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Danbuzza

There are some people you meet in life and you couldn’t forget them in a hurry. Danbuzza is one of such characters. So many things intrigue us about different characters and these are what I call the beauty of life.

Danbuzza is from the Pharaoh’s land. He is about sixty years old. He smokes very slim cigarettes. He is always having a brew on his left hand and he drinks with dignity. He attaches a lot of importance to his brew and cigarettes. He never smokes his cigarettes in a hurry and is extremely displeased when you interrupt him during a smoking session.

He takes food very seriously as he does with every other thing. He has a special way he knots his ties and this is unique to him alone. He is an engineer by profession – a metallurgical engineer and he heads a vocational school on Saadiyat Island.

Danbuzza takes his breakfast very seriously. He normally has a five course meal prepared for him by his American wife and they lock their office door to have this breakfast. It has always been a puzzle to me why they would lock the office door to have breakfast.

Each time I went to see him, I would knock and wait for about two minutes before the door is opened and when once the door is opened I would be ushered in to a stench of cigarettes in the room and breakfast spread over his office desk. I could never get over this experience.

The minute I walked into the room, they would invite me to join them for breakfast which I always declined and the wife would always insist. Danbuzza would be behind the computer on his desk working or pretending to work.

What actually brought me and Danbuzza together was our secondment to the Sadit Steel factory in the Iffah district of Sadit county. We were to report here every morning at 8am and we were scheduled to work till three in the afternoon. But Danbuzza always arrived late to work.  It used to beat my imagination. As the team leader he should be setting good example but he never minded. He seemed to know how to play his cards. I remember one morning having a conversation with him, while waiting for the bus to convey us from the main gate to the cabin hut. He told me “listen Akpan, I have lived in this island for twenty two years and I have learnt how to withstand the wave.”

“When you see a big wave coming at you what would you do?” he asked me.

I stood there speechless staring at him. I was just so taken aback at that question.

He said “would you withstand it or would you flow with it and bob with it?”

I guess it made sense to bob with the wave, so I said “bob with the wave”.

He went on “that is it”.

“I cannot stand the big wave, so I will bob with the wave”.

This made a lot of sense to me.

As we were standing I noticed that his zipper was down and the face of the pant open slightly. I pointed it to him and he went “oh men”. He quickly zipped it up and continued with what he was saying.

This was the fifth time I have seen his zipper down in the mornings and it has always been the mornings he has arrived late to work.

Danbuzza is married to two wives. One lives in the ancient city of Moran while he lives with the newer wife on Sadit Island. He has never made any mistake about declaring his love for his second wife, Ellysa. Anytime he goes to Moran to spend time with his first wife, Ellysa would ensure that he was thoroughly worn out and drenched so that when he arrived there he spent the whole time resting and recuperating and leaving poor Ntiman in a state of malnourishment.

Ntiman has four children for him and he just had a new baby two months ago.

When he told me he just had a new baby, I thought ‘darn’! At sixty, this man is still so active, whoa! Then there is some hope for me then. I am only forty and by sixty it means I will still be active.

There are so many things that bother a man’s mind, some of them are purely being nosy. Like I used to wonder –  how could this man at this age be this active? He has a sizeable abdominal bulge. When he walks over a short distance he is literarily panting and gasping for breath, how could he fulfill his obligations under such a strain of un-fitness.

As if he read my mind, one day I asked him. “Say how do you cope with two women knowing what your religion says”.

“What does my religion say?” he asked me.

“Well you have to treat the women you are married to equally. Whatever you do to one, you must do to the other.”

He admitted that that was the truth. He then turned around and asked me “Can you control matters of the heart?”

“I don’t know” I responded.

I went on about “I was just saying to you what your religion says”.

He quickly quipped in “I Know, but matters of the heart cannot be controlled”.

I guess …what he said  seemed to make sense.

“But how do you justify what your religion says then?”

“One of the scholars and clerics has postulated that you cannot control matters of the heart and I have followed this particular cleric so when God asks me on the day of Judgment I will tell Him that one of your clerics told me this and I believed him”.

