/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": Trustee to "Parvathi"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trustee to "Parvathi"

It has been made possible, only now, to put together a story of these yesteryears along with photographs and documents that tell about a unique chapter in the life of Chowdiah. It was made possible largely on the release of a book "Sangeetharatna Mysore T. Chowdaiah" by Mr. K. Srikantiah, Attorney (elder brother to the late K.K. Murthy) under the aegis of Prasaranga, University of Mysore, 2007. The book was the culmination and interest shown by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mysore, J. Shashidhara Prasad in inviting Mr. K. Srikantiah to talk about his life long friendship and admiration of Chowdiah. As the witness and custodian to every single moment in "Parvathi", Mr. Srikantiah lived and breathed music each moment. Continuing the legacy that the father Puttu Rao left behind in always being "at home" to the Chowdiah's, the MS's, the GNB's, the Madurai Mani Iyers, the Chembai's, the MLV's and the Lalgudi's, Srikantiah strove for decades in fortifying those friendships (even in coaxing the performers to perform at "Parvathi" and then go to Thiruvayyar, and in some cases joining up with them).

....the grand lady of music Subbalakshmi performs with T.K. Murthy and V.V. Subrahmanyam
in "Parvathi" in 1967, during one of her early ventures into Mysore

When it came time to perform the coronation of his "ishta devata" Lord Shri Rama, Srikantiah would open up every inch of space in the home (inside and outside) to every patron and music lover of a city that identified itself completely with Chowdiah.

......and the Bachans too decide on a visit to "Parvathi"

Felicitations to the memory of Chowdiah by Karnataka's favorite sons in 1994

Such a life went on for decades.

In between, the vision to a memorial became even clearer to Mr. Srikantiah:

"Gradually a strong bond of mutual love and respect grew between Chowdiah and the members of our family, indeed a fusion of kalavida and rasika. Once I told my brother K.K. Murthy, President, Academy of Music, Bangalore, that our feelings for Chowdiah should be immortalized through an appropriate monument......"

In between, some poignant memories and expressions of an indelible friendship with Chowdiah would gradually make its way to the book (we produce a few excerpts here):

"....Mysore-Coimbatore road. The old Austin was roaring its weary way up the labyrinthine curves of Satyamangala ghat. Chowdiah was the 'Sarathi'. I was sitting by his side in the front row. In a difficult-to-manoeuver hairpin bend he lowered the gear....."

".....He was a deeply religious person. Learnt Anjaneya Mantra and did Japa throughout his life. He was a regular visitor to Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt and Shabarimala shrine to offer his sangeeta seva...."

"....the biggest crowd would be at Tiruvayyar....Chowdiah would appear on the stage to the accompaniment of a thunderous applause. The moment the first hum of his seven-stringed Gandeeva resonated......even the most confirmed atheist.....would exclaim "Now I realize that there is God in Heaven......"

"Chowdiah treated my father K. Puttu Rao as his elder brother and mentor......"

"....you are mistaken Srikantiah! In your case you study for the final exam only once....but, in my case I have to pass the examination at every concert!...."

As the literary genius from Mysore and India, Mr. R.K. Narayan put his pen to those times :