Ragini Krishnan believes that it is never too late to pursue one's passion

Ragini Krishnan opted for science for her pre-degree because she thought she could draw pictures! Although her brush with science got rid of her assumptions, the passion for drawing remained alive.

Years later, the artist in Ragini is getting a new life at her home in PTP Nagar in the city. Her excitement is palpable as Ragini shows us each of her paintings, especially those done in the traditional mural style. She hopes to conduct an exhibition of her paintings soon.

“Certain things happen late in your life,” says 59-year-old Ragini, wife of K. Kunhikrishnan, former Deputy Director General of Doordarshan and an author himself.

Born and brought up at Thrichambaram in Kannur district, Ragini knew she had the talent on account of the prizes she won as a young girl. “But none at home paid much attention to my interest, because the norm was to pursue your studies and not any extracurricular activities,” she recalls.

Marriage and motherhood kept her busy. “A turning point came about in the United States when my younger son, Viswanath, took me to a shop in Chicago that sold paints and drawing equipment. It was a dream world for me. He motivated me to paint and some of his friends were kind enough to buy some of my works. It was so thrilling,” she says. He also helped her buy two books that dealt with the basics of painting.

An exhibition of mural-style paintings based on the Ramayana caught her attention.

“I wanted to learn it and Prince Thonnackal, who had organised the exhibition, was more than happy to teach me. I have been learning from him for over a year now,” she says. She is taking lessons in oils and acrylics from Varghese.

Krishna devotee

Now, Ragini is getting ready her mural-style series on Lord Krishna for her maiden exhibition.

Her works depict certain popular episodes and characters that figure in the tales of Lord Krishna, such as Kaliyamardanam, Krishna and Radha, Krishna, Radha and the gopikas and Krishna and Kuchela. Why Krishna? “The deity holds a special place in my life. At Thrichambaram, there is a Krishna temple where an annual 14-day festival is held during which Balabhadra, Krishna's brother, comes to meet him. The rituals and dances associated with the fete have always fascinated me. Moreover, I have performed Kaliyamardanam dance on umpteen stages in my native place!,” she says. “Also, mural paintings are colourful and anything associated with Krishna is bright and lively,” she adds.

It is true that artists don't adhere to the traditional style of mural painting, which is done on walls using natural pigments and vegetable colours. “Also, we have started using new colours that were not seen in traditional murals,” she says. However, she is proud to have done a painting of Lord Ayyappa using natural dyes given to her by Prince.