Posts tagged Shahad Ali
Posts tagged Shahad Ali
THE SENTINEL: Feels weird being on the cover :S
It is indeed true that I love my Caribbean weather and I would not trade it for anything in the world, however when you are working during the vacation and depend upon the hustle and bustle of public transportation, a hot sun induces serious perspiration. Today I spent a total of four hours in traffic. I took 7 vehicles, of which only 3 offered air condition. It was a tough day, considering I also had classes in the evening. Now I can safely say that I am terminally exhausted.
Because I am so busy these days, the inspiration to write some possibly intriguing blog posts are always forgotten. I usually put down my ideas on a mobile document, but for some reason, I broke that habit really quickly. I noticed that the rate at which people are following me have increased since I started blogging on a more regular basis. Of course, this has risen my spirits and I must admit I feel a bit pressured into bringing the best of my opinion on life to my loyal followers. I must say that I truly appreciate the feedback that I have received thus far and I feel privileged that you guys do take a few moments out of your day to sit back and read.
I rarely do this, but for today’s blog post. I thought it would be fun to get an idea of who I am and what I am about. I must admit that I do get confused about my purpose from time to time, but the variations are always positive, and many people, including myself always end up very happy. I guess most of you all know the professional side of my life. As cited in my brief description, I delve mostly in the Performing Arts, Journalism and the Environment. Its a very odd combination, but my affinity to each is almost the same.
One of the things that I was able to accomplish, and I have always made it an issue on this forum, was getting involved in the community I believed that I expressed that I envied many of the youths on my street, who would actually come out and play football, exercise together or some other fun activity to keep themselves as close together as possible. Apart from the fact that I am incapable of playing any sport, I really did not have the time to be part of my community. It was the only thing that I felt needed to get done.
Recently the Islamic group from the community, approached and asked me to do some self development classes and theatrical work with their younger members. The age group is quite young, between the ages of 8 and 14. It is of course on a pro bono basis, however I did not hesitate in saying yes. I know it was something that was missing in my life and I could not miss this opportunity to be part of my community. The first class would be this Sunday, and I am hoping everything will go well.
I usually ask a lot of people in interviews with giemagazine to describe themselves in one word. I usually ask them this because its a word that I took years to figure out. The word that I use to describe myself is DYNAMIC. I know to myself that I am what it says and no one can tell me differently. I believe the one word that you use to describe yourself should always be shown clearly, or at least work towards it being reality in the eyes of others.
One of the things that I cherish the most, are friendships. I am only 23 years of age and I have been involved in many friendships. Many of them were good friendships but then again, many of them were bad friendships. I believe that trusting someone, who does not have the same blood that runs through your veins, is one of the most risky things you can do in your life. Your secrets make up who you are, and letting someone know all of you, can be very risky ground to walk on. I always say a good friendship takes guts! Opening to someone is probably the hardest thing to do for me personally.
A lot of my friends say that my life is exciting. I won’t be modest about it, i enjoy the majority of things that I do with my life. I must state however, that I do not think that I am getting enough out of it, and I am always trying to think of ways in which I can live my life and make it beneficial to my existence. There are a lot of things that I want to do and things that I dream of. However, I can honestly say that I have never shared any of my dreams with anyone. I am honestly the kind of person who would shut down anyone who shares similar dreams, because I know logically to myself how difficult it is to achieve it, and as such I would not even mention it to anyone, for fears that they themselves would shut down my own aspirations. I am more of a silent killer when it comes to my dreams. I wait for them to be a 99.9% possibility before I tell people that its something that I am working on, and not necessarily a dream that I always had.
Please note that I have always dreamt of being a published writer and a performer on stage. However when it happened I never promoted them as dreams that I had, but rather things I worked towards. Dreams in my honest opinion should always be a private affair, so that when they do become a reality, they have a lasting impact. How do I know that they have an impact? Well all my friends tell me I am living an awesome life… so it must impact them one way or the other :S
I am not trying to come across as egotistical, because to this day I don’t consider myself a good writer, far less for the name of an ‘actor’. Please note that I stated performer on stage, rather than the word actor. Even though that essentially is what an actor is, I prefer to say it as a generic term.. There are just some aspects of my life that I need to work on much more, before I can declare myself fit of any profession.
