Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The Kuwaiti ladies who know English are very friendly and converse whenever they meet other non Kuwaiti ladies. Of course the conversation doesn’t become too personal but remains restricted to their and their babies health and the common “hi-hello”. But there are some exceptionally friendly ladies that I met and made friendship with and who told me about their culture and customs.
The majority of Arab women dress conservatively. Some women dress in clothes that do not cover their faces or hair, while others cover them. For example, a very conservative woman might wear a long black garment called "Abayah" that covers her body from the shoulders down to her feet. Under this cover she could be wearing a traditional Arabian dress in full body length with long sleeves and filled with beautiful bead work, or she could be wearing the latest style from an internationally known designer. In addition to the Abayah, a very conservative woman would also wear a face and head cover. Some women would wear the Abayah without the head and face cover, while others might wear a scarf-like cover called "Hejab" that covers the hair but not the face. Under this cover the Kuwaiti ladies wear gown of white or cream colour. It appeared strange to me as we commonly wear dresses of dark color during our hospital stay. When I enquired, pat came the reply from one of the Kuwaiti lady that they associate white with purity and happiness and birth with white color.
When a woman has a new baby, her relatives, friends, and neighbors visit her to congratulate her and to present her with gifts. The Kuwaiti’s gift particular things in particular situations. While visiting friends and relatives in hospital, they take flowers, chocolates and fruits and for the new born they gift baby items and flowers. That’s why one can find lot of bouquets in front of the hospital rooms where Kuwaiti woman stay.
In an Arabian family, gender and age plays a big role in specifying responsibilities. The father is usually the head of the family and the provider for its needs, while the mother plays a major role in raising children and taking care of the house. This structure is not always the norm; in recent years, both the father and the mother provide for family needs, while household chores are taken care of by maids and servants. In the past, most major family decisions were made by the father, but recently some of these decisions are made jointly by both the father and the mother. Sons and daughters are taught to follow the inherited traditions and are given responsibilities that correspond with their age and gender. Sons are usually taught to be protectors of their sisters and to help the father with his duties inside and outside the house, while daughters are taught to be the source of love and emotional support in the family, as well as helping their mother to take care of household chores.
Winds of change do not spare any culture; the changes that entered the structure of some Arabian houses is not due to economical needs, but education for both men and women that is mandated by law in the Arabian countries. Education from kindergarten up to university degrees is free to nationals and sometimes residents of these Arabian countries.
Although culture, traditions, and Islam strongly stress the importance of women's roles in taking care of the house and raising children, it is a mistake to think that Arabian women are confined to this role. There are many successful Arabian businesswomen throughout the Arabian region, but because of cultural reasons, they conduct business in an inconspicuous way. A daughter lives at her family house as long as she is not married; once she is married she moves to her husband's home. When a woman gets married there are no changes made to any part of her name.
Thus it wont be wrong to say that they are the backbone of their society and family.
The Diwaniya is usually located close to the outside main entrance, away from the rest of the house. Women guests gather in a room inside the house and sometimes get to their gathering room from an outside entrance specifically assigned for female visitors.
In some parts of the Arab region men and women who are not directly blood related to each other or not married to each other don't mix. That's why there are often separate guest gathering rooms for both genders in the same house. In some Arab houses this rule of gender separation is not followed. Some Dewaniahs open on a daily basis and others once weekly. This regular gathering is a chance for relatives, friends, and invited guests to check on each other and converse in many subjects. It is a form of socializing where people communicate the latest news about other relatives, economy, business, sports, politics, etc. Tea, coffee, and sometimes a light snack are served.
