Mysore Vasudevacharya’s home comes alive to the music its walls heard 50 or 75 or 100 years ago

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The home of Mysore Vasudevacharya in Agrahara in what is now New Sayaji Rao road

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Aahiri Putty lays out the ‘rangoli’ before a concert to revive the home of Mysore Vasudevacharya

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Vidwan R.K. Padmanabha looks on after lighting a lamp in memory of Mysore Vasudevacharya

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Vidushi Baghyalakshmi Chandrashekhar tunes her ‘veena’ before the concert

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T.P. Vaidyanathan, whose guru was a disciple of Mysore Vasudevacharya, watches the veena recital

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Bhagyalakshmi Chandrashekhar in concert

What is everlasting, and what is ephemeral?

What is timeless, and what is temporary?

What will stay, and what will go?

The Magsaysay Award-winning singer-activist T.M. Krishna spoke eloquently on some of life’s most interesting questions two weeks ago, when he came to perform at 8th Cross, Vontikoppal.

He said journalism would last; I felt good journalism, and only a tiny speck of it, would. I said all music would always be with us; he thought good music, and only some of it, would.

And so, on we went.

Neither of us felt it necessary to factor in inanimate objects which might fall on bad times but might yet return—like a house, or more specifically, the house of a musical genius.

The singer, composer, scholar and legend Mysore Vasudevacharya, the asthana vidwan at the Palace, lived in its backyard in ‘Agrahara’, in a simple 2BHK bungalow on what is now New Sayaji Rao road.

Long years of disuse had resulted in its misuse. Few would have known looking at its dilapidated exteriors, with the standard ‘Notice’, that it was home to a Padma Bhushan.

Then this message arrived from Srinivasa Putty:

“You are probably aware that my brother Yadupati and I are trying our best to restore some dignity to the house where one of the most illustrious sons of India—Mysore Vasudevacharya—lived. We have succeeded now in bringing a semblance of an order to the house. It has taken us more than two months to bring the house to the present condition. We have a long way to go yet. The house at present has no water connection, no toilet and no electricity. It is less said the better about the activities for which the house was used by the uncultured elements and we have now succeeded in putting an end to all these. Disregarding the odds, we have made bold to organise music programmes to the extent we can.”

So, on a cool Sunday morning, with nothing but natural light and devardeepa to illuminate the proceedings, Vidushi Bhagyalakshmi Chandrashekhar presented a veena recital, accompanied on the mridangam by P.S. Sridhar and on the kanjira by Sriram Bhat.

And before they started, Vidwan R.K. Padmanabha sang a number composed by Vasudevacharya many moons ago, in the same room where we sat today.

It was magical, and as the cliche goes, the room came alive to the sounds and strains that had bounced of its walls 50 or 75 or 100 years ago.

Hopefully, the House of Music will live again.