The sharp eye of Neelakantan Bhattathiripad noted the young Ravi Varma tracing lines on the sand. His son was a strange child in his opinion but he refrained from voicing it.
“What would this son of his become, the scion of this strange race,” he wondered?
“Always, always drawing and sketching things — was there a future in this?”
His wife, Umamba Bayi indulged him too much.
All this fanciful sketching, it was a dreamer’s life, thought Neelakantan.
From his father, Ravi Varma learned to discipline his thoughts, from his mother the pictorial rhythms of poetry and music, and from his uncle, Raja Raja Varma, the way to express it all in concrete visual form, as he was doing on the sand.
As an artist who not only keeps alive Raja Ravi Varma’s legacy, but is also his direct descendant, Rukmini Varma is a remarkable source of stories, anecdotes, and the most fascinating details about this legendary Indian painter, viewing him not only as her ancestor but also as a creative force who opened a whole new chapter in India’s artistic tradition. Rukmini Varma oﬀers to unravel the story of Ravi Varma and all that made him the person he was, from a perspective that is both new but also intimate and deeply personal - a combination that is especially inviting.”
- Manu S. Pillai
Author, The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore