When the tunes turned to words

From being consoled by MS Amma to making a music piece for former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Aruna Sairam opens up about her struggles as a musician & more...

Published: 23rd December 2016 09:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2016 06:24 AM   |  A+A-

At the event

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: With the music season heading towards its peak especially at a time when rasikas would do anything to meet and greet their favourite artists like Rupa Gopal, Tiffin magazine brought one of the most acclaimed and renowned classical vocalist to her fans – Aruna Sairam.

Following the launch of the first issue of the magazine, Rupa said that she wanted music connoisseurs to talk about their journey to make the celebration memorable. “For Aruna, her stint in music did not come easy and her opening up about her journey, gurus and other aspects of her life to people who love her, has made this special,” said Rupa.


With over 40 fans sitting around Aruna and Rupa at Malgudi, in Hotel Savera, you could clearly notice the excitement on the faces of the audience as they got to see the Padma Shri awardee at her jovial best. Talking about her journey from Mumbai to Madras, Aruna said, “This career did not happen over-night. I used to shuttle from Bombay to Madras for 10 years and had a small apartment rented here.

We didn’t want to move here before our children completed their education so that they weren’t disturbed. I should thank my husband for holding the fort in Mumbai in my absence,” she explained. “My daughters are my first and biggest critics. Both sing and they love it. But they didn’t take it as a full time career. Whenever I try something new, I sing it to them.”


Music has always been a part of Aruna’s life from a very young age. She began her training under her mother and later, under the tutelage of Brinda. “My parents were inclined towards arts, music, dance and so on. My house was small, but always had the footfall of the biggest minds and the most talented people in the country. People used to pour in to visit my father and I grew up amid get togethers that were filled with long and stirring conversations, music and so on,” she recalled.


Talking about her interaction with MS Subbulakshmi as a child, Aruna recalled: “I was about 13 when I met MS Amma. She had come home and immediately asked me to sing. So, I took to Varali ragam, but couldn’t hold my voice when it reached a higher note. My voice was breaking at that age. I was embarrassed and broke down as I sat in front of her. She immediately came close to me, hugged me and told that this happened to her when she was my age and also told that she had struggled more. She might have said that just to console me, but her concern and encouragement touched me,” she smiled.


From performing in Delhi for Indira Gandhi, her interaction with Jawaharlal Nehru, trying her hand in an ad film, explaining the importance of sabhas, Sahithyams and a special carnatic-Qawwali fused music piece she made for former President late APJ Abdul Kalam, Aruna threw interesting anecdotes throughout the one-hour interactive session. 


“This is a dream come true for us. To know about her life upclose is amazing, and we will remember this forever. We have been diehard fans of her on stage and in Kutcheris…but, this has certainly given a new dimension and we have to thank Rupa for this,” added a rasika.

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