Cerebral Shangrila

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Behind every successful artiste is a liberal parent

It seemed to be the best seat to choose. I had just entered the concert hall as Ravikiran was winding up his concert with the Mangalam. The next concert was by Sanjay and it was expected to be a full house. I wanted to get the best seat and though this seat was a lone empty seat in a crowded row, it had the best view of the stage.

I settled in the seat and to my left was an "Iyer Mama", close to 60 years of age with Vibhuti splashed liberally over the forehead. The Mangalam got over and it was announced that the next concert would begin in 15 minutes. That is how the conversation began :

Him : Are you new to Sydney, I haven't seen you in past concerts?

I ( I quickly guessed that he was a veteran of carnatic music scene in Sydney) : Yes, I am new to Sydney. I just moved here 6 months ago.

Him : It is good to see youngsters (!!) like you being interested in carnatic music.

I : Thanks. It is an interest passed on from my dad. How long have you lived in Sydney?

Him : I came here 35 years ago. Most of the accompanists who play here were all introduced by me and our circle.

I: wow. For someone who has lived here for 35 years, your Tamil is still intact. It has lost none of the Madras brahmin flavor.

Him: Thanks. We always speak Tamil at home. Btw, I lived more in Bangalore than Chennai but still how can we forget our language and culture. In fact, my daughter although born here in Australia is well trained in our language and culture.

I: That is very good to hear.

Him : In fact, she is a well trained dancer, winner of Miss India Australia and is now an actress in south Indian films.

My trivia brain immediately started working its way and quickly deduced the gentleman next to me was none other than the father of Actress Vimala Raman.

I: Are you the father of Vimala Raman?

Him (Excitedly): Yes, How did you know?

I: I have seen her movie "Poi" and also attended a Bharathanatyam recital by her in Singapore.

Him ( Calling his wife): He knows Vimala and has attended her dance performance.

That is when his wife turned to look at me. The resemblance was very palpable, Vimala looked exactly like her mom (minus the wrinkles).

Him : She can speak Tamil very well too. She learnt dance for a long time and even now performs when she gets time. She chose to pursue a career in films and now lives in Chennai.
She is a very intelligent girl and hence we decided to allow her to pursue her career of choice. Once they become adults, we should be an advisor to them and not a decision maker.

Something tugged at my heart then. I suddenly became an unabashed admirer of his liberal values . Here was someone, who wanted his daughter to grow up in a conservative manner but yet had the courage to not force his value system on her, once she became an adult.

We chatted for a few more minutes and promised to keep in touch. Hopefully I will meet him again during other concerts. I should conclude by saying " Behind every successful artiste, there is a liberal parent".

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