FOREWORD: This is a series that at one time trended as Eketi Ette’s Facebook posts. Now, I’m bringing them to you on #MyMindSnaps. In the style that is uniquely Eketi’s, the story is hilarious and Nigerian. That’s right! You heard me. This real Cinderella story is Naija-based. So check on it and enjoy.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Babalola and a woman named Ella. They fell in love with each other and had a beautiful daughter named Chinda Ella Babalola—Cinderella for short. This little family was so full of love for each other, that their love created an anti-gravitational bubble of protection around them. However, one month, they forgot to update the subscription on their Bubble of Love. So when the subscription expired, Chinda’s mother took ill and died. It was such a sad thing. When I heard what had happened, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Eh yah.”
The only good thing out of this tragedy was that father and daughter had each other. They consoled themselves and shouldered one another’s grief. With time, they soon bounced back and their lives went on almost in the same manner it had, before Mother Ella passed away. That is, until the arrival of his new wife; Lady Teremena, that was her name.
She was a widow, who arrived at the Babalolas’ residence with her two daughters, Anastasia and Drusilla. I don’t know what was wrong with Cinderella’s father, but the man must have drunk a little Sapele water for him to have thought of remarriage. It didn’t take long before his new wife, together with her daughters, turned Cindy’s life to hell fire.
View Years Later. Sorry, I mean, Few Years Later.
It was bad enough he gave her a terrible new mother, but he now added insult to injury and went and died. Who does that? His distraught little girl was now left to the mercy of the three wicked women. Without her father to protect her, Cindy was soon turned to a housemaid – a Jacqueline of all trades. She cooked, washed, swept, cleaned, sewed, made their hair, and even mended their shoes.
One day, while she was scrubbing the kitchen floor, Lady Teremena called to her from the parlour.
“Better! Today, my daughters and I are attending a party in Aso Rock. Yes, Prezidenshal Villa! The Igwe of Nigeria wants his son, Obong Chukwudi Oghenekevbe Pepple, to choose a wife.”
“Ah, Mama, I heard o. Can I come?”
“Shattap dia! Who is your mama?” Stepmother Teremena asked, lips curled in extreme annoyance. “Which clothes will you wear? I said the young Amayanabo is choosing a wife, not looking for a maid. Before I come back, make sure you pluck all the waterleaves, prepare a big pot of Afang soup, grind the millet, wash all the ten bathrooms in this house, weed the compound –”
“But I weeded it last wee–”
“Don’t interrupt me when I’m talking,” her stepmother retorted. “Weed it again. Also, don’t forget to prepare some Okoho soup for me. I shall eat it with my tuwo shinkafa when I return.”
At that point, Cinderella’s heart sank to the level of her tattered Dunlop slippers. She began to wail, “E gbami o…eka mmi o! I don die o!”
But her stepmother and sisters paid her no mind. Dressed in the latest creations of Louwitt Vittong, Farsashee, and bathed in expensive Guchi perfumes, they sailed through the doors of their stately mansion, boarded the Hummer Jeep with alloy wheels and sped off to the Villa.
Cindy had no choice but to go to the backyard and start weeding. As she dragged the hoe across the ground, she burst into a song appropriate for her condition – Why Me Lord by Shaggy. As she was doing so, she was suddenly startled by a loud, rustling sound from the top of one of the orange trees. When she looked up, she saw an old woman swinging from the lowest branch.
I will spare you the details of how she gave a terrified scream and asked the woman if she was a witch. Neither will I tell you of how she calmed down enough to let the woman explain that she was her fairy godmother. I will bore you if I add the details of how she told the woman her stories of woe, which the woman already knew about.
“Don’t worry, my daughter. You gonna go to that parry,” Fairy Godmother said.
“But how? I don’t have anything to wear. All my mother’s cord laces and Vlisco material have been confiscated by that wicked woman. Even the Swiss lace I was saving for my wedding day, she cut it up and made me sew identical bum shorts for her asinine daughters.”
“Fogerrabourrit,” Fairy Godmother said, waving away her concern. “I have correct otumokpo. I will make a dress for you that will surpass the Swiss lace.”
Clearing her throat, she said, “Oya, lerrus do this.” She glanced about and her searching eyes found what she was looking for. She raised her wand, pointed it at two big rats that were scurrying around a nearby dustbin.
The rats were transformed into two handsome Idris Elba lookalikes. Cinderella’s mouth fell wide open. A fly hovered dangerously close to her mouth, but before it could enter inside, Fairy Godmother flung the wand at an udara aka agbalumo, which lay on the ground. Instantly, the fruit turned to a Rolls Royce Wraith. Cindy’s mouth snapped shut.
The woman turned and faced her. “Now is your turn. Are you ready?”
“Of course!” Cinderella exclaimed.
Godmother nodded, pointed her wand at Cindy and began to chant. “Jeneti ntequin…jeneti bugwee bugwee! Jeneti mmatikule mmatikuleee…Oya, kowai!”
Flash! Blinding Flash! Small thunder and lightning!
The noise and light slowly faded away, revealing a vision in Ankara.
Our beloved Cinderella had been transformed into a stunning beauty, dressed in an attire of the Benin Caliphate. Gone were her chapped hands and dry skin. Now, her skin glowed like a thousand jewels and was smoother than a baby’s bottom. Her appearance was beyond description, but I will try to paint a picture. On her head was a crown of coral beads, studded with diamonds and rubies. Her shabby dress made of abananya fabric was transformed into a first grade ball gown, made from superior first grade chiffon, and edged with Hollandis lace. Her Dunlop slippers had disappeared. Encasing her feet was an unbelievably beautiful pair of high heeled peep-toes made out of pure baccarat glass.
“Ahdonbelivit!” Cindy exclaimed. “Na me be dis? Oshe, tear leather!”
Her godmother beamed with pride as she sashayed to the Rolls Royce and climbed into in.
“Thank you so much, Fairy Godmother. I’m forever grateful.”
“Don’t mention, my child. Just have fun today and make sure that you win the heart of the Prince.”
“Win the Prince’s heart? But Ma, how shall I achieve this? With all the women who will be there, I may not even get a chance to see him!”
“Relax,” Godmother said. “I will arrange everything. Just find a way to be close to him just before midnight, because at the stroke of midnight, everything will return to what it used to be. So, when it’s a quarter to twelve, start running away from the Obong. Once you reach the palace steps, remove one of your shoes and leave it there, I will ensure that it doesn’t change. But make sure you’re back before midnight o.”
“Is that all? He will just fall in love with me because of a mere shoe?”
“Young woman, are you a learner? See, I don’t do kopnomi, please. You will have to use your brain. Engage him in intelligent conversation. Say the unexpected. Surprise him. And under no circumstances must you blush or tell him he’s handsome. You hear me so?”
“And remember, don’t be shy.”
“Why shall I shy? This is the best chance anyone’s ever given me. Don’t worry Ma. I won’t blow it.”
“That’s my girl!”
Fairy Godmother stepped aside and one of the rat-turned-man-turned-driver closed the door to the car, got in and they drove away.
TO BE CONTINUED
Meaning of terms:
*Otumokpo: magic potion guaranteed to make someone do anything.
*Kponomi: love potion indigenous to the people of Ibibio Caliphate. Once taken, can never be recovered from. Usually disguised as Edikañ ikong and Afang soup.