Chennai-based Carnatic music guru and artiste Suguna Varadachari was felicitated at a very special event recently in Chennai. The event brought together all her sishyas. Among them was vocalist Vidya Kalyanaraman.
In this column, Vidya (seen in the photo alongside) shares her experiences with guru Suguna Varadachari.
It was the year 2005 and I was completing my schooling. My guru, Smt. Padma Sandilyan asked me, "So Vidya, what do you plan to do after schooling?"
I said, "Mami I want to take up music full time.. I want to do my degree in music too."
She immediately said, "Good. Taking up music full time requires a vast repertoire. You must work on developing that. I will send you to the right person"
And she personally called up and spoke to Suguna 'mami' and requested her to take me as her sishya.
Ever since 2005, I have been under the tutelage of one of the most inspiring gurus of today - Smt. Suguna Varadachari.
Suguna mami has been a pillar of support at every stage of my life since 2005. Be it guiding me through my concerts or personal life, mami knows exactly what is best for me and what best can come out of me.
Every class opens up a world of knowledge and the avenues to explore. I also have the blessing of accompanying her in concerts as vocal support - every concert would seem like 10 classes together! So much to imbibe and learn.
Often, after vigorous music classes of some extremely difficult kritis, mami will tell me, 'Magaley, inime un samathu. Ni dhan practise panni idha kondu varanum'.
Those are the times that I realise that every hour of class with her demands at least 10 to15 hours of homework before the next session. That is the perfection she would expect from me. And I must do this to justify the confidence she has had in me - to teach me such complex songs.
Over these 11+ years, I have become a member of her family and she treats me like her daughter - the biggest blessing one could ask for !
I always cherish and look forward to the fun moments we spend together during our tours. From using tech gadgets to trying out new varieties of food at restaurants to sending messages through Whatsapp - there is always a bubbly young girl inside this orthodox and traditional guru !
I have learnt by observing her that there is no end to being a rasika or a student of music.