On Nigeria's democracy day (Oct 1) which happened to fall in the middle of the week, the usual gang of four (Ayo who we lovingly refer to as our "Charlie" with his angels = Nike, Yinka and me) embarked on a mission to watch the critically acclaimed Yoruba film, Arugba on the BIG SCREEN! This was my first time in the popular Silverbird Cinemas which is one of the three cinemas in Lagos and probably one of ten in the whole country. At almost 500 rupees a ticket, it falls into the "luxury items" list and Lagosians prefer to have the same experience with a 80 rupees DVD an no go-slow!
There were cinemas in Nigeria in the 1960s, but they began going out of business in the 1970s - partly because of the difficulties of operating under military dictatorship. Cinemas closed down across the country and today many are used as churches or Islamic education centres. The scarce and erratic supply of electricity called for seven generators being installed to make sure that the films do not stop mid-show and the air-conditioning does not break down.
Needless to say, after eight months of separation from the multiplex, it was a surreal experience. It was unusually crowded for a holiday and to our surprise the tickets were all sold out! I was visibly quite disappointed and the guys immediately offered to watch a hollywood film. My eyes were caught up on MAMA MIA with a stellar cast (Pierce Brosnan, Meryl Streep...).
Unlike Indian multiplexes, there was quite an eclectic choice of food. We were quickly discouraged by the horribly long queue of irritated and impatient Nigerians and we headed straight for the hall.
The movie itself was ok but what kept me smiling was the evergreen music of ABBA in a gorgeous Mediterranean island. And quite a surprise was that not one cellphone rang during the whole show! Indians can learn a bit or two from Naija in this area! As we were moving out of the Hall, I felt a sudden pang of nostalgia and homesickness especially since we were right behind an Indian family! I realised that I missed home a lot more when I did stuff that I used to do at home!