In my nearly 30 years on Earth… (sh*t I gettin’ ole boy), I have seen my fair share of weather forecasters. There are the boring weathermen, the ones who just try too hard, and then there’s Robin Maharaj.
Growing up, watching him on our TV screens in our small corner of the world, we realised… Robin was no ordinary weatherman. He was the greatest weatherman! Even weathermen on CNN or BBC can’t compete with Robin (too bad there aren’t any YouTube videos available for me to prove my point to those of you youngsters who never saw him in action).
He was singlehandedly responsible for many people from my generation tuning in for news. Ent? Click like, if you used to sit down to watch news with yuh mommy and daddy just to see Robin turn to the satellite picture and show you how “the ridges of high pressure” were affecting the Windward and Leeward islands.
Funny as it sounds, Robin wasn’t just entertainment for me. Back in my secondary school days, I was a little bit unsure of what I wanted to do, so I decided to do a mix and match of the subjects I liked and Robin caused geography to be in that mix. Yes. I’m not ashamed to say I did geography, because of the weatherman. Who else would have inspired me to go and learn about cumulonimbus and nimbo-stratus clouds, and about El Niño and La Niña? I mean… you have to admit, it takes a certain amount of charisma to create that kind of inspiration.
Even to this day my standard of what defines a ‘good’ meteorologist is based on what Robin did, and his ability to deliver an entertaining and informative weather forecast. People will argue and say, “Oh, it used to be wrong most of the time”, to which I would scoff and say, “That’s because he is a Trini, and he would try to give you the hour that the first precipitation would fall from the sky”. Plus, he couldn’t put all the other meteorologists around the world out of a job by being right 100% of the time. That would have been hard. They already have to deal with the fact that everyone stops watching news just as they come on. Robin can’t have viewership and correct forecasts too!
I don’t live in Trinidad anymore, so the only TV6 I see is when I walk into an electronics store, and see a stack of six Sony TVs, but I can bet two million dollars that no one, and I mean no one, tunes into news just to watch the weather anymore.
Can you say the name of the current weathermen on local TV by heart? Do they make you feel happy to hear that it’s going to rain bucket ah drop tomorrow? I doubt. The surfers out there know exactly what I’m talking about too. Who else was telling you that “high tide was at 6 p.m. and waves would be three metres in open waters and up to one meter in sheltered areas”? Trinis always laugh and say that they’re recycling the weather conditions report, but someone from the Met Office once told me that when you don’t hear that, that’s when you should get worried!
Robin is an icon, an institution. Allyuh remember he used to rock a blue or a grey shirt-jack right through? I think my pops told me once that that was a big style. My belly lock when I hear that, fuss I laugh! Which weatherman now you know, showing you how to dress, while delivering the forecast?
Robin belongs to the era of TTT, and striped TV backgrounds and a strong beep that let you know that the station had signed off, and it was time to head to bed. Robin was so big that he was awarded the Trinidad & Tobago Silver Medal of Merit in 2000 by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for his “Sterling Contribution to the Science of Meteorology”, and “For excellence in Weather Broadcasting” for 1972 to 1999.
However, I was unimpressed by the fact that there was not much information available when I tried to Google him. I was able to find out though, that Robin’s real, first name was Rab. Now I know why he used Robin.
There should be more easily accessible information about icons like him on the web. Another beloved icon of T&T broadcasting, the late Allyson Hennessey, who recently passed away, has her own Wikipedia page – thanks to everyone being more Internet-savvy and the social media craze these days.
Some personalities will always bring back good memories, and, in my case, help me settle on one of my CXC subjects. I didn’t end up being a weatherman or a geologist, but I could still tell you if it’s going to rain, and what kind of cloud they have in the sky.
So until they can find another meteorologist to make me smile, when he (or she) says, “It’s going to flood tomorrow”, I will stick to looking outside an hour before I leave my house to know if to move with my house and land.
Image source: http://www.naparima.org
Uncle Robin actually emailed us to say he read the piece, and was extremely flattered by Anthony’s ode. So we macoed his business, and found out what he’s up to now. Click this link to read his personal update about life, work, kids, and health.