Rami Baitie writes...Feeling free!

Rami Baitie writes...Feeling free!
Source: Rami Baitie | blog.ramitalks.com
Date: 24-03-2019 Time: 05:03:47:pm


It's been two years since I started writing RamiTalks....just saying. Please feel free to buy me a drink, treat me to a meal, purchase a ticket to somewhere outside Ghana, gift me a car, build me a house....you get my drift. After 121 posts (including this one) please feel sorry for me!


I've been under some amount of stress recently and it manifested in a strange way. Can you believe that I was writing (yes, I can) and I crossed and DOTTED the letter 't'!? I swear my father! Is it even possible, to dot a 't'?? Well, I did it. At that point, I felt it was time to sit down and have a chat with God. Or maybe just re-learn the alphabet.

Achimota School Crossroads

I go through the Achimota School Crossroads almost every day. I usually arrive in traffic in the morning, when students from the Western compound are crossing to the Eastern Compound. They used to do it in the most haphazard manner that was quite dangerous. A crossing guard was finally installed and it has become fairly orderly now. And yet...the other day I was at the crossroads when the cars had been given the sign to move, and the students to wait.

One idiot, one nincompoop, one fool, one student...decided that it would be funny to go ahead and cross the road while the cars were moving. You could tell from his forced laugh and clownish demeanour that he was probably considered the joker in his class. The saddest part of this scene? The rest of the students followed him! The crossing guard was naturally upset and did his best to stop the students, but he failed. And these are our future Akoras? How proud we must be that they can't even cross the road properly. No wonder Ghana is so far ahead of other countries.

Ghana Library Authority

Speaking of children (the more sensible variety) I attended a book reading by the British High Commissioner and his wife at the Central Library the other day. How many of you knew that the Central Library was still operating? It was a most invigorating session, beautifully handled by the High Commissioner and his wife. The children seemed to really get into it, and I couldn't help feeling uplifted. By the by, the Ghana Library Authority is doing a good job stocking libraries these days. I saw contemporary titles that are at home on my shelf, and I saw Asterix in the Children's Section. Asterix! Wow!! Those of you who claim not to have 'anything to read', the solution is obvious: borrow a book from the library!

Boiled Eggs

Speaking of young people, daughter #2 has become very fussy about her boiled eggs recently. The other day she said one of them was 'too round'. How can an egg be 'too round'? Then on another morning, she said that the texture was weird. I don't know how weird an egg can feel, and how this affects the taste. I ate one of her rejects and it still hasn't hatched in my stomach. Go figure.

Old Movies

I saw The Negotiator recently on DVD. Brilliant fast-paced thriller. Samuel L. Jackson creates one of his most memorable characters in Danny Roman, a policeman who is an expert hostage negotiator. He is accused of murder and financial fraud, and to resolve the situation he creates his own hostage situation. Kevin Spacey (before he was disgraced) is the police negotiator Danny Roman selects to negotiate with him. Brinkmanship of the highest order during the hostage negotiations!

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest won the Oscar for best movie in 1975 and it is truly classic. A tale of the arrival of McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) at a mental institution for evaluation is sad, tragic, and hysterically funny at times. From the moment he arrives and kisses a security guard you know we are in for a performance. McMurphy's battle for supremacy in the ward with the evil Nurse Ratched is intense. His attempt to teach Chief, the huge Native American, how to play basketball is hilarious. His one-man commentary on a baseball game in front of a television that's switched off is genius, and his unsuccessful attempt to lift a heavy hydrotherapy cart is hugely significant. "Jesus! I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this!", he says. The final twenty minutes of the movie is devastating and as brilliant an example of film-making as you will find anywhere.

Arlington Road is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. Fact. No, it's not a horror movie. No, it's not a supernatural movie. No, it's not an outright spooky movie. It's just a plain ordinary movie. And that's what makes it so scary. Jeff Bridges plays a professor of American History whose wife (an FBI agent) was killed in a domestic terrorist incident. He has never recovered from her death. He meets his squeaky clean neighbours through an accident involving their son. He realises that the father of the family is lying about his identity. And everything starts to unravel. It's a great study in what can lie behind the seemingly ordinary, and Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack are brilliant as the neighbours. Popcorn movie extraordinaire!!

