Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ALFORDA:Wholesale fruits and vegetable market of Kuwait in Pictures

We took lot of pictures of Alforda
Here are some of them.....

Visit To the Sheep Market at Kabd, Kuwait

 Last weekend after finishing our tour of Alforda, located at Sulaibiya,we went further. While going straight the road , you will come across tents(lot of Kuwaitis) enjoying and camels moving around.
We saw lot of tents, cars parked on the side of road to sell snacks, groceries, kites, fire crackers, grass,vegetables and fruits.
We saw a sign board "Kabd horse stable" and decided to visit it. We followed the sign board and instead landed at the SHEEP MARKET. Maybe the stable was ahead, but we didn't go.
But what we saw surprised us. We saw thousands and thousands of sheep's, some brought in the costliest of cars own by Kuwaitis to be sold. Sheep's from all over the world, specially Australia are brought and sold here.
We felt little awkward to move around as the area was full with male Kuwaitis, Bedouins,Egyptians and Bangladeshi servants of the Kuwaitis.
Read in IndiansInKuwait that "A shipment of 58,000 Australian sheep is expected to arrive here Sunday".
So much are sheep's in demand here that you will need to see or visit a Livestock Market to believe it. Near the market we saw "Sheep Care" Hospitals/Center's.We also saw lot of trucks selling grass.

Though we landed there without any plan, it was a unique experience.

Another thing we noticed about the houses of that area is that the designs are not like the Villas we see in most part of Kuwait. We found similarity to the villas in Jordan. We saw Kuwaiti flags flying high in the complexes/houses which we usually don't see in the villas in other part of Kuwait. I think it is the houses of the Bedouins.  

I found a very nice photography blog. You can check out more pictures of sheep market there http://redasalem.blogspot.com/2009/12/soug-al-ghanam-sheep-market-al-ray.html
Ofcourse, check out his other post. No words to describe the beauty of his work.

Winter Sale at Lulu Hypermarket Kuwait

Just after Christmas, "Winter Sale" starts at Kuwait. it continues till last week of January or 1st week of February. This is the best time to shop.

Lulu Hypermarket too have given a nice "Winter Sale" for its customers. The sale started at January 10,2012 and will continue till Feb 10'12. So if you have not yet visited it, there is still 11days left.So what are you waiting for?

India Festival at Lulu Hypermarket - Kuwait

Lulu Hypermarket, the largest hypermarket and lifestyle shopping destination in the country, is all set to celebratea traditional week long Festival of India called Incredible India from Jan 25 – 31. Indian Ambassador H E Satish C Mehta will inaugurate the festival today at 12.30 pm

A wonderful initiative undertaken by Lulu Hypermarket the festival will allow Indians in Kuwait to enjoy many of the products that they have been accustomed to in India. In addition to a variety of food items, sweets and other delicacies, there are exquisitely designed sarees, churidars, kurthas and footwear by Indian craftsmen. This festival is also an opportunity for citizens and other expatriates in Kuwait to get a taste of Indian foods and various other products
The Festival of India is an ideal opportunity for shoppers looking to find value in their regular purchases of fresh fruits, vegetables, groceries and other household products. A special section of the festival is also dedicated to freshly-prepared Indian dishes and sweets. In addition to foods, special discounts and many branded garments are on offer during the festival. Various Indian cultural programs are also being held in the evenings, adding entertainment to the shopping experience during the festival.
Among the offers during the festival period customers will also get an opportunity to win 30 gold earrings as lucky prizes.
This festival is part of Lulu Hypermarket’s initiative to continuously bring the best of the world to their customers through providing the right products in the right place at the right time. Lulu Hypermarkets are a lifestyle shopping destination offering an ultra-modern shopping ambience that integrates every conceivable need of consumers under one roof.
The Festival of India is a good shopping opportunity for those looking for a bargain. With its well-stocked shelves, extensively laid out counters, wide aisles and banks of check-out counters, Lulu Hypermarkets provides customers with convenience along with the largest selection of high-quality products at very affordable prices, living up to their tagline of ‘Lulu, where the world comes to shop’.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A visit to the Central Fruits n Vegetable Market of Kuwait: ALFORDA

Last weekend my husband asked me if I would like to visit the wholesale fruits and vegetable market of Kuwait. I jumped at the idea, as the weather was good and we had not explored Kuwait for sometime as one or the other personal work tied us down for the last few months. I knew that it’s near Jahra but was not sure of the road. But with Jeet at the driver’s seat there is nothing to worry about. Our visit to the House of Mirrors, Equestrian Clubs, Red Palace, Kuwait House Of National Memorial, Al Qurain Museum, Tareq Rajab Museum and many more, was our first visit to these places and to the respective areas. But without any difficulty he drove us to these places. Alforda is located at Sulaibiya, with just a quick drive along the 5th, 6th or 7th Ring Road, left from Jahra or right from Kuwait City onto Road 604.

