View from Bahrain


           

1) The security gets in place.This chopper circled over the track virtually the whole time.

 

           

2) The spectators (mostly the royal family and their guests) appear on the balcony of the VIP tower.

 

3) The grid girls ( Gulf Air airhostesses) are in place.Mind you she is standing there in 45+ temperatures.

4) There is frantic activity in the team ‘pits’.

  

5) The crowd awaits the action.

6) The roll out begins.

 

7) The equipment gets in place.

8) The cars get in place.I over zoomed so this picture is not very clear.The yellow car is Alonso’s and the red one behind it is Massa’s unmistakable Ferrari.

9) Then all leave and it’s just the race drivers and their mean machines. Incredibly there is complete silence in these few moments before the deafening roar of all the cars revving up at once blasts the ears (inspite of the ear plugs). A test spin is taken and then the final positions are taken on the grid.

10) Jarno Truli takes the coveted pole position. He finished 3rd in this race.
 

11) Jenson Button ,who came in the winner of this race.
12) As the race starts we watch a few laps and then decide to take a quick tour of the circuit and come back for the last 20 laps. Entertainers were still going great guns.

13) Some Hindi here!!
 

14) The local cops were doing good PR by parking these two cars for the public to come and see,sit in and talk to the cops.A big hit with the kids.

15) And then it was all over.We watched many exciting overtakes by the drivers,especially at the corners (all this on a big screen) and then the chequered flag was up and Jenson Button had the third win of the season in his pocket. This picture of the three winning cars parked under the winner’s podium was taken by my daughter who had been volunteering as a ‘runner’ in this building for all the three days.

16) She was in a better position to take this shot of the Ferrari and Force India cars (and all the others).They all line up under the winner’s podium after the race. Take a look at the tyres.Not many laps ago these were brand new tyres.

 

17) The drivers get out of their cars.This is Sebastien Bourdais of Scuderia Toro Rosso team.

18) Jenson Button beams the winner’s smile as H.R.H, Deputy King of Bahrain, Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa looks on.

19) Celebration time

20) The cars are rolled back towards the garages.Onwards to the next Grand Prix…

P.S.: A perk of  her volunteering for three days of the race as a ‘runner'(they are theones who run between garages and team offices getting results and other paper work signed)  was that she got a shot at getting the autographs of the drivers.She hit the jackpot as at one go (on Day Two) she managed to get her ‘runner’s bib’ signed by Hamilton and Massa.Alonso signed her cap for her. She was wearing the bib at the time so Hamilton had to hold her shoulder while signing.Well,needless to say that this shoulder is going to be ‘sacred’ for a long time to come.

 

 

Advertisements
 

Like the last 5 years, this time too, the Formula One fever gripped Bahrain.Without a doubt it is the biggest event on Bahrain’s calendar.I attended the last two days (the first one when the pole position is decided and the GP 2 race takes place and then on the day of the grand finale.)

All of you who follow the event would already know that Jenson Button won the race and Sebastien Vettel and Jarno Truli took the other two positions.So, I will spare you the details of the race and just post a photo blog from around the circuit to give an idea of the atmosphere that prevails.Here goes.

                          (1) I went up to the top floor and got this view of the entrance side of the circuit.

 

(2) The way to the corporate boxes from where ‘your’s truly’ watched the race.

(3) On entering the box I realised that I really had the pole position as far as views were concerned.I snapped a zillion pictures in no time.You are looking at the garages of the team.From here the cars come straight on to the starting grid. 

 

 

(4) The team’s technical staff works frantically to get everything into top gear.

(5) The cars are tested  for brakes and other things by the drivers.They speed up and brake repeatedly making enough noise to cause global deafness. Then the techies get to work again to fine tune the cars.This was on the day the pole position is decided.

(6) Some came well prepared to take on the unbelievable noise levels…..

(7) Others made do the old fashioned way!
 

(8) Care was taken to ensure the nutritional side of the race did not get neglected,

(9) The glamour quotient was well maintained . 

(10) Regional flavor was in full force too.

(10) Youngsters made a full picnic out of the day by lounging around in 40+ temperatures.
The track temperature was recorded at a whopping 51 degrees.

(11) The entertainers kept everyone’s spirits up even as the mercury climbed upwards.

(12) The team merchandise sold like hot cakes. This year too there was nothing from Force India team.

(13) I think this blog must already be testing your patience so take a cue from this guy and take a break.See you tomorrow with the real race action from the track.

 

I haven’t photographically tracked the progress of the garden in the last few weeks but when I did this morning it was a total joy to see the profusion of the blooms.Have a look and have a good day and an even better weekend.
1) The carnations are now coming into bloom and I look forward to capturing on camera more such beauties in the coming days

 

2) This year I planted cherry colored nasturtiums giving the usual orange ones a pass.The results have been spectacular.