To know more about Diwaniya and its role in Kuwait's culture, check out the following links:
A move by four Kuwaiti women to open a diwaniya (open house) for men and women in Al Jahra has sparked negative reaction among .............For detail news check the link http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/mixed-diwaniya-elicits-criticisms-in-kuwait-1.600924
Monday, April 19, 2010
Oil transformed Kuwait into one of the richest countries in the Arab peninsula and in 1953 the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf. This massive growth attracted many immigrant labourers and foreign workers.One can find people from America,Phillipine,India,Bangladesh,Pakistan and Afganisthan.There are Bangladeshi Fish market's and few Bangladeshi grocery and vegetable shops at Fahaheel and Kuwait City.The fish comes from Myanmar.The fish market at Al-Kout and Sharq are two big , clean air-conditioned market where one get variety of sea fish.The king size prawns found in these markets are very tasty.One can save money and live comfortably if they plan. But one can become a pauper if one descides to wear only International Brands,which is available easily and eat at the restaurants everyday.
Kuwait's official language is Arabic, though roughly half the country speaks the language primarily. Most foreigners speak English,Hindi, Urdu, Filipino or Bengali. But its not problem communicating in big malls and shopping complex's as English is spoken but to communicate with the local people,its adviseable to know a lilltle bit of Arabic. There are plentiful opportunities in Kuwait to buy modern clothing, household goods, cosmetics, perfumes, and many other items imported from all over the world.
Kuwait has many places of interest for both the young and the old.
Though we have visited many places in Kuwait, I feel there are still lot to explore.With every visit to a place, museum or mall we are getting to learn and explore something new and more.
But it was not the same feeling at first. It took some time as I slowly adjusted to a new life often spending long hours in unaccustomed loneliness while my husband was at work. In the evening though there was the discovery of new places, sights, sounds and excitement. Slowly more families started joining our building. All the thirty two families are from INDIA and our building came to be known as KOC building, as our husbands work in the same company, Kuwait Oil Company. So it was a home far away from home.
In order to come and stay in Kuwait , one should fulfill certain criteria’s. As my husband got a job here and was on work visa, I could come along with him. But the rules and regulations of different companies regarding bringing their families are different. Some allow their employees to bring their families after 45days while few after 90 days while KOC employees can bring their families after three months.
One has to clear a medical test before coming to Kuwait. There are certain medical centers in India recognized by Kuwait Embassy and one has to do the required test in those centers. So one has to go to GAMCA Office where they give you a paper where the name of the centre where one has to do the medical test is written. As my husband had done his medical test earlier we knew the rules and was easy for us. We went to Sanghi Medical Centre, deposited a fee, my passport and urine test, blood test, chest x-ray and physical test was done. We then went to GAMCA Office to collect the paper of my medical centre. Actually according to rule one has to visit the GAMCA Office first and then the Medical Centre but it appeared that in Delhi rules are flexible .I was really tensed though I was physically fit and only when I got a positive result I was delighted .
Its adviceable that one at least do attestation of the educational documents if one desires to do job in Gulf( I mean the wife, if she plan to work after coming to Kuwait). Once you get a job, you have to do attestation of the educational certificates. For that one has to visit the HRD office at Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Delhi. The ministry of Human Resource Development authenticates only in the back of originalcertificates/ degrees/diplomas. A fee of Rs50/- per certificate is to be paid in the form of postal order.Postal orders are to be endorsed in the name of “Secretary Department of Secondary Education and Higher Education”, payable at the post office at New Delhi. Wrongly filled postal orders will not be accepted.
There are separate queue for ladies and gents.We have to submit the original pass certificates (one desires for attestation).Marksheets are not required .The HRD office return the attested pass certificates after 2pm.Only when the passport is shown, the certificates are delivered. Hurriedly from HRD office one has to go to MEA at Patiala House, Tilak Marg. Again we have to submit the original pass certificates and after few hours its returned to us after attestation.
One should not forget to remove the lamination(if any) before submission of documents for attestation.
FINALLY THE JOURNEY TO KUWAIT…….
With excitement mingled with apprehension boarded a plane from Guwahati my home city to Delhi on 21st March,2007 and finally on 22nd March, 2007 took a Kuwait Airways flight to Kuwait. Finally our plane landed and I was at Kuwait, the desert kingdom.
