Expat diaries

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Located in the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is a rich country comprised of nine islands. Its economy is primarily based on the oil sector, with a notable service sector as well.
Kuwait is called ‘Second home’ by the expat population. ‘Home’ denotes a place where one lives as a family member. This term is self-explanatory. Kuwait has not only sheltered expats but given them sense of safety and security. Several expats have been staying in this beautiful country for generations. What attracts expats to temporarily settle in this land? Livelihood is one of the reasons. A good standard of living with genuine benefits charm the expat population. Kuwait is an oil-rich country with one of the strongest currency which lures people to settle here for a good life post-retirement back home.

Residing in Kuwait for a decade and half, my perspective towards various aspects has changed. Though we do not share much in common with the nationals, yet we feel connected to this place. Expats enjoy the freedom to move freely without any restrictions. A country city makes it all the more comfortable. A country with around 70% expat population has helped me learn about varied cultures, cuisines and faith followed by different nationalities. Belonging to a North- Indian Sikh family, I didn’t have much exposure to the many other sides of the world. Kuwait being an Islamic country, we find mosques in every lane. Early morning prayers, Ramadan and Eid celebrations have become an integral part of events happening daily or bi-annually. Our Muslim friends share Seviaan and Biryani on the days of festivals and we share Diwali sweets with our friends. All these small joys make it all the more secular. We respect each other’s privacy and seldom interfere in the sensitive matters.

Children and adults look forward to the Hala celebrations. February, the month of love, blooms with flowers and scents with gala celebrations. Country is embellished with national flags and lights in every nook and corner. Kuwait celebrates National Day and Liberation day on 25th & 26th of February. This holiday marks the day when Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation in 1991. Not only the citizens but the expats also express their love for the country by joining in the commemorations.

Expats spend their youth and middle age in this gold mine. Onset of the old age, around 60, Indian expat decides to wind up and bid goodbye to this place. The place where he made most of his memories, the country from which he could benefit the maximum financially (as it is a tax-free country), the state which gave him economic independence, the place where he could easily buy a luxury car and enjoy the comforts of life lures him to stay for a few more years. He asks for an extension of his service. He landed in this foreign land with a promise to stay for three years but now he is displeased to leave the place even after three decades. This reflects the kind of treatment accorded to us, the expats. This is a home, away from home. A place where we have gained our dreams aspirations and expectations.

Proud to be an Indian expat in Kuwait.


Shehnaz
An English teacher with an experience of twenty plus years. She is based in Kuwait for the past fifteen years.
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