Honorable Justice Mohan, Sri V. Ramachandran, dignitaries on the stage and in the auditorium and friends. I have been called upon to speak as a Rasika. I am just 21 while the rest of the speakers are higher in age and eminence. I therefore think it is a privilege which is given to a very few. I have to strike a personal note while recalling my earliest association with Sri Ramachandran. My Childhood was truly different and I was brought up in a truly unconventional manner. I grew up with the music of the great masters of Carnatic music whose tapes were more precious to me than my school books. GNB particularly fascinated me. I was obsessed with his music that obsession continues and has only grown over the years. Yet the fact that I could listen to it only on tape and not live bothered me. And then came a tape given by a friend T.S Vedagiri. The voice and style of music in the tape forcefully reminded me of GNB. I was intrigued the very next day my father took me to a concert of Sri V. Ramachandran and I sat mesmerized ever since then as a rasika and I would have heard about 100 concerts and many recordings. As a youngster I have learnt much from his music particularly Raga alapana.
He was very indulgent towards me despite our differences in age. He has a uncanny knack of putting youngsters like me at ease clarifying our doubts without mocking us or adopting a superior air.
At this juncture I would like to recall a concert of Sri Ramachandran accompanied by Sri VV Ravi and Sangeetha Kalanidhi Umyalpuram Shivaraman.It happened to be my cousins 1st Birthday celebration. The concert commenced with the Abhogi varnam followed by a Pantuvarali with the special touches of the GNB bhani. The Andolika there after commenced with a quivering kaishika nishadam which by itself brought out the swaroopa of the raga. Then there was a spectacular Mohanam in which he sang Sri Ramaramani the nereval and Swaram at “Athulitha Divya Guna” with the inimitable support of Shri Shivaraman took the concert to dizzy heights. As a youngster I was naturally exuberant. But even more important was the verdict of Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr N. Ramani who was in the audience who said that he had not a concert like that in recent times. Sri Ramachandran is one of the few artists who has courageously taken up ragas like Gamanashrama and Rageshri for RTP. For a youngster like me it was revelation of sorts. Whether it is delineation of major ragas like Kalyani, Shanmugapriya and Thodi or minor ragas like Malavi, Poornachandrika hes equally at ease I have heared him sing Arakimpave in Thodi in athichowka kalam accompanied delectably on the mridangam bySri Palghat R. Raghu. I have always enjoyed this range in his vidwat.
I have only one wish that we should all have the pleasure of listening to a Veteran and accomplished Vidwan like Sri Ramachandran for many more years to come. Conscious of my age and lack of experience I do not want to venture and say more where angels fear to thread. I thank the organizers for giving me this unique experience. Thank You.