Making life’s canvas colourful in her twilight years


For more than a quarter a century since her retirement, T.S. Radha, a 79-year-old from Edavanakkad, hardly ever touched a painting brush.

And then came the lockdown, leaving her with little else to do but being in the constant company of her grandchildren. That reminded her of her long-forgotten passion for painting and before long she was surrounded by a bunch of brushes and colours much to the amusement of her grandchildren.

For over three decades, Ms. Radha taught the tiny tots of the first standard. “My drawing ability came in handy during those teaching years since pictures conveyed things to little ones much better than almost anything else. Teachers of our generation put that skill to maximum use in those days,” she said.

Though she was drawn into painting from a very young age, she never learned it academically and for her, it was mostly an instinctive imaginative exercise. Once she retired, as headmistress, her drawing skills also went into hibernation.

One of T.S. Radha’s paintings.

One of T.S. Radha’s paintings.  

She had almost forgotten about it, but the pandemic and the lockdown that forced her indoors for more than two months reminder her of it again. “In fact, it was to engage my grandchildren locked up inside home that I started painting again. Now I teach them drawing and they seem to love it,” said Ms. Radha.

Initially, she was doubtful whether she would be able to wield the brush with the same confidence as before. Once that apprehension proved misplaced, she turned almost prolific focusing mostly on the theme of birds and flowers. Since paintings of indigenous birds were common, she focused mainly on migratory birds.

Though she was always comfortable with water colour, she turned to acrylic painting this time. She is experimenting with fabric painting as well.

Ms. Radha is now determined to pursue her passion without break and to make up for the lost time.

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