IF YOU TAKE a step back from what your granny might want for your life, and what you may want for it, it’s merely a question of timing. Chinara, in episode 16 of The End of the Line, a series of British fictional monologues on podcast, skirts this issue as she nears the airport gates awaiting a flight from Nigeria.
And indeed, on that flight is her Nigerian grandma, who she loves dearly, but who has her own ideas about what Chinara needs to give Granny, to give Granny’s life closure. Call it a Granny’s dozen, as Chinara does, when she contemplates the suitcases that will inevitably fill her car and her home for the next little while.
In this context, Chinara, ponders her Granny’s projected bucket-list for the trajectory of Chinara’s life. “Jesus, husband and babies”, but not in that particular order, necessarily. Once the husband’s been gotten, perhaps with a bit of Nigerian Fanta to seal the deal, the rest is up to Jesus. Or, maybe, if the husband is dispensable and babies are not forthcoming, Jesus help her.
In truth, this type of third generational perpetuity anxiety is not specific to Nigerian grannies, but is a universal issue, subject to the adult daughter or granddaughter being seen as a vessel for the next generation to emerge from. But who puts it there? Chinara wants a family, not just any old baby and any old husband. And she wants it in her own good time. With or without grandma’s wishes. And preferably without the aid of an app that doesn’t distinguish sparkles from psychopaths.
Beautifully played with wit and pathos by Honey Gabriel, the work offers a faux sense of dialogue, and an interchange of accents that gives it verve. It’s a piece as much about having family overseas who love you but who really know very little about you, as it is about the rich complexity of three generations under one roof. Even for a little while.
Chinara is a story written and directed by Mark Heywood. With production support by Lynne McConway and editing by Pocket Blockbuster, it features casting by Sydney Aldridge and music by Daisy Chute and Cerian of the Heard Collective; it is performed by Honey Gabriel and it is the 16th in a series of podcasts produced by Ink Jockey collectively called The End of the Line.