COLUMN: Spouse’s Turn
Radhika talks about life with Bose Krishnamachari, one of India’s leading artists
By Shevlin Sebastian
When Radhika was studying at the K.J. Somaiya College of Commerce in Mumbai, one day, her younger brother Hemant came home with a few friends, including a senior, Bose Krishnamachari, from the Sir JJ School of Arts. Radhika glanced from her room and saw a man with very long hair. “He wore an orange batik kind of kurta,” she says. “He was talking non-stop in Malayalam with my mother. I wondered who he was.” But they did not meet.
Later, Radhika went to Panjim, Goa, on an appointment with the Income Tax Department. She returned to Mumbai after three-and-a-half years. Then her mother Sumathi placed an advertisement in a marriage bureau. By coincidence Bose also placed an ad there. He saw Radhika’s details and called up Sumathi. (Incidentally, Radhika’s father died when she was only 12 years old.)
A meeting was fixed on a Saturday – Radhika’s off day. “Bose was wearing an olive-green shirt,” she says. “He was very quiet. His hair was much shorter. There was a look of worry on his face.”
Since Bose’s family was in Kerala, he had come along with a few painter friends like Riyas Komu, T.V. Santhosh, Kiran Kelkar and Justin Ponmani.
Bose told Radhika, “I have zero balance in my bank account, but I still think I will be able to look after you.”
Even though Radhika liked his sincerity and transparency, she felt that they were like chalk and cheese, since she was in a different profession. “So I suggested that he would be more comfortable getting married to another artist,” says Radhika.
Bose said, “That would be a disaster. I want somebody unlike me.”
It seemed like love at first sight, because both said yes to each other immediately after the meeting.
The marriage took place at the Guruvayur temple on April 22, 2001. And what Radhika likes the most about her husband is that he is a cool-headed person. “On the other hand, I can be hot-tempered,” she says. “I also like that he is never overbearing. Bose has given me all the freedom to live the way I want to live.”
Bose is also a loving and caring person. “When he goes abroad, he is always buying me gifts,” says Radhika. So, she has ruby and diamond necklaces, as well as one of the most unusual ones: a necklace made of cooled lava, with inlaid silver. “He bought it from the Design Shop at the Museum of Modern Art in New York,” says Radhika. “Thanks to his creative gifts, I am the envy of all my friends.”
As for the drawbacks, Bose is a workaholic. “He gets so involved in his work that at certain times he forgets his family,” says Radhika. “Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he will get up and roam around the house, all sorts of ideas in his head.”
Like most wives of artistes, Radhika has discovered a truth which can be painful to any spouse. “Art comes first, and I am second,” she says. “It is not an issue for me, because I am happy he is doing what he loves. Not many people are able to do that.”
But the biggest drawback for Radhika and their children, Aaryan, 9, and Kannaki, 6, is that Bose is hardly ever at home. “I miss him a lot,” she says. “It is the only subject on which we fight. Bose travels a lot. And because he is the Artistic Director of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, he is in Kerala for long periods. I am worried because he is not able to give time for the children. This is the time you must be with them. Once they are 15 or 16, they will have their own activities and will be out with their friends. He is missing out on their growing-up years.”
Radhika also yearns for the simple things in life: for all four of them to go out on a family outing, and to have a morning cup of tea or breakfast. “Those moments have become rare for us,” she says. “And when he is with us he gets calls on his mobile all the time. That can be very upsetting.”
But in the end, Radhika loves Bose as intensely as the first time they talked to each other. “The secret of a good marriage is mutual trust,” she says. “And both spouses should give space to each other. Thereafter, everything else will fall into place.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)