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Category: Trinidad Society Date: 06 Feb 05


Whether youíve shut your doors and pulled down the blinds, whether you are even now flying across the sea to escape it, whether you are cutting, fixing, shortening, adding feathers, taking off beads, on costumes, surveying your glitter, priming music trucks, blasting the mook hook song in your car, lying in Mayaro on your stomach, whether youíre a returning Trini or a visitor, whether you prefer to think of the elections in Iraq or remembering the tsunami even as the media move on, weather you are young, old, well or ill, if you have anything to do with Trinidad and Tobago your pulse is quickening.


Itís your time out. Itís in the trees, and in your head and in the Savannah and in that tiny top and low-cut jeans in your closet. Itís in the coolers and the seasoned pelau. In the brand new sneakers, and the suntan lotion and add on hair. Why? This is your time out. Nobodyís saying itís a holiday but nobodyís saying you need to show up for work either.


Slowly slowly, the blending has begun. The rich are tentatively emerging from their self imposed jails, the poor have taken their months salariesóthis is the only country where you can get a loan for a carnival costume and fetes, put on their glad rags and come out to play.


When the season began, I shut the door. But the music got to me. Itís good this year. Energetic, motivated, excited. Then I found myself at a David Rudder concert. And I saw his magic all over again. When he sang his calypsos, telling stories of another time, of Hulsie X, and the drug boys, and the bid dim bim bai lai, bid dim bim bai lai, bid dimbim bai di bi bam bam of lovers in this season, I thought sadly of how heís remembering now, only remembering, no longer here. But the mook man is here, the hook man is here. And thatís hope for women. Everyday I meet one or another with a broken heart. Thereís hope.


Here you have it, these four days. Your slice of space, creamy as custard, warm as setting sun on your back, or brimming with movement and possibility, and mingling with warm waists, and glittering faces. This is our midsummerís nights dream. Only itís spring. In Trinidad. Dry season lit by Poui and sunshine.


Itís like going to sleep with troubled thoughts, being counselled by dreams and waking up with solutions. Thatís what I want for us. Now is not the time to think of the letter from a friend in Canada who read my ďcynical and depressedĒ column of a few weeks back, of 50 per cent illiteracy, and 48 per cent living below the poverty line, and the build up of a calamitous dependency syndrome that is soaking up a much-needed labour force.


He wrote: ďThings havenít really changed since the mid-70ís. Back then we had Dewd instead of Cepep. Then Caroni was a drain on the Treasury but that drain has shifted to Vsep. What has changed is the destruction of the middle class. Now Trinidad is very much a polarised society with the old and the nouveau riche and poor forming a tension riddled society. It all boils down to two things: the destruction of the work ethic and the growing belief that the State will provide. I have no idea where the Government is heading socially, financially, politically or morally. Where is the input from the Chambers of Commerce, the Churches, the schools and even the writers? That the potential is there in T&T is plain to see. We can move mountains with bare hands to set up a fete but when it comes to setting up a business or some productive enterprise it all stagnates. Why is this so?Ē


But the tassa and the pans summon, the costumes and calypsos cry out to our parched souls aching for forgetfulness, comfort. When we emerge from this dream on Ash Wednesday, it is with the hope that the answers will come to us, as they do sometimes, when we have rested with the reflected glitter of dancing shades of colour and light.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur