Friday, December 18, 2009

In Kuwait

to perform for the Tamilnadu Engineer's forum. Had quite an unsettling flight here. Flying Oman airways is not a mentally comforting choice especially when someone is flying into the Gulf for the first time.
Worse still, transit at Muscat and there were absolutely no women except one. My aircraft from Muscat to Kuwait had none either. One of the times when you don't want any eyes on you.
Driving from the airport I am wondering why people would live in a country like this. There is not much greenery, at least none that I see at night. Yeah, duh its a desert but still, apparently its the financial benefits of being in a country like this. There are not many options for recreation and entertainment. But the Indian women here have learnt to live with it. Once again, I am amazed at the sacrifices that women make for the sake of family, especially post marriage. The men go to work and they have that occupying their minds while the women have nothing much to do especially after children have grown up.
In the few minutes of conversation that I have had with the two families here, I am given to understand that the children will have to leave this country to return to India or some other country for higher education. They only get visas for visiting or something. They really cannot stay with their parents as long as they want to.
So many times I am thankful to God that I am really living the life that I have wanted to live, in my country, the issues and problems, the system, this that not withstanding. My home is right there, in Chennai. No place else.
And really, hats off to the families who leave a country as beautiful and rich as India in search of a better livelihood. Yeah a lot of them don't have that bonding with India as I myself have known. They are happy to be in the shores that they are in. But this is me.
Tomorrow post concert, I am off to London.
Shall blog about that soon. Quite some stuff to write about.


31 comments:

Anonymous said...

wouldnt have been surprising if this was about saudi. in all other gulf countries people, and women included, from this part of Asia - be it Indis Srilanka Philippines Pakistan- get almost all from a recreation and entertainment perspective - TV Channels, Community Forums, Mandrams inviting Celebs from the home shores, and you have arangetrams too.

And for education I hear there are schools with Indian academic syllabus, and what with IIMs and IITs and Business schools trying to go global, we have centres of many of these institutions opened there as well.

Would like to see if the first impression being recorded here reflects a larger whole.

Matangi Mawley said...

Quite a travel there..!

n yeah... abt the sacrifices portion i totally agree..

tried talking abt this to my mom once.. she had this condition tht my dad will nt force her at any pt of time to make her quit her job.. just bcoz they had a child to take care! this was b4 their marriage! the reason i have talked so much abt my dad in many of my comments is because of this- i hardly remember any moment of childhood, spent with mom.. it s nt like she was never beside me.. or she 's like a faded image in my mind.. she was there.. when i needed her.. bt it was always dad- who woke me up- or bathed me- or got me ready to go to school.. whn i was young.. growin under him.. i hardly knew hw girls of my age behaved.. at one pt of time- i had so many complaints against mom- bt now- i realize tht she's a power house woman! this was her sacrifice! missing the gr8er part of my childhood was her sacrifice.. n she says tht she did with with this hope- tht one day- i would understand and appreciate this! n i do!

nice post... very good!

Chandramouli G said...

So true when you speak of the sacrifices women make for their family. But, when someone plays with their free will, then the reason for the sacrifice is not worthy of such a huge sacrifice. It is really good to be in India and enjoy the freedom here. Even here there are situations where things are being forced at times, but the choice is totally ours to accept it or not.
India has been and will be a rich country, it is a high time we start to look at tit that way.

வடுவூர் குமார் said...

Like every place Muscat too has + and - points.
You should have seen the beaches with flat profile.Little waves,no big crowd and less littering.
You didn't say about the meal u got in the flight!
Reg family your assumption is correct.In Muscat (Indian Girls)they can't go out unless they are driving so its one way like house arrest for them.

Vijay Narain said...

Men have work to occupy themselves with? Sounds rather convenient. While I partly agree with the fact that Indian women have a lot of sacrifices to make owing to various reasons, including bitchy relatives, inlaws, outlaws, so caled social norms and stuff, this doesn't quite come across as a convincing sacrifice. People work in places like Kuwait to earn money. Simple. So the men aren't having a gala time either. man needs money. So while some are contented with salaries Indian companies pay them, others choose foreign countries. Actually imho the kuwait women probably have greater restrictions and taboos than ours do. Imagine, being oppressed in one's own country. Far worse :)

குப்பன்.யாஹூ said...

Thanks for sharing. But I am shocked to read about Muscat airport. Most of the people appreciate Muscat airport for its cleanliness and organised set up.

May be due to recession, the airport might be dull and no activity.

Otherwise Muscat is a clean and net country.

Meow said...

