A conversation between friends


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Category: Reflections Date: 31 Jul 05


One conversation. Three friends. Each with a distinct personality. Anna is the health fanatic who believes broccoli saves lives.


Nishka is the bohemian, curious, wanting to be free, hating to be hemmed in.


Collette is the pragmatist, the woman with eyes like a wide roving lens, taking in countries, history, many cultures into context.


They are gathered around a table drinking coffee.


Nishka: You know they stole my car? I left it for 15 minutes in the Long Circular Mall car park. When I got back it was gone. When police checked the video from the security cameras the film was spoiled the minute I left the car park.


You canít even trust security anymore. I work in the mall. Now I donít even feel safe here. My uncle was kidnapped. I used to love shopping downtown but since the 100 crimes a day on Charlotte street report Iíve stopped going.


I feel trapped. Iím thinking of migrating.


(Tears rolled down her face).


Anna: Letís not play the crying game today. Once youíre healthy nothing matters. Focus on the living game. I used to be fat. My stomach rolled around my jeans. I lived for food, burgers, fries, Kentucky, doughnuts, meat, sugar.


Then a doctor told me that I was using food to deal with emotional problems. If I was sad, worried, unhappy, I ate. Then I hated myself. I hated how I looked. So I ate more. What changed me was the dying.


My family, my friends. They died because their hearts were clogged with saturated fat and their kidneys failed, and wounds didnít heal because they wouldnít stop drinking soft drinks, eating butter.


They died because they didnít eat broccoli, which is full of calcium and vitamin C. I didnít want to die. Now Iíve discovered running, spinning, yoga.


Iím in the open and my body feels like it did when I was 15, strong and flexible. Thereís nothing like the feeling of running into the sunrise in the morning.


No champagne can equal that.


No man even.


Collette: How can you think of champagne, and running wild and free when the world around you is collapsing Anna?.


And you Nishka, how can you think of migrating? Look after 9/11 and the recent bombings in London every immigrant in Europe and America is at risk.


If an innocent Brazilian can get gunned down now, who are we? We all look like terrorists to them. Bush is stupid. For every terrorist he hunts down there are a thousand more crawling out. He and the British should have thought of the foreign policy that supplied arms to the people attacking Europe and America now.


Meddling must have some fall out. Anyway how could we claim we have roots in Africa when we donít care about the famine, drought, bad harvests, raging in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Eritrea and Zambia, where 15 million are dying from hunger.


Nishka: Stop. I want to experience a sense of wonder instead of wondering when I will be robbed or murdered. I want my people to develop their potential, intellects.


In Trinidad, if you talk about anything other than steel pan, chutney or Carnival you are irrelevant because you tink Trinis care bout that? But we need to stop the bleeding. Our young people are emerging illiterate in thousands, tertiary education beyond them. We are creating half made people who learn to wine and shoot before they learn to read.


We fill their blank states with fake BGís, fake Madonnaís celebrity bling bling. As decedents of many continents our children are entitled to the worlds great literature, art, academia. Walcott and Einstein before wining.


Anna: Nishka, a life, potential doesnít disappear because you have to live behind locked doors.


Collette if you feel so strongly, why not act? Go teach. The only thing to save us now is vegetables.


Okay then.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur