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A `please' gesture
CHENNAI, July 18: Pallavi, anupallavi and charanam are the three quintessential elements of a 'kirtanam.' Likewise, D. K. Pattammal (DKP), M.S. Subbulakshmi and M.L. Vasanthakumari formed the core of Carnatic music and appropirately hailed as the female Trinity. When she passed into the pages of history on Thursday, the 90-year-old Pattammal symbolised the sombre end of a musical piece that swayed generations.

In their prime, each of the trio touched the pinnacle of glory. With their distinct style and 'bhava,' their renditions had stood the test of time, creating a sense of wonder among carnatic music connoisseurs. A direct descendent of Dikshitar, she was a purist. Her style of singing was influential. And, she perpetually had a smile on her face.

Palghat T.R. Rajaram, an accomplished violinist in his own right, shares his thoughts and recounts some anecdotes here. Whether it is propagating Dikshitar's krithis or Andavar Pichhai or Gowishankar's sthapati, Pattammal, according to him, had the innate talent of `unearthing' composers.

She lived a life loaded with full of values. During a Navarathri celebration, as is the custom, young 10-year-old Pattammal went from house to house, singing and earning appreciation from villagers. In one such 'kolu' encounter, the unassuming Pattammal was asked to hold her breath by the lady of the house. As the lady tried explaining the nuances of holding it, other visitors giggled and mocked but Pattammal took it seriously. Pattammal held her breath for two minutes.Though she was itching to laugh, she had managed to control it as she was keen not to upset the lady hell-bent on teaching her the technique of singing by holding her breath in a particular way. "Ennapanaradu.. siripu vanduthu aana.. (what to do? I felt like laughingf)," Rajaram recalled Pattammal telling him then.