For more information on KU, check the following websites :
Indian Doctors Forum to conduct seminar on ‘Lifestyle Disorders’ in Shaastrotsav - Festival of Science, Q8
For more details check:
Sharing with you some etiquette and customs that one needs to know when in Kuwait:
. Kuwaitis are hospitable; however, it is important to behave according to their cultural norms.
. Although women play a greater role in Kuwaiti society then women do in many other Gulf countries, they seldom socialize together in public.
. Greetings are therefore between members of the same sex. In all cases they are given with a sense of enthusiasm and general pleasure at meeting or seeing the person again.
. Kuwaitis take time during the greeting process to converse about their health, family, mutual friends and acquaintances, and other general matters of interest.
Naming Conventions :
. The first name is the personal name and used as we would use ours.
. The second name is the father's personal name. It is used with the connector "al- ".
. The third and fourth names are the grandfather's personal name and a name that denotes the family lineage. Both names generally start with the prefix "al-".
. The name of Suleyman Al-Ahmed Al- Mustafa Al-Sabah means Suleyman, son of Ahmed, grandson of Mustafa of the Sabah family/tribe.
. Women do not take the husband's name upon marriage.
Gift Giving Etiquette :
. Extended family or very close friends may exchange gifts for birthdays, Ramadan, Eid, Hajj and other celebratory occasions.
. If you are invited to a Kuwaiti home, bring a houseplant, box of imported chocolates, or a small gift from your home country.
. If a man must give a gift to a woman, he should say that it is from his wife, mother, sister, or some other female relative.
. Do not give alcohol unless you know for sure he/she partakes.
. Gifts are not opened when received.
Dining Etiquette :
. Kuwaitis socialize in their homes, restaurants, or international hotels.
. If both sexes are included, they may be entertained in separate rooms, although this is not always the case.
When going to a Kuwaitis house:
. Check to see if the host is wearing shoes. If not, remove yours at the door.
. Dress conservatively.
. Show respect for the elders by greeting them first.
. Accept any offer of food or drink. To turn down hospitality is to reject the person.
. If you are invited for a meal, there is often a great deal of socializing and small talk before the meal, and the evening comes to an end quickly after the meal.
Watch your table manners!
. Eat only with the right hand.
. Meals are generally served family-style. Guests are served first. Then the oldest, continuing in some rough approximation of age order until the youngest is served.
. Honoured guests are often offered the most prized pieces or delicacies - so be prepared!
. Hospitality and generosity are showered on guests with abundance.
. Leave some food on your plate when you have finished eating otherwise they will fill it with more.
. When the host stands, the meal is over.
Bihu snacks are very tasty and easy to prepare. Some of the popular Assamese Bihu snacks are Til Pitha, Narekol Ladoo, Ghila Pitha, Til Ladoo, Besan Ladoo and many more. Sharing with you some of Bihu receipes.....
Til Pitha Recipe
Til Pitha is a very popular Assamese recipe. Learn how to make/prepare Till Petha by following this easy recipe.
• 2 cups Glutinous Rice
• 100 gm Jaggery
• 80 gm Black Sesame Seeds
• 4 cups Water
How to make Til Pitha:
• Soak the rice overnight in water.
• Drain excess water and grind it carefully.
• Roast sesame seeds and pound them to remove their outer shell.
• Cut Jaggery into small chips and combine the sesame seeds with it.
• Heat the griddle and spread the rice batter over it to the size of Puri with the help of a ladle.
• While it is being roasted, put the stuffing of jaggery and sesame mixture in its middle.
• As and when the rice batter gets firm, fold its sides to cover the stuffing.
• Turn it over and heat lightly before taking it off from the fire. Ensure that jaggery doesn't melt and flow out.
Narikel Laddoo is a sweet delight savored during Assamese Festival, Bihu.
• 2 cup Sugar
• 1 tbsp Ghee
How to make Narikel Laddoo:
• Grate both the coconuts in a plate.
