I must sincerely apologise to my avid readers (!) for my sudden disappearance. I was away on vacation in India. In the once-beautiful hill station of Dehradun hidden in a Himalayan valley.
I say ‘once’ because even though the rest of India still thinks it is a lovely little town with single-storey bungalows hidden in large gardens full of lychee trees the reality is that ever since it became the capital of a state carved out in the north of India bordering China, the city (yes, a city and no longer a town) is creaking under the load of extremely high volume of traffic given its narrow roads, extremely high population considering its planning potential and totally chaotic and garbage-ridden highways and alleyways.
Even worse is the case of Delhi, the capital of India, which has little to redeem itself except for the sprawling garden city which houses the government bigwigs and the diplomatic enclaves. The same goes for a majority of cities in India with a population of more than two to three million.
Now you must be wondering what has my forlorn hometown to do with this blog which ought to focus on Bahrain. The thing is my sojourn of some 50 days in north India was so depressing on account of its sordid state that once I returned to Bahrain – the pearl of the Gulf as it is called and for good reason – even Gudaibiya, which I consider as the least organised area of Bahrain with certain pockets not offering a very cleanly look, appeared gleaming. That’s the magic of contrasting visions.
And why Gudaibiya alone? The moment you leave the inner city behind in Bahrain in winter the air is keen, the breath is fresh, there is no trace of air pollution, the sea is turquoise, and there are no garish and horrendous visual distractions either, by way of advertisement hoardings. It’s a serene and tranquil world – a far cry from the infrastructurally-overstretched swathes in India and elsewhere in parts of overpopulated Asia.