This really was not meant to be a long post, but rather just a little more insight into who I am and what I am about. I have one more question for you guys though about my blog…. do you think that shahad the sentinel should be random, or should it continue in the vain of structure and life experience episodes? Let me know you guys opinion. I would love to hear it!
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
To have an attachment to several nationalities is not uncommon. Some may have a couple of passports to prove different citizenships, but for Stephan Subero, being a ‘Trinizuelan’ means much more than having documented proof. A past student of St. George’s College, Subero has made his name as a vocalist in both Venezuela and his birth nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Having been influenced strongly by both cultures, he has created a refreshing, upbeat blend of soca music.
Subero moved to Venezuela when he was quite young, entering his first boy band at the age of 18 under the name ‘Equilibrio’. The boy-band (with which Subero stayed for five years during his stay in Venezuela) was quite popular, having performed in major cities throughout Latin America with a fan base of over 25,000 people. After a nine-year stay in the Latin American country, an enthusiastic Subero returned to Trinidad in 2011. Here, he was scouted by the band Imij and Company, and he is their current lead vocalist and is becoming well known as a high energetic performer that stirs up the cultures to bring something to the audience that is decidedly Spanish, sensual and steaming hot!
One of the major reasons that I have not been blogging as much is because I have been involved in a national theatrical production called Nation Dance: The Pilgrimage. It is being done by the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies. I am involved in the production because currently doing a course that makes up my minor in Theatre Arts, and as such I am required to be apart of it.
Nation Dance: The Pilgrimage focuses on one primary objective, that is to discover what it means to be Trinbagonian. It also incorporates a literal and figurative journey to discover a sense of nationhood and nation building. The production also takes a very close look at our social and political context of yesterday, today and the future.
Like the title says, we are on a pilgrimage and thus the show has been traveling to many places across Trinidad and Tobago. For each show we visit a different community that would share with us the values that they brought to this land. Each community has taken up the responsibility of dramatically representing their history and traditions that melds with the 1 hour production that we have created.
In this production there are four individuals that go by the name of pyong. Each one of them represent an ill of the society that is “Mauvais Langue”. After being accused and sent a way to discover their mother, who they say is the roots of the land, they set out on a journey to different communities in search of their mother. At each community they are set with real life challenges, that the pyongs have no idea what they would be. At our recent show in Waterloo, “Shooter Pyong” had to eat a red hot pepper with roti, in order to cleanse his body of beef, pork and other impurities to be accepted by the community that runs the Temple by the Sea. He of course, was sweating beads after he consumed it. These traditions presented by the communities show different values of Trinidad and Tobago, and in this quest to find what i really means, we would present them on our final shows at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies.
PLEASE SAVE THE REMAINING DATES…. 8 shows… and 2 have already gone!
March 16 - Naparima Hill, San Fernando - 7 pm
March 18 - Temple in the Sea Grounds, Waterloo - 5 pm
March 23 - Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, Laventille - 7 pm
March 24 - Golden Lane, Tobago - 7 pm
March 25 - Pembroke Heritage Park, Tobago - 5 pm
March 30 - Calvary Hill, Arima - 7 pm
March 31 - DCFA, UWI - 7 pm
April 1 - DCFA, UWI - 5 pm
NO COST for performances March 16 - March 30.
The DCFA venue admission is Adults $50, UWI students/ NDATT MEMBERS $30, children $20
The role that I have in this production is the character Mamaguy. Mamaguy is considered the Big Fish of Mauvais Langue. He is without a doubt well aware of the happenings on all levels of the country. He is a thief, channeling money from the treasury through very close friends in the royal court. His hands are clean but is very well connected. Oddly enough Mamaguy enjoys dressing up as a woman. He prides himself because he looks sexy and enjoys the comfort that no one can tell him anything about it. He is the primary reason as to why Mauvais Langue is in a serious sense of despair.
