I am privileged and blessed to be born in the Damal family and when I ruminate my association and events with athai & appa sometimes their absence brings tears in my eyes automatically. How many are fortunate to have affection personified in these two relationships?
Athai , who lived a full life of 90 years, was the embodiment of all virtues of a woman. It was athai who christened me as "SUKANYA" and she used to say that I am the 'female varisu' of the family. When i was five years old athai inaugurated the "NAVARATHRI KOLU" at our house and she gave me a vinayaga idol which i hold in her memory even today. She used to call my father "JAYARAMA" very affectionately and they had great regards and love for each other. She used to teach songs to me without anger or annoyance and in fact to all her students. On holidays i used to go to Athai's house and she will make "VATHA KOZHAMBU RICE PULP" on her own & feed me with full affection.
An important habit of Athai is she will bless all who come to see her with the following asirvad.
"DHEERGA SUMANGALIYA IRUKKANUM. LONG LIVE HEALTHILY & SANTHOSHAMA IRUKKANUM".
I had a memorable tour in 1986 during the 'FESTIVAL OF INDIA' in PARIS for which athai, appa ,myself, athimber(Sri Iswaran) and Gayathri (grand daughter of DKP) went together. After the tour Athai blessed appa that he would get the 'SANGEETHA KALANIDHI" title which came true on 1st Jan 1991.
I had the fortune of singing with Athai, Nithya, Gayathri and Lalitha akka. My mother Jayalakshmi played tambura and Siva anna played the mridhangam.
My husband and I used to visit Athai & Athimber often and Athai will take one jasmine flower from the roll and keep it on her head. We visited her on 15.7.2009 (a day before her death on 16.7.2009) at 5pm. She saw us completely for 10 minutes with her eyes wide open with slight tears in her eyes. We cherish this moment as a great blessing even today, because on next afternoon at 1.30pm she was no more.