THE EDITOR: Every now and then a flash of brilliance shoots by on the TT landscape, only to disappear just as quickly into oblivion without a trace and without a doubt. From my experience, one of those fleeting moments was represented in the most fruitful life of Torrance Mohammed, who loomed large for many decades over the booming culture of San Fernando and TT in general.
As an aspiring writer and impractical dreamer navigating a most challenging time of my life, I am now left with a sense of great loss – even devastation – after the news of his sudden passing.
My sense of grief is painfully intensified by the manner in which, as shown on social media, this noble icon was shoved off the planet directly onto the cold, hard San Fernando concrete sidewalk like another of the nation’s old discarded men disdainfully pelted out with the neighbour’s garbage.
I must confess that Torrance’s tragic flight was painfully reminiscent of the exit of my dear friend and brother, Wayne Edward Davis, that super bright poet/politician/intellectual who one dreamy night stepped off the sidewalk on Coffee Street, San Fernando, and began walking along a path of despair and fright which he alone could envision until he dropped dead in true dramatic fashion right on the sidewalk under Rivoli Theatre.
It’s in this ironic connection that I now instinctively recall a poem by Wayne named Ballet in the Storm, starting with the lines: “Is love so frail/So tender/So evanescent?” This immediately connected to the gentle soul I knew as Torrance Mohammed – dancer, arts organiser, insurance man, a humble, beautiful human being who was embraced by all.
It was Torrance who ignited the fire that would make me become boldly mad enough to think about the possibilities which haunted my restless soul with thoughts of how my simple poems could break out of the mundane landscape and make a big impression on the deaf and dumb citizenry.
It was Torrance who brought me as a diffident, intimidated young poet into City Hall, San Fernando, to launch my slender book of poems called After the Storm and invite San Fernando and the world to pay respectful attention.
In the same vein, he casually suggested that I meet Derek Walcott, the great man who was conducting a workshop at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, and immediately relented when I displayed shyness and hesitation.
In truth, so many people benefitted from the monumental service of Torrance that no lists of names collected at Library Corner could fill the streets of San Fernando in tribute to this noble warrior of the arts.
Ask Ralph Maraj.
As the TT landscape changes rapidly with the teeming energy of new, young people searching for an elusive new meaning and future, may we never forget the likes of Torrance a great one who stood up not for personal glory but as a most humble son who served us all fully and well.
Thank you, Torrance Mohammed, supporter, patron and friend. RIP