Here are a few shots of the production at Naparima Hill where we visited the Warao community.
She was blaming me for everything. Not a single part of this horrible accident was laid against her. She accused me of having some false pretense of human loss. I guess grief makes people say horrible things. I hoped that she would have had more understanding though, but understanding never seemed to be much of her friend in the first place.
She very well knew that if a bat flew quickly in the line of my vision during the early hours of the evening, I would completely miss it. She also knew that that I had problems adding credit to my mobile phone since the 12 digit number appeared so close together. My worsening vision was well known within the family, so for this accident I had a substantial excuse.
Apart from bad vision, I was notoriously known for absent mindedness. I simply couldn’t hear anyone calling my name if I was engrossed in a well written novel. How was I suppose to know that she was calling, when waves were breaking out further out at shore. Who wouldn’t find that much more captivating than an annoying 8 year old girl?
Macueripe was the name of the bay in which the incident happened. I wouldn’t say it’s a tourist destination in our country, but rather a bay in which horrible things happen. The smell of burning weed coming from the rocks on the northern side of the bay, should have probably given her some indication that this was not the best place for her perfect child.
The bay that hosts people from every walk of life, is known for its unpredictable rip currents. The swells within the water are quite odd, and the pull of the backwash is always strong. I was fascinated by the fringing reef that borders the two headlands that stick out of the bay. Without squinting you could see waves break way out at sea. It’s beyond picturesque during sun set. Such scenes always have my imaginative attention, and nothing else seems to distract me, once I have immersed myself into something that is beyond human.
It also amazes me that this bay was used for the docking of submarines during the world war. Of course our country was not heavily involved, but the area was well known as a base for the Americans. I was absorbing myself in some rich history, and I apologize for not being in touch with the present or reality for that matter.
I’d be completely honest with you. She was doing such childish things. She was randomly going into the water, coming back on shore and randomly burying stones. At a point in time she stretched herself along the dirty sand and left scrape marks everywhere. They were eventually washed away by the waves. Little did I know Aunty, that the waves washed her away as well.
Fringing reefs amazes me, and the history of this place is overbearing. I am being truthful as to what I was doing, but the truth hurts.I know its hard to believe that I am sad, but I just think that you should not have left her in my care, when I am the blind absent minded nephew. I don’t see things, I don’t hear things and I am disjointed from reality.
Shahad Ali (c) 2011
Ever since I had gotten involved with the Environmental Management Authority’s Youth Programmes, I have been dubbed the “EMA Boy”. I remember it quite vividly back in 2008 when I had won their “Envirologue” competition. This by far, was a milestone in my life. I could recall being in tears, upon hearing that I had won this prestigious national competition. The award that I won was the “Pawi Award” and this by itself was an honour. The Pawi or Piping Guan is an endemic bird to Trinidad and Tobago. Its population range is estimated at 70-225 individuals, and is protected by law. Giving a performance that was equated with such a rare and beautiful bird, was emotionally too much for me to carry.
The props that I saw on that day of competition was by far extensive. Some participants brought well designed sets, locomotive costumes or elaborate body paintings to add the additional ”uff” to their performance. As the press described it
“WITH A compelling dramatic monologue and only two light bulb props, Shahad Ali, a sixth form student of Trinity College (Moka), won first place in the Environmental Management Authority’s (EMA) Secondary Schools’ Dramatic Envirologue Competition 2008.”- Newsday
For the past four years I have been quite active with EMA’s youth initiatives. In the year that I won the envirologue competition, I had performances almost every month all over the country. By 2009, the EMA had founded its new youth arm, known as the “EMA Youth Ambassadors”, who fore-mostly promotes environmental education and sensitization. This is done through creative art forms, such as visual arts, film and drama. We are expected to have our first green concert in February of next year.
