The Chronicle Gambia

Nijai Sana And Fajakh Jow

…the point is, I never wronged anybody. I just woke up in the morning, tried to go about my daily business like everyone else and out of nowhere, this piece of music; this snippet from a song which I cannot for the life of me identify, decides to set up camp in my head. It probably brought along a pillian, baradaa-kaas, warrga, sukurr, and whatever else a-snippet-of-music needs to make itself comfortable within a skull. And there it stayed the whole day – this snatch of a tune. Playing over and over and over and over and over again.They call itthe earworm.

And so I consult google.

Me: How to get rid of earworm?

Google: Listen to the song

Me: I don’t know the song

Google: Good luck lady

Me: *tries to find song by google searching “ta ra ra ti ti city”*

Me: *gives up*

Me: what causes earworm?

Google: *shows a bunch of “research has shown” articles

Me:*decides to create her own explanation*

And that, readers, is how the earworm became an actual worm who lives somewhere between the brain and the skull and who in moments of great annoyance, grumpily takes a walk down to the auditory nerve to teach a lesson or two.

The worm, Nijai Sana, was reclining in his favourite chair on Sunday morning. He had spent most of Saturday night cracking groundnut shells, picking out the bad ones and grinding the rest to powder in preparation for the Sunday churaagerrteh. He’d hoped to recover some lost sleep before he set about cooking the mouthwatering churaa. He had the sowe on standby, getting more curdled as the minutes went by –  just the way he liked it, thick and buttery.

He sank deeper into the soft cushions, slid his sumbuya off his head, laid it on his tummy and closed his eyes. His chin slowly advanced towards his chest as he slid deeper into sleep. Just as he reached that point of absolute darkness, that place of sweet non-existence, when his chin finally rested on his chest, it came erupting through the air! He flew right out of the chair in shock and came crashing down, breaking the chair to splinters.

Shatta Wale’s song, “Thunder Fire”,came flooding the spaces: “Thundafaaaya!! Dem dumdumdumdum, demdemdumdumdumdum!!”

Apparently, Nijai Sana’s oblivious human host (herein after referred to as FajakhJow) had decided to begin the day by sending thunder to her foes and naysayers. On repeat too!

And while poor, sleepy Nijai Sana in futility tried to keep out the loud music assaulting his ears by stuffing them with candle stubs and pieces of clothing, hyperactive FajakhJow was singing along loudly and rigorously dancing to the fast paced tune. Which wasn’t helping at all, as the unfortunate worm was being jolted and thrown this way and that. Poor Sana, all he wanted was a quiet, churaagerrteh-filled Sunday.

After about a lifetime of agony, the music stopped as Fajakh got ready to get in the shower. Nijai Sana wasted no time! No one messes with him and gets away just like that. “mann ken duma torohal” he said as he gathered his chaya about himself. He was about to give this lady a taste of her own medicine.

He grabbed his staff from the corner it had rolled into during the turmoil and indignantly wriggled off to the archives. (As you might already know, worms don’t walk, they wriggle. This staff isn’t for walking, it is for stretching vertically – to reach things)

The Archives

That place in your head where you store all the information that you are not in constant need of. Books you read in 2006, the time you got off the taxi and “forgot” to pay the driver, when Mr. Kargbo found the letter you wrote to your crush in 6th Grade, the song that goes “oh Aisha, I love you so much” etc.

Each type of memory has a ceiling-length shelf dedicated to it.

Chuckling at the thought of what he was about to do, Nijai Sana wriggled right to the shelf labelled “Catchy Tunes”. He trailed the collection with his wormy finger, murmuring to himself as decided what record was most suitable for his cause.

He picked a song,the name of which he was certain Fajakh won’t remember and walked back through the damp hallway to his chamber to fetch his weathered gramophone.

All this while, oblivious Fajakh was lathering down. As she got ready to rinse off, a tune slipped into her head. It was pleasant. The water felt good. And so she hummed. She hummed while she pulled her little toe away from the rest so that the water could trickle through. She hummed while she struggled to squeeze droplets of lotion out of the empty jar. She hummed while she unstuck the piece of gum she had stuck on the edge of the dresser for later use and popped it in her mouth. She hummed and she hummed and she hummed.

Meanwhile, Nijai Sana has set up his gramophone in the little room by the auditory nerve, the room he maintains just for moments like this. He sat on a stool and stirred his churaagerrteh, grinning sheepishly while he patiently waited for maximum impact.

Four hours later, Fajakh was still humming this tune and she was getting quite tired of it. When she forced herself to stop humming, it went on playing in her head undeterred, always stopping and starting over before betraying any hint of what song it is from. And so Fajakhsuffered, from the frustration of desperately wanting to know and not knowing. She could think of nothing else. She would find no peace until she figures out what song this persistent tune is from. She paced up and down. She tried to make the laundry lady listen to her hum, in hopes that she will have a clue. She played the songs on her playlist one after the other, trying to find a match. She moaned and groaned and complained. She got angry and then got angrier because she wasn’t sure who to be angry with.

Now, Nijai Sana might be a sour faced little man with a temper and vengeful tendencies but he is not cruel or unkind. So when he got done cooking the porridge and took it off the heat to add sugar, he became quite cheerful at the thought of eating the sumptuous meal all by himself. He took the opportunity to catch that “quick” snooze while Fajakh was still distracted. When he woke up four hours later, he wriggled over to the gramophone and replaced the record which was playing a short extract off the beat from YoussouNdour’s “Immigres – BittimReww”, with the record bearing the complete version of the song.

In that moment, desperate Fajakh remembered with a gasp of disbelief, the song to which the annoying tune belongs.

She showered praise upon her unconquerable genius and her splendid memory as she searched for the song and played it.

Nijai Sana laughed at it all, causing his “sowe”-splattered facial features to pucker up like a chicken’s behind.

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