iNdigO by MOLARA WOOD
“Don’t give me that! What kind of woman chooses not to have a child?”
This was the question posed to Idera by a supposed super authority on babies. Idera is a young, married, elitist woman who was of the notion that having children was not a priority for newly-weds. She wanted to enjoy her husband first without the intrusion of children. The fact that she stayed in London also made her comfortable with her stand. The demise of her father-in-law however brought about some changes which included relocating back to Nigeria. The move back to Nigeria was a rude awakening to her that her stand while it was taken for granted in Western societies, African societies saw it as a huge anomaly. Idera’s battle between maintaining her stand, to her gradual realization that things had gone out of her control and her eventual compromise to listen to what people were saying is what Ms. Wood detailed in ‘Indigo’, one of the stories in the collection.
A collection of short stories told from the perspectives of different characters, ‘indigo’ features some stories that are very reminiscent of those folktales told to us by our parents, grandparents or elderly relatives. Spanning across various themes like love, superstition versus reality, tradition, and poverty, indigo aims to tell the story of the common man and the sophisticated; the battle between tradition and modernism.
‘Written in stone’, one of the stories, is written in a narrative that leaves the reader begging for more. Adenike was set on going to Jenwi to see for herself whether the rumours she heard concerning her espoused fiancé marrying another woman was true. Little did she know that she was about to have an experience that would alter the course of her life forever. The way ‘the legend of the stone lioness’ was resurrected in this story is particularly telling of the ingenuity of the story teller.
Ms. Wood doesn’t just tell folklores she also relates with the current economic realities facing Nigeria and Nigerians. ‘In Name Only; Leaving Oxford Street; The Last Bus Stop and Beautiful Game’ all enunciates that feeling of alienation, that battle of acceptance or rejection, camouflaging and the perpetual anxiety of getting the ‘green card’ that accompanies living in a foreign country. ‘Kelemo’s Woman gives a little insight into the lives of activists and the people that love them. ‘The Scarcity of Common Goods’ is a little admonition on being empathetic with others in their varying conditions or situations because we do not determine how the tide of life turns.
Reading through the book one gets the feeling that the author is trying to pass a strong message of the relevance/import of our traditions in today’s world. The author did not seek to impose her opinion on the reader but rather subtly through her stories she emphasized that no matter how far you go or how sophisticated you become, your roots still play a strong influence on you.