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Vol. XXVIII No. 7, July 16-31, 2018

Pavithra’s Perspective

Pavithra Srinivasan

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Pavithra Srinivasan is a writer, journalist, artist, translator, columnist and editor – not necessarily in that order. She is fascinated with History, and writes children’s fiction for adults in The Hindu. She’s also an organic farmer and lives on her farm in Thiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu, where taps are still seen as luxury items. She has to her credit two collections of historical short-stories for young adults, Yestertales (Vishwakarma Publications, 2017); Little-Known Tales from Well-Known Times: Back to the BCs, (Helios Books, 2012); two historical novellas Swords and Shadows and I, Harshavardhana (Pustaka Digital Media, 2016), and 10 translations, including Kalki’s epic historicals, Sivakamiyin Sabadham (Helios Books, 2012, Tranquebar Press, 2015) and Ponniyin Selvan, (Tranquebar Press, 2014); Amish Tripathi’s mytho-fantasy novels, and Journalist/Cartoonist Madhan’s They Came; They Conquered.

A miniaturist, Pavithra’s work has been featured in The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle, The New Indian Express, Times of India and Aval Vikatan. She has had no formal training in art.

Recently, Pavithra held an exhibition of her miniatures, all featuring well-loved locations of Madras, at the Madras Literary Society. Beginning with the accompanying one of a nook in the High Court, we plan to serialise her work, accompanied by her impressions of the place, in words.

Stairwell, High Court of Madras

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I signed up for the Madras High Court Heritage Walk in January. Court, as far as I knew, was a milling ground for black-coated lawyers, gowned judges and (as seen on TV) wailing women, hand-cuffed, evilly grinning criminals and the occasional dashing cop. Certainly, I’d never spared a thought to the actual building, which I remembered as a large, red … thing. Much later, my interest in Chennai’s heritage – especially Indo-Saracenic – structures awakened and, I pursued it to the High Court. But even then, I had no great hopes of being stunned.

How wrong I was. And what a spectacular piece of architecture it turned out to be. Right from the moment I entered the precincts, to be greeted by delicate arches, tiny rectangles of intricate work, beautiful windows and imposing, grand corridors, the High Court surprised me at every turn – but not even I was prepared for the sheer, unparalleled loveliness of the staircases, arches, columns and beautifully fashioned balustrades; I wondered, for a brief moment if I’d somehow wandered off from bland court buildings into some as-yet-undiscovered mysterious palace.

Here is one view of the interior of this majestic building, a cornucopia of architectural treasures, the result of overwhelming (dare I say, even mad), genius.

Details about the miniature: Black and White; Pen and Ink. Dimensions: Approximately: 3.5″ x 5″

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