Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Deja vu

One lazy Saturday afternoon, back in 1998, I took a long nap. I woke up refreshed and ready to go to the library, when I remembered that my textbooks were with Taye, a friend living some rooms away in my dormitory. I rolled off the bed and poured some water into a bowl. I opened the door, stepped out, splashed some water into my face and then I felt it: the sensation of knowing what I was about to experience. As the water touched my face and my palm rubbed over my nose, there was a strong feeling that I had experienced this sequence of actions before. I stopped for a bit, then waved it aside as the remnants of a deep sleep. I went back into the room and wore something decent for the library.

As I pushed my key into the lock and turned it, I felt that knowing-feeling again. I recalled that after locking my door, there was a head-turner walking towards me. I turned to face my friend’s room and there gliding towards me was the pretty face. She was wearing the same gown I had seen her wearing and smiling the same way I had seen before. A chill ran down my body and goose bumps quickly followed its path. As she passed by me, I remembered that two loud boys followed. Just then, two rooms from where I stood, the door burst open and two noisy guys came out. Their raucousness actually stunned me to full alertness, but it did nothing to erase the haunting memory.

I walked towards Taye’s room, thinking about all the things that had just happened. Then I recalled that I had seen him talking to another friend in front of his room. I prayed that I was wrong. All my life I had known of only the memory of the past; how was I to handle a memory of the future? I started perspiring. I took a left turn and found that my prayers were unanswered. Taye was animatedly chatting with the other friend, just as I had seen. From afar, he could sense that I wasn’t well. He called out for me to join them and asked what was wrong as we shook hands. I recounted everything and he just stood there astounded. As I got to the part of seeing him talking with his friend, I continued that we opened his door and his roomie was sitting on the bed, swinging his legs. I also said that his old kerosene stove would be relocated behind the door and dirty dishes piled under his bed. Quickly, he flung the door open and the sight that greeted us was exactly as I described. When he looked behind the door and saw the stove, he shouted, “The gods have visited us!”

I ran away as fast as my feet could carry me. I just wanted to run away from everything and everyone. How could I be prescient and human at the same time? It was very scary. Thankfully, by the following day the déjà vu thing had gone. I was normal again and didn’t have to relive the future. But whenever I remember that episode, a part of me secretly wishes it could happen again. I promise that I don’t want it for winning the lottery or for running a fortuneteller’s shrine. I just want it so that I can distinguish business efforts that will turn out productive and worth my while from those going nowhere. Besides, it will be cool to have some supernatural thingy going for me. Don’t you think?

Science calls my experience ‘precognition’ and they say it is quite normal; even though it felt everything but that. But as precognition isn’t something that we can just turn ON and OFF as we please, we can use another feature that God has created in us to get a similar effect. We can use our imagination. With imagination, we can think through what we wish to experience and then go on to actualize it. We can create a vivid future in our minds and then relive it. I can already hear some people saying, “Boring!” But, it is a facility most of us have employed at one time or the other. For instance, the typical guy who wants to ask a girl out, especially one he cares about, will employ this method. He imagines taking the girl to a restaurant. He imagines the waiter serving them the day’s special. He imagines having a hearty discussion with her. He imagines holding her hand. He imagines saying the lines he has rehearsed for days. He imagines her smiling as he says them and as she says, “Yes”. Then he rewinds the imagination and starts all over again. When he is satisfied, he goes out and relives it (although the girl’s ‘Yes’ is not a guaranteed entity).

With the power of imagination, I don’t need any déjà vu to sift business efforts that will turn out productive from unproductive ones. I can employ my imagination in planning how I want my business to go and then go on to execute it; and so can you! You can’t know what you don’t know about your business until you sit down and pen your plans. You think you know the sequence of activities needed to get your business up and running; you think you know about all the resources you will need; you think you know about all the hurdles in your way; but I assure you that until you have written it down, you don’t. It is when you collect all the necessary research information and feasibility studies and weave them all into your business plan, using your imagination, that you can boast of being prepared and as prescient as I have been praying to be for the last 16 years.

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