Tales of Chennai, in words and miniatures

January 07, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 08:02 am IST

celebrating heritage:Some of the landmarks Pavithra Srinivasan has drawn include Chennai Central station and Ripon Buildings —Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

celebrating heritage:Some of the landmarks Pavithra Srinivasan has drawn include Chennai Central station and Ripon Buildings —Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

This city is her inspiration. Its historic heritage buildings and the many tales woven around them are for her, an enduring source of fascination.

A children’s writer, who has for the past one year also ventured into organic farming, Pavithra Srinivasan is working on a series of books set in the city for children and young adults that are ‘full of mystery, history and adventure’.

“The more I read about Chennai’s past, the more I wanted to bring it to life — both through words and art,” says the author, who has also translated one volume of Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan  into English. She is currently working on miniatures of landmarks that will be used in the first book. Though she has had no formal training in art, she has drawn miniatures of 25 structures including Chennai Central station, Ripon Buildings, Victoria Public Hall and Valluvar Kottam.  

“When I started drawing the miniatures in May last year, it would take me close to a day to complete one. But now, I finish one in two hours. Before I visit a heritage structure, I read about it. At the site, I stay for as long as possible and take many pictures. I come back home and draw the building. My miniatures are usually 2 -3 inches in size,” she explains. The first book is likely to be ready by May.

She plans to bring out similar books on other districts too. “Buildings in Chennai at least seem to get some attention, but heritage structures elsewhere are just crumbling. I want to document as many as I can,” Pavithra says.

Multi-tasking seems right up Pavithra’s alley.

Even as she works on the children’s book and oversees the planting of paddy seedlings on her farm, she is also translating Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy and the second volume of Ponniyin Selvan . She is also considering an exhibition of the miniatures. “Maybe, during Madras Day perhaps,” she says. 

Writer Pavithra Srinivasan’s stories will be illustrated with miniatures of some of the city’s iconic structures

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