Bananas in Bahrain

A little more than a year ago when I got the gardener to plant a couple of banana trees in our little garden, he was skeptical. He insisted these plants would just “create a jungle” and become unmanageable.
A few weeks ago, he insisted he had been “proved right” since the plants had grown all over the roof of ours and the neighbors house, and there was no sign of any fruit. I gave him the go ahead to chop them off and create some free space, at which he seemed quite pleased.
But, then, this happened. Two “flowers” appeared. While I was elated at my “patience”, the gardener seemed quite surprised and in disbelief. Now, more than a month after the “chop” discussion, we have two large stems, with a couple of hundred bananas, showing themselves off.
I look at them several times a day and watch them “grow” and each day, they seem bigger and better.
We never imagined there would be bananas grown in hot and humid Bahrain, where there is hardly any rain at all and which is far from the tropical climate these plants need to flourish.
I got the plants from a friend who said in many years he’d had them in his garden, they had borne fruit only once and that, too, were “a few”. He was desperate to get rid of most of them and that is when I “acquired” two. The thing with a banana plant is that it keeps sprouting all around where it is planted. The “kid banana plants”, as they are called then “take over” the larger stems that eventually wither away and die. Also, once the stem bears fruit, it has to be removed and discarded so that it makes way for the “children” to flower and bear fruit.
The ways of nature are wonderful and more wonderful is being in a position where one can appreciate it’s beauty.
In our own small way, we have that luxury.
What next, I wonder!

A very special moment

What started off as a “work” assignment last weekend turned out to be an unforgettable experience.
Though my Arab colleagues were unable to explain to me fully what the assignment was all about, I could gather it was something important for having me be at work on the regular day off.
While it was important since the high and mighty of the local government were present, what interested me more was who the whole event was for – a lively and boisterous group of specially-abled young men and women as well as children.
The “Bahrain for All-All for Bahrain”-organised gathering got together this energetic group, who were treated to an afternoon of song, dance, music and art in the true Bahraini-Arab tradition.
Having completed the formalities of meeting with officials, I got around to interacting with these very special people, who, despite the language barrier, managed to “talk” and express themselves, not once showing they were “different”. They laughed, joked, talked and gestured like everyone else and showed what having a positive attitude towards life could achieve.
Not only them, their minders – teachers, parents and care-givers – were as enthusiastic, making sure they had the time of their lives interacting with the so-called “normal” humans. They enthusiastically posed for pictures, got together for group shots and took selfies with officials and others.
I took a lot of pictures – some of which are shown here – all the time thinking how positive these children, men and women are and how enthusiastically they have taken to their special situation when even we, who are “normal”, are full of negativity, apprehension and stress.
We have a lot to learn from who we may think are less privileged and who many of us sometimes look down upon. God created all as equals but some of them are special. It was a privilege having spent time with these very special people!