I feel in a new position these days from which to navigate the "east/west" thing as I usually call it. I have been told I've had many past lives in INdia and that this is my first in "the west". I was very entranced with INdia when I first experienced it, I still AM, but I AM no longer susceptible to the rigidity, judgment and deep cultural blindspots that I unfortunately saw so very often. What a wonderful place INdia is, with all its contradictions, I wouldn't change a thing. It is a place where real growth can take place, provided you keep your mind open and focused on higher truths.
My husband's family has accepted me only in a limited sense. My own ideas of family are also changing. In INdia the family structure serves many practical purposes. I see that when people begin to move, immigrate, marry not from their own society, that life can be quite difficult without this support network, however it causes ONE to evaluate these ideas of family in a new context. We create our own families, aside from bloodlines, from the heart.
I enjoyed your thoughts on Kuwait. I have many similar images from India. Women on scooters in colorful saris, scarves blowing in the wind. Yes, thrilling taxi rides would be an understatement. Mangoes. Mango ice-cream. The contradictions I mentioned...yes, men are very affectionate and loving with one-another, the next moment violent and harsh. I do not think that people are at all comfortable with their sexuality. This lack of attention to sexuality causes a lot of problems in INdia. Misconceptions, opportunities for abuse, terrible, almost worship of "the west" and western lifestyle. I do think women are quite lovely with one-another there, with less jealousy and difficulty than is experienced here. As you say, call to prayer, a sense of the spiritual permeating everything. That's the good stuff.