I am presently at Uzuakoli Uruala for the internment of Chuka Rudy Ngonadi, a fine soul, an intellectual and literary power house.
How did I meet Barrister Chuka?
Facebook. Fortunately, Chuka was one of the few that guzzled my write ups and went a step further by commenting and encouraging me during my budding days as a weekly columnist here on My Mind Snaps. Unfortunately, apart for our virtual meeting on Facebook, we have never met in person.
But today we will be meeting, I intend to say hi to him and remind him of his words of validation in those hey days when I was a nobody in the literary world.
Every writer, no matter how modest and humble he appears, hungers for recognition, medals and awards. But in absence of recognition, every writer augments with words of validation. Every writer massages his ego with validation and respects any soul that gives him this validation. Without validation, a true writer will go berserk, mad and angry. Angry with the society and humanity for not recognising and acknowledging his craft and expertise.
I as a writer did not go mad because of people like Chuka who saw me as a master sculptor of words. He and a few others described my write ups in superlatives that swelled my hungry stomach, encouraged my tired ego and rehabilitated my literary self esteem in those early days when I was still trying to grasp the method to my literary madness.
Now, you understand why I left my base to pay my last respect today to Chuka whom I have never seen or met: A young man whom I do not have his phone number nor know any member of his family. Aside Walter, I do not think we share any mutual friend. Now you understand why I will speak to his lifeless body before it will be lowered into the mother earth. Now you understand why I will sit here with strangers I have not met, waiting in painful grief for the remains of this fine young man that gave me literary breath and recognition before others acknowledged the potency of my shock therapy.
As I wait introspectively, I am reminscing on what life is all about. What is life? Why are we here in this atmospheric space? Are we here to put smiles on the faces of our family members and tribes alone? Or are we here to feed those who are hungry and give them water irrespective of where they are from? If we are here because of the later, then Chuka fulfilled his mission. He gave me literary water when I was thirsty for validation. He gave me spiritual food of love when others were waiting for me to hit the limelight before they come singing their hypocritical lies, “I knew you will make it”. Chuka didn’t wait for me to die like Esiaba Irobi before he gave me his laurels in recognition of my skills.
The world is a stage and we are all actors. You have acted your part and you aced it despite it was a short role. Fortunately, it is not how long your part is in this theatre of life that counts rather it is what you did with what was given to you. Yours was a short part and you killed it. I and many others are here today as a testament to your short but impactful life.
Jee nke oma Chuka nwa Sir Fidelis Ngonadi!
Written by Tobe Osigwe