My Amma

I hold the late Smt DKP Amma in high esteem and regard her as God, Guru, mother and a good friend. My close association with her taught me many values in life besides music. Truly, she is Saraswathi Avatharam! Her simplicity is her greatness and she had a childlike innocence, spreading love and affection to one and all.


I distinctly remember the days when I learnt music from her. She was of the firm conviction that music and any from of art could be made interesting by a Guru. A student can never be blamed for not learning or grasping a lesson as even a boring class can definitely be made interesting by a clever and excellent guru. Every student was dear to DKP Amma’s heart and she always looked straight into the eyes of the student while teaching with great concentration. I could not believe that my hyper active grand children who were less than 5 years of age then, were mesmerized by her simple songs of Thyagaraja, Dikshidar and Narayana thirthar. She even made the class interesting with anecdotes and stories from the composer’s life and how and when they sang the song. She honed the skills of even those who hailed from Japan, China and South Africa who had no knowledge of language or Carnatic music foundation. She taught them the nabi, hirth, kanta and rasana way of singing with depth. Can you believe that only within 6 months, Ganasaraswathy from South Africa could do kutcheri with perfect Tamil Pronunciation With ragam and Swaram? Semangudi Srinivasa Iyer mama praised her very much saying that this feat can be achieved only by DKP. Amma. There was no time limit to her classes as it will continue until the next student comes. She used to say a song sung 100 times is worthy of singing on stage.


I play gottu Vadhyam and I stay in Kotturpuram near her house.My dream was to be her student and then really wished Smt. DKP amma to come to my Kutchery at Indian fine Arts. I hesitantly invited her, little knowing that she would surprise me at the saba!. Then I asked her if she could be my guru and she willingly agreed. I must have done Poorva Janma punya for this. The best thing in my life was her association. Which made my life happier and richer, With love and happiness with her all the time. I was with her for half-a-day, the day before she expired looking at each other in silence as she could not talk. The next day she expired and I felt I was orphaned. Ishwara Iyer mama said without her, he did not want live, he became disoriented and passed away in a few months. Otherwise he could have lived a 100 years easily as he was in the best of health. They live for each other Amma used say She could not live a day without him and wanted to go as a Sumangali her wish was fullfilled by God at the age of 93.


I not only learnt music but a way of life to live. “Never neglect family and one must remember that both share a 50:50 ratio in life. If your family life suffers you would never be able to enjoy music and put complete effort in a song”. Would tell DKP Amma repeatedly to her students. Her husband Iswara Iyer made most of the decision for her as she will always abide by it. She was a saint in her own way at home. And I could even say that she was personsonification of love. She fulfilled her duty as a mother and a grandmother, never raising her voice even once. But binding them with love. I have never seen her getting angry at any one, Even at servants. But would say things in a kind manner. “You get shanthi and nimathi (peace) If you control your anger “ she said. I began every class by getting her blessings at her feet. She always prayed for any one in trouble. She ensured that all her disciples especially the children never left empty handed but with chocolate or a fruit.

I am immensely blessed in my life to be associated with such a great soul and even today not a day passes without thinking of her. She is close to heart and always live in the minds of her students. Her teachings are alive within me and her legend will continue for generations to come.

Ramani Dharma Raja