My many Indias. Part 4: Tirunelveli

Deep in southern Tamil Nadu is Tirunelveli, where I visit on every trip to India. It is where my husband Hari grew up and where his parents and grandparents still live. To me, there are two Tirunelvelis. One that exists inside my in-law’s home: a home that to me seems teeming with people: 4 adults who live there (and us when we visit) , household help, various assistants to my father-in-law who works from home and an assortment of relatives ( loosely speaking) who come and go. And then there is the town of Tirunelveli. Dusty, chaotic, crazy, narrow-laned and eminently sketchable.

Here are glimpses of both my Tirunelvelis.

At home with the family. Nishant plays chess with his grandma.

tiru_chess3And with his grandpa. Hari watches.
tiru_chess1Nishant and Kavya discover the game of pallanguli. Interesting that it is the same as mancala, which is played in Africa. Their great-grandma watches and is itching to join in. She did a little while after I made this sketch. It is fun to see how she and the kids enjoy long games together inspite of their not understanding a word of what the other says.
pallangudi1To draw the street scenes of Tirunelveli I don’t go far: all I do is sit on the stoop in front of the house. Both these sketches are made from there. And, they’re made on a Sunday, the quietest day of the week, when the shops are shuttered and the foot and motorbike traffic is relatively low.
tiru_street1 tiru_street2
I enjoyed sketching this gopuram at the Tirunelveli temple. It took sneaking in one afternoon when the temple was officially shut to find it quiet enough to settle down to a sketch.
tiru_gopuramAnd finally, two sketches from a trip to the river. No trip to Tirunelveli is complete without a swim in a river. A man washes his clothes in the river before he jumps in for a bath.

tiru_river2 The locals wash clothes, bathe and enjoy the river. After the dry, dusty landscape of Tirunelveli, the lush green vegetation around rivers and ponds is refreshing.tiru_river1Next up: A week on my own in Bombay. And, all my sketches from my trip, in this flickr set.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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6 Responses to My many Indias. Part 4: Tirunelveli

  1. prasadgc says:

    Awesome, as usual!


  2. Preeti Desai says:

    u are truly a gifted artist… truly loved the moments u have captured not only in painted but also the words… takes me back to my such moments with my kids and parents…


  3. Helen Hazarika says:

    Mon Dieu (My God in French!) Reading you is travelling….when you describe your husband family,it is just if I was a mouse able to have a look and listen!
    And the adjectives you use about Tirunelveli are the words I use to paint India each time I’m returning from that INCREDIBLE country….I dream to be an apprentice sketcher (and I’m one in France) in that place!Thanx for these travels in India,I’m addicted now!


  4. artbymeera says:

    Love your sketches ! – came across them at Urban sketchers :)I like how your lines are so spontaneous and vignettes delightful. I spent four months in India last year taking care of my m-i-l and kept a art journal – doing a sketch a day (124 in all !) — definitely not on the spot as I had a pretty tight schedule. Hope you will check out 🙂 Love to hear from you!


  5. kalyan K. Janakiraman says:

    Very very touched. Fortunate to see the gift god has graced on you through ur paintings.


  6. ambal says:

    Thank you for these sketches. Of course they are wonderful. I especially like how you captured the activity of even the quietest street on Sunday. Your sketches brought back fond memories of my own visits. Thanks again.


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