Letter To Oddiri 3: Too Young To Be So Sad–Nnaemeka Oruh

By Ikenga Chronicles April 10, 2017

Letter To Oddiri 3: Too Young To Be So Sad–Nnaemeka Oruh

I have always had this obsession with reading people’s Whatsapp status messages. Perhaps it was an obsession derived from boredom, or maybe it spiralled out of my desire to always read everything, digest them, and find some hidden meanings. Just like that girl Nana, who says she reads everything from menus, to bus tickets!

Sometimes though, my obsession with reading Whatsapp messages stems from an attempt to have a peep into the human soul, to understand what pains, what joy, frames people’s day to day drive. I see in those status messages, windows into people’s emotional statuses, and sometimes from such messages I derive some strength—or get weighed down, in solidarity with the pains espoused.

Our world as it is, is daily dogged with tragedy, and things that we used to take for granted have now become alien to us. Yet even as the world now walks on its head, there are certain things that should never change. Innocence should be one of such things. And I am not talking about innocence in the manner in which one may use it, with “guilt” being its opposite. I am talking about innocence in the manner in which one may define the state of mind of a 2-year old, whom no matter how badly he or she is treated, finds pains temporary, and joy a constant. I talk about innocence in the manner in which the child you are striking will still cling to you, and ask you to “carry her”. At that point for the child, all that matters is that you give him or her some love. And that love, wipes away instantly, the temporary pain hitherto felt.

I regret, Oddiri, that the age of innocence is fast being reduced. There used to be a time, when it extended to one’s teenage days. Even a little beyond that, there were still certain forms of tragedy or pains that were never expected to be experienced by people of a certain age. All that seems to be gone now.

Tragedy and pains seem to be the fashion for young people these days. And the things which we used to think could only happen to people of advanced ages are now everyday occurrences amongst young people. It was as if our world, tired of walking certain predictable paths decided to shock us. Maybe one day we will wake up and find that the sky has become the ground we walk on!

“Too Young To Be So Sad” was a Whatsapp status of a young Ogoni boy called Wilson. I met Wilson in December of 2015 while carrying out a research on “Citizens Participation In The Electoral Process”. Willy (as I came to call him) was my “aide” during that research. He took me round the nooks and crannies of Nonwa. When I was done, I left, but not without promising Willy that I would try and fix something for him in Port Harcourt.

Since 2015, I have not lived up to that promise. But everyday I come on Whatsapp, Willy’s status message has remained “Too Young To Be So Sad”. Perhaps he has forgotten that the status is still there. But what continues to strike me is the thought process that went into crafting such a message. Willy would have lived in so much sadness that one day, he had to take stock of things, and apprehend the ultimate truth; there are some pains that your age should spare you.

So here I am, this early morning, sleep having journeyed far from me, with my thoughts completely fixed on you—Oddiri– and Willy, and extending to several other young Nigerians, and I am wondering how many of us feel–like Willy– that we are too young to be so sad! How many of us have been failed by the system, the government, and others, like I failed Willy?

It is a crazy world of dog-eat-dog, but we have so receded into the point where emotional pains may begin to besiege even the one year old!

But there may be a way out…

I see a path in using all of the energies of our pains to build a mighty fire that will combust our pains, burn them to the ground, so that from the ashes, we may emerge fresh like young phoenixes, and let the innocence of the 2-year old find for us fresh happiness that we can cling to forever.

This life is for “living it up”, and we are lions!

 

  • Oruh is on Twitter as @Oruhnc 
  • This piece is part of series of letters from Oruh to Ufuoma Joe Umusu entitled Letters To Oddiri.  The letters reflect his varied views on several issues.
  • Photo Credit: Pinterest
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