Indian Express, Dec 12, 2004
Karaikudi Mani, the mridangam maestro who had accompanied MS for long, recalled it was while performing in a D K Pattammal concert in the 70s that Sadasivam had sent word, wondering whether he could play for MS too and he gladly did. The association lasted seven years.
He said: “Her music is full of bhakti. She is fully involved in her music. Besides, she was very meticulous about what she sang. Before rendering any composition, she would first learn the meaning of it and the occasion in which it was composed. If she plans to sing a song in a different language she would consult a pundit of that language. She would go ahead only after he or she is satisfied that her diction is all right.” She always treated the accompanying artistes as her family members. She insisted that Mani get married and even arranged a meeting with a prospective bride in the green room of a concert hall.
“Of course it didn’t click,” he recalled chuckling. Paying handsome tributes to the singer’s generosity, he said: “I have witnessed how she readily gave away jewels and other valuables to those who were in need. She wore silk sarees and jewels only for concerts, perhaps as a matter of decorum. But inside she was a sanyasin. She was totally detached from worldly needs.”
V V Subramaniam, violinist, who had accompanied MS even longer, for as many as 11 years, felt it was her humility that was the most endearing thing about her.
“She was easily the most modest of musicians one can come across. Fame never went into her head. If I learnt or inherited anything from her, it is only her noble values. I could never stop wondering how she could weather many a storm in her personal life with aplomb and go on to become an absolutely adorable human being,” he said, his voice almost choking. He recalled that when he visited her after the Bharat Ratna Award was conferred on her and found her clad in a very unassuming sari and could not resist asking her how could a Bharat Ratna dress like that. She replied calmly, “The award was for the job entrusted to me by God. I’ve not changed otherwise. I remain what I am, you see.”