US-based Trinidadian author Nathalie Taghaboni, right, recently returned home to launch her latest book, Side By Side We Stand.
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Strengthening family connections
You can never go back, murmured my mother as we drove along Chaguanas main road.
All three generations, her, Ziya and I, were on our way to family for Eid.
As my mother had lived out of Trinidad for decades and almost never returned to Chaguanas, I thought we could look for the place of her childhood home, then my father’s which was opposite the Chaguanas Market, and even my mother’s primary school, the Chaguanas Government School.
We found none, my mother unable to remember where any were located and feeling like her past had been as demolished as the school, and her memories left as opened and bare as the field where her schoolchild self was formed, and as empty as the space next to the mosque where my father’s house once stood.
We also passed the Muslim cemetery, where both her father and my father’s mother are buried.
I asked if we could stop to see their graves, but she didn’t know where to find those either.
Those sites were most clearly marked by the memories of those who were there at those moments, many of whom had passed on or moved away.