I am so humbled by the fact that the voluntary efforts that I made with the EMA Youth Ambassadors had such a profound impact on my life. From flying out to London for the Fourth Commonwealth Youth Parliament to staying at Asa Wright Nature Centre mentoring youths and encouraging them to join the EMA Youth Ambassadors. The past few years have been such an exciting thrill.
To this day I do not think most people get my burning passion for the organizations that I am involved with. Last night I was flat on my bed, with a scratchy sore throat, a massive headache, a pair of crowded nostrils and a fever than can literally cook food if a pan was placed on top of me.
Today was the finals of the EMA’s Eco Song Competition 2011 and I had promised my coordinator that I would assist her backstage since a month ago. I was not prepared to miss Eco Song, not only because I promised I would be there, but its the epitome of environmental education in a very entertaining and creative form. Students from Secondary Schools would create environmentally based calypsos, soca or chutney soca songs. This year the theme was “Forests for people”
What was most unexpected was that the CEO of EMA, Dr. Joth Singh spoke very highly of me, and all I could have done was just blushed like a fool. The manager of Corporate Relations and Public Education, as well as the prestigious title of “Most awesome boss ever”, Mrs Tisha Marajh, called me out on stage to take a bow. By this time my foolish blush, had gone into overload and I bowed like a mannequin trying to move for the first time.
I held my strength for the entire day, but to be honest I am now back to square one. If I had not gone, I could not have lived with myself, I would have had regrets, and I would have felt like I disappointed the entire world. I am not trying to be over dramatic, its simply how I would have felt. My passion and drive is relentless and volunteering makes up such a big part of my world. Seeing all those contestants compete was absolutely amazing. At the end of the day Couva West Secondary was able to win the competition in both categories. It was very much a happy day for them.
The “EMA Boy” could be sick or not….. my passion inside me would keep me alive!
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
It was hot and steamy in the room, despite the coolness of the early morning. My bare bottom was against the roughness of the concrete and I could not believe what I had just done. I was peering through the crevices of the wall and saw that the sun was now making its way over the mountains. I saw a few runners starting to make their laps around the campus. The only thought in my mind was to get out of this dingy pump room and head back to my apartment. I grabbed my clothes without hesitation and did not even look back behind the pumps.
There were not many students in the hallway. I knew I had sufficient time to go home, take a shower, come back to class and pretend as if nothing had happened. ‘Last night was a mistake’. This was the thought that kept repeating in my head and no matter how hard I tried, it was a thought that was going to haunt me for the rest of the day. I tried his best to recount everything that had happened last night. As much as I would have liked to say that everything was a blur, the events of last night were more vivid that a scenic painting.
My two best friends were studying with me and there was nothing in this world that enjoyed more than the academic company of the two most intelligent people I knew in my life. Navin and Celia was my lifeline and their combined annoyance always made my life worth living.
It was nothing out of the ordinary; Navin was still considering himself the ultimate third wheel because Celia and I were always physically close. I promise to god we had nothing between each other, we were just physically comfortable than emotionally bonded. After last night I am sure Navin would think differently.
It was difficult studying last night. Celia was only rubbing her smooth well shaven legs against my thigh and writing stupid things on my forearms. Navin just kept rolling his eyes. It was amazing how close the three of us had gotten after only a few weeks at university. It always crossed my mind that Navin may have been a little jealous, but I never had the guts to ask him. He would always take himself to the edge of the study table, while Celia would share with me all the things she wanted in a man.
Celia was very upfront, she would always told me everything she would want in a man. It was well known that she was no virgin. Not that she was a slut, but many knew that she had been around with quite a few men. Despite that flaw or social ill around her, she had a lot of friends, but even her friends questioned her virtue. Navin would always say that I would be the next in line to get inside Celia loins. I was never interested, and I never thought that she would was the kind of girl to ever like a guy like me.
