N Touch
Friday 6 December 2019
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Nostalgia and the season of laughter and promises

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Anger, I hear, "is the punishment you give yourself for someone’s else’s mistakes." In which case, of course you are a fool for inflicting this emotion on yourself on a perfectly gorgeous day.

I had been half-lying on the garden bench absolutely mesmerised by the dark clouds travelling fast across the sky. It was breathtaking and calming.

Then came the flier under my windshield wiper that, in an ignorant huff, I reached over the bonnet to yank out, catching my jeans on my numberplate.

In an impressively clean swipe, the metal sliced through the jeans and into my leg.

I remain with a painful enough reminder of why I should just chill myself sometimes.

Election fever is not something you want to get emotionally caught up in. But the newly erected high-tension wires in my area and the Jacuzzi-like holes on that boulevard that WASA keeps constructing and leaving to set apparently, which miraculously may be filled and neatly paved just before the elections ,made me wonder: "How is it that politicians, after all these donkey years, still using these tricks? And how come people always falling for them?"

Every time elections draw near I have the urge to re-read Naipaul’s Suffrage of Elvira.

I feel that to fall into the trap of election promises (which is exactly what your paved road and guest appearance by your elected rep to hand out copybooks and T-shirts is) is like believing spam mail. I mean, after all the time that the Internet has been around, to be caught by "You have won 1 Million US Dollars," to give out your bank account details and what not, is tantamount to – I don’t even know what to call that.

I am not one to judge, having been a victim of deception on more than one occasion. Is just that: you learn to be careful. Furthermore, when there are evidently some things that hit you in the face, to knowingly walk into them hoping the pain would be less, is really just answering spam mail, thinking spammers mean well.

Which leads me to wonder whether voting is, to some people, about nostalgia.

We younger ‘uns have no sense of a past that we want to revive. At least, I don’t. And I figure many people in their 20s and 30s and some 40-year olds don’t either. A proper study is in order.

Our eyes are looking outward and inward (in some cases), all in an effort to make a better life for ourselves. Many of us are not interested in the stories. We are simply interested in what you walking, talking ideas, disguised as people, can do for us to make our standard of living comfortable.

And sometimes that also includes not voting, since right now, we deem no one capable. And we self-serve, navigating as best as we could in the space that was created by other people’s voting habits. (I know that this is a site of contention, and one that I prefer not engage with given my rootedness in my own views here).

The nostalgia we have inherited is from our parents’ and elder folks’ memories. Isn’t it? (If anyone can answer this, please do). We have inherited the fears. I suspect the nostalgia isn’t nostalgia at all in some cases, but fear. Fear based on the double-edged reality/illusion of race.

But I also suspect that class is a large thing now. To keep the upper class happy is what we have to contend with, because I sense a widening gap. There is a small shift happening in our musical arena that speaks to this gap. An imaginative space it is, but one that is also becoming real. Musical tastes often signal a society’s shifting sensibilities. Or is it that I am not immersed enough to recognise that my sense is inaccurate? I suppose time will tell.

I think of this as I think of the season. We are into December, a time when the entire island starts to vibrate in a sort of unison. It may not include everyone but there is certainly a unified rumble to imaginary sleigh bells and chestnuts with the reality of sorrel and parang. This season brings to mind how real, imaginary spaces feel to us. That there is a feeling of nostalgia for a past that never even existed. That snow never falls, though the nights can be chilly and we never roast chestnuts over fires though we can do marshmallows over a barbecue pit.

It’s a happy thought, this ability to imagine a space which we in fact may never have inhabited, as much it can be a concern when we think of the danger of this when considering who we vote in.

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