For Jupiter, Recession Is Indeed ‘Just A Word’
Why am I even writing about Jupiter? Well, probably because there is this heavy guilt I feel for starving him the greater part of last weekend.
It wasn’t deliberate. I didn’t know we had run out of his supplies till it was too late to get any food for him in our neighbourhood.
So, he missed several meals and by the time I was able to get to the market a day and a half later, he was thoroughly starved.
But even before this starving episode, I had been thinking about him and wondering which letter in the word ‘Recession’ is missing from his dictionary so we can quickly rectify the situation.
Perhaps, as the Nigerian recession bits harder I tend to think more about him. Perhaps.
But first, a little history. By January 12, this year, Jupiter turned two, by our own record, that is. I can still remember the day he came into our lives. I had travelled to Lagos with the children to spend the Christmas and New Year. I left them and returned to Abuja because I needed to resume at work earlier. They still about 10 more days before school resumption.
I was at work when the brood called with so much excitement. “Mummy we’ve bought the rabbit. His name is Jupiter!”
Note the use of the definitive article ‘the’ as if we had planned it. Yes, my last child had been asking for a rabbit, but I hadn’t given the nod.
“Really?” was all I could mutter.
Where on earth did these children get that name? Obviously on their way from the airport, to the house they had passed those guys selling pets along the road and since they had money, decided to take the matter into their own hands, and bingo, we have a rabbit.
Yes, Otunba Jupiter is a rabbit. Forgive me if I made you think otherwise.
But you need to meet him to understand our fascination. The following week, we took him to a vet and after examination, the vet assured us that Jupiter was healthy and needed no special care. Just feed him vegetables. Trust my troop to have done their own research; they already knew that vegetables were the thing for the new addition to the family.
I thought it was going to be an easy ride. Just a handful of left over carrots and some greens now and then. After all, if he were in the bush with his kindred which cook or steward would be at his beck and call?
I was wrong. Jupiter isn’t your regular rabbit. Okay, since I haven’t ever kept one I wouldn’t know but Jupiter shattered every pre-conceived notion I had of how a rabbit should conduct its affairs.
Jupiter didn’t come to play. He came to eat and has been eating non-stop for more than two years now. This is no joke. Jupiter simply doesn’t stop eating. Visit him at midnight and you will see an eating rabbit instead of a sleeping one.
He also has his favourites; watermelon, runner beans, carrots and tomatoes. Surprised that no species of grass featured in the above list? Well, I guess you can now understand my pain. Otunba Jupiter does not eat grass, not even during a recession.
It was a sobering moment when I made this discovery because the reality of what the children had got me hit home.
It was one of those days when we ran out his vegetables and since there very were nice looking elephant grass around us we decided to get some for him.
He managed to take a bite or two and left the rest for us to trash. The next day he didn’t even attempt a bite. Since then, whenever we offer him grass, he would eye us with unsettling silence and indignation, like an Imo state pensioner who has just received a letter from Okorocha.
But there is usually something very dignifying about his rejection of the grass and the ensuing silence that leaves you feeling terribly guilty and unsure of yourself.
Jupiter, apart from the accusation in his eyes, is usually unperturbed. Perhaps he knows you will do everything possible to bring him his vegetables.
After all, he did not cause Nigeria’s recession.