I know how it will be.. cuz I've few friends in Kuwait :( Yippie London is sooper place from what I've read and seen in television and Internet :) Enjoy :) :)

Archana said...

Chin,

I am thankful to God that I am really living the life that I have wanted to live, in my country, the issues and problems, the system, this that not withstanding

That is such a thoughtful sentence. Funny, how much our minds and attitudes are fed with our environment like how this body is the food we eat. I was just about thinking about this today:-). Infact, I would counter on almost every country indians have settled for the same logic.Kuwait, Saudi are all absolute exceptions when it comes to social life. I am glad they are having a gala time with you!

Arch

latha said...

Hi,
Today I had been to TEF music nite and enjoyed your singing.when i read ur blog I was bit down becoz a singer as a guest when invited to a new place must learn to appreciate even though certain issues bother him/her.This place may not be having much greenary but this country has good public toilets,well maintained roads,365 days electricity supply disciplined traffic and good clean water supply.Though Kuwait does not have drinking water source it has desalination plants and they supply water 24 by 7.I think chinmayi never visited egmore railway station or any restrooms in parks.In India i don't think the above mentioned basic facilities are always a dream and people also donot care to claim their rights.Poor thing.We are not living in a slave country.This country is quite a liberal one.It may not have many recreation facilities I wonder how many are there in Chennai.When you read you may think that Iam against chennai/India.Absolutely not I was born and brought up in Chennai and we always appreciate India for its rich culture.You are having a very good future and donot spoil it by posting some hasty misjudgements.Meet many people get feed back and read and mix with their culture and come to the conclusion.if you start posting it after you meet one or two ur judgemant may go wrong.I wish you take it in good spirit.
GOODLUCK

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with your point of view.. Women in kuwait live far more enjoyable lives then those in USA or other parts of the world.. we spend 3 months in summer in india every year unlike other NRIs who visit once in 2 or 3 years..and no.. its not a lot of sacrifices..

as for children leaving kuwait for higher education.. we love the internatinal exposure and the perks of growing up in a multicultured society..

I really feel you must spend more time (more the 24 hours) in a country before projecting a negative view to the world. spend more time with us gulfies visiting the sightseeing spots,malls,entertainmet avenues and your view is bound to change..

I grew up here and will always be happy and proud of it.. we love our lives here and have no regrets..

prem said...

Wonderful evening today with Chinmayi and deepan For Tamilnadu Engineers Forum (Indrum Endrum)Kuwait.Thanks for Coming.we all njoyd your performance, wat a voice!really amazing..Hearty wishes to get National Award soon..GOOD LIVE SHOW!!! prem

B said...

Well, an average Indian does not have the benefit of the better life that many have in India. For the gifted and talented, it does look awkward but for most, there is either a pitiable life or atleast some comforts. I do not at all mean to demean the hardwork that goes into those who succeed...but just mentioning that its not the inherently lucky and successful who are living like this abroad.

ramya said...

chinmayee namaku irukum idam than vaikundham why to leave our india there is nothing which equals to our country

M GANESAN said...

Dear Ms.Chinmayee,

Your statement is true. Those who got a chance of Living in homeland peacefully and pleasently is God"s gift. No one Knows their fates. Every one will happy if they get a chance of living in their native palces together with parents ,family members & friends . Camping out of state / country by leaving family members ,relatives,friends (some times without finacial benefits )also depends on thier studies ,choosen carrier ,family circumstances etc.




Regards
M.GANESAN,
GOA.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, Kuwait is progressing agressively, its becoming much more liberal, i mean to think that FOUR WOMEN, YES WOMEN enter the Kuwait PARLIEMENT! Not ONE but FOUR. Conservatives accused two women for for entering the parliement without head scarfs and said it was tabboo but guess what? The supreme court ruled in favor of the women!! CONSERVATIVES LOST! thats got to mean something! And you know what? Couple of months ago, the government granted Kuwaiti women right to trave abroad WITHOUT her husbands permission! And you know that 4 to 5 years ago women suffrage ended in Kuwait when the late Amir granted full women rights!! And in the entertainment area, i am currently in Kuwait and there are huge new malls, fabulous restaurants, exquisite cinema halls, shopping centers and the lovely arabian gulf road! Clean and beautiful! It is quite cold and chilly here this time of year but overall great! You cant say theres no social life, theres plenty! And Kuwait is shooting to be liberal and less conservatives. I see women half naked walking in malls! I see bf and gf holding hands and kissing in public even infront of Police officers! Kuwait is liberal and will get much more liberal very soon and sooner or later will be competing with Dubai itself, trust me as the money is their.

