Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/alvaresi/public_html/rowena/wp-settings.php on line 472

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/alvaresi/public_html/rowena/wp-settings.php on line 487

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/alvaresi/public_html/rowena/wp-settings.php on line 494

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/alvaresi/public_html/rowena/wp-settings.php on line 530

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/alvaresi/public_html/rowena/wp-includes/cache.php on line 103

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/alvaresi/public_html/rowena/wp-includes/query.php on line 21

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/alvaresi/public_html/rowena/wp-includes/theme.php on line 623
Rowena’s Blog »

The crappy kuwait system

I planned to put up this post the day the incident happened, which was 5 days back. Forgot my wordpress password though and left it. And as I’m too lazy to change all the sentences to past tense, pls read it as though the thing happened today. Thanks!

I got up real early this morning to get ready to stand in line at the visa office for the sake of obtaining a visit visa for my mother. Mind you, this is the last stage in the process of running around, getting signature and translation into Arabic and what not. So I stood patiently (number 7) in a line of others who like me, had to wake up early to get in first and get the visa stamped. After half an hour of waiting, the doors were opened. We were rudely asked to go upstairs. Yalla Yalla Yalla.

To understand the rest of the process is left to the confused expat – get the token and wait. Wait for how long and for whom? No clue. God forbid if you ask someone a question, you’re given a dirty look and only a quarter of the info that you require. If you dare ask another question, then tell me something, why in the world are you in Kuwait??? You should be in “Who Dares Wins” instead, earn some money and become famous. Asking a question to the mudhir(a.k.a the “Manager”) here will get you none of it. The Mudhir asked something in Arabic to me, Mario understood it meant that only I was allowed to stay in the waiting room whereas he had to get out and wait. Hmm, something spoken so rudely in Arabic does sound rude in English too. I wait alone.

Sat patiently in line and went when my token number was buzzed.

Here’s the dialogue. It’ll be helpful to know that the guy behind the counter speaks only Arabic with a few English words and I speak English, knowing only a few Arabic words. Also it’s sometimes not too helpful to know that the face is the index of the mind. I think these were the thoughts going through his mind when I came up to the counter.

“I got up early this morning to allow some no good expat come into this country. That too, this expat girl is the sponsor. Pathetic.”

“Signature?”

I signed hurriedly and showed him.

Quickly looking through the papers, “Marriage copy?”

Oh no, Mario’s waiting down with it, thought it was not required. I’m sponsoring Mum, not Mario. Anyway, I run down, get the copy from Mario and the original just in case Mr Happy Pants wanted to see that too. Mario tells me he has to go to work as it’s late for him today. I say a hurried bye and run up to the counter.

He gives one look at it and asks, “His civil id?”

WHAT?

I show a sign of frustration. He gives me back my papers rudely and calls the next.

I run down thinking I could catch Mario before he left. Alas! Too late.

What a way to start my morning. And what a way to start tomorrow. I’ll be seeing hero tomorrow again. All for the sake of a one month visa. No wonder, no one likes to come to Kuwait on visit, it’s just not a friendly Arab state.

So all you working Indian ladies out there, please note the following to be done for visit visas:

1.      Go to the Indian embassy with a copy of your passport and of relative (you’re sponsoring) along with a filled in affidavit form to establish the relationship (should be in English and Arabic).

2.      Get a token number and wait in line

3.      When your number is buzzed, go up to the respective counter, he’ll go through your papers and ask for KD6.600. Pay it and he’ll give you a receipt along with a time to collect the stamped affidavit.

4.      Wait in the section for the collection of affidavits and at the allotted time, the guy will call out your name. Collect the affidavit.

5.      Then go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Liberation tower) on the 2nd floor with this affidavit. Get a token number and wait in line. When your number is buzzed, go to the counter and get the thing stamped. Then they’ll usher you to the room where the Mudhir sits, he’ll sign on the stamp and then you’re good to go.

