I walked towards my sitting room cautiously, wondering which visitor it was who asked for my TV’s remote control even before she asked of me.
At least that was how my house-help narrated the story in my bedroom.
‘Assalamu alaikum,’ I said, on reaching the room.
Then she raised her head and I saw that it was my neighbour, Maman Humairah, who was seated on the settee fiddling with my remote control.
‘Amin wa alaikis salam Hajiya Bint. Sorry I dropped in unannounced.’ She answered, rising up to shake my hand.
‘No problem Maman Humairah. You are welcome. How are you and the family?’ I asked, moving on to sit next to her.
‘We are fine alhamdulilLah. I had to rush here without calling first, because the programme I want to watch is starting in a few minutes.
‘That’s why I said I’ll explain everything to you when I arrive.’ She replied, hurriedly.
‘I see, what’s going on that’s so special you don’t want to miss it?’ I enquired.
‘What you should be asking, Hajiya Bint, is why I’m here to watch it rather than at home.’ She responded.
‘Well I didn’t want to sound impolite but it did occur to me that it’s strange you should want to watch a programme here and not at your own home.’ I replied.
‘Wallahi Alhaji just did the unthinkable yesterday. He simply blocked Zee World from our DSTV package. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect Alhaji to go that far.’ She declared, unhappily.
‘But why? Did he tell you why he did it?’ I asked.
‘Yes, he said it’s our punishment for keeping him hungry.’ She answered her eyes glued to the screen.
‘You kept Alhaji hungry, how come?’ I demanded.
‘Look, it wasn’t even my fault because I was not on duty.
‘It’s my co-wife’s turn to cook.
‘But since he went to his office as usual at 9am and he usually returns home after 5.30, my co-wife and I, along with his sister and her adult daughter all converged in our sitting room to watch our favourite Indian series on Zee World.
‘Suddenly, at 3pm, Alhaji stormed the house and demanded lunch.
‘My co-wife did not even put the meat on fire because she believed she had two more hours to go.
‘When our cook finished the general meal, Rabi quickly supervised the sharing and came back to join us in watching the series.
‘But Alhaji’s meal has to be cooked by us, not the cook, so we always delay it till later, which enables us to watch our films in peace.
‘Suddenly, Alhaji showed up over two hours early and demanded his lunch.
‘Of course we didn’t know what to say apart from that we weren’t expecting him back that early.
‘Needless to say, Alhaji ranted and raved and said he was going to deal with us.
‘He wondered why we couldn’t cook the lunch early and keep it, but concluded that it’s because of our obsession with Zee World series.
‘Anyway, before leaving for his room he threatened to deal with us, and before we knew what he meant Alhaji had called the DSTV office and asked for instructions on how to block Zee World and StarLife channels.
‘This morning he warned that none of us should dare to unblock those channels. Then he left for work.
‘I thought hard about how to keep up with my favourite series, then I thought of you living just two doors away and decided that I’ll be coming here to watch before I can afford to fix the cheaper Go-TV in my room.
‘Rabi decided to call her elder sister, who has a DSTV explorer decorder, and asked her to be recording all the series for her, so that on the days she’s not on duty at our house, she’ll go there to watch.
‘As for our sister-in-law, you know her son lives in our boys quarters and happens to have a Go-TV antenna in his room, she and her daughter have decided to be going there to watch those captivating series.
So at the end of the day we have all outsmarted Alhaji while he thinks he has stopped us from watching our lovely Indian series.’ She concluded, triumphantly.
‘But are they worth it? I mean I thought Alhaji’s ban will make you re-think your priorities in life.
‘There you are, four reasonable adults all glued to the same TV screen, lost in a make-believe world of intrigue and romance.
‘The two of you who are married to him were busy neglecting one of the basic duties of your lives, that is feeding your husband.
‘But instead of dwelling on what you did wrong, you are all thinking of how to by-pass Alhaji’s punitive measure and continue with your favourite pastime, behind his back. Are those series really worth the trouble?’ I queried.
‘But we didn’t do anything wrong.
‘I told you Alhaji came back early without warning.
‘What are we to do when he told no one that he was returning two hours earlier than usual?’ Maman Humairah replied, defensively.
To be continued.