That was the cry to alert incoming massive bombardment of slaps on any freshly shaven gorimapa head around.
At the mention of the two syllabic word, every student at Makinde International School brought out short thick towels for the “Lighting” process to take place and those with gorimapa heads took cover to prevent heavenly bestowment of heartless slaps on their skull.
Mondays were great days for spotting new victims, as a lot of male students visited the barbershop during the weekend and the assembly ground was the best place for fishing them out.
I was a notorious bully and my specialty was in dishing out horrendous head slaps that could make the devil smirk and say to his demons “That’s my son”.
I had a gang of five boys who always hung around me and we were professionals in the business. We also made sure every weekend at the barbershop ended with us leaving with strictly “Low cut” hairstyles to avoid the wicked hands of Karma.
But, we all know Karma is a bitch.
Karma knocked on the door of my family house one morning, when my father who is a soldier suddenly returned from his annual peace mission. It was as though the spirits of all the skulls I had “lighted” in school drove him to me,
“Kayode, what nonsense is on your head? Do you and goats have a connection so much that your hair follicles now coil like goat shit?” He bellowed
“Sir, I was planning to barb it tomorrow” I replied giving an innocent look
“Get dressed now my friend!!! We are going to a barbershop”
“Yeee! This man has finished me o” I cried.
I don’t want to recount the painful experience at the barbershop because y’all will cry for me.
Fast forward to Monday Morning, The Whole School was at a standstill.
No one could believe their eyes.
The famous Kayode Babatunde alias K-Babs, with gorimapa!!!
My previous victims stared at me, craving for one moment with my head, just like how ants crave for sugar.
All I can say is that, Immediately after Assembly, Genesis 1:2 became a reality in my life because all I could see afterwards was darkness filling the earth and everywhere without form and void.
Ah! Friends will disappoint you!
My friends showed no mercy too. They descended on me like how SARS descend on guys with Iphones, like how Nigerian police officers descend on ₦50 notes from commercial bus drivers.
I was depressed throughout that week.
Something strange happened two weeks later. I was casually dressing up for school when I walked past the huge mirror in our living room. It was then I noticed that it was already two weeks since my last visit to the barbershop and yet there wasn’t a single strand of hair on my head.
After school that day, I relayed my complaints to my mother and she waved off my fears saying that it was because I always wore my head warmers which prevented air permeability and thus, resulting to my poor hair growth.
Amist the nudging feeling of doubt, I chose to believe her. But when I noticed that a month later, the situation was still the same, I raised an alarm. I wailed and cried that the barber who cut my hair had used it for rituals.
My dad came home that evening and my mom informed him about the issue at hand. He also found it strange and then decided we pay a visit to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctor kneaded and patted my head like Mama Oni- the baker on our street- does to her raw dough.
“It’s definitely Alopecia” He mumbled.
“Aloe..wetin..Aloe vera? What does Aloe vera got to do with my head?” I thought, just before I heard him say to my dad, “Sir, it seems your son has alopecia”
“Alopecia? What’s that?”
“Well, Alopecia is general term for hair loss but it seems like your son has Alopecia areata which is an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells in the body fight the hair follicles. It’s like a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body but so that we can be sure it’s not something else, I’ll refer you to a dermatologist who will give a proper diagnosis”
The dermatologist we were referred to confirmed my condition and he said there were different types of Alopecia Areata and that mine was specifically “Alopecia Totalis” which meant total loss of the hair on the scalp.
He further explained that I had a quick hair loss which was apparently biologically scheduled to start on the day I had gone to the barbershop and that a complete hair shave made the signs unnoticeable. He also added that it wasn’t a death sentence but that I have to take good care of my body by consuming the right vitamins and carrying out exercise.
That dermatologist did not know what his “Exercise” lecture caused me. He doesn’t know my father is a Soldier. A freaking Black-belt red-eyed one and the word “Exercise” is music to his ears.
I was diagnosed 7 years ago and this is me now, I’m about to do another round of 200 push- ups. My father never joked with the “Exercise” advice. It’s like he totally forgot about the “Right vitamins” part because it’s just beans these people feed me upandan oh.
And may all the spirits of the skulls I “lighted” in the past forgive me
This is K-Babs
I have Alopecia and I am not ashamed.
Written by Favour Ikharo, Bayero University Kano, Kano State, NIGERIA.