I did all the above on Thursday afternoon. Indian embassy at 2.30, and then after 5pm to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Docs required at the visa office:

1.      Your original passport and passport copy

2.      Relative’s passport copy

3.      Original salary certificate (green paper) and a copy

4.      Your civil id copy

5.      Original affidavit (establishing the relationship stamped at the Indian embassy) and a copy

6.      Original marriage affidavit and a copy

Now, all the copies need to be taken to the office behind the visa office (this is for Salmiya; the visa office is situated near City Centre) and the paperwork is to be done. Some typing etc in Arabic in a form. Then with this paperwork and the copies of the docs listed above stapled together, go to the visa office, get your token number and wait till your number is buzzed.

Hopefully, you get a nice guy at the counter.

The visa office in Salmiya opens at 7.15am but it’s best to go atleast by 6.30/6.40 so that you’re one of the first standing in line to get in.

 

Update: Got my Mum’s visa thankfully!

 

 

Continue reading

, ,

I’m back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, I’m back from hibernation..during the summer.

We’ve just moved to another flat so while the hall and kitchen are now set, the rooms have a lot of tidying up and arranging to do. Sometimes I feel the stuff is best left in the suitcases and cartons. No need to arrange them cos then they wouldn’t clutter the place and have to be dusted or cleaned. O well, that’s my lazy genes talking (yeah, blame the habit on your parents!)

I’ve started working too, explains the hibernation and while I do think it’s more comfortable to sleep at home during the day, the office is not that bad too. Just kidding. Sometimes I just have to drink some coffee or more energy drinks to keep my eyes open and brain to work overtime. But in the middle, my solitaire addiction sometimes takes over ending up with me eating lunch at desk while trying furiously hard to better my time at the game. How pathetic right?

Oh by the way, happy Independence Day to you all! Went for a party last Friday and although I was never the patriot, I enjoyed celebrating 15th august especially when it comes on a weekday. So sad that I didn’t get the day off L

Hmmm, what else has happened since April..Michelle got married (finally!) and although we went down for a brief visit for the wedding, it was super fun! I came back with the flu (thankfully, not swine) and took it easy for a few days at work. With me coughing and sneezing, my boss just had to keep me away from clients. But the “Rowena, why don’t you take a few days off?” didn’t come up. Che, what was the use of that flu then?

Then I travelled to Abu Dhabi (read as Ahboo Dhabby) on work and while I enjoyed being holed up in my hotel room, the sounds from the pub party on the floor above didn’t quite give the ‘peaceful ambience’ that the hotel promises in its brochure. Oh well, this was not Kuwait so there was a pub in a hotel!

360 mall opened up in Kuwait on 5th July. It was called a ‘soft’ opening. I don’t know what exactly that means but when I went there 2 weeks later, except for 2 and a half shops, the rest were still unopened. Quite a few Indian restaurants have opened in Salmiya. Of course we tried them out. ‘Indian Delights’ is a good one, authentic Goan cuisine and good portions.

And how could I forget, the Summer Club at IEAS came to an end on August 7th with its Cultural day. My kutties (4-6 yrs) danced their hearts out and looked lovely on stage. For the co-ordinator dance, it was a tribute to MJ so we had a mix of his greatest hits and a team dancing for each. The first item was Billie Jean in which I danced too! You can see me below in the middle. Looks great on photo but when I saw the video, our dance looked like slow motion L. Anyway, it’s Mario’s favorite MJ song and I’m glad I got this rather than be dressed like a zombie for the Thriller item. I don’t know what next year’s dance would be but the rehearsals this year and the final dance item was fun.

And I’m glad to be blogging again. Thanks Habibi and Amritha for bringing me back on the blog path. I was lost!

 

Continue reading

, , ,

Homemade bread

Hey there! Am back after a lovely trip to dubai where I did alot of shopping, roaming and eating.

Seriously though, the best part of the trip was roaming around with friends: chatting, pulling each other’s legs, stuffing our faces, shopping (getting everyone’s opinion on my spoils) and just chillaxing. The hotel where we stayed at did everything they could to pamper us. Made me feel like Queen of Sheba! It was situated just opposite the creek and a romantic cruise was a super way to start our holiday.

