Another unsung hero exits
By Ghatam V Suresh
Eminent ghatam artiste, Sri E M Subramaniam, a quiet legend in every way, died of multiple organ failure this morning in a private hospital in Chennai. Having lost all his spinster siblings one by one earlier (he was unmarried as well), he had no blood relations. Gathered in mourning around his mortal remains today were an impressive line-up of his students at the Government Music College, Chennai, for some years.
Among the mourners was auto rickshaw driver Shankar who served EMS for close to 15 years--more as a son than a paid chauffeur. Heartwarmingly, Madurai Balasubramanian, a noble violinist, and a trustee of a voluntary trust, has taken up the duty of performing the last rites for Sri EMS. There were a handful of musicians visiting to pay their last respects to the percussionist, an amazingly power packed ghatam player for close to five decades. Nobody knew whom to console! As I went in for my turn, it struck me that the intricate, embellishing, entertaining laya contributions of this unpretentious artiste all these years that had been noticed by musicians, music lovers and connoisseurs had neither resulted in a reasonably comfortable life for him nor would their worth be hailed in perpetuity. May his soul rest in peace!