Friday, April 9, 2010


This dates back to a score of years. I met Perumal Muthiah in Aavarampalayam, Coimbatore. He was a devout music lover and a true friend, through him I happened to know about a lot of things in life. He owned a marvelous collection of music records and cassettes. I was a vagabond then, he took me as his roommate, fed, clothed and kept me alive in those years of penury.

I accompanied him in his long journeys to 100 feet road, Gandhipuram, Maruthamala, those rambles provided apt background for discussions on world literature, music and everything under the Sun. He introduced me to maestros like Tiger Varadachari, Kishori Amonker, Karaikkurichi Arunachalam, M.D.Ramanathan, Chandru Atma, Mallikarjun Mansur, Mehdi Hassan etc,. I heard Mohammad Rafi’s Hindusthani Bhajans for the first time in Muthiah’s gramophone. He was a cornucopia of knowledge. I learned of film directors like Mahendran, Rudrayya; writers like Kulaikoothan, Mouni, Na. Muthuswamy ; painters like Aadimulam, danseuse like Leela Samson, through him.

I heard of Rajam Pushpavanam from Muthiah who was an ardent fan of her. He appreciated her ,used to say of her ‘ostensible voice’, those were his own words on Rajam. Later in our travel to Himalaya; in a frosty night ,near Adibadrinath temple, I heard Rajam’s serene rendition in Muthiah’s taperecorder. It cured me off all the pains and it proved again that music is a panacea.

In ‘Philosophical Studies on East and West’ by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, he pointed out Rajam’s soul stirring expatiation in the chapter dealing with music and philosophy. While reading I mused on that unsung artist. Since then I never heard anyone mentioning Rajam Pushpavanam related to music.

I came to know that later Muthiah had become an ascetic and now I have no idea of his whereabouts. Whenever I hear Rajam Pushpavanam’s blissful voice , I remember Muthiah.

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