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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.