What striked me was its magnitude….both of the complex area and the quantity and variety of fruits, vegetables and eggs. And what to say about its cleanliness(as seen in all the malls and shopping centers of Kuwait). But still I was expecting some dirt and mess as it was a wholesale market.

Alforda, in old Kuwait, was a vegetable market located near Al-Seif Palace. It was also the first Kuwaiti berth where vegetables and other commodities, brought by ships, auctioned daily. Now, Alforda Central Fruit and Vegetables Market occupies 300sqm of air-conditioned market space filled with the freshest local and international fruit and vegetables, sold wholesale to the public at the best prices. It is one of its kind in the Middle East, is Kuwait’s fruits and vegetables consumers pre­ferred spot that vend daily freshest produce from Kuwait and around the world.  A modern auction center is one of the many convenient aspects of this market and both individual buyers and brokers are accommodated. The market includes a unique cooling system for trucks, which plug straight into the market’s power system, to ensure ongoing coolness and produce which is being processed, can be stored in over 15 thousand sqm of chilled warehouses. Alforda is managed by Al-Wafir Marketing Services Company, one of IFA group of companies.

We saw both Kuwaiti and expat families who took advantage of this sparkling market. It’s a good drive out on a weekend to shop for the finest and freshest fruit and vegetables in the wonderful cool surroundings of Alforda. Spending time at Alforda is a pleasure in itself and driving home with such fresh produce is a wonderful way to end your day. But it’s advisable that 2-3 families go together, as you will get it in much less price then existing price if you buy in huge quantity.

The Critical Question: Should NRIs get voting rights?

“I recognize the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the tenth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meet in New Delhi recently. NRIs would soon be able to participate and vote in Indian elections, said the PM. Meeting a long-standing demand of the NRIs, Singh said the Centre had issued notifications for registration of overseas Indians under the Representation of People Act. The PM also announced a new pension and life insurance fund for overseas Indian workers. He also underlined the role of Indians overseas in the development of the country and that the government would facilitate and encourage such an endeavor.

The tenth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas witnessed more than 1,500 delegates from around 60 countries while the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad Bissessar, of Indian-origin was the chief guest. But it is still not clear how millions of people like me would vote. Will it be postal ballot, internet voting or combination of both? I strongly feel that the government should make it transparent and corruption free, and voting should be allowed electronically or through internet .I think all NRI’s will have to raise their voice together if we really want to use our voting rights as Indian citizens. But many people back at home are raising their voice against this decision. They feel we don’t pay tax, so we should not be allowed to vote. But why do they forget that we are Indian citizens who have to leave our country for better opportunities. Why do they forget that we are sending billions of rupees back home? Why do they forget that many of them(NRI’s) are doing whatever they can for their village/ town/city/state’s betterment in their own way. Just living away from India does not take us away from the reality of India. Many in India think it will not be of much use as giving us voting rights will not make us politically very active. I feel it’s wrong to say this, as at least millions of people like me can make an impact on deciding who will rule the country. Living outside India, we have got the opportunity to see lot of good things in the respective countries we live. We sincerely feel that such “good things” should happen in our own country India. We want India to develop, grow and be corruption free. We have got the opportunity to see India from outside. We do follow the happenings, political and cultural developments and changes at home closely. By giving us the opportunity to vote we can atleast try not to bring back some corrupt politicians back to power. Indians living in India should not forget its not easy life abroad. 

It’s not all rosy as most Indians thinks in India. There are problems here too - it’s not like we’re given large pots of gold and a multi-million dollar bank balance the instant we land on foreign shores. We’ve got to work very hard and it’s not only that - we’ve got to adjust to foreign cultures and so on. Many of us live with the thought of returning home every single day. So NRI’s should be given the right to decide who would rule the country.