I remembered one day I asked him why he never sought interest in Celia. He would laugh and joke around and say he would never cross another friend’s territory. I went on to tell him, that within his fictional mind, let’s consider that I am not interested in our best friend. He told me that Celia does not look at guys like him. He does not have defining muscles, a bold personality or sexy amber eyes. I laughed of course, trying my best not to make the situation more uncomfortable that it already was.
I was about to step in the bathroom when my phone vibrated. It was Navin, he was probably pissed about last night. I was surprised when I saw the text message:
“I cant believe you left me in the pump room! You have on my underwear you freak. Bring it back…. I am sure as hell not putting on yoursJ”
……. Oh damn!
Shahad Ali (c) 2011
Halloween is a holiday that is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Britain and Trinidad and Tobago. Halloween has its origins from the Irish as well as the Romans. It also has its origin in the festival of the dead or Parentalia, a Roman festival that honours past ancestors. Halloween itself has quite a few influences and all are quite morbid in nature.
Camille Abrahams, CEO of Animae Caribe, once told me that its okay to be influenced by. She was commenting on animation in Trinidad and Tobago being influenced by external animators, especially those originating from Japan. She explained to me that we must add our own aesthetic to such external influences.
Trinidad and Tobago, without a doubt has accepted the concept of Halloween. Passing by Aura Restaurant and Bar last night, the place looked completely spooky as they were hosting their Halloween party. It was even complete with fog machines and dim flashes of light, to create the ultimate eerie appearance.
Last night at the Coldstone branch in Movie Towne Port of Spain, there hung a creature from the roof, to which I asked my friends, what creature was it? One of them responded a ghoul, but to be honest, I doubt anyone of us were willing to put money on that guestimation. There were also spiders hanging from well designed webs, and a couple of fake human heads hanging above the tables, all quite gruesome in nature.
I have accepted the fact that we are heavily influenced by Western Culture, but it has come to the point, where the term heavily influenced should not even be the statement used. Why can’t we bring out traditional folklore to life during Halloween? After all, Halloween is all about folklore as well. I am sure that there are probably a few party goers who may actually choose to go as a Soucouyant, or even a Douen, however I must conclude that those numbers must be very small, since I am yet to see such pictures posted on promotional photography sites.
I guess women really do want to appear hot as a simplistic vampire, with a short sexy skirt and a black velvet cape. However could you imagine the soucouyant as a sexy woman? Could you imagine the dynamic impression that you would give off with bright colours of yellow, orange and red? You can even equip the costume with the iconic blood stained vampire teeth. Like Miss Abrahams said, its okay to be influenced by…. not influenced in totality.
I guess it hard for me, because I have never attended a Halloween Party, but bet your bottom dollar that if I do. I want to go as Papa Bois :D
Always Looking at Life,
Shahad the Sentinel
IMAGE FROM: Skullduggery Mas 2K11 Soucouyant
The room held a very musty scent. It was not the choking kind, it was simply enough to arouse the senses. It was dim, but with the afternoon’s gentle wind, it moved the curtains ever so often as a trail of light made its way within the room. It was his room, and he kept it the way he liked it. A bit messy at times, but not to the extent where the average Joe would enter, and end up lost within piles of rubbish or dirty clothes. He tired to manage some dignity and clean up after himself on those special occasions. After all, a girl tends to bring out the best in a man.
He had the home to himself most of the times. Both his mom and dad were always busy at work, but he never minded. In his heart he knew they were making sacrifices for his future. It was always a plus for him though, because during the day, the house became his playing ground; a playing ground that was not made for the magical mind of a 5 year old, but the raging sexual hormones of a teenage boy.
He was a diligent young man, but like every young teenager he always found himself in a bundle of discouragement from time to time. It was days like these he sought the comfort of a girl. These days it was not just any ordinary girl; it was ‘the’ girl, the girl of his dreams. He was very young, and if you were to ask him if he was in love, he would respond without the slightest hesitation.
