The Chennai music season brings back some memories of the past. When we lived in Coimbatore, my neighbour's radio would be blaring film songs as usual. My brother would ask my neighbour's daughter “Sarasa, can't you turn on some good Carnatic music?” She would oblige. We would walk about six km from Gandhipuram to the VOC Park to hear free concerts during the Ramanavami celebrations.

In spite of repeated quarrels, starving nights and untimely deaths of dear ones, we remained somewhat cheerful because of listening to good music. The music classes of my sisters and brothers were given up half way as my parents could not afford even their school fees. My brother got a job as a block development officer. Villagers were charmed by his gentle looks and personality, and his Carnatic music skills. He died in a jeep accident between Palladam and Dharapuram. While the police argued over jurisdiction, we were asked to identify his body. His wrist watch was ticking, his shoes were intact and his pocket contained the Ramanavami music programme. He had underlined the performance of Manakkal Rangarajan at 6.30 that evening (30-3-1961).

Girija Jayanandan,


More In: Letters | Opinion