Maryam had just walked into the parlour, tray in hand, when I lifted my phone to her and asked angrily. ‘Just what do you think these people are trying to prove?’ ‘Which people? Let me put the tray down and have a look because from here I can’t see what you are trying to show me.’ She replied, moving close enough to put the tray of refreshments on the stool next to me.
‘Okay, let me see’ she said, reaching out to collect my phone.
‘Kai, Nigerians, we seem to always make news for the wrong reasons. I honestly don’t know what they are trying to prove besides engaging on obscene extravagance.’ She opined, after she viewed the photo and read the news story accompanying it.
‘I’m not sure extravagance explains it. I mean when you spend in excess but either you yourself or others will gain from it, is what one calls extravagance. But when you decorate yourself with money, ostensibly claiming it’s a wedding garland, what are you trying to say? Is that another way to show happiness at one’s wedding or to insult the poor folks who made it to the venue with great difficulty due to the state of their finances? It just doesn’t make the least sense that this couple decided to decorate their necks with money, on their wedding day, when the gesture serves no purpose but to infuriate their guests.’ I concluded.
‘But are you sure they are Nigerians? I know the story says Nigerian couple but it didn’t say the venue or town where the wedding took place. For all we know, they might be citizens of a country where this kind of decoration is quite normal.’ Maryam argued.
‘Didnt you look at the bride’s neck? The notes on her currency garland are all Nigerian legal tender. They are our 500 and 200 naira notes. It is the man’s garland that can raise doubts about their nationality because they are all American dollar bills. But I guess that’s his way of saying that he is financially stronger and he only deals in foreign currency.’ I observed.
‘No Bint, it’s actually the other way round. If they did it like Indians do then she was the one who gave him the dollar bills chain while he must have given her the naira notes chain because they were supposed to exchange garlands. Which goes to prove that it was the bride who found him too good for our national currency, while he rated her in Naira.’ Maryam declared.
‘What an unfortunate situation. Anyway I hope she learns a lesson from this, that the man doesn’t think as highly of her as she does of him.’ I stated.
‘To me what they think of each other is irrelevant and immaterial compared to what they want us to think by wearing their gouchy money necklace.’ She said.
‘I can only guess that they are trying to announce their arrival into real money, including hard currency, that’s why they decided to dress with it.’ I suggested. ‘Unfortunately there are better and more rewarding ways to announce their arrival into real money than by assaulting the sensibilities of their guests. One way is to convert the money chain into smaller notes and donate to poor relatives and other needy guests at the wedding. And another way will be for them to copy the example of a Turkish couple. About two or three years ago a young Turkish couple got married. But they did something both innovative and humanitarian to celebrate it. After the marriage rituals, they took the wedding feast to a refugee camp hosting Syrians who fled the war in their country. About four thousand refugees were fed delicious wedding feast, personally served by the bride and groom, in takeaway packs, while their parents watched. Now this is a good way to celebrate your wedding, and if it’s necessary to show that you are now rich enough to afford certain things.’ Maryam offered.
‘You are right Maryam and I sincerely hope that no one in Nigeria or elsewhere will ever try to emulate this Nigerian couple because theirs is just a show of senselessness. Meanwhile I also hope that people will copy the example of the Turkish couple especially since we have numerous IDP camps spread in different parts of the country.’ I prayed.
‘Amin to that Bint but knowing how our people think and their propensity for show off they will certainly be more people ready to copy the Nigerians than the Turkish, after all like Ola Rotimi said some people really have madness in their livers and I believe we have a lot of them here.’ She replied, smiling at me.
‘Don’t you mean “madness in their hearts” or maybe heads?’ I asked smiling back.
‘No, he wrote madness in someone’s liver, in his book ‘The Gods are not to blame”, and I feel no need to change a good idiom just because it doesn’t sound scientifically right.’ She replied, smiling again.