rahul bhattacharya

Phulorie bina chutney kaise banee? I had thought of chutney as a music without pain, but I had begun to see I was wrong. Reggae was the music of slavery. Its impulse was resistance, confrontation, a homeland severed so absolutely, seized back by the force of imagination or ideology. Chutney was the music of indenture. Its impulse was preservation, then assimilation. There was a pain in this act of attempted preservation — a homeland part remembered and protected, part lost and lingering.
—  Rahul Bhattacharya

Georgetown — at least, the Georgetown of my childhood — is not for the faint-hearted. For practical purposes, I grew up there twice. First in a quiet nook of Campbellville, safely distant from the fleshpots of Sheriff Street, then downtown, a few blocks north of the prison and the arson-friendly stores of Regent Street. Before I was ten I had watched Walter Rodney mesmerise the crowds at Louisa Row, and Viv Richards dismantle the Aussies at Bourda. I had seen corpses floating in canals, and half-naked mad-people living in cardboard boxes and drinking trench water. My black nannies, whom I loved, were kind enough to take me to all the wrong places, most memorably into matinées at the Plaza, the Strand (“the cinema in command”), and the Metropole — sometimes to House and, on one red letter day, to Pit. Nobody needed to tell me that lil’ Putagee boys had no place on the streets after a certain hour — some evenings I’d hear screams of Tief! Tief! as the choke-an’-rob boys plied their trade — for we all had a natural sense of the perils and the pleasures of the city….But Georgetown can no more be understood by a spectator ab extra, than a brothel can be enjoyed by a eunuch.
—  Rahul Bhattacharya