At 100, hobbyist with 4 great-grandchildren mocks her age with priceless hand-painted sarees

At 100, hobbyist with 4 great-grandchildren mock her age with priceless hand-painted sarees
100-year-old Padmam Nayar finds joy in painting | Photos: Special Arrangement

Every morning, Padmam Nayar wakes up early, reads the newspaper and finds her usual spot to get involved in what she always loved- painting, knitting and what not! But above all, it's her age that makes this routine amazing.

She is a centenarian who has seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Padmam Nayar was born and brought up in Wadakancherry in Thrissur and later moved to Mumbai after she got married to KK Nair and then shifted to Ernakulam until she moved to Pune with her daughter Lata thirty years ago.

Padmam raised five children.

At Lata's flat in Pune's Wanawadi, Padmam who will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 18, could be the busiest. “She always finds something or the other to make herself busy,” says Lata.

Her age is hardly an obstacle, especially when it comes to her hobbies. If she was into gardening a few years back, it was the fishes that she took care of in the aquarium later in her life. She is practically a hobbyist.

“Amma (mother) used to maintain a fish tank for a long time until it became difficult for her to clean it. But she still tends and feeds the fish,” says Lata.

Self-styled motifs

Right from her school days, Padmam was interested in painting. Though she couldn't take it up professionally, she has always been inquisitive and had a passion to learn all by herself. From handicraft to painting to embroidery, there was nothing that she has not attempted.

Padmam then gave up on her painting skills and showed more interest in sewing. Embroidery was something she picked it up later on in her life and worked on shadow embroidery for time pass. She also did cross-stitching, a form of counted thread embroidery.

Though she stopped painting, the art could never leave her. She got back into painting on sarees – from pallus to borders to hand-painting an entire saree.

“Her original talent always lied in painting. Though she started small, people encouraged her. They even started asking for customised hand-painted sarees from her,” recollects Lata.

It is Lata's husband who gets all the paints and brushes Padmam wants for her works. She usually does painting on Tussar silk. She comes up with a new design everytime and most of the sarees are sold out even before she finishes it. Orders for customised sarees pour in from across the world.

“There are many regular customers who buy her hand-painted creations. Some buys her work just to have something made by someone who is 100-years-old,” says Lata.

Now, how does she handle her orders from customers? Well, you are wrong if you think there is a mismatch between technology and the elderly. Padmam uses WhatsApp as a medium to take the orders. She writes e-mails to her family members, sends text messages and is socially connected with most of her loved ones. Oh, she would have been on Facebook if not for this reason. “I am not on Facebook because I might not have enough friends in there to talk to,” says Padmam.

Celebrating 100 years

Padmam celebrating her 98th (L) and 99th birthday (R) with her family

Though she is all set to celebrate her birthday on July 18 with her loved ones, she is busy finishing her latest hand-painted saree.

If not for COVID-19 pandemic, Padmam's 100th birthday would have been a festival. But her family has made sure not to miss her birthday as they have planned a Zoom meeting with all her loved ones from across the world.

Lata has also planned to make a sumptuous sadhya for her birthday along with some of her mother's favourite curries. “Amma has specially asked for her favourite Palada payasam as well for the birthday,” she says.

Padmam's five children are Captain Ramachandran Nayar, Captain (Late) Krishnakumar Nayar, Lata Parvathy, Usha Lekshmi, and Jaigopal.

Padmam's routine

The centenarian reads newspaper and magazines and updates herself with current affairs. “I have always been an avid reader of Vanitha magazine. The other magazine I read these days is The Week,” says Padmam.

After her routine painting works, Padmam takes some time for knitting in the evening. Her hands are steady and eye-sight is also good. After sunset, she finds it hard to knit and prefers watching television. Actors Mohanlal and Mammootty are her favourites, she says. Padmam also loves listening to music. She has only minor physical ailments like the pain on her legs but Padmam is still holding on to her passion.

Onmanorama wishes her a happy 100th birthday.

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