It is with great pride and joy that I live my life as the daughter-in-law of one of the most prominent artists in the Carnatic Music world, Late Smt D.K Pattammal, DKP as she was popularly known to all. I was an ardent fan of DKP even before my marriage; my father, Mridangam Legend Late Sri Palghat Mani Iyer, would often speak highly of / rave about DKP’s knowledge/talent at home. It is only true that I was even more attracted to her music because of those reasons and more.

It was during that time that there was a proposal to marry her son, Sivakumar. While I was ecstatic about the possibility of marrying my idol’s son, I also became very anxious. “Will I be an exemplary daughter-in-law in such a stalwart’s house? Will she like me? Am I deserving of the privilege of being her daughter-in-law?” were just some of the questions that arose in my mind.

My anxiety was put to rest when my marriage turned out to be a turning point in my life. I was able to sing with her, learn her rare songs and be her shadow; an honour I thank God for even today.

I got married on 27.4.1966 and arrived at my in-laws’ place on 28.4.1966. Just a day after, on 29.4.1966, DKP called me most affectionately “Lalita, come here” and started teaching music to me.

That day marked the beginning of my musical journey with her and I stayed with her till the end of her time. It was not just music that I learnt from her; she taught me how to overcome the challenges that Life throws at me, how I should take everything in my stride and lead a contented life. These are lessons which everyone would agree are essential for anyone to lead a happy life.

She would often tell me, “Music is an ocean, Family is an ocean. In balancing both equally and successfully lies our talent. We should not give up either one for any reason.” The fact that she managed to live by her codes is a truth that we have all witnessed.

Lalitha Sivakumar