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Room with a view

Last updated: 17 May, 2009
Madhuri Kalyan 21:35 IST

Ancient:The kuteera. DH PHOTO by Shiv Kumar BH

Its that part of the Bangalore, where the hustle-bustle of city life fades away into an idyllic and genteel space. And you feel transported back to a time when Bangalore was still called a pensioners paradise, and a rich hub of traditional arts and culture.

Padmini Govind’s family estate is right at the vibrant lap of nature, overlooking the glistening Sankey Tank, in Sadashivanagar. “My grandfather originally brought it as a ten acre property about 40 years ago, and then a law was passed that a person can own only a certain amount of fixed land, thus, we have only five acres left now.”
The estate has three independent houses. Padmini recalls her childhood days nostalgically. “In the heydays, the estate was maintained most beautifully, but now, the place is almost falling apart, and we’re doing our best to keep it together. As kids, we grew up with plants and trees as opposed to dolls. We also had a little boat that we’d take for a boat ride into the Sankey Tank.’’
When Padmini was in her early twenties, she left for the US to do her masters in business and technology. It wasn't long before she got married and settled in the US. “I lived in New York for 15 years, I had always intended to come back, but my mother’s ill-health hastened our plans.” Now back at the estate, she helps in managing the show. “My parents’ house is the most attractive house at the estate. About a decade ago, it used to be toured by the foreigners. My mom would take them around and explain each art form. Many would come back to Bangalore and spend a couple of months and learn the art forms. The house is full of beautiful and rare paintings by artist from the Wadiyar dynasty and has other unique pieces of art like the huge brass lamp, hanging at the entrance.”
Perhaps, the most fascinating part of the estate is the ‘kuteera’ , where Padmini conducts regular workshops for kids inviting different artists. “The kuteera is built around the bark of the massive tree, and is round in shape, it is a perfect space to unleash your creativity. Some of the workshops in the past have been on Chennapatna toy making, pottery and Madhubani paintings.”
The backyard of the house is also a home to a huge herbarium and a green house of medicinal plants. “We had a lot of rare herbs that grew, but many varieties were destroyed during the Sankey Tank flood,’’ she says.
At present, Padmini juggles her time co-ordinating workshop, running the block printing unit in her estate, overseeing the estate activities and a full-time mom. “I was actively involved in Indian art and aesthetics even in the US, but I am much happier here, looking at the third generation of my family growing in this estate.”
Even the grills of artistic house at the estate were designed by Padmini’s mother, Lakshmi Srivatsa, who is one of the proponents of traditional art forms in the City.
Looking out of the grills, into the placid Sankey Tank, one realises that the inside is as picturesque as the outside, making it a house that has a room with a view, inside out.

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