Dear Kuwait, Thank you! Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam–Earth is my home.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dear Kuwait,

Today I have received an opportunity to do what I usually do in my head almost every day–to express my gratitude towards you but in writing.

I came here with my family in October 2017. To be honest, I was apprehensive, hesitant, completely unwilling to leave my home country behind. Who knows what strange experiences I am going to have in a Gulf country? My mind would often think in a loop. I had never been to one after all! But the day I landed, the journey from the airport to my new home showcased how well taken care are you by your people and the government. I liked what I saw. Roads, buildings, cars, greenery, even cats…everything grabbed my attention for a long moment.

The pain of leaving India was still unbearable though.

New life began. And so, did the new routine. Where I was used to wake up at 6 am, here I was forced to wake up at 5, an hour before. I am not a morning person at all so you can imagine me walking like a grumpy grandma every morning. I don’t think it’d draw a pleasant picture though.

Where husband and son got engrossed in office and school respectively, I was left alone back at home. Initial few months were harrowing. I was almost down to depression. I am an author and since you are yet to evolve on literature front, I struggled with my writings. Even though my second book was launched in December, two months later, which was fantastic, yet I failed to hold onto happiness for long. Soon, days and weeks merged into months and I fell deeper into sadness–I wanted to go back India.

My family too struggled on their fronts. Husband had to adjust with new office and kid had to make new friends. As time passed, we finally settled eventually.
After about 7 months of gloomy saga, I finally decided to take charge. I talked to the bookstores and with the approval of Ministry Of Information, I brought my books here. The joy of seeing my hard work on bookshelves here was unmatched! And this was just the beginning.

I started creating opportunities and soon you showered me with many. They say it right–you get what you look for. Fast forward today, February 2020, I have done so many activities that sometimes, I simply feel like stopping to breathe. Don’t get me wrong. I loved every bit of it.

But how did this all happen? Not the biggest mystery to crack. I had an almost enlightenment thing. In order to find a home here, I would have to accept you first. I did and soon, I was lifted out of my inner turmoil. I love being here now. I met people and visited places, ate local cuisine and made friends, clicked pictures and captured unforgettable moments…a new friendship was bubbling somewhere.

But is our friendship one-sided? No. I paid my responsibilities towards my family, as well as towards you. I stay here as a responsible resident, and not just someone who comes, earns money and leave nothing behind. I am trying to leave footprints of goodness, love and warmth.

For example, I use your resources, such as electricity and water, wisely. I even instruct my kid to follow the same. I open the tap as per the requirement. People in the world are dying cause of lack of water. We must save every single drop. I do my best every day.

As for electricity, I always prefer keeping air condition (A.C.) at room temperature means at 25 degrees. When it is extreme summer then only I dial it down to 22-23 degrees but I always make sure to take care of the environment. Interestingly, I was once rewarded in India, at an Ecotel (Eco+Hotel) for using their A.C. wisely and hence, helping their mission to go green.
See, not only in India, I take care of things wherever I go, try to make not only my home safe and better but also the surroundings. I have been doing the same here as well.

I have one big concern though–the magnitude of plastic usage. It gives me headache. I came up with a solution. Just the way I used to do back in India, I started carrying plastic bags from home every time we were out to pick grocery. People at tills would often smile (or maybe wonder as well, I did not pay much attention) at me, a crazy woman ignoring fresh plastic bags and using old ones. I mean, who does that? But I did what I had to do. It is a good thing now that people here are raising voices to ban plastic but it is a long battle, trust me. I also prefer recyclable plastic bags whenever and wherever possible. I was decided to use as less plastic bags as possible. Plastic bags are one of the biggest causes of land, water and air pollutions. Or maybe, we are the ones responsible?

For the betterment of society, I used my skills to spread awareness, for the betterment of the community. The world is grappling with issues concerning children such as Child Abuse. I did multiple sessions on this sensitive subject in schools here. I did workshops on Anger Management as well. If we need a better healthier world tomorrow, we have to take steps today. Working for the causes related to children always makes me happy and privileged.

Not only do I follow these healthy steps, I advise my family too. I also practice opening my balcony door and windows for air circulation inside my house. Trapped air is toxic to body and mind. With fresh air, we get proper oxygen. With this, we stay healthy and vigilant. I also love lighting Bakhoor! In fact, I am carrying it to India as a gift to my loved ones.
My kid believes in keeping roads and surroundings neat and clean. Even though we are the expats, we look after you as our birth country. We do not throw garbage here and there. Your well-being is our responsibility, as much as ours is yours.
I am also a guitarist. After shifting here, I picked up on my practice like never before! I even started making full song covers and tutorials on my YouTube channel. It gave me the confidence I needed to keep up with my childhood dream. I did cultural programs, became a member of three prestigious organizations, grew as a writer, did an open mic on my guitar, received awards and recognition, made friends, had fun…I did so many things that is still hard to believe.
Every day I sit and say thank you–for giving us a home and a good life. I learned lessons here which are going to stay with me forever. Some are painful some are joyous but indispensable regardless.

Dear Kuwait, you made me a better wiser person and in no words, I can express my joy and gratitude. Tomorrow if I were to shift to India, know that I will miss you. Deeply and dearly.

I am yet to learn Arabic but I have learned the most important word long back – Shukran! You will always be a big piece of my heart and life.

Yours friend,
Priyanka Baranwal
From an Indian’s heart.


Priyanka Baranwal is an Author, Blogger (two blogs: Pages from my life, and Pages from my life in Hindi), Guitarist and a Poet. She has written two books - It's Never Too Late... (To fight against your biggest enemy: Fear) and The Shadow of Darkness (It ends where it started). Both the books are available in India as well as in Kuwait. She is also a member of Maurya Kala Parisar, Timber Talker Toastmasters and Writers' Forum in Kuwait. She loves music, writing, reading, and traveling. She is currently based in Kuwait with her family.







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Priyanka Baranwal,Writers Forum Kuwait.
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