Thursday, February 16 2012
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REST IN PEACE: Soca superstar Machel Montano (right) bids farewell to his friend Vashesht Singh, yesterday at a funeral service. Singh died following ...
SOCA superstar Machel Montano set aside his busy Carnival schedule and yesterday took some time off from rehearsals to attend the funeral for accident victim Vashesht Singh who died in a car crash on Monday morning.
Also attending the funeral were Legal Affairs Minister and Political Leader of the Congress of the People Prakash Ramadhar, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh and former foreign affairs Minister Arnold Piggott.
Singh, 22, of Mohammed Street, Tunapuna, died at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, just under half an hour after being involved in a vehicular accident which occurred at about 2 am at the corner of the Priority Bus Route and the Pasea Main Road in Tunapuna.
Mourners appeared stunned when a sombre Montano walked into the service at about 10.15 am while bhajans (Hindu religious songs) were being sung. Walking to the tent where Singh’s body lay in a casket surrounded by family and friends — Montano was invited to address the gathering. Apologising for his lack of voice, a hoarse-sounding Montano told the gathering he had known Singh since the age of 17, when he (Montano) lived in the Pasea area and began patronising the Singh family restaurant Wings which is popularly known for its curry dishes.
Recalling his fond memories of eating at Wings Roti Shop where Singh himself had served Montano on several occasions, Montano urged Singh’s family to remain strong. “We have lost a friend, family member and someone who was always willing to serve,” Montano said.
Revealing that he had come to the funeral service after four hours of rehearsals in preparation for tomorrow’s International Soca Monarch competition where he will attempt to defend his Soca Monarch crown, Montano was unable to perform any songs.
However, looking in the direction of the casket, Montano took a line from his hit song, “We Not Giving Up”, as his last words to Singh were: “Keep moving, keep climbing, keep safe”, before placing two long-stemmed red roses atop Singh’s body which was dressed in a traditional red and gold wedding kurtah.
As mourners, both young and old wiped their tears, Montano assumed a standing position behind Ronald “Junior” Rampersad, the driver of the car that Singh had been in at the time of the accident.
Comforted by friends and family, Rampersad cried as the officiating pundit, Vishnu Narine urged him not to blame himself for Singh’s death. Following the two and a half hour long funeral service at the house, Singh was cremated at the Waterloo Cremation Site according to Hindu rites.