Page 23 - seniors today August issue
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which actually was a specialty of Mai. Tai was        issues that used to cause her undue stress much
        so open-minded with me, that she had given            of the time. By the nineties, Mai began to show
        me standing instructions to note any occasions        signs of old age, and much of Tai’s attention and
        on which she made any grammatical error               energy began to be consumed with Mai’s health
        during a performance, and then discuss it with        issues. I shared these challenges much of the
        her later at home. I vividly remember such            time with Tai, and gave her much needed relief
        interactions with respect to Raagas like Yaman,       and solace.
        Bahaduri Todi, Bageshri, Basant Kedar, Shree,
        etc. It is interesting to note that during my active   Lasting tribute
        decades of training, Kishoritai did not sing          Since Kishoritai did not accept any fees for the
        much devotional music, but rather sang semi-          wealth of music she gave me for four decades,
        classical varieties like Thumris and Dadras. I        I always had an uneasy feeling about how I
        therefore learnt some Thumris from her, but           could repay my debt to her. Years passed by,
        not any Bhajans and Abhangs which she began           and on April 3, 2017, she suddenly departed
        singing more regularly from the mid-eighties          for her heavenly abode, leaving countless
        and nineties.                                         disciples, family members and music-lovers
                                                              orphans. After much thought I finally decided
         After my initial two decades, I began to find        to create an award in her memory, called “Gaan-
        less time to devote to active learning because of     Saraswati Puraskar” as a humble tribute to her.
        my employment. However, as luck would have            I donated a corpus to Dadar Matunga Cultural
        it, my office was located within a few yards of       Centre in Mumbai to fund Rs. 1 lakh in annual
        her house, and I was a frequent visitor to her        award money plus expenses for administering
        home after my office. There were many other           the award. The award will be given annually to
        students by this time, and my active learning         an accomplished Hindustani Classical Vocalist
        had slowed down. Regardless, I found myself           under the age of 50. The process of selection of
        more and more in the role of a friend and             the awardee and the procedure for applying for
        adviser to her to guide her and solve many            it are described at
        ticklish family issues, health issues, and social

                                                                        Kishori Amonkar was a perfectionist,
                                                                        both when performing and teaching.
                                                                        Photo: Fotocorp

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