|"Bala, for me was beautiful - such an expressive face."|
first time I met Bala was when she came to our home in Adyar and presented me with a Silver Cup. She told me that she enjoyed my performance at the Music Academy. She particularly liked me singing when
doing padams. She said she wanted to teach me and I was thrilled. Over a period of 8 years
that I learnt from her she taught me several padams of Kshetragnya, and Suburamaiyer; and
also Jawalis, Ashtapathis and Tevarams and others. She was a marvelous teacher; her
methods quite wonderfully different. I used to watch her doing the padams in several
variations, and then, she would sing and get me to try it . At my young age of eleven it
was difficult - but a challenge. As a result when I performed never did I do a padam in
the same way twice. Now, as a teacher I teach in the same method, getting each performing
student to do the padam in their own way."
"When I used to go to her house in Egmore for my lessons, most often my sister would accompany me. The house was small . Bala stayed with her mother Jayamma, her daughter Lakshmi and her brothers, Vishwa and Ranga. Normal practice for me was conducted upstairs. At the entrance to the staircase was the small veena belonging to Bala's grandmother, Dhanammal, kept in a glass case, and above it was a large photograph of her playing it. There were railway tracks close by; so very often, the room would shudder with the force of the trains. They were used to it, but for me it was an experience. Bala, for me, was beautiful - such an expressive face."
|"She spoke with her eyes as she did abhinaya and her fingers exceptionally
illustrative of the mood. The quizzical look on her face spoke volumes. A twitch of the
nose suggested indignation or sometimes amusement; the movement of her lips, romance and
laughter; the movement of her body, rhythm and grace; all these subtle nuances were a
treat to watch and learn. She was the embodiment of Abhinaya. She had a high pitched voice
that equaled the nightingale and words cant describe the beauty of her singing whilst
doing padams. Her "Krishna Nee Begane" or "Kshetragnya's Piyadha" can
never be done better, I think - and for that matter which padam?. Had she made a career in
music she would have been the best."
"Bala belonged to a family of talented individuals. Her parambara tells the story for many generations. Veena Dhanammal was a masterful Veena Player and Jayammal a wonderful singer. Viswa was expert at the flute and Ranga wonderful on the mridangam and I knew them well too. Here was an assembly of talented artistes and it was a immense experience to be in their midst. I was much loved by them all; to me it was a second home."