Kuwait: A story of changing destinies

Friday, February 22, 2013

For many of us living and working in Kuwait, most of our farfetched dreams perhaps would never have come true if we had not come to Kuwait! My own sojourn into Kuwait began in the year 1993, when I first visited this small country seeking broader opportunities. Young and newly married, my wife and I arrived here with great hopes for a bright and happy future. Twenty years later, I can honestly say, “Sukran Kuwait” this country has indeed changed our destiny and made our dreams a reality!

In 1993 when I arrived here, all one could see in Kuwait was dry desert sands that seemed endless. The land seemed violated, mutilated and its people still haunted by the bitter experience of the Iraqi attack in 1990. One could see the dilapidated walls of ‘war struck’ homes and government buildings, amidst the new spate of construction. The population was sparse, and only on weekends could you find small congregations of people in market areas. Today, we see lush green areas, modern malls and skyscrapers of chrome and glass and a country buzzing with people… everywhere.

So the question foremost in mind is, “What draws so many people here? Is it the attraction of the ‘highly valued’ Dinar and its exchange rate? Is it the tax free income or the comforts of luxuries living? Is it the prospects of a more relaxed lifestyle or the subsidized facilities one enjoys? Whatever be the reason, I do know that many fellow Indians like myself, who came for a short haul stay are now here for life…for better… not for worse!

Historically, Kuwait has always been known for its strategic location at the center of the world’s trade routes. Traditionally Kuwaitis have always been competent merchants, with fine trade acumen and sound skills of negotiation and communication. Their additional skills in shipbuilding, pearl diving and fishing made them ‘masters of the sea’ in many ways. These activities brought them in close contact with people in Africa, India and Europe. Particularly between the 18th and early 20th century, India and Kuwait developed close trade and socio-economic ties. These bonds were fostered through mutual respect, friendship and trust.

In the second half of the twentieth century Kuwait witnessed phenomenal growth as a result of the newly found hydrocarbon resources which opened a wide range of opportunities for the Kuwaiti people. The new economic gains created a rich consumerist society, keen to enjoy the best that the world could offer in terms of consumer durables, electronics, textiles, food and lifestyles. These additional requirements created multifarious opportunities for expatriates including many Indians, to live and work in Kuwait using their areas of expertise to build the new modern nation of Kuwait.

And as Kuwait grew financially and economically, the rewards of its growth have been shared and distributed not only among its own people through welfare schemes, high salaries and bonuses but also among all the people who have chosen to work here and contribute to the development of Kuwait in some way or the other. White collar professionals in the oil sector, trade and financial service sectors, IT sectors, medical and health care services as well as blue collar workers have benefited through incentives and perks in various forms.

If today, we have been able to experience a better life, afford good medical care, own land and property in our homelands, provide for improved healthcare facilities for our aged parents or financial assistance for our kith and kin back home, send our children to good educational institutions or even travel on exotic holidays abroad, we can only look back with humility and gratitude to the country that has provided us with such opportunity and given us a ‘real home away from home’. Therefore on behalf of all my countrymen living here, I take this opportunity to say ‘Shukran Kuwait-Watani Habibi! A big thank you to the state of Kuwait and its leadership- you have changed our destinies forever. You have touched our hearts and blessed our lives! div> eat



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