3) The snap dragons are really going great and have filled up this long bed at the front of the house.

 

 

This is a kitten that just a few months ago was a helpless, little, furless thing that its mommy deposited under the bougainvillea creeper. I have lots of low growing plants planted around the base and it makes for a perfect hiding spot for the kittens and mommy cat and also provides total protection from the wind, the heat and the cold. Last time the mommy cat had a litter the two kittens got themselves stuck in the bougainvillea’s thorny branches and mewled pitifully the whole day in the heat. When I tried to rescue them the mommy cat appeared out of nowhere and hissed the living daylights out of me.
1) When I tried to get it to pose, it ignored me royally. Moving closer would have meant it sauntering away and another lost photo opportunity so I resorted to making bird sounds(or what I think were bird sounds.
 
2) The bird sounds did not impress the little fella and it just continued snoozing in the sun.All it would grant me was a front profile.
 

3) When I would not give up with my annoying ‘bird noises’ one eye opened and I got this look.It says it all.It does

think of me as a major ‘human’ annoyance which it tolerates only because of the occasional treats it gets from me.
 

 

P.s: Going by its size this one is going to be one big cat.Just like its daddy

I backed off and called the local SPCA (society for preventing cruelty to animals). They sent a young Sri Lankan employee who brought them down but then insisted on taking them to the shelter. No amount of pleading the mommy cat’s case would make him relent so off he went with the two kittens to the shelter and I was left with a mommy cat that mewled pitifully for a whole week before it gave up on its babies. The guilt of somehow being responsible for that fiasco made me watch out protectively over the present litter of three, out of which two survived and one got lost when it was a cute little fur ball.

So this is the one that has survived and has now been left alone by the mommy cat. She no longer plays with him/her, nor hangs around protectively. So this fella has taken to hanging around my garden, chasing birds (probably making a meal out of a few) and knocking down my carnations by jumping all over then during its bird chases.As you can make out from the pictures this one has a mind of its own and is quite a character.

Lately,I have not found myself inspired to write about anything .Writer’s block? Maybe. But there is no photographer’s block on the horizon so here is a tour around my personal paradise. Come along.

 
 

 

This flower fascinated me for a whole month last season……unfortunately I had no seeds to plant it again this year. A dust storm was about to hit the day this picture was taken and hence the brownish hue of the pic.

This is where the bountiful vegetables come from.In the left lower corner is the compost bin where all kitchen and garden waste is composted.Just showing off my GREEN credentials.

The paperwala arrives with my copy of the local daily and a day old copy of The Economic Times.

This is how serene the compund looks,bathed in the winter sun.Don’t even ask how it is in summers with temperatures at 48 degrees+.

The gardener gets busy watering. He has been nurturing this place for last 30 years, I am told.

This is the oasis his efforts create within the walls of the compound.Look  over the wall to see how it would be without constant improving of soil and watering.

The barbecue that is usually used as my gardening work bench to raise seedlings and carry out the re-potting of plants. What else can a vegetarian do with a barbecue?

The mid morning sun brings out the many hues of green that are there.

 OK, that’s it folks.See you again soon. Take care.

 
When all the effort of months of planting and nurturing bears fruit it is a sight straight from the Heavens.
I know,I know,I just posted a post yesterday but nature waits for no one so I do not have the luxury of being well spaced between my posts.

 

 

1) I spent hours today to get the Salvia right. The fact that it is a naroow spike was ‘spiking’ all my amateur efforts at clicking it well.I finally got it.I am happy that I have got the exact mix of blue and purple color.In most pictures it was showing up as only blue and that is not how the actual flowers are. Can you see a white blurry blob in the background ( at the top end of the picture)? Well,that is the Carnation of the next picture!
 

 

2) I thought of getting the fat ant off but he/she seems to be having such a party,I decided against interfering with his/her fun!
 

 

3) The orange Calendula looked prettier than the yellow one I clicked yesterday so it also deserved to be in this post.
  

 

4) The Snapdragons are also tricky(for me atleast) to click but I think these picture does capture the blushing beauties reasonably well.
 

 

5) The pink ones are gorgeous too with that little dusting of yellow freckles in the centre.
6) Verbenas don’t seem to like the cold, blustery winds(shamaals) of Bahrain but I still persist with my efforts to grow them.They remind me of my Dad. He always used to grow them at the front  of the flower beds.Mine are in a pot though.
 

 

7) This one looks so much like the Salvia in the first picture but is actually  not like it at all.It comes in a tight little bunch instead of a tall spike.
 

 

8) No post can ever be complete without my buddies, Petunias.They are not fussy at all. As long as there is plenty of sun they fire on all cylinders: in rich soil and poor soil, in sheltered corners and out in the face of the 35 knots ‘shamaals’.
This post is already too long but I just have to add some pics from the productive end of the garden,the vegetable patch.

