On the day Trinidad and Tobago won its independence from Britain, Jasso Chenai celebrated something equally memorable—the birth of twin sons.
The boys, Mootilal and Heeralal Bissoon, were delivered minutes apart around 9.30 a.m. on August 31, 1962.
The boys joined a 12-sibling family. Their father, Bissoon Chenai, died 25 years ago. Their mother, Jasso, 83, is alive and well.
The twins grew up doing almost everything together and, 50 years later, they are proud to both be fathers, and electricians.
The Bissoons grew up in Poona Road, Whiteland, and attended the Mayo Roman Catholic Primary School.
Mootilal Bissoon said, "We failed (the school-leaving examination) because we liked to play too much. I feel if we had gone to separate schools we would have not failed."
But failing at that examination did not stop them from being successful.
They began learning trades after leaving primary school.
Mootilal Bissoon lives at Guaracara/Tabaquite Road and his brother lives at Poona Road, not too far from the family's original home.
Heeralal Bissoon, a single father, has one son, Darren Bissoon, 21.
Mootilal Bissoon and wife Cathy-Ann are parents to five children—Lydia, 26, Kevin, 25, Keisha, 18, Randall, 17, and Richard, 16.
Mootilal Bissoon said when he and his brother were children, the two would usually have a birthday party with friends and family, but as they got older, they preferred to spend the day at home with their children.
This year, he said, he was unsure what he wanted to do for his birthday.
Heeralal Bissoon said he was planning to spend the day at a river near the Gran Couva Police Station and most likely his brother and family would join in.
And even though Mootilal Bissoon loves his country, he is alarmed by the crime rate.
He said, "Now the crime rate is so high. It is not like long time, which was so peaceful and quiet. You could have left your house open and go and come back and met everything there. Now you cannot do that."
Heeralal Bissoon agreed.
He said, "The only problem that I really have is that there are too many murders. The crime rate is too high. If the crime rate drops, that will be better for everybody."
Mootilal Bissoon advised young people, "Stay out of trouble. You have access to technology. Use it for good and not bad. Use it to study and do research. Study hard."
Mootilal Bissoon feels there were positive changes in the country, such as the lessening of racial tension and division.
He said when he attended primary school, only children of one ethnicity were allowed to sit in front the class and all children of another ethnicity were placed at the back.
Now anybody sits anywhere, he said, and "I love that".
The twins were invited by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development to attend the national day of prayer at Ato Boldon stadium in Couva last Sunday. They attended and were hoping to meet with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who gave an address. However, they did not meet any of the politicians.
Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie told the Express that all those born on the country's first Independence Day would be honoured at a later function.