Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Music, maestro and memories - Tribute to Lalgudi Jayaraman

Amidst the Sri Ramanavami music concerts in Bangalore, my phone buzzes to convey a very sad news.

The violin falls silent. Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman passes away. This happens while I plan to visit him in a week's time. This makes the moment more pensive. And my mind travels back by 30 years.

I will never be able to express how I felt when I received a letter from the legend Lalgudi written in his own very beautiful handwriting. Even the address on the envelope was written by him very neatly! It was after a concert in Cuddalore, I had written to him and he 'penned' a reply. And my mom and dad were surprised at the letter written by the maestro himself more than I did.

Two years after the mail, I met him at his residence in T. Nagar. I was amazed at his memory recalling a letter written to one of his thousands of admirers. We spoke about many things, about my workplace, the place I started living after joining my first job, my music training and more. The two hours I spent with the person he was, apart from great musician, still stays green in my memory.

Long after this, I met him on the corridors of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha after his concert during the December season of 1988 / 89. He looked at me as though he was recollecting something and I just began ,"I am ...". He completed my name! What a memory!

His Christmas day concerts for Kalarasana at Rani Seethai Hall on Mount Road and the New Year's Day concerts at the Mylapore Fine Arts Club became part of my calendar in the years of my living in Madras on and off during my transferable job.

Again in 2008, when Lalgudi received the 'Lifetime award' from the Music Academy, I went to be there at the function just to have a glimpse of my favourite music genius.

I might have taken to Lalgudi's music through my mother who admires his playing a lot. She recognises his style with ease even when she hears him accompanying a vocalist in the vintage recordings. I am sure she must have heard almost all his recordings at some point and so she identifies the 'voice' of his strings at one stroke of his bow. She has stories of seeing him with a tuft in his early years. A sort of admiration the present day young people have for their filmy heros!

When we bought a 'two-in-one'  in the late 70s, it was a cassette of Lalgudi's music that inaugurated the precious device of ours on that day. The universal choice of all of us at home!

Of all the memorable days of my life, one important day associates with Lalgudi much more than any other. The day never passes without thinking of him. That is my son's birthday who shares it with this maestro!

I became the happiest person when my son took to learning the violin involuntarily, as a kid of 5 years. He got introduced to many instruments along with violin and vocal singing later. He loves Lalgudi's Saramathi. And we all love the Ganamurthi in the veena-venu-violin recordings!

Lives are ephemeral. Memories live longer and music lives forever.

Lalgudi's Saramathi masterpiece 'Mokhamu galada' asks 'Is moksha attainable in the world?'

Yes. He proved it through his music.


Venkat said...

Mokshamu galadha ?

I feel it's certainly possible,
through hearing music like Lalgudi's !

Kiranavali Vidyasankar said...

Very moving post, Revathi.