The spice of life is not in tradition any more

Bahrain’s Spice Market may not hold charm for the local population any more but, tucked away in the lanes of the Old Suq in the capital, Manama, it is a must visit for tourists and visitors.
The conventional ways of shopping have, in any case, taken a beating in the last few years with the advent of supermarkets and suq’s (traditional markets) have been among the first to fall victim.
However, as I have often discovered, the real charm of shopping in the “good old days” was when one picked up a jute (or cane) basket and went to the neighbourhood bazaar to pick up the day’s groceries.
As expected, Bahrain’s Spice Market was deserted when I went there for a walk last weekend. Hardly any customers, but for a few very ‘touristy’ people, were seen actually shopping while most who were there preferred to busy themselves with devouring the food on offer at the several eating joints.
The pungent smell of spices and the very friendly, mostly Asian, traders were welcoming and eager to sell their wares but were equally at ease with me preferring to take pictures instead. Yes, one of them said, most visitors are more interested in taking pictures but they didn’t mind. He admitted many of them end up purchasing some as well.
The same is the story of the rest of the suq – be it clothes, electronics, toys, utensils and the like. People – most people – just don’t go there any more, thanks to the ease and the air conditioned comfort of shopping in the supermarket.
Clearly, the spice of life in tradition does not exist any more!
A pity, really!

Life’s back

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Cherry tomato saplings are getting ready for transplant
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Hot green chili flowers have made an appearance
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The long dormant money plant has sprouted again
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This solitary flower has made its presence felt in one corner of the garden
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The asparagus seems to be happy
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This lily lookalike keeps watch from its cozy corner
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We are hoping the grape would bear some fruit this season
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One of the best creepers to have in hot climate

Bahrain’s weather’s changed in the last few weeks and nowhere it is more apparent than in our tiny garden.
Suddenly, everything’s back to life. And we are making the most of the “purple patch” lasting a few months of what we call the winter.
The fenugreek and the radish have sprouted, the money plant has started growing fresh leaves and the grape plant suddenly looks happy.
The bougainvillea is once again climbing all over and the cherry tomato are readying for a transplant. Asparagus has once again turned bright green from a deathly yellow and even the grass is showing its true colour.
One of the most amazing sights, however, is a lily lookalike in one corner of the garden that seems to have sprung up from nowhere. It’s a tiny plant but even with that size seems to be towering over everything else and keeping watch.
Several other things need to be done and some more plants, particularly seasonal flowers, have to come but just seeing so much green and colour after nearly six months of “drought” is sure a happy sight.
Happy Gardening to us 🙂

Colour from Kerala

Kerala is incredibly green – and awash with colour! This is perhaps because of its very wet climate, proximity to the sea or just His blessings. Whichever way you look at it, you will see there is never any dearth of a splash of colour – an awesome variety of flowers, plants and shrubs of all kinds. This is but just a minuscule sample of what I experienced. Much more time should be at hand to explore the real beauty of what is appropriately called – God’s Own Country!

Banana boom

Bananas – lots of bananas – of different kinds – are omnipresent in Kerala. Every house has several banana trees, they are everywhere on the streets, at every roadside and on every dining table.
The tiny “Kerala banana” is native only to the state while the larger, “regular” variety can also be found. However, it was the rather unusual “red” banana that I was most attracted to. It’s actually weird since it has a paper-thin skin and is “mango-ish” sweet. One can eat several at a time and still not have enough. No wonder, then, locals say it has certain digestive properties.
From up north, where I come from in India, the red banana is “imported” from Mumbai, where it is grown in abundance while locally, the “chitri wala” (pock-marked) banana is a best-seller, in spite of it’s rather “ripe” look.
Having all those bananas was certainly an “add-on” to my short Kerala trip, which was extraordinary in many ways.
Watch this space!

Slow – and tasty!

Tried my hand at making the traditional Punjabi Chicken Curry – in a slow cooker, and with a tangy twist! The deal is simple. For a full (1000 gms) chicken, take two large onions, two large tomatoes, four large green chilli, three cloves of garlic and a table tennis ball size of ginger. Coarse chop […]

via Slow – and tasty! — cookwithsingh