Coming to the title of this post, it was something already mentioned in mario’s blog [link]. The fact that a few people asked for the recipe got me thinking. I love experimental cooking and am keen on experimental tasting, however not when the meat looks raw. The ingredients for the bread or rather buns that I make are altered from the original recipe to make it less…umm, for lack of a better word, fatty. In the sense, there’s no egg and butter so you can let out a sigh of relief. Getting straight to the point, the recipe goes like this :

Ingredients:

2 tbsp sugar, 1 cup warm water (around a temperature of43C), 1 tbsp fast rising instant yeast, 1/4 cup oil, 1 tsp salt, 3 1/2 (read as three and a half) to 4 cups flour (maida/all purpose)

Kneading time:10 mins, Rising time: 1 hour, Baking time: 15 mins, makes 15 buns

Method:

In a bowl mix together sugar, yeast and the warm water (note: warm water is essential, too much heat kills the yeast and too cold a temperature keeps the yeast from making the bread rise). For mixing, I use a whisk but any other tool would do. Add the salt and oil and mix together well. Add about 2 cups of flour and beat well. Add more flour until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form into 15 buns and place in a greased pan. Let them rise until doubled for about 1 hour. Bake at 350 C for 15 minutes or until browned. Let them cool for a little while before you dig in.

For flour, you could use a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour. I find whole wheat heavy (although healthy), so you could lessen the quantity, say 1 cup of whole wheat + 3 cups flour cos the all purpose flour gives the best results. Mario says the taste of the bun is akin to poee (Goan bread). If I place 2 maida strips across the top of a bun, then it could be a hot cross bun! I guess you could also add a stuffing, if you want a chicken, mince or vegetable bun. The best part of this recipe is that it doesn’t take that much time to make as other bread and yet it could last you for 3 - 4 days. If you sense it becoming hard, use the microwave but these buns taste best on the day & day afterthey’re made. Make sure you don’t lessen the amount of yeast or the dough wouldn’t rise too much resulting in the bread being hard. Don’t worry if you’ve done it though, I use hard bread to make garlic bread. O well, I’ll leave that for the next post…

Continue reading

, , , , , ,

My top 10 addictions

I was tagged a while ago and it’s not that I didn’t know what to write, I’m just plain lazy. 

Anyway, addictions for me come and go, it’s not permanent so actually doesn’t fit the definition as such. The top ten right now are:

1.) Sleep: Now unlike the others, this is permanent…has been with me since I was a kid, is with me now and I’m sure the future holds promising for this without doubt. I can even sleep standing. I don’t need anyone’s help to get a good nigh’s sleep not even medicine when I have a cold. Actually, I sleep longer and better when I’m unwell and that’s therapeutic. Unlike the old adage “laughter’s the best medicine”, for me sleep is. Mario has a hell of a time waking me up in the mornings (he should be canonised!) and it takes me some time after that to shake out of my reverie. He reports that I even smile in my sleep early mornings or giggle. I used to deny it till one day he caught me on cam, talking some rubbish (like my favourite food was sugar…I need to cut vegetables in my nursery class…!!) and grinning. 

2.) Dark chocolate: Not only it has low amounts of fat(sugar), it’s an aphrodisiac, so how bad could it be ;)

3.) 24 TV series: I tried to overcome it and practise the virtue of temperance, it was hard. These series could get anyone interested in suspense/action or political conspiracy glued to the screen. Now I feel I could write my own TV series.

4.) Fish: I love eating it and always do so whenever I get the chance. Firstly, it doesn’t have the meaty taste that beef or lamb have and secondly, you feel so light after eating it. I don’t mind the bones, though I wouldn’t want to be watching a tom & jerry cartoon or a pink panther one while I’m eating mackerel.

