Nandinee Nirmala (Painter) Raj
7 Jan 1935 – 11 Jun 2012
Nandinee was born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India, the daughter of Baburao Krishnarao Mestri and his wife Laxmibai. Her father was known as Baburao Painter, the “Father of Indian Film Art”. Nandinee was one of eight children.
After settling in Laguna Beach, California, the renown watercolor landscape artist, G.D. Arul Raj sent for his wife who was then in India. Little did he know what an impact she would make on each and every life she touched in their new community.
Nandinee was a fixture for 8 years in the Festival of Arts, gracing her husband’s booth as she wore her gorgeous saris. She always behaved perfectly, with her gentle demeanor and beautiful smile.
After her husband’s sudden death, she was a 35 year old widow left to raise three young children on her own. She learned to drive and went to work. These things were new and foreign to the innocent housewife. She did it successfully and happily for the sake of her children’s happiness.
Nandinee was also a talented artist and seamstress in her own right. She made unique quilts and pillows for her friend’s and their children, as well as beautiful hand-painted gifts. Her home was always filled with plants and flowers that thrived with the care that she gave them.
Those who walked past her home often stopped to experience the warmth it exuded. Music and laughter could always be heard and the wonderful fragrance of Indian cuisine that was so lovingly prepared filled the air. She loved hosting dinner parties for friends and neighbors.
She faced her strokes and resulting incapacities with courage and dignity, always injecting humor throughout the many difficult situations.
There is a daily void in the lives of those who knew and loved her. Heaven is a now a better place with her there.
Nandinee is deeply missed by her son G.D. Arul Raj, Jr., daughters Prathiba Raj Hill and her husband Tom Hill, Sunseray Raj Fratantaro and her husband E.G. and their daughter Natessa Fratantaro, and the other members of Nandinee’s family.