Carnatic music maestro Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna, all of 79 years of age, pays his respects to Hindustani great Gangubai Hanagal, all of 96, in Hubli on Friday. Balamurali Krishna was in town to be honoured with the Mallikarjun Mansur Samman.
Sadanand Kanavalli recounts a lovely anecdote involving Balamurali Krishna in The Hindu today:
Balamurali, like Bhimsen Joshi, hardly had any schooling. When his father took him to a school, the headmaster asked him to sing a song. That paved the way for singing the prayers before lessons started everyday. One song followed another and it turned into a mini concert. This went on for three months until quarterly exams arrived.
The answer paper went back the way it came, not a word on it. The maths teacher awarded him a big zero. The teacher asked him to get his father’s signature on the marks card. The father, in his school days, was also a zero in maths.
When Balamurali returned the marks card duly signed by his father, the teacher was surprised. “Aren’t you ashamed of earning a zero? No sir. Really, I tried to draw a big, beautiful zero as you have done. But I couldn’t. Indeed sir, you are a great artist.”
The teacher was not amused.
In the end the teacher told Balamurali’s father: “Your son is a born artiste, let him not waste his time here. General education can be had any time it is felt necessary.”
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News