When my mother-in-law came to live with me, I never in my wildest imagination picture the drama that would ensue.
First, she came with big bags of corn and other kinds of food as it is typical of mothers who leave the village to the 'city'. As some one who does a lot of things with food, I was elated to be blessed with numerous raw materials to use in my unending kitchen experiments. She also came with lots of wrappers (large cloths women wrap around their waist) and a good dose of comedy!
After cuddling the new born baby, who was the reason for her visit, she settled in to do life with us. Mr. N was at work in another country so it was just me, the kids and some family members at home. In African homes, extended family members are ever-present so my home wasn't an exception.
Mami. my host of ever-present visitors and myself sat down in the parlour to watch TV. The on-going show was called, "The Money Drop", the Nigerian version of the American show, "The Million Dollar Money Drop." In the show, contestants were presented a stack of money which "belonged" to them. They had to answer questions in order to keep "their" money from dropping. We watched as they responded to questions and some of the money dropped when they put money on spaces representing wrong answers. Then something happened.
There was a power outage right there in the middle of the show. My mother in law shouted,
"Dem go tif that money!"
(That money will be stolen!)
Ha! She thought the lights also went out at the venue of the show which she considered to be life so she was concerned for the safety of all that cool hard cash.
In the days that followed, she settled in to watch a Nigerian movie in which the mischievous duo known as Aki and Paw Paw starred. They connected cables carrying electricity to someone's bed. When the man went to his bed, he got shocked and screamed. Many people, including the culprits came to his rescue. The culprits denied they had anything to do with the unscrupulous act. My mother-in-law was vexed;
"Na them! I see am so! Na them! Chei!"
(I saw them! They were the ones who did it!)
She argued as though she was facing the village judge in a customary court.
Ntapah, as we fondly call her absolutely loves Nigerian movies. She often dozed off on the couch whenever I switched the TV from Africa Magic to one showing news or documentaries. To keep her more entertained, I resolved to putting Nollywood movies ninety percent of the time for her.
For some reason, the movie channel kept showing movies in which Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson performed. In most of the movies, she played roles that portrayed her as a very troublesome person. In one, she kept getting into physical combats with people in the village. Other ones portrayed her as a lady who couldn't keep her home in tact. My mother in law was mad at her. For real. Serious anger of a mother who wants a lady to act right.
It was during her days of anger that Mr. N returned from work. She gushed about the TV to him in their native tongue. Here is a translation of what she said:
"I have traveled. I have visited your brother in the North. I have visited your brother in Bamenda. But I have never ever seen this kind of TV! This TV - the people in it don't sleep. In the morning, they are there! In the afternoon, they are there! We are the ones who get tired of them and just put off the TV, saying, "Ya! It is too much!"
Then about Mercy Johnson, she pointed at the TV while watching one of her movies that annoyed her and burst out,
"This woman, this woman! Marret for this woman! Everyday day marret!
(This woman likes marriage. She marries a new person everyday!)
My mother-in-law really took everything that happened in movies seriously. We tried to explain to her that they weren't real but she just didn't get it. It was interesting to see how another generation reacts to television.
Have you ever experienced someone who takes TV literally? How do you explain the way television works to them? Let me know below and maybe next time I'll know what to tell my ma-in-law.
Sold to Christ says
Very endearing. She is so sweet.
Is she still alive? If she now comes to America Nko? Na real drama.
Lol at Mercy Johnson.
Angele marie says
Awww,I call her mother-in-love. She is so sweet. My grandmum of blessed memory actually thought the people live inside the TV box. She would wonder how they sleep in that small box that has no leg room. She would respond to the journalist when she is reading the news. She thinks they are addressing her and that they are are looking at her. May her sweet gentle soul rest in perfect peace
Precious Nkeih says
Yes dear, she is still very alive ooo. Ha I don't even want to think about her possible reaction to the America. We once went to Cameroon's economic capital Douala, together. She kept marveling at all the tall buildings, pointing to them and telling me, "Pere, see am!" Lol
Precious Nkeih says
See, my ma-in-law was once watching a Nigerian soap opera and as the cast was shown at the beginning, she actually thought they were waving at her and she was like, "Dem di salute me?" She started smiling and waving back.
Arrey Echi says
Hahahahahahaha thanks for an early dose of comedy to start the day. I think most people of her generation could react the same way. I don't know if this happened for real or for fun but I have heard the story of a mother who visited her child in the 'city'. They had to go to work and with everyone busy, they felt mama would be happy watching tvee. Unfortunately, after the show, a wrestling match came on and bingo mama was shouting 'wona stop that fight oh, stop that fight which kine pikin dem dis' well nobody was heeding her reme vexed go fine mortar pistle say ee go shue that pipol. Oya bang for tvee, tvee chakara reme glad say ee don divide fight 🙂
That was hilarous and I always laugh when I read or remember such stories. At your topic I just started laughing and wondering if she's in the US. Ok make ah lef Amelika visit own for ara time. 🙂
Mothers-in-love I call them esp if they are genuine and sweet towards their daughters-in-love.
Precious Nkeih says
Hahaha dat reme for that story na the eye! Chai, reme vex broke tvee. That generation eh!
Thanks for always reading, sis!
Precious Nkeih says
She is so funny! Thanks for stopping by, Toyin!
Toluwalade Toyin-Kehinde says
lmaoooo omg this was so interesting to read!!! Your Mother-in-law is sure full of jokes.
Hahaaha, that was a good one Precious. My late grandmother who came visiting from the village was watching this popular cookery show on TV known as Cooking Time or is it Cookery Time, don't know exactly. In that episode, they were showing the audience how to cook Koki. Within the space of 30 minutes (the length of the show) they had prepared and cooked the koki. My granny was scandalized! She started shouting "Da koki nova done", (the koki is not ready or well cooked). She even cautioned the people (on the show) who were to eat it that "da koki go worry wona belleh, e no done. Wona no chop am". We tried in vain to explain to mama that it was a show and a lot of editing had been done but mama just couldn't understand. She related the story of the 30 minutes koki to all who came to vist her and this, until the day she left for the village. How I miss my granny!
Hahaha Hilli, I can't stop laughing. How sweet are they! That Koki never done. Hahaha too funny. Thanks for sharing dear.
Wuna go kill man wid bonbon oh lol. Mummy Precious good comedy for day