Balachandran said...

Hi Chinmayi,
The concert in Kuwait went great...Until I was about to watch the concert, I don't have any clue about you except you have got the state award for your first Song...

But my friend was excited to see you for the last one week and always used to say he needs to take a picture with you. To be honest I said whats there to take a picture with a singer and I didn't show any interest in it. As a TEF member, before the start of concert, happened to see you behind stages and by chance, I with my friend took a picture with you. Again to be honest not too much excited.

During the concert I heard a lot about you from our fellow TEF members on stage during your short interview, which stimulated me to look into your website and blogs.

I am truly impressed to see your profile and now am proud to take a picture with a young entrepreneur like you.

I told my friend, we say always that we are busy at work and can't share time for other activities, but with lots of busy schedules you spend time in blogging and managing your business...hats off.

Great show Chinmayi; possibly I become your fan henceforth.

I will send the picture taken with you and hope you can post in your gallery.

I seen your pictures taken in St.Peter's Basilica, Vatican city, it reminded me the place which I visited just 10days before.

I hope you might have landed in London while reading this comment and am sure it would have been a better experience than your Chennai-Kuwait flight.

Alright, that’s it for now...all the best and wish you all success in your endeavor.

Ravi said...

Having been in Kuwait for close to 4 years, I think your opinions are based out of lesser knowledge of the place. Inspite of being a desert, there are beautiful parks in the city and quite a many entertainment elements. And unlike a few other gulf countries, the women do not live under the veil. Maybe the first impresssions do make a lasting impression but what you have potrayed in your post in totally different from what Kuwait actually is.

Abdul said...

the concept of nationality and patriotism still eludes me.. though i am guilty of being patriotic i cant understand it much.. find no reason or logic behind it.. infact sounds silly.. y cant one be a citizen of the world (of course the world doesn't allow u to).. but at least in our hearts.. y not?..

maybe kuwait doesn't have greenery or the niceties of india.. but it is certainly clean, non corrupt, rich..

talk abt sacrifices... don we make sacrifices here? wats the big deal.. marvel at urself buddy.. there's nothin fantastic people livin abroad..

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ. Oman is a country just more than the desert, there are Hindu temples, so many musicians from India come over and perform their kacheris, not only that festivals are always a blast. People there are very educated, high salary earners and as well as very religious. Once Haridas swamy came on his visit to Oman and said, he would rather live in Oman than in India. People are very honest and united despite their religions, ethnicity, caste, etc. The King is responsible for all the poojas at the Hindu temple, his majesty also supplies all the requirements from his palace farms. Not only that we can also see the reality in the tamil stories we read about the king in his disguise trying to help the poor. Such things never happen in India. The crime rates are soo low. There is no differentiation between a foreigner and a native omani. Just like Japan no one steals your things, just like singapore its the cleanest place around the world. Its truly a haven. Appearance can be deceiving. Don't jude the book by its cover. :D

Kas

Narayanan Venkitu said...

I've lived in Muscat, I've lived in Riyadh.

My opinion about Life in both these places - Sucks, more so if you are a woman.

Well...my story dates back to the 80's!. I read that the conditions are the same even now.

I must say Muscat was more liberal than Saudi ( Riyadh ).

Bottom Line - SUCKS !

Anonymous said...

Chinmayi!
Can't wait to see you at the audio
release today :-)

SR

Anonymous said...

'Driving from the airport I am wondering why people would live in a country like this.' And the fact people do live and many more such sights waiting on the way ahead may have clues to many questions including one on true freedom.

Anonymous said...

Saw the pictures from the London launch! You looked great.
However, you weren't smiling Chinmayi! What was wrong? Or were you just jetlegged?

Cheers,
SR

rsu said...

Why would somebody want to leave their motherland, if it was nice to live there....hopes, dreams...everything vanishes..finally you become a nothing ..fighting the system..rather who have moved..be happy.My personal experience...

