My brother...and Ananda Shankar

June 20, 2009

My brother was a very talented mridangam player, and if he had put his mind to it, he could (I’m not saying it because he was my brother) have become one of the top players in Carnatic music…but he was too easy-going for that.

For many years, apart from the traditional Carnatic concerts, he played for the musical group of Ananda Shankar . He had such immense fun during this time…a college student in those days had very few avenues to be flush with funds…and he was! He would bring extravagant gifts for my daughter, arrive in a taxi…go out with his red paintbrush for nights out on the town….

My sister-in-law sent my daughter a link to one of the songs:


Does the music sound dated? Remember, this was about 35 years ago! We were not very happy when the dancers started taking over from the music….but the dancers were talented, too, led by Tanushree Shankar.

When I watched the ceremony in Chennai on the webcam, I did not cry..but the sound of the mridangam in the first piece brought the tears streaming down. I wept for the loss of my brother…all over again, a year later…when I thought I had developed a hard carapace that nothing could breach. Music can melt the barriers one puts up….

I almost never gave a concert unless he accompanied me on the mridangam…even in Muscat, Oman, he accompanied me for my farewell concert. What a fantastic accompanist he was! He completely gave up playing in his later years, and I still feel, what a waste of talent that was…

Excuse me…I am still very weepy. Let me go dry my tears, and put my shell in place again.