Tuesday 29 December 2020

And then sometimes you just get lucky!!!

 Lucky enough to be able to see Raja Ravi Verma’s Paintings in a distant city which you are visiting for just a day on work!

The year was 2009, even before we moved to the farm.  Our office work involved quite a bit of travelling.  Vivek being the seasoned traveller, always looked for flights that would minimise our time out of Mumbai, and me being the dreamer, always wanted to linger on a day or two extra and take in the sights of the cities hitherto unseen.  So when we were called upon for a meeting  in Trivandrum – Thiruvananthpuram – I jumped at the chance.  Thiruvananthapuram -  such a grand name for the capital city of Kerala – I was born in Kerala (Calicut) and hence always have a special longing to visit this state .

Now what else could we possible do in Trivandrum – ………….? 

 Visit the museum which houses the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma of course!  We could not travel all the way there and not see the paintings – that would be terrible. So I did all the research and found out all the details about the place- location, timings etc and dreamt about  spending an entire  day there.

  Ah,   but Vivek had other plans – Our meeting was scheduled for 11 am – we had a very convenient flight which would land there by 8.30 and a return flight at around 7 pm.  We need not even stay overnight he explained, while I had the most disappointed look on my face.

 But...but...Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings...I wailed!  But the flight bookings were already done.  “Don’t worry”, Vivek consoled me,  “I’m sure the meeting won’t take long - as soon as we are done, we  can go  spend all afternoon at the museum and then go directly to the airport” he said.  Meetings  getting over quickly.......I might as well sail to the moon and back....hmmmmpf!!!

All along in the flight, my thoughts were on only one thing – the museum.  Only if we finish our meeting by 1.30, we could rush to the museum .... but invariably, there would be lunch served and the prolonged discussions.   So I put away all thoughts of visiting the museum and got down to concentrating on my work.

We  hired a car for the day and as we drove out of the airport we could see people putting up flags and barricades along the roads.  When we asked, the driver informed us that there was a huge morcha/rally  in the evening and probably a lot of roads would be blocked and traffic would be diverted.  The chances of visiting the museum seemed indeed very bleak.

We reached the department at 10 am, a whole hour earlier, but  it would be better to wait there rather than some place outside.  We sat in the reception area and I got my laptop out and resumed my work  while Vivek got talking to some person who was enquiring about  our reason for being there.  There seemed so be some serious language issue and some confusion. I could hear  ‘No Meeting – …….. Sir is on leave’  

Well, well,  this kind of sounded preposterous – after having travelled all the way from Mumbai on a date and time that was conveyed to us a fortnight in advance!  The person having realised the gravity of the situation, reluctantly phoned his boss whom we had travelled to meet.  A lot of head nodding and a one sided conversation which we could not follow, the person finally turned to us and said ‘Meeting postponed to 2 pm’   

Well, well,well.......that  really sealed off any chance of visiting the museum....unless....unless ...we go right away. 

“Yes?”  I asked Vivek. 

“How far is it?”  I rattled off the exact kms – I had it down pat. 

“We’ll be back for the meeting”  he said to the person at the counter and out we rushed to the cab.  The driver not expecting us to come out so soon had wandered off , but came back as soon as we called him. He was confident that we could go to the museum and get back before 2 pm as the rally was not expected to start before 4 pm.  It was a bit risky,  but then off we went.  Half an hour later we were at the entrance of the Trivandrum Zoo. Yes the Sree Chithra Art Gallery is within the premises of the zoo.  We quickly got our tickets and went into the quaint museum.

Pic taken from the Internet  

The museum was inaugurated in 1935 by the then Maharaja of Travancore Sri Chithira Thirunal.  A beautiful bungalow built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture with sloping tile roof and polished red floor.  The masterpieces adorned the walls and I could just not have enough of looking at them.

Pic taken from the Internet  

 Two and half hours can scarcely do justice to a museum,  but still it was totally worth it. Soaked in the sight of some really marvellous Raja Ravi Varma originals and then it was time to get back to work.  We scarcely had time for a lunch so grabbed a snack at a tea stall and reached just in time for the meeting.  This time, everything was different.  The Head of the Department had arrived and a whole team was present and the meeting went off well. 

Back in the cab on the way to the airport, the diversions and road blocks made it seem that we would not reach the airport in time.  But the taxi driver sure knew the roads well and cut across through some non-existant road and got us out of the city onto a newly constructed  - or rather under construction road and raced to the airport – just in time for our return flight to Mumbai.  I leaned back into my seat my head still filled with visions of those paintings.......Just this morning I was doubtful whether I would get to see them, and in spite of all the seeming hurdles, we had still managed to visit the museum.

Sometimes, you do get lucky!

Pic taken from the Internet  


  1. Well narrated. Quite a thriller. An artist at heart will always yearn and look for art in whatever situation. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Aniruddh K Deshpande6 January 2021 at 18:56

    Very vividly described. Enjoyed reading.

  3. My heart was racing all the time...will they make it? And they sure did :-) What a fun read!!! Sometimes when you want something really bad, the universe conspires to make it happen. Big Hugs to you.


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