An Ode to Robin Maharaj: T&T’s Best Weatherman

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In my nearly thirty years here… (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 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.

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.

 

Anthony La Borde

Anthony La Borde considers himself an entrepreneurially minded idea generator, and plays a key role in a number of business ventures. He loves to start conversations and entertain people with his sometimes controversial thoughts.

10 Comments

  1. Robin

    May 29, 2011 at 3:18 am

    It is a pleasure to read the article about Robin Maharaj, Meteorologist, who apparently is well remembered by a few folks from TnT. Anthony La Borde verily captures some aspects of Robin’s public profile quite well and if he were to know the other side, his dynamism, research in Tropical Meteorology, etc., the picture would be complete. Robin was a professional meteorologist who aimed at the highest levels of performance and operations, the experience at TTT from 1972 to 1999, being only one aspect of his profession. Long story short, he was recruited by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in 1999, to work in Public Affairs (PR duites, TV Weather Broadcasting, weather forecasting etc. being among his job specifications). He lived in Geneva, Switzerland to work at WMO HQ, and retired in 2005 to Minnesota, USA. He kept active in the sciences and Robin is in good health, pursuing a daily fitness regime. These things I know and can vouch for, and anyone can contact me for further info. You see, I am he, Robin Maharaj. Ithank you all. Email: robinmaharaj1@hotmail.com.

    • Mahindra

      December 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks Mr Weatherman for the excellent weather forcasting and inspiration you have brought to our homes so many years ago,
      I know you have migrated to somewhere in Europe, and I am happy to know that you are still around and keeping in touch with your fellow countryfolks, Isn’t this amazing how technology works, I was just playing around on the internet looking for parang music and came across this message, believe it or not, I was one of your neighbours in Trinidad..
      Seasons Greetings and Best wishes to you and your family..

      • Robin

        April 10, 2017 at 5:50 pm

        Thanks Mahindra. Gosh, your comment is recent. It was brought to my attention by a friend. Yeah! The internet is incredible. And I am retired and now live in the US. Life is good, made better with memories of my life and work in Trinidad.

    • Chef Williams

      June 21, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Mr. Maharaj. So glad to read your update and find out how things are in your neck of the woods. You are really the quintessential meteorologist and you are etched in our childhood memories. Take care and God bless. Love from Trinidad.

  2. Cindy

    June 1, 2011 at 7:44 am

    What a lovely article. I too remember Robin fondly as do many of my friends.
    Thanks Anthony for taking me down memory lane to Robin’s lively weather forecasts.
    It’s also great to read update from the man himself.
    Outlish….keep up the great work!

  3. Corinne

    June 1, 2011 at 8:24 am

    I really enjoyed this article and got to thinking about how nice it would be to do more catching up on our past TV icons. Here’s my first suggestion:
    Holly Betaudier (spelling?)

    PLEASE!

  4. Ernest Hernandez

    October 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    D Skipper, just read your article and thoroughly enjoyed it. Brought back pleasant memories. Robin was definitely an icon. Always wondered whatever happened to him and if he was still in Switzerland. Thanks.

  5. Nichola

    May 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I did CXC Physics because of MacGuyver and CXC Geography because of Robin Maharaj!

  6. Jai Parasram

    February 12, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I knew RAB professionally better than most people and agree he was top of the class. We worked together in front of the cameras at TTT. He loved the showbiz part of it too and sometimes when it rained he would insist on coming on set with me with his wet umbrella just to add some drama to the weather forecast. I keep in touch with him sometimes and I know Grace has been taking good care of him. It was great reading the news when Rab was on weather duty.

  7. Jennifer Kismat Ali

    February 14, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Loved Robin’s weather forecasting

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