Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Master's munificence

by KParthasarathi Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Vishu was twelve when he lost his father. His father was a mrudangam player eking out a difficult livelihood. He was not on the top league that renowned musicians sought for. He had to be content with playing for lower grade musicians. He had accompanied some of the stalwarts more by default than by choice when the regular player was unable to attend by sudden sickness or emergent circumstances. Vishu had gone with his father to the music concerts held mostly in temples on festive occasions or in marriage halls. He had a fascination for violin and used to watch the violinist wielding the bow and producing sweet music. But his father taught him at home the only skill he knew though he was aware of Vsihu’s fancy for the stringed instrument.Vishu had an elder sister who was learning vocal music. Both of them were studying in a corporation school. It was then a tragedy struck when Vishu’s father suffered a massive heart attack while playing in a concert and collapsed on the stage. He passed away even before medical aid could reach him.
Vishu’s maternal uncle who had come for the ceremonies decided to take his sister and her daughter with him to his village. He came to know of the boy’s interest in violin and approached a leading violinist along with some musicians who were friendly with Vishu’s father. The violinist knew Vishu’s father. They pleaded with him pointing out the indigent circumstances of the family and the boy’s interest in learning violin. The renowned violinist had seen Vishu on a couple of occasions when along with his dad. Those were days when people were prosperous and prices were low. He agreed to keep the boy with him and teach him.
Years rolled by. Vishu served his master and his wife sincerely with devotion. He was the errand boy helping them in ever so many ways. They were impressed with his impeccable behaviour.The guru’s wife taught him initially the rudiments and the boy later learnt directly with the guru himself. By hard work and inherent skill he had become an accomplished violinist. He was not allowed to play in public platforms as yet. He continued to go with his master carrying the box and his other needs. The guru was a hard task master and did not allow any intimacy. He was stern while teaching him and on other occasions talked very less. In fact it was guru’s wife who was very kind showering her affection on the boy and fed him well.
He had not gone to his village to meet his mother and sister for more than five years. It was then one day his uncle had written that his sister’s marriage has been fixed and asked him to be present a week in advance. His uncle had also written to the guru seeking his blessings for the girl and his presence on the occasion. Vishu’s joy knew no bounds and pleaded with the master to attend his sister’s wedding at the village some 200 miles away. Even as the lady was suggesting that he attend, he told Vishu that he had a concert that day at another town. He said he felt bad that he was not able to participate in the joyous function. He gave him some money to be given as his gift and permitted him to leave for the village.
It was the day of wedding. There was only one street with tiled houses on both sides leading to the temple. The road was covered by a pandal.The mangalya dharanam was to commence soon.Vishu came out and looked across the street. He was feeling a little cheerless that his guru could not make it. Some one called him inside. An old Morris drew up opposite the house. Three elderly gentle men came out. Hearing the commotion, Vishu rushed out and was greatly surprised to see his guru along with a top musician and equally famous percussionist.Vishu stood speechless till his master patted him and said “This is unexpected. We missed the train and took a car to reach the town where we have the concert this evening. I remembered your sister’s wedding and made a slight detour. The great vidwans had very kindly agreed to grace the function.” Vishu fell at their feet and took them inside. His master said “We intend to sing for an hour in the pandal after the muhurtham.Can you send word to all those who would be interested to listen.”
The villagers had never heard such a soulful music from the great titans. In the middle of the concert the master made way for Vishu and told him to accompany the great musician. He said “This is memorable for three reasons. This is your first kutcheri before the presiding deity of your village, you are accompanying a very senior vidwan and you are singing on your sister’s wedding” With tears filling his eyes Vishu prostrated before him thinking of his large heart and affection for him.


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  2. very touching story. some teachers like the guru in this post, give so much to their students.very good post.