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Vaduvur Kumar: I have not had the time to look around Kuwait but a beach with little waves seems like a lake or a river to me. Less littering is everywhere except India. Comes down to non enforcement of laws
Kuppan: I didn't saying anything about cleanliness or organization. I just said I could see no women.
Latha: I am a normal citizen. i still travel by train. And yes I have visited all these places. Why is it so wrong if I post my thoughts on something? Is it necessary that I must always say only good things about spaces and places? I felt alienated there. And I wrote so. I do not think that country is liberal. I heard about the working conditions, I continue to read the reports on BBC and other news reports and they also write about how people choose to ignore whats happening there. Fellow Indians in that country are languishing, passports are taken, and you cannot leave unless they allow you to, right? Tell me that is not the case? Tell me that Kuwaiti women don't lose their citizenship in Kuwait once they marry a non Kuwaiti. There are no temples in Kuwait and neither were any allowed in spite of best efforts. People are afraid to dance and enjoy there in a concert wondering who will catch them. All these are open secrets Latha. True, no taxes, less to spend on petrol. It seems like a peaceful silent place to be in. Kuwait is a great place for meditation and music practice, in my opinion.Less crime because the punishment is tough. If law is enforced here it would be a different thing altogether. The atmosphere in that country was kinda heavy. There are enough recreational facilities in Chennai.
B: True.
Anonymous: Good to know that. The problem is that a court has to rule that a woman can travel without a husband's permission. I don't think any such laws existed in India or in most other places. I would stand corrected if that is the case. What books and cinemas play in Kuwait? Are they free from bans? Kissing in public need not mean being liberal. There is more to that seriously. Its interesting to note, that women walking "half naked" according to you and kissing in public means being liberal and progress. Very interesting. :)
Balachandran: Thanks. I did have a good time
Ravi: True the roads are great. And yes my post is of a first impression. From staying there for a day. It feels oppressive. And I wrote it. I really hope you have been reading reports on the condition of the labour that goes from India and other countries.
Abdul:I guess I am a citizen of the world, but I like India the most. Thats all. Its incidental that I am a citizen here.
Kas: I really respect Japan for what it is. The air seems freer. If you know what I mean. I haven't been to Oman so I cannot comment.
Rsu: Enough and more reasons. For the fact that this country cannot offer what other countries can to skilled and unskilled labour. As simple as that.

Malavika S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R Sathyamurthy said...

Chinmayi,

Your thoughts on Muscat and Kuwait are indeed interesting.

But I am amazed that you went to Muscat without going to Oman - I learnt this courtesy your reply to Kas.

India is our motherland. But, what is true freedom is something one has to ponder deeply.

In my humble opinion, fearing dancing in a concert is not a reflection of lack of freedom, much in the same way I do not also think it is freedom or liberal laws when someone refers to half naked women roaming in shopping malls.

I read that you were the only woman who traveled in that Oman Air flight from Chennai to Muscat. What about the Air Hostesses? They were all men?

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

I transited in Muscat. I saw no woman at the airport except for the one near the restroom. Oman was not in my schedule either. Only Kuwait was. There are philosophical answers to true freedom and some day I hope to achieve that.

I think it is lack of freedom to not enjoy enough, when people think cameras will record and authorities might come in and ask the show to end, then I do not think that is free living. And I really do not understand this whole deal about "half naked" women.
And Yes I was the only traveler. The hostesses, 2 of them, were employees. And I am given to understand most people feel uncomfortable on Oman airways. And that I would not have felt weird if I had traveled Emirates, which I am beginning to agree. Wrong choice of airline.

mind works said...

Great write up.... Cant wait for the VTV album...

Anonymous said...

May you find reward for your pursuit and persevarance. Try shedding identities, maybe you will see freedom emerging.
Or becoming the Ultimate's slave! (Irai-Adiyaan as they say in Tamil)

Hariharan said...

Hi,

Even i've been to muscat and its a great place...the king has developed it so much...he is so liberal that once my dad said he paid a fine from the traqfic police for overspeeding or beating a red signal am nt sure which..

there is another thing i wish to bring to ur notice..i remember reading in ur blog nd tweet bout cyber crime cell from Chennai police...i just want to know is it really that effective...i have doubts of my own...you people spent lots of money, time and hardwork of your to bring out an album and that too in london....i was waiting for this album with baited breath and was searching all over d web for even a small mention of its release dates everyday and lo behold...i get one song hosana for free...it was absolutely stunning to hear and it raised my expectations and craze even more to buy the album...but cant there be anything done for this type of piracy....songs released even before the release dates...i dont know if it was deliberately done on pay to hear sites to raise expectations...but the bottom line is i downloaded the song for free and am enjoying it. Sure i will buy the CD and i cant wait to buy...i hope ur getting the point i wish to convey...i had scrapped venkat prabhu years before (even before chennai 28)...but still no action...i suppose cyber laws have to be tweaked and made stricter...am telling this to you since you are probably aware of the laws and also you are quite active on the web...until something is done for this the music industry is gonna face problems...mayb let this be the new year resolution of the music industry...