Music that clears the hurdles in life

carnatic charisma Music helped Rajamani tackle the troubles in her life as well as touch  the lives of many.

When you first meet septuagenarian Rajamani, you feel an inexplicable lurch in your heart. She’s visually challenged. What’s it like to be deprived of one’s eyesight? It’s indeed difficult to fathom, especially for a finicky person like me, who double-checks a glass of drinking water before guzzling to find out whether it’s turbid, or whether an obnoxious insect has taken a fancy to descend on it.

That apart, not being able to appreciate the spectacular beauty of nature (if you’re an ardent nature lover like me); not being able to admire the tantalising looks of succulent rasgullas, or neatly knit spirals of jaangir (if you’re a sweet-o-phile like me); or not being able to marvel at magnificent silhouettes or coiffures (if you’re again, a fashion fiend like me).

Fighting spirit
Stray thoughts stay just for a fleeting moment. When you interact with Rajamani, you’re bound to be inundated by awe, beholding her vibrant persona that’s full of vim and verve. When she lost her eyesight at the age of seven, she did feel staggered.

This class-topper knew her school studies would come to a standstill. Thanks to her resilient nature and unstinted support from her father, she recovered fast and resolved to take her life’s seamy side in her stride, with surfeit sang-froid.   
 
Meanwhile, she discovered she was gifted with a mellifluous voice. This made her nurture dreams of metamorphosing into a good songstress in the realm of Carnatic Classical music. She began training assiduously in this domain, passing pertinent exams. She became so passionate about music that it became the very reason for her existence.
For over five decades (from 1953 to 2008), Rajamani has mesmerised music aficionados with her solo performances in over 300 kacheris, all across Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Laurels galore
She has other feathers too in her cap. She was awarded the prestigious national scholarship in her younger days by the Government of India. She has also bagged the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, sponsored by the Government of Karnataka. She also received the Achiever Award in the senior citizen category, sponsored by the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan (South).

She has also won umpteen prizes in Carnatic music competitions held at various places. And she has performed during the Udaya Raaga Programme too (organised by the Kannada and Culture Department of Karnataka), and music concerts, organised by the Karnataka Gana Kala Parishad. Her music renditions are found in Mysore University even today. Her songs were recorded as part of research programme conducted by the Department of Kannada.

She has composed over 40 devotional songs, penning lyrics herself. Once at a music concert in Tamil Nadu, on audience request, she had to sing off-the-cuff some Kannada songs that were actually in Tamil script. In a trice, with the help of someone, she got them transliterated into Kannada and sang them.

During yet at another music concert, when her accompaniment artistes didn’t turn up owing to some miscommunication, she single-handedly regaled the audience, innovating and improvising all along, as she uninterruptedly ran through a repertoire of several songs, in three hours. Notwithstanding the age that has slightly affected her voice today, her tone modulation, the cadence in her voice and its distinct timbre, the rhythmic lilt in her verse delivery, all leave you spellbound.

If Rajamani’s zest and determination to survive and sustain in life fascinate you, her munificent nature floors you. In this pelf-obsessed world where people are busy marketing their talents, this spunky yet soft-hearted spinster has imparted music lessons to over 100 children, all free of cost. Music being her sheet anchor, Rajamani says, she derives comfort and pleasure from disseminating her knowledge to people around.

She concludes: “Having encountered personal tragedies, there’s no point in advertising agonies or carping about inequity in life, as listeners listen only for the sake of entertainment. One should learn to move on.”

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