Birthdays & Anniversaries
Aruna Sairam, the Sangita Kalanidhi designate, opens the door and ushers me in with a warm welcome on a languid Sunday morning to her house, named Mantralayam, a neat compact structure nestled inside a street in Abhiramapuram, Chennai. The large picture of Aruna’s favourite Krishna stands tall overlooking the entrance and welcoming the guests. Her love for Krishna began even as a child because of her mother Rajalakshmi Sethuraman who used to organise congregations in their simple flat in Mumbai.
The city was a melting pot of cultures, languages and ethnicities. The migrant population was seeking self expression and preservation of the roots they belonged to. Aruna is a recipient of this rich heritage and culture which her parents zealously guarded and instilled in her brother S.K. Raja and herself, creating an ambience whereby she could learn from numerous masters and shape herself as an artist. According to Raja, Aruna’s strengths are her innate curiosity, her grit and her ability to communicate.
Her early love for music started with the bhajan sessions and musical soirees conducted at home. Her parents, a young couple in the early 1950s, started building bridges with musicians, litterateurs, theatre artists, dancers and the like who came to Bombay to perform. They also housed many of these visiting artists from all over the country and this opened for Aruna, a vast vista into the world of music, literature and dance.
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