He was always too lazy to make breakfast for himself every morning, but every time this girl decided to visit him, he would quickly get out the frying pan and heat up the toaster to make the most scrumptious breakfast, that he himself never had. He moved like clockwork, when she would call, he would quickly make up his bed, take a shower, spray on the most expensive cologne in the house, and start breakfast just in time to finish as soon as she walks through the door. He had a way of working romantic magic.
After breakfast, they would always find themselves locked in engrossing conversations that only gave more substantial evidence that they were meant to be. The slightest disagreement was seen as a commonality, some may say that is impossible, but I personally blame it on the blindness of love. Love is too blind to see the stupidity your partner may have. Love makes you swallow bitter medicine and you dare not regurgitate any of it. Love is too binding for vomiting.
It would all then boil down to a kiss; a kiss that sparks not just fireworks, but majestic waves and crazy flocks of birds soaring against a setting sun. It was always more, that what it was for him. It was never just simply a kiss. Each kiss had its own flavour of cherry smoothies, pina coladas or even fresh grapes from a vineyard. The intense pulling and tugging reminded him of rough rugby matches, but without the heavy testosterone levels. It was just the most unique balance he would always crave and enjoy.
Removing the clothing off each other was always his favourite part. Snapping a bra strap with one hand would always impress her, and she would always commend him for being such a fast learner. He would carry her into his bedroom and lay her on the bed, and make her feel good about herself in more ways than one. They truly believed that they had loved each other so much, and that nothing in this world can tear them apart.
He would caress her back, and kiss her toes and gently whisper loving secrets in her ear. His room would slowly become heated, and his fan would eventually become useless. The mirrors and anything made of glass would begin to fog, as the passion on his bed would always reach ultimate intensity.
“You wanna try it” she asked. He was on top of her, about to enter. She was nervous. He was nervous. They never reached this stage until today. He was expanding, and in a split second he felt he was that rugby player on the field….. Manly, strong, and unpredictable. He watched her deeply and lovingly in her eyes.
“Honey, I don’t have a condom. Maybe next time ok” and with that sentence, both of them truly known they had loved each other, for who they are, what they stand for, and who they would eventually be.
by Shahad Ali
No I did not study at 100% for that exam. To be quite honest I was busy enjoying my life. I was happy and contented. To pick up those books and drill tireless into the night sounded extremely depressing, and to be honest I live to be happy. I do not think I am going to fail, but I do not think that I am going to do extremely well either.
I am not going to regret my grade, because to be honest I know I could make it up in other areas. I could die tomorrow, but I trust my feelings more than anything else, and as such I chose to live through this exam, rather than allow the exam to live through me. I am happy, I am contented and I breathe.
My blog is all about “Looking at Life”, and it mostly centers around social actions, interaction and reasonings. I have learnt so much by putting my thoughts down, and reflecting on what matters to me the most. I have learnt so much from others, so much in fact, none of my lectures could ever teach me what I have learnt on this forum.
Its hard to live outside societal expectations, but I honestly think that I am being fair with myself when I am both within and outside of what society expects of me. Its hard to push that boundary. My cousins were very shocked when I told them that I would volunteer my life to a needy cause, if given a basic stipend and basic necessities. I told them it would make my life more meaningful. They are more caught up in the their personal success, where the ultimatum aim is to get rich or die trying.
There is more to life than being rich, and if I happen to fail this exam, it would be my learning experience. A learning experience that I would take forth and remember. Education never determined most of my accomplishments in life thus far. It has always been my ambition and my drive. My parents seemingly fail to realize that. I feel as if I have stored up ambition that is just waiting to be released.
Someone once told me that your degree is for your parents. After that you can do what you want with your life. I think that is probably very true in most cases. It was only after I had understood the construct of tertiary education, I told my parents that if they had allowed me to do major in Theatre Arts, I would have graduated with 1st class honors and sought a scholarship abroad. Now I am stuck with courses that perpetually bring down my grade.
I am not worried about my petty failures, I just want to know the date of my ultimate release of ambition :D
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel