Monday, April 23, 2012

Rising from the Sands!

It is quite amazing, really. In fact, it is more than amazing - it is disconcerting. 
The flight is skimming over the desert with nothing but hundreds of miles of sand in all directions, and suddenly we see a huge set of skyscrapers jut out of nowhere! There are beautifully paved black roads that crisscross the sands, and even frightening - there suddenly appears a large traffic island with lush green manicured lawns!!
Welcome to Doha. 
Or rather, welcome to the Middle East, where make-believe is the reality. 
Travelers have always said that nothing can quite prepare you for the flood of oil prosperity that is visible all over the region. And they are right! Though we know that petro dollars buy prosperity like nothing else, it is still quite astonishing to see the creation sprout up right under your plane's wings! 
Honestly, this area was never meant by god to be this lush. But in modern times, God can always be convinced to change his intentions! When we think about it, it suddenly strikes us that not one thing in this my-building-highest world of showmanship would have been procured locally - save the sandstone which is available in plenty in the deserts. Every other thing would have been shipped from elsewhere, and that one realization itself is enough for us to understand why this is by far the world's most prosperous marketplace. The manager of the hotel i'm staying at tells me that each morning two plane loads of veggies are unloaded at Doha, in addition to all those hundreds of trucks which plow through the desert all night; and it is perfectly logical. What will people eat otherwise? Construction is happening like crazy. Almost every building in the city has a crane mounted on top, proving that there are greater heights to be scaled. 
Man's resourcefulness knows no bounds. Any mere mortal, looking at the spread of the desert, would have been frightened away to take up farming or sheep-rearing in their homeland. But then, these are no mere mortals! These are white-clad-super-humans fortified with petroleum! And when there is oil, everything else will follow suit! America provides Air Defence. The world's leading airlines joust for space and are willing to pay top dollar for a couple more parking slots. The port is choc-a-bloc with ships taking oil out and bringing everything else in, and there are hundreds more waiting out there to get a berth. No where else in the world does money have so much power - so blatantly!
But then that isn't a bad thing. We all love our money, and hoard it secretly! Here, it is openly put for display, and the world gawks.
Philosophically, the desert will claim all of this back sometime. There have been feudal lords that ruled over these sands hundreds of years ago, and most of their footprint has been lost in the movement of the dunes. The same is bound to happen again, and this time, the desert will have a tougher time, since Larsen and Toubro is at the helm of things, but take back it will! And in spite of that knowledge, there is so much money flowing around, it is fabulous!
You can't but love the Middle East. Flaunting is an art, and these people are its best known ambassadors.


ambika said...

Wow...Interesting Aditya..Good to know about your Doha trip !!

angelofdusk said...

hahaha i had similar thoughts when i watched sex and the city on tv last week - where these women are in abu dhabi - vanity no apologies could be the doha tag line :-)