Archive for April 19, 2008

Dreams and promises

Infront of the Olympia light, stood two girls. Young, pretty, skinny. Waiting for a taxi and… fighting! Not a serious fight. Rather, a playful fight. The kind you fight with your spouse when it suddenly hits you how much you enjoy their company. Or with a female roommate, as Joey and Chandler of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. would have it no other way, in bras and using a pillow.

One had a short and curly hair French-styled perhaps an hour or so ago. The other had a long hair that rose and fall on her shoulder every time she threw a playful punch at her friend’s arm. Which was being fended off by her friend who was laughing as if she was unaware of the world around them. This included a minibus holding yours truly and a handful other travelers; a “Woyala” lighting a cigarette and calling for new comers to join us; a pregnant lady looking bored; a ‘santim azwari’ boy who also sold the Nyala and provided the lighter; a young man using his chest as a shelf for books he also carried in a duffle bag on his back waiting, perhaps, for a bus-home after a long and fruitless day; and two young men who look as if they were on their way to a hot spot somewhere. One wearing a hat that hid half his face and, along with the colorful attire and pointed shoe, completed whatever look he was aiming for (gangsterish? Pimpish?!). The other, clean shaven and neat in an expensive light-colored sweater (the kind of neat and sweater that bespeaks of good-upbringing and well-earning parents) had tiny dreads that lent him that “feminine” look guys with dreads have, making them cute, also waiting for a taxi. They obviously were, what in literature is called, ‘the target audience’ for the pillow-fight-save-for-the-pillow the girls had going on.

Not many of us knew what neither Jemanesh Solomon, nor Alemneh Wasse looked liked when we loved them for years. Yet, that didn’t stop us from considering them as part of our family and, in Jemanesh vs. young men all over Ethiopia of the time case atleast, the ideal person for “..a bed fellow, in marriage pleasures playfellow” (as Shakespeare would say). Which is why, by the way, that other girl who copied her voice on Fana Radio and always reads love stories off disgusting love letters in a sing-along voice got the job to begin with. We did not love them [only] because she made us cry, and he made us laugh. We loved them because they had beautiful voices that made “promises” all on its own. The kind of voice that you’d like to curl in and go to sleep, in his case, and the kind of voice a woman who needs a man to save her in hers. So women loved him, coz they needed a man to make them feel like a woman, and men loved her because she represented the Ethiopian version of a damsel in distress. To men, he sounded like the ‘it’ guy. And to girls she sounded like the “yet to be the ‘it’ girl, the minute her gallant gentleman rescued her”. [The classic!]

So we loved these people. Seeing what we want in them. Or seeing what we want to be seen-as in their voice. Or in it’s promises!. Until such time came for them to come out of their shell — to disappoint us. Fortunately, Alemneh knew what our reaction would be before he came to Alebe’s show. Where he was asked by the tactless and rather slow host, nefsun yimarewna, why he wanted to remain anonymous as long as he did, with an admonishing “ahun ante minih yaastelal?!”. Alemneh’s response: it wasn’t so much about his looks (which, let’s be honest, didn’t show much in the way of improvement even now, after he dumped his pretty wife) but what his voice promised [a promise he and his mediocre look can never hope to live upto]. (more…)

April 19, 2008 at 2:49 pm 5 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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April 2008

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