ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Unforgettable Red Parrot

Koothattukulam Mary was a woman who shed sweat, tears and blood to build the communist movement in Kerala.

A painting of four red parrots on a branch caught my eye. These birds are so bright, I thought. Could they represent the painter’s four daughters? Or was the red a reminder of the forgotten revolutionary days of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in Kerala? Perhaps the painter, Comrade P T Mary alias Koothattukulam Mary, used the red to lend colour to the faded flag of her party once again.

The painting is still on the wall of a square hall surrounded by open windows, separated by a small lawn from Pranayakulam (abode of love) house on the bank of the Moovattupuzha river in Velloor of Kottayam district in Kerala. Mary used to sit here gazing at the river while the mild breeze turned the pages of her own history – one that was inseparable from that of the communist movement in Kerala. The empty hall now has only her paintings and some ankle bells. The painter is no more. Mary passed away at the age of 93 on 22 June 2014.

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