The expat population in Bahrain just outnumbers the born and bred locals. The vast majority of those expats being of Indian, predominantly south Indian. It makes for a pretty interesting environment to live in. You’ll get pockets of areas where mostly Westerners will live or Indians or Bahrainis. Just like any other country.
The Indian population has really helped build Bahrain. Literally. Throughout the endless building sites the majority of the workers you’ll see are Indian. As a way to acknowledge the Indian population Little India was born.
Little India has been a Saturday event, that started back in December last year, to celebrate the Indian culture in Bahrain. Run in Manama souq, the buildings were painted bright colours, stalls were set up and in the evenings you’d be able to catch musical treats. Mostly Bollywood music played by a band of teenagers. But it brought the crowds in.
Stalls of sellers of Indian food, sweets and clothing lined the square. The food stalls run by housewives, selling their home-made food. It was nice to have a cup of chai and just take in the surroundings.
Then the Indian ambassador for Bahrain turns up with his wife and we watch as all hell breaks loose. Countless people surge for wherever they’re coming from and we try to make a quick exit the other way. Only that never works. And we get caught up in some of the madness.
It’s refreshing to see these sorts of events in Bahrain. While it’s not the event of the season, it was fun to spend a few hours enjoying being outside, listening to some music, eating a dabeli and watching the world go by. Though as is always the case in Bahrain, more information online and signage in and around the souq would have been useful!