5.) A good book: Always has been and I think it’ll continue. Am reading “The Last Juror” now and though I can imagine it being made into a movie, I’d rather read it first than watch the film. Most of the time, I read books online - questia, project gutenberg and some catholic sites too.

6.) Worship music: I can’t get enough of it and the newest songs are more beautiful than those say, 5-8 years back. Check www.greatworshipsongs.com to listen to some great music for free on their playlist. It’s a wrong notion that only the yesteryear hymns had meaningful lyrics..I mean, their style and even conversations were pretty sophisticated & formal those days. Now, the songs are simpler to hum and sing, even the words are easier to remember.

7.) Laziness/Procarastination: Could this be called an addiction? I always think tomorrow’s a better day to do the task (which it never is) and then say the same thing tomorrow and….well, you know how the cycle goes.

8.) Checking my email and surfing the net: Being in the Land of Far Far Away, I tend to check my email throughout the day for new updates back at home. I never enjoyed surfing the net when I was single. The reason was one of the slowest dial-up connections back home, which made me want to shake up and bang the computer. To send a 1.5MB file, it used to take close to an hour! I could have taken a print/copied the file onto a CD and delivered it to the concerned person (but which I was too lazy to do of course!)

9.) Juice: Fresh orange juice is my favourite but any fruit juice will do, at any point during the day. I dislike lychee and pineapple juices though.

10.) Kababs: Mmm, mouth watering and delicioso! I love the micemeat ones compared to the chicken and they taste heavenly with parsley salad and garlic sauce. 

While blogging is not an addiction, I do hope it never is. Then I’d be on it 24/7 :)

Continue reading

, , , ,

5 jobs I’m glad I’m not in

I remember my mum had a coffee mug on her office desk which read something like - take a complaint and turn it into an opportunity. I don’t remember whether the cartoon drawn on the mug was of a rodeo cowboy with a bull or a staff with her boss, but it drove the message home. Complaints can be turned into opportunities.

Don’t worry, I’m not planning to traverse the philosophy of my past or the future. But seeing the job situation all around me and me sitting at home, I am thankful that I’m not in a job that makes me wanna cry. However, the first five would be:

1. Secretary - I can’t handle my own schedules, you can imagine what a disaster it would be if I handled someone else’s

2. Ticket collector on a bus - I’m terrible at whistling (as professional as king Julien in Madagascar 2), would have to ask one of the passengers to whistle for me. Another minus would be having to push through a sea of tired and angry people who wouldn’t budge an inch to let me through

3. Lawyer - would have pulled the Judge’s hair out if my client lost

4. Flight stewardess - if the guy shouted for more whisky, I’d throw him out!

5. Life insurance saleswoman - how would I convince a man that he’ll get real value for money only if he dies?

On the same topic, I read a joke about a toothbrush complaining to a roll of toilet paper:

Toothbrush: You know, I think I have the worst job in this world. My master treats me harshly and I have to clean all the tartars and morsels of foul smelling substances in his large mouth. And then he leaves me out to stay in this cold bathroom. Seriously, no one could have a worse job than me

Toilet Paper: Yeah…right

There used to be a time when I yearned to have a job that someone had. Grass is always greener…? yeah yeah, I guess only when we hear the other side’s woes then we know that what we have is the best for us. Nowadays, the duty of a housewife is so glorified what with woman’s lib and all. From the term housewife to homemaker, and now I believe we mortals are named “domestic engineers”; considering that the work at home is an applied science too. So much for a morale boost ;)

Continue reading

, ,

My first Wanted

The reward is more tempting than it sounds, trust me ;)

Continue reading


YST Chennai at your fingertips

www.ystchennai.com is now live, up and running. You can check the site for info regarding timings of the prayer meetings, intercession and the upcoming programmes. Also type in your prayer requests on the page assigned and know that the whole team will be praying for you and your needs on Saturdays. The testimonies make very interesting reading too :)

In case you’re wondering what the logo signifies; it’s the power button of the computer (pretty commonplace that you sometimes don’t notice!) and the cross representing Christ - truly suits the motto “Start early in the Lord”. The font of YST is I think, self explanatory (c’mon, use those grey cells).

