Friday, September 17, 2010
First published in The Bengal Post
Thursday was MS Subbulakshmi’s 94th birth anniversary. She has been gone for nearly six years now, leaving a huge void in the lives of thousands of worshippers of her grand music and her near divine aura. Yet, she is ever present in those lives, to go by the number of families for whom the day starts with her Sri Venkatesa Suprabhatam broadcast every morning by All India Radio.
The sheer magic of her voice followed me as I walked through the streets of one of the humbler settlements of Chennai the other day, with home after home waking to the reverberant cadences of her chants. It was but a logical epilogue to a life whose funeral was attended by a remarkable number of mourners from the poorest sections of society, as quietly dignified in their grief as the elite and the cognoscenti among the varied assemblage at her earthly abode…