice, a keen attention to it was what made me realise that a guy beside me was having problems with a letter he was writing.
But since it was never my palava, I focused on what my friend was doing and utterly took my attention away from the guy.
Just before my friend was about to shut down the computer he was using, I overheard that guy beside me asking a lady inside the cafe some questions as regards how to write a standard formal letter.
The lady whom I suspected to have forgotten most of the rules didn’t confess her ignorance, rather, she started talking out of point and which the guy was also swallowing.
Learning that the letter was being directed to the ministry of information and culture was what pricked me to wanna help the guy out so his letter would be well written and transitioned.
So I turned to the guy and asked politely, ‘are you trying to write a formal letter? I can help you out.
But a Yoruba adage will say: a dog who will surely get lost wouldn’t hear its master’s whistle.
The dude shunned my offer rudely and called again for the lady’s explanation.
My friend burst into laughter and said to me, ‘you are too kind-hearted Demola, you should have left the fool to write his letter the way he pleases. Too bad he doesn’t know your worth’.
I couldn’t just help but to also laugh at myself, then noticing how the guy was taking in all the lady’s nonsense ignited my laughter more.
I laughed like a baby till I left the cafe that evening.
Oh, that reminds me of how my blind computer wizard, ‘Femi Sobayode’ got a whole cyber cafe perplexed after he performed what seemed like a miracle to them.
He was at the cafe to use their wireless network when he heard a customer grumbling bitterly on how the viruses on the cafe’s computer had eaten up all the files in his flash disc.
Femi whose knowledge for ICT is longer than Mississippi approached the cafe attendant and asked him what the problem was, but having to trace his path with a guide cane discouraged the attendant from seeking any form of help from Femi and so he replied him with utmost reluctance that there was nothing he could do.
Feeling a bit insulted, Femi walked back to where his laptop was and continued with his browsing.
Then shortly, he felt a tap on his shoulder and asked who it was. The customer whose files got erased greeted him and humbly asked if truly Femi can help him retrieve his lost files.
Knowing that the issue wasn’t at all onerous didn’t repel Femi from helping, he collected the flash disc from the man, plugged it into his laptop and entered some commands.
All the lost files reappeared like a magic and the man couldn’t contain his joy.
Femi’s pocket was credited with N10,000 on a platter of gold while the cafe’s attendant got nothing but a heavy mockery from the man.
Femi remained a topic of discussion throughout that day and up until now, the cafe consults him whenever any problem is perceived on their computers.
‘Shallow mentality I must say. Once you are a blind person who has to be led before reaching destinations, then that has made you a dummy. #mtcheew!
Don’t mix it up: We only lost our sight, the brain is intact!