Came across the message of our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II on the 36th World Communications day. The theme was to use the internet as a forum for proclaiming the Gospel.  To quote his last para which I think was written beautifully:

“….From this galaxy of sight and sound (internet) will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? For it is only when his face is seen and his voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption. This is the purpose of evangelization. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man. Therefore, on this World Communications Day, I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world “the glory of God on the face of Christ”(2 Cor 4:6). May the Lord bless all those who work for this aim. “

Continue reading

, ,

Wanna give your two cents?

(Having trouble reading the dialogue in the image? Click for a larger view)

Right now, my sister’s wedding is tentatively fixed for June and she’s all pins and needles about what to do. More than anything, it’s the dresses and décor that she’s hyper about. What’s the bridal trousseau gonna wear? How to arrange them? Do I really need flower girls? What about my dress? Should I wear a tiara or crown? Have you come across any nice ideas? And the list goes on. Now all these are a priority, but coming a close second is her ability to cook. So she turns to me (yeah right!).

In the months leading to my wedding day, loads of people tried to shove down their tit-bits of “married wisdom”. You just can’t help it, they’re dying to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Even if you don’t need it, you just have to listen cos after all, they’ve been married for years!!

Coming to think of it, I didn’t take anyone’s advice seriously. Some told me that the woman should have the upper hand, some told me only the man. Few said I should be in control of our home finances and expenses whereas someone had the cheek to ask me what I knew about accounts since that wasn’t my branch of study! As a wife, I should be doting whereas as a woman, I shouldn’t, ahem, for lack of a better phrase, allow my husband to grind chutney on my head (it means, don’t be gullible and allow him to rule over you). It’s funny how conversations like this start. You’ll have some idea though when they pull you aside and talk in a low tone as if you’re the sole guardian of this huge secret.

“Listen Rowena, now that you’re getting married, I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to tell you this (how about never?). But make sure you blah blah blah blah”

“So are you excited your D-day is drawing near? Any butterflies in the stomach? (only for what you’re gonna tell me now) I remember in my time, we didn’t have much to prepare and there was no one to advise me (sweet times) but you’re lucky. Blah blah blah blah”

“I’ve been married for more than 25 years. At your age I had full grown children (now’s the part I’m supposed to feel old) and had to take care of them by myself (hey, uncle was there!). Marriage is a whole new ball game blah blah blah”

A dear friend of mine told me to take all the advice I got, throw it overboard and listen only to Jesus, the best adviser.The throwing I did immediately, it’s the listening that I’m trying to do.

My sis is already getting fed up of the advice she’s getting and her disgusted look gives the message loud and clear to anyone who’s trying to be “helpful”. Told her to take it with a pinch of salt and one day laugh over it. Same reason why I’ve ticked “fun times” as a category for this post :)

Continue reading

, ,

A great online commentary

Just when I thought there was no available online catholic commentary, I came across a post in catholicforum mentioning this website [link] - home page shown above. This provides biblical commentary from the CCC, various encyclicals, books by popes and saints and altogether, full catholic material at the click of a mouse. You can enter in a specific bible verse and search results are provided in the left column. It’s amazing! There’s a ton of info and the material doesn’t go way over my head…in short, it’s suitable for layman’s reading.

Continue reading

, , , , ,

In short, a leader

I watched this movie a couple of days back. It was reviewed by a pretty cynical critic on rediff that it’s a must watch; so thought to myself why not take a look at it? And I must say, the movie is brilliant - from direction to acting, the background music, a tight script and screenplay of mumbai’s chaos, the movie scores on all points. 

But first of all, check out the poster- from the pensive look of the hero on one side to the monochrome effect of mumbai’s streets on the other. The “i” in the title Aamir is replaced by the network of a cell phone, which plays a major role throughout the movie. Go ahead and watch this movie, it’s better than the rest of the crappy ones that have come out last year.

Continue reading

,

prev posts