• Take a saucepan and put grated coconut and sugar in it. Stir them well, over medium heat.
• Once the water from coconut starts making lumps, remove the mixture from fire.
• Grease your hands with a little ghee and roll the coconut mixture into small laddoos (balls).
• Make sure that the mixture is not allowed to cool, as it would prevent you from making laddoos.
• Serve when the laddoos come down to room temperature.
Ghila Pitha Recipe
Ghila Pitha another very popular Assamese recipe prepared in the festive occassion of Bihu.
• 1 kg Rice Flour (sieved)
• ½ kg Jaggery (grated)
• 200 g of Cooking Oil
• 1 cup of Warm Water
How to make Ghila Pitha:
• Add jaggery to a cup of warm water and mix well.
• Let it to stand for some time.
• Fold the rice flour into the jaggery water.
• Now knead well till the dough is smooth.
• Keep it covered aside for 10 minutes.
• Divide the dough into equal portions and make small balls.
• Flatten them into half-inch thick rounds.
• Finally, fry them on a medium flame till they are brown on both sides.
Step 1: Lightly roast the sesame seeds. Heat the jaggery in a pan till it melts and then add the roasted sesame seeds to it.
Step 3: Lightly grease your palm with some ghee and roll one tablespoon of the mixture into a ball.
Step 4: Be careful with the hot jaggery but the balls should be made while the mixture is still hot.
Step 5: Serve when the balls come to room temperature.
Sesame seeds 40 gm
Black or Brown Jaggery 50 gm
Ghee 1 tablespoon
Try making them.....You will surely love it.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
The inscription is Dawlat ul-Kuwait (State of Kuwait).
Kuwaiti flags came in all shapes and sizes from the establishment of Kuwait until 1961, when on gaining full independence the government decided to replace the old flag with a new design. This was promulgated by a law issued on 7/9/1961 (27 Rabi 1 1381 AH). The first article stipulated that Kuwait's national flag should consist of a horizontal rectangle which is twice as long as it is wide. This is divided into three equal horizontal stripes, the top one being green, the middle white and the bottom red, with the side next to the flag pole forming the base of a black trapezoid protruding into the stripes.
The colours' meaning came from a poem by Safie Al-Deen Al-Hali:
White is peace.
Black is our oil.
Green are our lands.
Red is our blood.
Rules of hanging and flying the flag:
Horizontally: The green stripe should be on top.
Vertically: The green stripe should be on the right side of the flag.
In 2005, it became the design of the world's largest kite at a size of 1019 square metres. It was made in New Zealand by Peter Lynn, launched to the public for the first time in 2004 in the United Kingdom, officially launched in Kuwait in 2005, and has not been surpassed since.
Dehradun has always fascinated me. Not that I will be visiting it for the first time. I had been there and roamed its streets. I had seen its flowers growing in the wild and felt its thin winter air kissing me on my cheeks as a child tourist. Once the famous writer Ruskin Bond as a child, who has made Mussoorie his abode, asked his father what is Dehra like? His father told him-“It’s a green place. It lies in a valley in the foothills of the Himalayas, and it’s surrounded by forests. There are lots of trees in Dehra”. This sums up and completely describes the soul of Dehradun. A place surrounded by trees, forests and greens.
We were chatting endlessly for six hours as our train chugged into the Dehradun station. I saw my bro-in-law waiting to receive me. As I recounted my travel experience, he said that it has outgrown its size in recent years after it has become a capital city. Yes, I could feel it as he maneuvered his car through the busy roads. We finally reached home where my sis-in-law gave me a warm welcome. The next five days were hectic as every day we used to visit its various places of interest.
My hubby joined me as planned .We planned to go to Mussoorie(34kms) but due to heavy rain abandon the plan. The few days spent at Dehradun will be always memorable and with thoughts of coming to this enchanting place again I bade good-bye to my bro-in-law and his family.