(This write-up of mine got published in the special Republic Day supplement of IndiansInKuwait.Com).

There are nearly 115countries in the world that gives right to there expats to vote.Just to name a few....Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Switzerland, Philippines, Thailand,USA,UK.Hope India too joins the list soon. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Few Pictures of Our Magh Bihu Celebration,Q8 2012

We celebrated Magh Bihu with lot of zeal, fervor and eagerness as in Assam in Egalia Beach,Kuwait on 13th January. From breakfast with our traditional Assamese snacks to lunch(lot of delicious and scrumptious dishes) all prepared by the ladies....to games for kids and adults, it was total fun. Though had clicked lot of pictures to capture the enjoyment and moments, 'am sharing few of them(its not possible to upload sooooooo many of them)


Monday, January 16, 2012

Magh Bihu,Assam

Bihu is the national festival of Assam. It is the biggest festival that Assam celebrates which brings a sense of solidarity and unity among the people.It comes thrice a year and marks the changes in the seasons.The assamese people celebrate 3types of Bihu's. The Bihu festival signifies a celebration of farming, especially paddy. Rongali Bihu marks the beginning of sowing of seeds, the Kati Bihu marks the completion of sowing and transplantation of the saplings and finally Magh Bihu marks the advent of the harvest period.Bohag Bihu, is celebrated in mid-April, the Magh Bihu, held in mid-January, and the Kati Bihu is celebrated in mid-October. The three are connected with the spring, winter and autumn seasons respectively.

Bhogali Bihu is celebrated in mid of January, on the first day of 'Magh' month of Assamese Calendar.The celebrations of Bhogali bihu starts one day before the actual day, i.e., on the last day of the month 'Puh'. On this eve, people build 'Meji', a structure made of wood or tree leaves, that is to be burnt on the actual Bihu day. This Meji is guarded whole day night by all the people of the village. To stay for the night, people build temporary houses called 'Bhela Ghar'. These houses are usually made up of hay. There used to be grand feasts for the people staying in the bhela ghar that night. The feast is called 'Bhoj'. Even if you are not staying in Bhela ghar,few families cook together and share the dinner. 

On the actual day of Magh Bihu, everyone takes bath at the dawn itself and proceed to the meji. The Meji is lit up by one old member of the society or village. All the villagers get together in the Meji and complete many rituals. Various types edibles like coconut, betel nut, etc. are worshiped to the Meji, i.e., to the Hindu God of Fire (Agni Devta). Various types of potatoes, mitha aloo, muwa aloo, etc. are roasted in the large fire of meji and everyone eats from children to old people eat it. Youths also enjoy with cracker like thing made of bamboo called 'Hiloi'. Magh Bihu is celebrated at a season when winter is about to go. It is believed that the fire of Meji burns the winter out! 

Its like just yesterday, when as kids we used to visit our grandparents house every Bihu and celebrate it with them.We tried to make "Meji"(all cousins together). But the main attraction was the village meji, which was very huge and our uncles and elders of the village used to make. But we had to bath before lighting it(that was the worst part).Its very cold in January and you have to bath at around 4-4.30am to burn or go near the meji. 

Various types of snacks are made and every Assamese lady try to make some traditional snack on Bihu. Though we may not stay in Assam during Bihu, but all Assamese people celebrate it same enthusiasm all over the world. Even in Kuwait we celebrated it with lot of passion and fervor though the weather was gloomy and drizzling. Ladies made so many snacks that when my sisters and cousins saw the pictures in Facebook, they said they didn't make half of what we all made.We did all what we do in Assam but only "meji" was missing.

Like all other Bihu, Magh Bihu also has the ritual of showing respect the the elder one with Gamosa. 

But the celebrations don't just stop here. There are various types of traditional sports where from children to old people participate. Amng them, the most popular one is egg-fight. It is played across assam in evry corner from villages to towns. There are some traditional sports involving pets, animals etc. These sports are now localized to some places now a days. The most thrilling among them is the Buffalo-fight. Another popular one is bird-fight. The birds may vary from cock, hen to nightingale etc. Even in Kuwait we organised lot of games for old and young.

Pictures of Bihu celebration in Kuwait will follow in the next post.