 

1) The purple beans are out in a strong show and I love their sweetness. The crunch-o-meter is high too. I got the seeds from Australia and have been religiously collecting more at the end of each season to keep my stock going.
 

 

2) The tomatoes are making life miserable with their abundance. I have gifted so many to anyone who will take them and I am still snowed under !!
 

 

3) The family favorite, eggplant (brinjal) is looking to compete with the tomatoes in abundance. 
Bhartha anyone?
Ok that it’s folks. The show is over.Will return (whether you want me to or not) with aerial views of the garden from where all these pictures come to you.

 

 

 

In my previous post I had posted a picture of a mound peering through the morning fog and said there was a story to tell there.Well this is the story about the mound and the hundreds of others that can be still found in Bahrain. Often when one lives with history one tends to take it for granted.What if I tell you that this mound dates back to an era some 3000BC? That would make you take notice alright.

This is what the mound and its cousins(not in the picture) look like in the morning sun.Now ,what look like just some non descript heaps of sand were much higher and majestic till a decade ago.‘Development’ took over history  here in Bahrain too just as it does in other places.I post the history behind the mounds below.It has been taken from an internet site on Bahrain.

“History of Bahrain goes back to over five thousand years. Considered to be one of the many venues of Sightseeing in Bahrain, Dilmun Burial Mounds in Bahrain is the place where the ancient people of Dilmun civilization are resting in peace.

Dilmun Burial Mounds in Bahrain is one of the rare archaeological burial grounds that date back to the Dilmun era. Dilmun was an old civilization that flourished on the islands of Bahrain during the Bronze Age at around 3000 BC. The heydays of the civilization started as Bahrain was along the ancient sea trade route which linked this civilization with that of Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization. The civilization gradually phased off but their burial ground in Bahrain still bears testimony to this once mighty civilization.

Dilmun Burial Mounds in Bahrain was unearthed by a Danish team when in course of their excavation work they stumbled upon some tumuli. The tumuli contained items that proved the existence of this civilization around two thousand years before the Christ. Every tumulus housed a central stone chamber surrounded by a low ring wall with earth and gravel piled on them. The size of tumuli varies with smaller ones containing single chamber. Larger ones contained more chambers. Though there was only a person buried in each tumulus, some however contained more than one person.

The bodies found at Dilmun Burial Mounds in Bahrain represent both sexes. The bodies did not have many ornaments upon them. Neither the chambers were stacked with huge riches as were found in most Egyptian tombs. The bodies also proved the life expectancy of the then people were around 40 years. Notwithstanding that, it goes without saying that sightseeing in Bahrain is incomplete without a visit to Dilmun Burial Mounds in Bahrain.”(asiarooms.com)
 

I have lived next to these remnants of an ancient civilisation for some 14 years now.There are only 3 depressed looking mounds left now.There used to be some open ones (possibly opened by archeologists) also right behind the house and all those visiting us in Bahrain were taken on impromptu tours of these.I remember my mum noticing that the open ones had such a neat arrangement of graves that it looked as though a whole family might have been buried there next to each other and also that the stones, used to demarcate the grave spaces, inside the mound had fossils of little sea shells encrusted into them. We all then put on our (amateur archeologist)thinking caps and wonderd where the stones came from.

That was back then.Now there are large villas built over those open ones and it is only a matter of time before these ones disappear too.

All sorts of rubbish is dumped on and around the remaining mounds.You can see the construction rubble lying to the side in the picture. Cars and trucks drive all around and sometimes over them also.On summer evenings youngsters, on their noisy quad bikes, use them to do their stunts and get the thrill from racing up and down the mounds.They may not look like much in the picture but these particular ones are actually quite high.

Bahrain has one(barely) protected site of mounds  at A ‘ali where they are to be found one after another.Some particularly huge ones can be be found in Hamad Town. Initially there were great hopes that these, signposts of a past era, would be protected seriously but since then things have gone awry.The reasons are given below( from the wikipaedia entry on the burial mounds)

Attempts to protect the burial mounds have run into opposition by religious fundamentalists who consider them unIslamic and have called for them to be concreted over for housing. During a parliamentary debate on 17 July 2005, the leader of the salafist  Asalah party, Sheikh Adel Mowdah, said “Housing for the living is better than the graves for the dead. We must have pride in our Islamic roots and not some ancient civilisation from another place and time, which has only given us a jar here and a bone there .” 

When the religious leaders have such parochial views then what can one expect from the public. I took this picture a few days ago when a young local lad proudly parked his car atop one of the mounds and casually sauntered off to a nearby cafe. He is secure in his conviction that the ancient history, that he tramples upon, is not Islamic and therefore not his. A bit like the thinking behind the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas,in my view!

It would not surprise me if all that remains of this past is soon confined to the excellent recreations of the mounds in the Bahrain National  Museum.