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TGIF columns are in order by date from the most recent.

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​Unholy Daze

TRINIDADIANS WOKE UP Friday morning, basodee until they beh-beh, because they were forced to confront the prospect of having to go to work on a Friday morning after two consecutive public holidays in one week!

Furthermore, one of those holidays – Thursday’s, Corpus Christi – is not a fixed date, like Labour Day, the (holi)day before, which always falls on 19 June; Trinidadian bitterness was accordingly sharpened on Friday because, look here, almighty God Himself went to the trouble of making Easter Sunday come late this year, precisely so that Corpus Christi, 60 days later, could land on the day after a fixed public holiday. The way resentful Trinis see it, God Himself bent over backwards to deliver a potential five-day weekend – and the government didn’t even have the common decency to invent a holiday for Friday, the way they did in 2017, with the one-off First People’s Day. Why, Trinis are asking themselves, did we elect the PNM, if not to squeeze een an extra day-off when we need it most? How often does any responsible Cabinet get the chance to transform a solitary standalone workday into the glorious day three of a five-day weekend?

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​61 with a Bullet

SUNDAY WAS my birthday and what have I got to show for myself after six decades of this cosmic joke called life? Receding hairline, expanding waistline, infrequent byline and recurring firetrucking punch line: nine times before today, in birthday columns respectively headlined, 60, 59, 58, 57, 56, 55, 50, 40 and 35 with a Bullet, I’ve repeated the same hairline/ waistline/ byline joke I first made when I was 30 with a Bullet.

After turning 30 “in the papers” in 1988, I limited birthday columns to “significant” birthdays, multiples of five. In 2013, I realised every firetrucking birthday had become huge because each makes it more likely I won’t be here for the next! (No Pires male has lived past age 62 in five generations; I’m watching my elder brother, who turns 62 in two weeks, like the canary he is in our own coalmine.)

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Where Indian Reach

THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY WAS INDIAN Arrival Day but today’s burning question is where we’ve really reached, the hopeful, hapless Indians we all are – if only the West Indian in some of us.

But even the most doctrinaire members of the Afrocentric community – what a nice way to describe black racists – wouldn’t have to fudge their Indianness because, in Trinidad, we’ve all been at least partly Indian for centuries – and, the more Trinidadian you claim to be, the more Indian you necessarily are.

You don’t need to actually meet a Rastafarian named Singh in the Bamboo – and haven’t we all, anyway – to see the point I’m making: the aspects of Trinidad that were brought here by the people who crossed the kala-pani almost two centuries ago have weaved themselves fully and deeply into the fabric of ourselves; look here, I was 27 years old before I found out – and I had to travel to England to find it out – that the mysterious “chick peas” I’d been hearing about for decades was really channa; I only ever knew the Hindi word; because I’m from Trinidad.


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