He continued “That way the punishment is off me if there was any”.

“Hmmn” I said.

“But on a secular note how do you keep up with two women?”

He said to me that people from the Pharaoh’s land are known for eating fuul food. He said this food gives the man extra boost to his lower muscles so the man can cope with his obligations.

He even invited me to join him for a meal of fuul which I declined.  Why did I decline? I wasn’t too sure. Did I not trust him enough to believe what he told me or was I scared of the aftermath of the meal? Whatever the case I just did not go for it.

The last time I went to visit him in his office, it took about three minutes for the door to be opened. The same scenario replayed itself out. Food on the table, stench of cigarette and windows opened. But something unusual I observed this time around, there was another door that led to a toilet. And there was some water on the floor. A closer look at Ellysa showed some water dripping from her hair.

Aha! I thought, this must be it.

 

10 Comments

  1. Thank you Umana for this story. First person narratives can be challenging but you artistically knitted it together.

    Danbuzza is the real man in a world where religion has become a metaphor for pretence. The narrator seems to be judgemental to the careless ears of this archetypal epicurean.

    However, he seems to me that he is a sabotage, in that he receives salaries but not dedicated to duty.

    I am afraid that his satyromania seems to catch up with his inordinate inclination towards sex hence water is used as a tranquilising force for a drained wife!

    The likes of Danbuzza abound in the society and one hardly understands what they stand for. They are victims of a decaying society which they proudly identify with to finish off in a mess!

    • Thanks Prof Osademe for this incisive and analytical piece. You are truly a son of your father. You haven’t changed at all. You have always been that voice that refused to be squashed. Now your voice is emerging stronger and louder. Well done prof!

  2. Interesting piece Sir!
    I personally think Mr. Danbuzza is a man who is simply ‘enjoying’ his life and he is taking each day as it comes.lol
    By the way, the narrator got to solve the puzzle of why the office door is always closed and opened minutes after and in extension, why Mr. Danbuzza’s zipper is always down.lol

  3. The story was looking like an ordinary but fascinating story to be read for what it was and then put aside until we got to the last three lines when it became gripping.What was it about the water dripping from Elyssa,s hair that caught attention.It was at this point in the story that initially looked ordinary demanded the serious attention that befits a truly interesting story.I could not now wait for its continuation which I hope is coming

    • Thanks kuya Babs. That’s the question. What is it about the water dripping from Ellysa’s hair.
      Well it is symbolic in the religion of Islam. After intimacy, the woman has to have a wash…

  4. This story is quite pleasure-oriented; from food to smoke and sex. And Dambuza has copious amounts of all. Lol.

    I think it’s uncanny how this character is like an ostrich when approached on the subject of keeping two wives and treating them both equally. Imagine him saying if God were to ask him, he’d simply say he was following some cleric; and thus avert punishment.
    Naughty man.

    I wonder though, is the symbolism of purification after intercourse for women only? My friend told me her ex used to always wash afterwards and this made her feel like their copulation was “filth”. So I assumed it was an Islamic injunction that had to do with keeping one’s self clean for prayers.
    Besides Elyssa, Dambuza’s second wife is American. Is she also Muslim?

    When I read the end I didn’t immediately think “purification”. I thought they were doing it in the shower, thus her hair got wet. If it had been purification then her hair ought to have been wet each time Mr Akpan interrupted then with his morning visits.

    That Mr Akpan sef… why was he always disturbing people’s delicious breakfast?! 😂

    • Wow Iquo, what an analysis. Phew!! You have asked some very pertinent questions – the issue of purification is for both male and female adults. It has to do with purifying one self after intimacy and also ablution(before prayers).
      Yes, Elyssa is a Muslim.
      Doing it in the shower is another angle to it. Which is what makes literature beautiful.
      Now that is the question – this Mr. Akpan sef, why was he always disturbing people’s delicious breakfast?
      I taya for Mr. Akpan…

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