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My name is Mustapha Ali and I am the son of Asgar Ali, who started Ali Doubles in San Fernando.
In the whole of Trinidad, it’s really my uncle who started doubles, in Princes Town, Deen Doubles. They have a depot San Juan side. But we get more bigger than them.
I grew up in and work all my life in doubles, never did anything else, never write a resume, never look for a job anywhere! From school days, I was selling doubles, making money right away!
I went to San Fernando Methodist School but I didn’t have no time for secondary school. I make more money than if I did do some studies in some subject or the other. Before I was 40 years, I done had ten house. We make more money than the lawyers in the area!
I have four girls, one boy, all of them give active hand in the work. I only have one grandchild for now; I a little backward in grandchildren. But my father wasn’t backward: plenty children! He didn’t have to hire no workers!
I’m the second son, the next bigger brother, carrying on doubles on another street. We cut out the shame in selling doubles. People used to hide to buy doubles. They want it, but they sending for it! But we didn’t mind. Just buy it! We show people is money to make. Is a national food now: any corner, anywhere, you getting your hot delicious doubles. Sundays is even a better sale now than normal days. Church people carry home a bag of doubles and start lunch one-time: they don’t have to make no breakfast.
The wholesalers right there next to me, the market right there, High Street right there. I could walk to everything! Only the cemetery I can’t walk to – but I could get a drop!
I does take as my duty: get up early and cook to feed the nation at a cheap price. I doing that since 1962, 53 years now. I’m 69 now and still carrying on but now I working for ‘keep-fit’.
We supply bara and doubles to some people who sell but don’t want to make. But some people try something. I was in Miami, New York, even in Canada, I see people put the name, ‘Ali Doubles’ and they have nothing to do with us, but so the West Indian communities would feel at home.
I never got a passport and never travelled anywhere. But I like to be abreast with what going on in the world. That was my entertainment from a young, young boy. I reading the Guardian from when it was six cent. I listening to the BBC World Service when it was coming from seven o’clock, 12 o’clock, four o’clock. Putting all that knowledge together, it give you a wealth of understanding how the world is shaping up. I on top of the world: I could answer any question about what going on in any part of the world on any day! I could tell you the Ukraine situation from old-time days to now!
The Texas shootings, it surprise America to know is Isis do it, but I wasn’t surprised. I knew that would play off! In the USA, they have silent sympathisers to Isis. Even Hitler had his silent supporters. In Trinidad during WWII, they lock up all Germans. Harriman, from Harriman Stores, was one: because they mind was for they Fatherland!
Every day, we give away 40, 50 doubles to people who ent have no money today. In my scrunting days, when a small sale mean a lot, them was the good customers. So, now they broken, and want a doubles, give them one for old times’ sake. They happy, and I glad to give them one.
I don’t want one of my customers to say I hard to deal with. I want to remain where I emerge from: amongst the simple multitudes. I don’t want to go in that category where I hard to locate.
A Trini is a man who like Trinidad, the Trinidad way of life, of music, of cultures. And talk highly about and promote Trinidad, our native land.
Trinidad & Tobago means a lot to me. No matter how bad it is here, we better off here.
• Read a longer version of this feature at www.BCRaw.com
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