It’s the first week of September, with two significant days for me personally, the birthday of Smt Vijayalakshmi Krishnan, my Guru for Carnatic music and of course the Teacher’s Day. So, today’s blog is dedicated to Smt Vijayalakshmi Krishnan, the Guru who inspired me and scores of others to take up Carnatic vocals. Kind and inspiring, she is a guru who does not just impart knowledge, but ensures to instil a passion and motivation into each of her students.
Born in Chennai, Smt. Vijayalakshmi Krishnan started her career in Carnatic vocal music at the age of six under the tutelage of Ramanathapuram Shri Srinivasan who himself learnt the famous Oothkkadu Venkata Subbiar songs from Needamangalam Krishnamurthy Bhagavathar. She was fortunate to be taught many of these songs by her revered guru. After completing her degree, she obtained a Diploma in Music from Carnatic Music College of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. Along with her sister she also sang for many concerts at All India Radio as a Radio artiste.
After her marriage, she moved to Delhi where she started teaching Carnatic music. Many of the students went on to win prizes in competitions organized by sabhas and institutions in Delhi. Some have even taken up music as a career. She continues to teach music in Hyderabad now to young as well as old.
From personal experience, I can say that she is always encouraging students to do better, which is a hallmark of a good mentor. Being a master of your subject yet sharing your knowledge with humility is the most attractive facet of her personality which I try to imbibe in my own conduct as a teacher or a Guru every day. Her innate goodness reflects effortlessly in her art as well as her teaching. My appreciation and love for her has no bounds. She has taught me so many carefully chosen and rare compositions in the few years that I learnt from her. I still hold on to my music diary in which she personally used to write all the songs for me in Tamil. It is a memory, a symbol, a part of her that I will carry and cherish all my life. Some of these compositions I always wanted to recreate through dance and perform onstage.
Last year, we at Kalyani Kala Mandir, dedicated a show, “Abhyuday”, to Smt Vijayalakshmi Krishnan, where I along with my senior disciples staged a Bharatnatyam performance based on the compositions she taught me when I was a young girl. Back then little did I know that I would take up dancing professionally, leave alone start teaching it to many!! Her presence at the show as the Chief Guest was a matter of great honour for me as well as Kalyani Kala Mandir. The show was very well received and widely appreciated.
Here is wishing Smt Vijayalakshmi Krishan a very long and happy life. May you continue to create music and inspire many of us, as you have always done…. With love, with patience and with your divine grace! Generations of students, like me, will forever be grateful for your presence in our lives. On this Teacher’s Day and forever……Pranam!!!