For Rajan Jayaraman and his wife Honey, life on the penthouse of Soud House, located adjacent to the Sri lankan School, is quite a breeze. And that's because the winds blowing in from Ruwi towards Al Bustan continue their onward journey after playfully stealing a whiff of jasmine, rosemary, aloevera, rose, and many other pleasant aromas as they pass over their terrace.
When Rajan returns home from work in the evenings and says “Honey, I'm home,” he actually is complimenting Honey for a job well done in his absence – one that makes him return to nature indoors. While most people head out for some fresh air and greenery, Rajan comes home to it everyday and the rest of the time is spent fruitfully, quite literally.
Rajan and his wife have procured indigenous plants, seeds, soil, and manure all from Oman itself, so that the saplings survive the harsh climate each year. They change some of the plants in their pots according to the season and are now planning to grow many vegetables under a shaded area on their terrace.
This green romance doesn't quite end in Rajan's premises where they have an array of plants and creepers - from a young areca palm in their living room to rows and rows of flowering plants and colourful crotons, even drumstick and banana on the terrace Adjacent to Rajan's penthouse, his neighbour Rajeev Simon is another gardner at heart who goes about disguised as a civil engineer during the day time.
If you take a look at Rajeev's passion, it actually begins as you walk up the corridor to his door itself. He has brought nature's glory in multiple forms onto an open terrace between various apartments on the sixth floor itself, with an array of plants, from pots of flourishing moneyplant to boughs of bougainvillea. And when you enter his terrace, you could actually be inside a nursery.
Sanctuary at home
Rajeev has surrounded his apartment with a 'greenhouse effect' such that you wonder whether it is his home or an institution of botany. On his terrace, he ahs also placed a water fountain and has goldfish swimming in a tank around it besides birds, to give one the feel of being in one of those sanctuaries in Singapore or Malaysia.
“We love plants right from the time we were in India as well as when we came to Oman many years ago. We believe that we must make the place where we live beautiful by bringing in nature. Now that we have lot of space in our penthouse, my wife and I devote a lot of time planting different locally available plants during different seasons of the year,” said Rajan, adding that “Plants help create a very positive atmosphere indoors, besides keeping yourself busy with a wonderful pastime. Many people who visit us have also felt inspired to do the same in their own homes in Muscat.
On the other hand, Rajeev said, “Plants bring in so much of freshness into your life. You need to spend a lot of time (and money) to keep this hobby going – but it is truly worthwhile as it makes your life so colourful and blissful. I spend at least two hours every evening nurturing all my plants, while I make arrangements for them to be taken care of whenever I'm away on a vacation.”
Rajeev and Rajan both say that their plants were a saving grace to them during the lockdown in Muscat. While most people were lost and could not find enough activity to keep themselves busy indoors, both these neighbours had plenty to do for nurturing their home gardens everyday. In fact, it gave them so much joy to be able to devote more time to their plants and see them flourish, despite the hot climate and the searing temperaments that the pandemic brought with it.