By Amie Sillah
They exchanged pleasantries and left as Jonsi stayed behind with her parents.
She went to her husband and found him counting bundles of money and she startled.
“Where does all this money come from?” She asked trembling.
“Munku’ woman! Count!” He gave her the money. Naa counted until she became exhausted and he laughed at her.
“Are you not a ‘munku’ woman? Our in-law gave it to me for the family upkeep.”
“I’ve never seen such amount of money but all the same Jonsi is very fragile and tender she is not yet ready to marry and live with a husband.”
“Who says so? How old were you when I marry you? A woman can never be small in her matrimonial home; Antu is God sent I was thinking who to sell this lioness/tigress to? Now an appropriate suitor came and you are still grumbling? No one can make me lose such an opportunity woman and moreover, he has agreed to help me educate my son up to university level.” He announced with excitement.
“He is a ‘big and rich’ man full of influence in the city Sorgi explained.”
“I am very tired of counting much I’ve never seen such an amount of cash in my whole life.”
“This money can help us buy all our foodstuff needs for the whole year and still some will be left if we manage it well.”
Naa took a deep sigh and said aside;
“Nothing can be done to save my daughter I am very worried about her size, age and temperament.” She looked up and prayed to Allah to save her daughter.
“Women have no protection but always used as bargaining chip. I am very apprehensive with this Antu of a man I just cannot place it.”
“When are our in-laws coming to enable me to inform our kindred from either side?” Naa asked.
“In a month’s time precisely 15th of next month they promise to pay the dowry you can now go and inform our kindred also inform my younger brother to come and answer me.”
The Marriage Ceremony
Antu’s emissaries came in full force and paid everything necessary for the rites associated with the ceremony and Baa’s family was thrilled. The first gift money was undisclosed according to Baa and Naa they don’t want evil eyes and tongue to focus at them.
But gossip has it that it was over a million dalasi with a lot of clothes, shoes and jewelry.
She was expensively dressed with her bridesmaids in ‘ashobi’ and Jaha was her chief bridesmaid. Jonsi was shy and apprehensive and refused to mingle with anyone. Naa Jumpfi went into her bedroom to get her out.
“Jonsi this is your great day and you have to come out and mingle with the guests who are here for you, you are getting married today.”
“Naa I am very confused! What is marriage?”
“Marriage is what every woman/girl prays for and as for you your husband is very rich and influential who is going to take your family out of poverty and your children and yourself will enjoy a life of affluence and influence unlike us who only know a life of struggle. It also means you have to be open, accommodating and submissive to your husband and family all the time. Now come out and enjoy yourself.”
She came out enjoyed and danced to the music. Her siblings and village friends are in awe of her. Antu and his city friends as well as uncle Sorgi showered the bride with new notes as she dance to her favourite tune. Villagers were marveled about the amount of cash display.
Return to the City
Antu calls his mansion a ‘palace’ but the inmates are all treated as ‘slaves’ especially his security gateman whom he flogs at will if he offends him.
He is very submissive and literally does everything to please his master but still he treats him like a dog.
He came from work and asked after his wife.
“Where is Jonsi?”
“She is inside sir!”
“Are you sure?”
“Very sure sir!”
Antu played on his psychology.
“In my village we have a charm if you tell me a lie I’ll know and will so deal with you that you’ll wish never to have been borne.” He threatened. Umpa trembled as he concurred.
Antu summoned his wife and lectured her.
“I’ve taken you out of the bush and you should be grateful for that; there are many city babes but I preferred to go into the bush to get a bride because of your freshness and purity. I am expecting you to be submissive and accommodating to my excesses; I don’t want you to be close to anyone without my consent you are my wife and I own you, am I understood?” Jonsi nodded her head.
Antu brought out the stuff he bought from the market and Jonsi examined them.
“Are you familiar with the stuff?” He asked her.
She examined them further and hesitated.
“Are you sure that you’ll be able to cook some delicacy for me? Be frank if you cannot.”
After hesitation she said;
“I can cook some delicacy for you.”
“Okay let us go to the kitchen and I show you the gadgets.”
At the Kitchen
It is a modern kitchen which needs some sophistication even with city babes. He showed her every item and how to use it while he hid in the background to see what she was doing.
As soon as she was alone in the kitchen she became very confused first with the food stuff then the cooking gadgets.
She examined the huge cabbage then hissed, while examining the frozen chicken legs which she put at the sink to defreeze, and then she came to the problem of the gadgets which confused her all the more. She stood for a while as she did not know what to do.
He was not convinced that Jonsi can handle his modern kitchen and foodstuff. He stood for a while then came out to scold her.
“So you cannot cook! Why did you lie to me? Do you want to poison me?”
She defended herself.
“I am not familiar with the food items especially that huge white stuff. I can cook village delicacies and you can attest to it when I cook for Uncle Sorgi.”
“You mean the cabbage? But you lied that you can cook from the food items you cannot even used the gadgets.” He scolded.
To be Cont.