Saturday, 8 September 2018

T.S. Parthasarathy

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Very often we say of some one, "He was an extraordinary person" and more often than not it is just hyperbole. Once in away, however, we come across a really "extra ordinary" person who truly merits such a description . T.S.Parthasarathy, polyglot, polymath , eminent scholar musicologist and prolific writer who passed away on October13, 2006, at Chennai aged 93,was one such.

During 2004, I ,along with a collaborator, began recording his reminiscences for a proposed biography. Although he was confined to a wheelchair after An ankle injury in 2000, he remained undeterred, wheeling himself around his study to pull out some reference book from the shelves to make a point, or to show us some article from the pile of clippings on his work table, or to sit before his typewriter and dash off a review commissioned by The Hindu. His reminiscences came out in a precise, cogent stream , without any dithering , no straying from the subject on hand, no rambling, despite his age. Watching him and listening to him was a treat ,and I remembered the first time I had seen him two decades earlier, during a morning session of the Experts Committee meeting of the Music Academy's annual conference in December. Even as he conducted the proceedings, keeping careful track of the time element during each presentation to rein in over nthusiastic or verbose participants, he simultaneously wrote reports on the discussions  for the next day's issue of The Hindu and still managed to catch every word of half a dozen conversations around him. As Secretary of the Academy for 18 long and eventful years, TSP (as he was fondly known in music circles) set standards that became difficult to measure up to .He tried grooming someone to take over in 1990, but a successor in the same mould did not seem to be even remotely in the offing , such was his awesome versatility.

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