The phone rang sharply at 6.35pm on Monday the 22nd April 2013 evening and I heard a voice at the other end say, “Jayanthi, it is all over. Lalgudi ji is no more”. A shiver of shock and sorrow stuck in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes as I walked up to the music system and switched on Raga Sahana played by him a couple of decades ago. Every note stood in line literally begging him to caress it and give it life. Was he a musician or a magician? I wondered every single time how he touched the core of the heart with a single note or phrase.
The entire universe had converted itself to a Nadaloka for him and he was the Master creator, creating music in different forms to suit each occasion. He was an ace performer, composer, guru, creator and much much more.
His playing has the silken finish which only God could achieve. His expression was that of a poet and there was not even one ungraceful note or movement in the entire piece of music he rendered. Completely within the grammar of the classical idiom, he wove many permutations and combinations which only a genius can do and moved his audience to the hilt. He brought a great status to the Violin as an accompaniment to Vocal during the years that he accompanied great stalwarts
He was a musician who changed the entire approach to music during his life time. Aesthetics was his forte. Be it an alap or a krithi or swaraprasthara or a varnam or a thillana, the inimitable Lalgudi stamp was there. The Lalgudi stamp means, music that is grammatically impeccable, melodically unsurpassable, mathematically supreme and tonally pristine.. No, i am not in search of adjectives. Because adjectives fall a great deal short of their duty when trying to describe a legend like Lalgudi Jayaraman ji. There is not even one single musician who is not influenced by his music. There is so much to take in from his music. His padantharam of krithis is very unique. He gave a new dimension to the krithis of Saint Thyagaraja so much so that every time, I used to imagine that Saint Thyagaraja was nodding from up there in great appreciation to what Lalgudi ji had done with his compositions. So much has been written about and spoken about this great legend and every time when one writes about him we only end up feeling that not enough has been said.
Every single musician today is his disciple or follower in some way or the other. I have been extremely fortunate to have been born in his family as his sister's daughter. I have watched him from my childhood and have been extremely fortunate to have learnt so much from him directly. He was a true romantic at heart and knew to enjoy every single nuance of Mother Nature, be it the blooming of a flower or a sway of the branches caused by the winds. He lived in a world that was so sensitive and subtle. His spirituality came out in the silence between the two notes he played. He tapasya shone out in the siddhi he achieved in every single note. Yes, he was a Nada Yogi....
I come back to reality. Who said Lalgudi ji is no more? What has happened is only a space between two notes. His physical presence is not here..that's all. His music will go on and will continue to echo in the cosmic world creating vibrations that are so positive and so moving touching all our hearts for years and years to come.
Salutations to the God of Music!!