My grandma and Carnatic music

I lost my maternal grandma recently and have been wanting to blog about her and her love for Carnatic since a while. Everytime I get started with these posts, I'd get too emotional and stop.Finally I've decided to complete this post. (Will publish another post on her as a wonderful human being later).

My grandma Smt. Alamelu Raman, was a walking talking encyclopedia of Carnatic Music and a good singer. She had learnt music in school and imbibed all that was being taught to her cousins. She has remnisced that her grandpa used to often remark "Alamelu is a genius -she just listens to a song a couple of times and is able to reproduce it so wonderfully". She kept her yearning for music alive as long as she was alive. Music was and remained was one of her life-lines. She used to learn music over the radio, making meticulous notes from Voleti Venkateshwarulu's "Learn to Sing" on All India Radio. She also learnt a kot of kirtanams from Manakkal Brothers when my mother and aunt were leaning music from them. (She remembered each and every sangati taught to them though my mom and aunt had forgotten a few). My mother and aunts remember her singing St. Jayadeva's Ashtapadis with my thatha who was fond of music too. She ensured that all her children and grandchildren learnt music in some form or the other.

I remember listening to her Tiradavalayatu Pillai as a kid. This was a special favourite of grandma. She used to take me along for concerts at Bbay and ensured that I got exposed to music by stalwarts such as ARI, SSI,CVB, MS, KVN, Santhanam, MLV, DKJ and DKP. She had her own set of favourite singers - Nedunuri Krishnamurthy / Voleti/ Alathur Brothers / Kumar Gandharva / Bhimsen Joshi / KL Saigal etc We had joint ownership over our huge collection of Carnatic music and I always used to take a along a set of CDs from Bangalore and exchange them with her set in Bombay.

Even a few days before she passed away she sang a wonderful set of songs. My aunt Dr. Bhanu and I were the only audience. (This list included ShrimahAganapatiravakumara, NArada gAnalolA, Anandamritakarshini, SarasijanAbhasodari, SamajavaragamanA, a marathi Natya Sangeet- JayaGangebhagirathi etc). She also called up my sister in Pune as she couldn't recollect some lines of a Saveri varnam. Our only regret is that we didn't record her swansong concert.

I will remain indebted to My Grandma. forever for inculcating in me a love for Carnatic music. I am sure she will be listening to her favourites in heaven and regaling other music lovers with her wonderful songs.


Aahiri said…
Wonderfully written Anand!
Grandparents and grandchildren always tend to share a special relationship!
I recollect memories of my dadima as I read your post..

May all souls rest in peace ...Amen.

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