Carnatic music was always on at ma’s home.
everyone interrupted our morning chores to interrupt the previous person’s song, and play our own.
ma would stop dad’s tape of Maharajpuram Santhanam singing an easy sahana, to listen to the A.m. radio’s pick of the day — may be a relatively unknown s.p. ramh with a brovabarama in bahudari.
and then I would lower the volume on ma’s pick, pretend to clean the tape-recorder and play the music I liked. And somedays my choice — would be pattammal and her brother jayaraman.
And what music! like she was a teacher, teaching a kid who was slow on the raga uptake. And her music would be always be unhurried, gentle and so KIND.
Carnatic music flustered me with its mathematics. It would sometimes rush me. faze me. and tune me out.
But not with pattammal. With her, I could relax. I could understand. I could close my eyes.
Her music was the opposite of shrill. It was in this smiling grandmotherly coaxing voice… singing “indha…indha…” (take this come here) in “Singara velavan vandhaan“; or indulgently catching the mischief in bharatiyar’s ‘Theeradha Vilayattu Pillai’ ; or taking on the bejewelled bhairavi right from the first note.
I could never imagine her young. She was so beautiful, being so old all the while.
The grand old lady of carnatic music. DK. Pattammal. 90 years. I miss you.