Basseterre (St Kitts) – One of the big Indian families in St Kitts – and they’ve been here since the 1930s – is the one that runs the Rams Supermarket, under the flagship company, Ram’s Trading Ltd. It has several other businesses not just in St Kitts but also in some neighbouring Caribbean islands.
Rams, the name has obviously evolved from Ram’s, is very popular not just with the locals but also with tourists – one aisle packed on both sides with all sorts of alcoholic beverages is ample proof of that “” and with the 100-strong Indian student committee and has been importing pre-cooked Indian foodstuff, like MTR dals and curries, the last few years.
Kishu D Chandiramani, the owner and managing director, is an important man in town, has held several important posts in civic bodies and is currently president of the St Kitts-Nevis Hotel and Tourism Association.
He shows me a silver cup, given by his family to the St Kitts cricket team that won the Leewards Islands tournament in the 1930s, displayed in a glass case in the supermarket, and is nice enough to answer a few questions. But he is also a busy man and, when asked for some details, says: “˜Check it up on the website http://www.ramstrading.com/
The manger at the Rams store, just off the Kim Collins Highway – Collins, a Kittitian was the 100m world champion in 2003 “” that leads to airport, is another Sindhi, Hitesh. He asks me my name when I chat with him and, on discovering it is a South Indian one, astonishes me by talking to me in fluent Tamil. It turns out he had gone to school in Chennai.
A young, bespectacled West Indian of Indian origin, hair immaculately combed, with just a trace of fuzz in his chin, has been one of the most earnest watchers of the India-West Indies Test at the press box at the Warner Park Stadium here.
At times, the earnestness gives way to wistfulness. There is a sense of yearning, a longing, in the way he watches the game. He is not a journalist. The identity card he wears indicates he wears around his neck identifies him as a media management assistant, Rohan Naraini.
A chat with him explains the look. Warner Park is where he’s played a lot of cricket himself – for the St Kitts Under-19 side, as a No 3 bat. The first Test match at this ground means a lot to him. And if circumstances were different he might have been there, in the middle.
“˜He had a lot of potential, but he preferred to concentrate on his education,’ says Valentine Thomas, a local journalist and broadcaster.
Rohan is a medical student, studying in Kingston, Jamaica , on a scholarship. That’s why he’s not a student in the medical college in St Kitts itself, where most of the Indian students study
You know how it is with us Indians,’ says his uncle, who is the owner of Star of India, the only Indian restaurant in St Kitts, and which has a food stall in the West Stands for the Test. “˜We give preference to academics over sports.’
Rohan’s family is one of the two established Indian families in St Kitts. They have been here since 1980, originally in the garment trade and then diversifying. Even the bottled water we get in the press box is part of their “˜empire’.