Golden memories of the golden sands

KHANJAR, the Omani symbol of bravery, finds a top spot at her elite residential home.

The high-rise Phoenix Kessaku home in Bengaluru, India, also displays a variety of Omani arts bringing back nostalgic memories for Vasantha Vaikunth, a prominent Indian classical dancer and art curator.

Her new online counseling platform aims towards creating a healthy society for youngsters all over the globe.

It was way back in 1976 she landed in the Sultanate, the dream land that drew her as a young bride with her family.
Today, years later, after settling back in her homeland India, Vasantha recalls how she spent her life in a country that provided security, health, wealth, values, peace and above all great Omani friends on the golden sands. She loves anything and everything about Oman. Such is the bond she developed over the years.

From intricate work on silver bangles which she wears as an antique piece to ancient Nizwa fort that used to be the hub for her family with its panoramic views and stands as a landmark of Omani culture and heritage.

Vasantha recollects how she set foot on the dream land that was naturally beautiful, rustic and modern. She recollects her nostalgic moments of life which was surrounded by sea and mountains, with nothing that a modern city seems to have.

As an artist, she soon found space in her new land, the land of opportunity for Indians and the Arabs, not knowing that she would reside for over three decades. Her life as an artist took a back seat for a while until the Saud Bahwan Group of companies supported her to set up Indian art and culture platforms.

 

With their wholesome help, she marched forward, inviting artists from India and created an awareness of music, dance and drama in the Sultanate. She conducted ‘Festivals of India every year twice with well-known artists from India under the name of ‘Raagavarsha.’

Further she also curated paintings from all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries and brought them together on the same stage in Muscat.  The Centre for Performing Arts (CPA) where she taught Indian arts and culture had great patronage from the Oman government and the local Indian Embassy. No wonder that she went on to grow as an artist of repute globally. She helped conduct numerous music and dance festivals in the Sultanate which boosted Indian art circle.

Vasantha was pivotal towards making Muscat as the ‘Mecca of culture and heritage’ along with the beautiful art and craft of the Sultanate. Her residence now proudly displays arts and crafts, jewelry, hand woven rugs, precious stones, and pottery work from Muttrah souk.

“I loved the special pottery stone work with Arabic lettering on it which I am glad to own. My memorable moment was during a visit to the Rimal Sharqiyah sands at sunset,” she recalls fondly. She also cherishes her walk along Muttrah sea front, Rimal Sharqiyah sands on a starry night, rose gardens at Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, flowing rustic wadis along with luxury cars, mansions, hospitable Omani citizens to support which turned her life into a paradise.

Vasantha is also the first Non Resident Indian (NRI) to win awards from the Indian government and the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and came to be known as the cultural ambassador of India for the Sultanate. Bidding adieu to the golden sand in 2014 was no mean task though.

She carried back home beautiful memories and set up an online NGO for emotional support called http://lifenliving.org

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As a holistic lifestyle coach she says, “It is an initiative to help today’s generation to understand and create awareness of the lifestyle that is techno infested and fast paced. We conduct workshops and interviews of university students to understand their perspective on the changing environment and enable them to form an interactive platform.”

Presently the NGO completed over 500 counseling sessions online and presented 45 videos on her website for youngsters.

She has also set up a platform called ‘Just Speak’ which provides people an opportunity to discuss and debate social issues.

“The Sultanate is a part of me and my growth as an artist, philanthropist, and a human being and I owe my life spent on this golden sand,” concludes Vasantha.