Date Published: 11/11/09
See you in Stardom By Oghene Omonisa
Everybody dreams because we all have ambitions. Teenagers dream of one career or the other and desire to make a success of it. Adults also did their own teenage dreaming. Some were medicine, law and engineering, while others were banking, journalism and the arts. There are many dreams as there are careers.
Indeed, everybody dreams. But some people dream higher than others: very high! Those now qualified and already working, or those whose professions do not require certification and who are now into their dream jobs, do not only want to practise medicine but also want to be the best in their chosen field. Retiring as a bank branch manager is not their portion. They want to run or set up mega banks of international repute. They want to overtake Hollywood with record-breaking mega-earning pictures and not to end up struggling with a jalopy at the tail end of their career. They want to be big time merchants and not some petty trader. They want to be big stars in their chosen field.
There are those who had big dreams but have given them up. There are others who are fulfilling theirs and are dreaming bigger. And, of course, there are some who have not attained theirs but are still working and dreaming. These categories exist among my contemporaries where the most memorable is that of those who had dreamt big before but when nothing seemed to fall into place, gave up on their dream, and just live the ordinary life they never envisaged.
I once had a talented pal who had the brains and beauty which would have put Agbani Darego to shame. She had won her campus beauty contest in her first year. She made the cover of every magazine on her campus and even did some part-time modelling jobs while schooling. Ho, how she dazzled us with her potentials! And did she have potentials? Like hell, she did – those acting skills, that catwalk, that height, that body, that beauty and those eyes. You would not have missed her in a group of a hundred first class models.
By the time she graduated in theatre arts, she was just twenty-two. She had a modelling and acting career ahead of her. She had big dreams: she was going to take the blossoming Nigerian home video industry by storm. Then an oil big shot came and married her away to Port Harcourt as wife No. 3.
I ran into her over there a few years ago. She now has two kids and a small fancy boutique: all from her husband. She cannot be more than thirty but she is now very big – orobo – and looks her status: the traditional African motherhood. Expectedly, the intelligence is still there but only traces of that pageant beauty remain. I asked her if she still considers modelling and acting, especially acting, as it is never too late to start. Her response was in the negative. She said she presently prefers showing off her beauty to her husband. Acting? Do not let her husband hear of it!
I judge she now prefers to be among the crowd – unknown.
There is the story of ‘Japanese’. He got the sobriquet from his extra-ordinary knowledge of electronics. In his secondary school days, he was celebrated as an electronic whizz-kid, constructing small electronic gadgets. He was regularly featured in a talent-hunt programme on the local television, where he displayed and explained his wonderful works. His dream was to set up his own factory after his higher education – big dream, good dream. He was our own Bill Gates. He was encouraged and his ambition enthused.
In his O/L examination, he managed to squeeze his way through with five credit passes. He could not be offered his intended course of electronic engineering at the university becomes his JAMB score was low. So, he was offered physics, instead. It was assumed that, perhaps, he was better at practical than theory. It was okay, we encouraged him, after all, Bill Gates is a university dropout!
But Japanese did not last three years at the university. He could not face the academic rigours. The year he was supposed to be in his third year, we heard he was then in Germany, ‘hustling’, doing what nobody knew. He now has a German wife and a kid over there, hustling for some years now. We have not seen his factory. Maybe he will build it when he returns or, perhaps, somebody else will.
Of course, not every great dream dies – or will die. Some see the light of day. There are some of my contemporaries who dreamt big, are realising it and are dreaming bigger. They are in the financial, oil and entertainment sectors among others. There are also sportsmen who have gone to colour Europe and America with their glorious names. They had big dreams. They have attained them. And they are dreaming bigger and greater and higher dreams. And some are not even thirty yet!
And finally the last category to which I belong. We have big dreams. We want to rule the world, have it in our pocket. We want to be this and that on a very large scale. We want to explode. While the explosion may be taking too long, we trudge on still, shifting the target date each time it gets closer but achievement not in sight. The older we grow, the little the achievement but the bigger the dream. What an irony!
But my type continued working and dreaming. Suddenly – or so it seemed – we found ourselves in our thirties: some no fame, others no fortune. Some have neither wife nor kids. Celebrity-style marriage became pipe dream. That was when the race began. Some of us put our live-in doll in the family way to become live-in ‘wife’. Others who insisted on getting ‘really’ married before producing kids, went for corner-corner marriage: a very low budget and sudden marriage ceremony with limited IVs (some even no IVs) and no publicity. For any among the few invited guests who could not make it, the guy would grumble to him about not witnessing his marriage ceremony, blah blah blah, whereas, deep inside him, he is pleased that such a guy could not attend because it would not have lived up to the guy’s expectations of the new bridegroom. Waffarians would say: ‘No mind am. He don dodge go marry. Make e for no lost’. But to the young groom, ‘Na you sabi-o’. But the fact really is that the noted dreamer-boy has begun a life of a husband and prospective fatherhood. While some bachellor big dreamers are still talking about ‘ the doll’ or ‘ my doll’, corner-cornergroom is now talking about ‘ the wife’ or ‘my wife’.
The consolation for the real highlife dreamer who could not get married like he had always dreamt, is that, perhaps, by the fifth marriage anniversary, fortune would have smiled on him and the anniversary celebration would be a bang, making up for the ideal marriage ceremony he never had. But the groove goes on for both corner-corner groom and the big-dream bachellor. Some struggled and bought car but it is more at the workshop than on the road. But, still, the hustling goes on, the dream goes on!
I do not know how he got my number, but a couple of years back, a long-time-no-see pal of mine who settled in Maiduguri after his NYSC assignment, called and wanted to know how I was faring with the wife and kids. Not married yet, I replied. What make of car? he asked.
‘No be only car. Na Caterpillar. I get bicycle self?’
I do not know how great your dream is. But if you dream very big, let us work hard at it. Let us be realistic. Let the effort commensurate with the dream. Let us not give up hope. But let us not lose sight of the importance of time. Let us tell somebody of our dream. The best dreams – or so I heard – are in the cemetery. Most great minds went away with their dreams because they kept them to themselves. Keep on dreaming, keep on working hard for us to meet in stardom!