Muscat: Thirty-one years of residency in Oman, and Tarini Agarwal today feels more at home in the Sultanate than in her home city of Mumbai. And that’s precisely the reason Tarini and her husband Viren Agarwal bought a freehold property in Oman’s upmarket living space Wave, known now as Al Mouj.
“Anyone passing by our home will know it is an Indian home. The terracotta statues in the garden, wall hangings by the porch and the floral thorans (stringed garlands) during festive season are unmistakable Indian vibes,” Tarini said.
Tarini, who was an artist by passion, has made it into a full-time profession. Her husband, Viren Agarwal, who retired from a senior management role in 2018, works now as a freelance business consultant.
“Life is peaceful, organised. Oman is our comfort zone. We have our homes in Colaba in Mumbai, which we visit regularly. But I start missing Oman and my home in Muscat when I go to Mumbai. I was born, brought up and schooled in Mumbai through we originally are from the northern India.”
Young mum, young wife
Tarini came to Oman as a 26-year-old with a 3-year-old son and her daughter was born in Oman two years later. “I have 24 years of teaching experience, having started my career in this line with Indian School Muscat. I later moved to teaching at the National Hospitality Institute and then to Oman Tourism College. Even today I feel the energy rushing as the morning alarm rings.”
Tarini and her husband have made friends across communities in their 3 decades in Oman. “We used to have gatherings for festivals like Diwali or family celebrations, with typical Indian-themed food and costumes. The vibes and flavours of India were recreated here in our home in Oman, but as COVID-19 made inroads, we had to cut down on all of that.”
Though not a kitty party enthusiast, Tarini has her group of artists at the Wave complex where she stays, who meet regularly for discussions and exhibitions within the complex.
Giving back to society
Tarini is also involved in a range of charity initiatives in Oman, effectively giving back to the society that supports her. “Proceeds of my exhibition are always completely donated to a charity group that I identify beforehand. I also join hands with many of my Omani and Indian friends to raise funds in cash and in-kind during crisis situations that arise in Oman or elsewhere in the world.”
Tarini’s passion for art was nurtured and sustained by watching the Indian Masters paint and showcase their work in the art district of Mumbai. “In my 31 years of living in Oman, I have had the good fortune to interact with Omani women from different walks of life. Omani women are modern and traditional at the same time. In the larger context, I find this to be true of all the women I have interacted with. The natural setting of this beautiful country is truly magical, which I try to capture in my paintings.”
Tarini’s cooking skills, especially her mutton dishes, are an all-time hit with her family members. “Though I don’t have to cook on a daily basis, and I have a full-time help at home, whenever I take the mantle in the kitchen, my husband eagerly waits for the outcome. He gives me the loudest encouragement when I don the chef’s role at home.”
The couple whose son is married and settled in Canada, and daughter in Dubai, look set to make every day of retirement count, in their own home in Muscat.