news Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 05:30
Sameera Ahmed | The News Minute | January 22, 2015 | 03.20 pm IST “Don’t put her in an art class! ,” said noted arts professor Dhanapal, a former professor at a Chennai art college, when 8-year-old Pavithra Srinivasan’s mother dragged her to get enrolled in one such class. The advice of this teacher to not disturb the “classical” style of drawing the little girl displayed at that time, has worked in her favour as Pavithra today dabbles in an art form which has a very different and historic style. Writer, artist, translator and comics-creator, Pavithra has worked in a number of fields. The famous Ponniyin Selvan, a 2400-page 20th century Tamil historical novel written by one of Tamil’s most famous literary face Kalki, was translated by the now 35-year-old Pavithra Srinivasan. According to her, it was her mother who pushed her towards historical fiction and writing. Another one of Pavithra’s notable translations into Tamil include Jeffry Archer’s 'Twist in the Tale'. She says that many translators don't really get the true meaning of the writings while translating texts. "I read many translations and didn't really get the essence of the original, like satire,” she said. Pavithra, who's significant translations include the best-selling Shiva trilogy written by Amish Tripathi in Tamil, has also freelanced with several organisations including Gokulam and Chandamama, a children's magazine. The idea for miniature paintings initially cropped in her mind when she began visiting historical spots across Chennai for illustrating a book she intended to release. “Slowly, the idea for the miniature portraits grew.” Each portrait, she says, has a story behind it. For instance, it took Pavithra days before she found the Chepauk Palace located in the city. Not many would have visited this historic spot as the location itself has been converted into a government building. After days of running around the same area it was originally supposed to be located at, all Pavithra had to do was look up and see the building. “It was just right there. All I had to do was look up and see it,” she says explaining how essential it is to visit a spot before depicting it on paper. While each of her paintings speak for themselves, the same task which earlier took the artist an entire day to complete, now hardly needs a couple of hours. Pavithra, an artist, a writer and a translator however, is fascinated by Indian history. “Did you know Royapuram is the oldest standing station presently standing in Asia after Bombay and Thane?,” she asks reinstating the importance of some of Chennai’s historical structures which hardly summon a second glance. Looking at a picture of Fort St. George, one of Chennai’s most recognised locations, she narrated a well-known story of how Elihu Yale, the name behind the famous Yale University,  and once the governor of Fort St George had hung a man from the flag post at the same spot. Kids don't need to be told which war happened in which year, or that which leader was born in 1921, she asserts adding how boring history books seem nowadays. She feels, children need to be shown history in an interesting manner to retain their attention. Many in Chennai would not know the significance behind most of the historical monuments they pass by, and many may not even have the time to. However, Pavithra, who intends to go further down south in Tamil Nadu in order to depict more such discarded, non-existent historic locations, in a way is preserving them for generations to come.  Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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