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  • Farzeen Heesambee

The 1990s Theme Park

A few years ago, I was listening to a YouTube video by Trevor Noah, and I thought OMG that is exactly what it feels like. (ref at the bottom)

Although I lived in the ‘big city’, when it was that time of the year to buy toys, we would tour the whole country to buy those end of year gifts that we had to pretend we had no clue about. They were meant to be ‘surprises’ and we were expected to behave like we never anticipated those gifts. Truth be told, we always knew what we were going to have, as we were ushered around the shopping hysteria every end of year.

As a young child, you obviously hate walking, but if you knew that your selfish needs would be met were you to comply, it became a stroll in the garden; there is no ‘my feet are hurting’, ‘look, I’ve got blisters’, ‘it’s so hot’, ‘why does it have to be that far’, ‘are we done yet’, ‘I’m thirsty’, ‘I’m hungry’, ‘ I need to sit down’ and obviously the ‘that’s not fair’ when you don’t get what you want straight away or when your sibling gets a toy and you don’t as there was nothing of your liking yet.

It starts as a really nice outing, window shopping, especially the toy shops, where you want everything, but you know you might have to do with the toys that your parents want to showcase on the mantlepiece; those expensive toys you never get to play with. So, you might end up with a Gloria kitchen set or living room that you never wanted instead of the police gun that you wanted, because it is not pretty enough and you know priorities are elsewhere so it’s a lost case.

Anyways, one of highlights of the 90s though was a trip to the Hassamal Shopping Centre, you never went there for the toys, there wasn’t really any. Hassamal was this massive multi-storey shop that sold ‘women’ stuff, by that I mean kitchen stuff. So, to be perfectly honest, it was the place your mother wanted to visit, because she will find the latest kitchen gadget. But for you Hassamal was symbolism of conquering the world, it was an experience of a lifetime that you could never experience anywhere else. So, if you were lucky, there would be a male adult accompanying you that would gladly take on the duty of chaperone for your escape to the unknown. There were two main attractions, no less than any theme park any kid today can ever imagine, you were all set for the adventure. You knew the drill, although every time you were reminded of the rules by the male adult.

So as soon as you got there, the male adult already knew he has to separate from the female adult and support you in this endeavour. The choice was yours, where to start with , the stairs that would magically take you to heaven and bring you back to earth or the room that would ascend to heaven and bring you back to earth. And hence the games went; up and down, down and up and until it was time to go home there was nothing stopping you from enjoying the thrill rides of the lift and elevator.

Some of the female adults can sometimes be squeamish and refuse those facilities to heaven but it was at their loss and you would see them being pushed by another family and family member, they would scream; other plainly refused as it was too adventurous for their taste.

Thank you Zoulu Madsen Leblan for reminding me of Hassamal.

FH 22/02/2021

Reference for Tevor Noah’s funny video:

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