When my friend Devaki called me to say that Palghat Raghu is no more, the mridangam had already fallen silent. She spoke emotionally about the mridangam vidvan, not just as a rasika. But as one who had been in touch with him often during the last three years.
She expressed all her awe about the values he lived with and handed over to the next generation. The way he welcomed the guests who entered his home, his casual 'storytelling' about the days he spent with the Hindustani musician in his sister's family in Mumbai and much more. She shared a lot of her experience with this Sangita Kalanidhi, Padma Sri artiste.
I haven't heard this good about him so far. Nor did I have any personal association with him. His daughter in law Usha and I used to be colleagues in Bank though.
On one occasion I happened to meet him. He had his deposit account in the branch where I was working then. The branch catered to business clients mostly and was not in his residential area too. Still his account with the bank could have been due to his daughter in law who was working in the branch. She was already transferred to another branch, but his deposit remained with this branch. It was overdue to be renewed and we were in a situation of partly computerised and partly manual operations. It took unduly long time to renew the deposit and Raghu had to visit the branch to get this done. He sat down patiently till we went through complex procedures and handed him over a new receipt. He smiled and said thank you after waiting for more than an hour! A gentleman was he.
Today I chanced upon the website the family put together for the artiste, personality Palghat Raghu on his 80th birthday. www.palghatraghu.org
Great website, great pictures that brought the great personality before us. I am told a girl from Kerala specially took this job last year and did wonderfully well.
Different people, different perspectives, different personalities!
May his soul rest in peace!
Pic courtesy - www.palghatraghu.org