Jun 16, 2008


Dear Friends,
Yesterday, I received this wonderful mail from my dear Nalini Miss. To receive a mail from her itself was a pleasant surprise but what it held in store was even better. She is the founder principal of one of the most well established schools in Kerala; "Harisri Vidya Nidhi", where Ram and I did our entire schooling. That we have already read this mail more than hundred times is ample testimony as to how much we appreciate and treasure it. Nalini Miss, thanks a lot for this rare gift. We are really touched that you took the effort to pen it down and mail it across in spite of your hectic schedule. You are one of those rare teachers who don't consider their job done once the student is out of school. Thanks for being what you are, Nalini Miss.
Musically yours,
Srikrishna ( For Trichur Brothers)

There are moments in life when you feel that you must have done something good in your childhood, or when you were growing up. When you were busy being a teacher and a guru to your students, trying to wheedle the best out of them, striving to gain a hold of their hearts unwittingly, coaxing magic out of pliable dough to create a living masterpiece! Later, you sit back and recall the best and the most spirited of your creations, and the ones that have caused you the maximum problems, and your heart goes out in appreciation to them for having brought out the best in you. Isn't that what teaching is all about?
I had finished lunch and was about to go upstairs for my siesta when the front bell rang. A little disgruntled, I went to open the door. There stood two of my erstwhile students, Srikrishna and Ram Kumar along with the former's brand new bride. They had been married a month ago and they stood beaming at me with such enthusiasm that it warmed the cockles of my heart. "Nalini Miss, sorry for having come at a wrong time", said Srikrishna, as they walked in.
Preliminary chatter over, the young girl suddenly turned to me and said, "Nalini Miss, I have come to thank you!" Before I had time to react, she launched into a sweet little
incident. "Srikrishna and I had a chance to talk to each other over the phone even before we met . As I listened to him speak, I could not resist asking him where he had done his schooling. It was just that I was mesmerized by the way he spoke English and that was the first thing that attracted me towards him." She smiled at me, as she carried on. "It was then he told me that his fluency in the language was all due to his beloved Nalini Miss!"
My mind went back to those days when Srikrishna had been a sensitive little touch-me-not, highly sensitive and introverted. He had always been a fabulous singer, but I recollected the times I had to urge him to get involved in the school choir and participate in part singing in particular.. He was a difficult child to handle, but extremely loveable. Though he was very often in awe of me, yet gradually he opened up and became so responsive that his parents were amazed at the transformation in him.
On the other other hand, his younger brother, again a singer in the making in school, was just the opposite. He had the gift of the gab, knew exactly how to make the teachers (including me) dance to his tunes, and could invariably get away with blue murder . Oh yes, he was (and still is) a charming boy.

Known as the Trichur Brothers the two have blossomed out in the field of Carnatic music and have created a niche for themselves as regular performers at various kutcheris, both in Thrissur and Chennai. As up-coming artistes they have been much praised and written about for their sheer skill and versatility. As the afternoon wore away, we carried on talking about music and life, and time itself seemed to wait with bated breath for us, as we laughed and joked about how they had begun to experiment with "part singing" in Carnatic music "just the way we used to do in school."
Now they sat in front of me with one request. "Nalini Miss, before we leave your house today, we want to sing for you, may we?" They sat cross-legged on my divan with perfect ease, closed their eyes and launched into a Dikshitar kirtan……. a heavenly rendering on the love between Radha and Krishna. As the music unfolded, I listened to it in rapt silence. There was no harmonium or shruthi box but the notes rose and fell, in perfect harmony as my heart filled with pride and ecstasy. They followed this up with the beautiful composition , 'Maathe', and the emotions seemed to flow straight from their hearts into mine. For a glorious hour and a half the two boys sang as though enchanted and I sat there mesmerized , not feeling the minutes go by. .
At the end of the impromptu performance, while I sat spellbound , one of them said softly, "We have sung at so many kutcheris over the years with accompaniments and to huge audiences. But today we have sung from our hearts …..undoubtedly our best performance to date!"
When they rose to leave, I felt as though I had been part of an almost mystical experience. It had been such a delightful couple of hours and I knew that I would retain this day high in my cache of memories, to be kept and treasured beyond time. For the umpteenth time in my life, I sent up a silent prayer, "Dear Lord, thank you for these beautiful moments! Thank you for having made me a teacher!"
Nalini Chandran