Regina King

Do you know who Regina King is? A beautiful talented African-American actress, that's who. I've had a most unseemly crush on her for at least 250 years. She won an Oscar this year and I am thrilled beyond thrilled. She is so wonderfully skilled as an actress, quite apart from having eyes that can give birth to me any day! And now she's an Oscar winner. Oh baby! How does one propose long distance to a star?? And she wasn't even in Black Panther!!

Pawpaw Seller

Speaking of women, can you believe that the other day I saw a regular vendor at the Gold House traffic lights, a girl who sells pawpaw, and I didn't recognise her? I see her every blessed weekday morning. So, why didn't I recognise her? Her tray of pawpaw was not on her head!! Seriously?? How do you not recognise someone because they are not carrying their usual load on their head?? For the record....she looks nicer without the tray...

Women And Mirrors

Continuing to speak of women, I was driving in Osu the other morning when I saw, from behind, a very curvy woman walking on the right side of the road. She was incredible! I couldn't see her face so I won't say anything about that. She got to a shop just ahead of me and I saw her pause (she didn't actually stop) in front of the shop's glass frontage. She was checking herself out, I swear! What, my checking her out from behind wasn't enough?? Women! Any chance to look at themselves! Why can't they just leave it to us????

Filing Past

I made a fool of myself the other day at a funeral. I was early, and as I took my seat at the back of the church I could hear organ music and a lone voice singing a hymn. But as I looked to the front of the church I couldn't see the singer or the organist. I wondered where they were. As the pre-burial service started and instructions were given for filing past etc. I still couldn't see anyone. But I could hear them pretty well! Had I entered the Twilight Zone?? Then I realised what was happening....they were all behind me....including the body.

Wednesday 6th March

There were three events on 6th March this year: a funeral, Ash Wednesday, and Independence Day. Usually, 6th March just means a holiday and a bit of lie-in for me. So I considered these three events critically: Tamale for Independence Day, Ridge Church for Ash Wednesday, and Labone for a funeral. Or sleep! I went to the funeral.


I have spoken at length on this blog about the joys of books and reading. Do you know that books can make you new friends? It happened to me once in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2006. I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe in a mall having a cuppa while I waited for my family to kill their consumer lust. I was reading a delightful compilation titled Something Funny Happened On The Way To The Cemetery. I looked up as one does when seated at a cafe, and a very academic and tweedy looking man gestured towards me and said, "That's an excellent read." I agreed, we exchanged pleasantries and some comments on the book, and then went back to our reading. A very pleasant interlude indeed.

It happened again recently in Accra. I was leaving a bookshop in Osu when I espied a man leaving holding a thriller I had read. I indicated to the book and said to this complete stranger that it was a good book, and did he like the author? He paused to chat for a minute and we agreed on the merits of Linwood Barclay as an author. He was English, this stranger, and he said he traveled throughout West Africa. He concluded that Vidya Bookstore in Osu is the best in the sub-region! And that the owner is very knowledgeable indeed! I concurred vigorously! Then he was gone, probably forever.

Books! I love them!! Although....they can make you enemies. When a person doesn't return a borrowed book....it's a crime!

Earthquake In Accra

I was awake and blogging on the night of 2nd March 2019 around 11:30pm when there was an earth tremor in Accra. Of course, while it was going on I thought it was an earthquake, not a tremor. No major damage as far as I could see on our home and those within. Wife and daughter #2 were fast asleep and never noticed. Daughter #1 was out and never noticed anything untoward either. We thank God for trembling mercies.

But I thank God especially, that this tremor did not occur during nocturnal happenings in my bed! Knowing me I would have been under the wrong impression for the rest of my life!! "Did the earth move for you? That was me baby!!"