- Vasumathi Badrinathan, Mumbai -
- This article was first published in the Edit page of Indian Express on April
16, 1992 and subsequent to that, republished by several national &
international publications and online journals. -
memories live forever. They remain by you – silent shadows of the past, they
grow with you. Her memory dwells in my subconscious like a protective canopy.
For, she was one such person whom it is not easy to forget. She was around all
the time, her wonderful personality spreading everywhere; she still is always
around now. Her presence exuded warmth and made the house into a perfect home.
She shaped my life. She very deftly manipulated the reins
she held and took me unfailingly towards my destination. She became the master
craftsman of my life and executed her travail effortlessly, tastefully and
beautifully. She held my hands all through, lest I stumbled over the thorny
paths of life. She had understood what was best for me and led me assertively
to achieve my goals. She was my perennial source of encouragement, urging me
all the time to perform better. Sad, that the best things came when she wasn’t
there to see her efforts bearing fruit – it was ordained to be that way.
instilled in me my love for art that has made me a more complete person. She
had in her talents that would have taken her to heights had she found the
right encouragement. There, some of her dreams stood unrealised and she worked
painstakingly so that I would have all that she was denied, so that I would
have the very best. Indeed, she taught me much more. She taught me to love
life, to enjoy it and to make it enjoyable for others. She induced me to
radiate happiness and warmth, as she did, to make this world a better place.
Her goodness of heart now stuns me, for I have never until today, been able to
see parallels; of course, I have seen the negation of it and the contrast has
served only to elevate her further in my esteem. She was exactly like what I
read long back in my favourite book and still remember vividly: "Her eyes are
like two candles in a dark, dark world."
She had become my prime confidante, companion and friend.
We shared an undefinable relationship that was a bond forever. Our oneness had
me taking her for granted. I always assumed that she could be there beside me,
forever, and I thought, stupidly, that I could take refuge in her. But one
sudden moment I realised she wasn't there. My pillar of strength was
shattered, and I was left drifting in a wild, wicked world I had never faced
But her absence made me independent, fierce, capable,
shrewd, knowing, worldly wise. She had exhorted me to be bold and courageous
and in those words I have found the secret to manoeuvre life. I do not know
how much I have bequeathed of the legacy of values she had me imbibe, but I
keep trying. It is now 21 years since she has gone and it is hard to think
that she is no more, to refer to her in the past tense, to come to grips with
the cruel reality. Her presence in my mind goads me on, to carry ahead,
unflinchingly. For me she continues to dwell on. She was in every way a truly
singular and beautiful person. She was my mother.
Dr Vasumathi Badrinathan is an eminent Carnatic vocalist
and a Bharatanatyam dancer. The following article is a tribute to her late
mother Padma Seshadri who passed away in 1988. She was Vasumathi’s guru, to
whom the author owes her passion and grounding in music and dance. Padma
Seshadri was a Carnatic musician trained under Yagneshwara Bhagavatar (nephew
of Muthiah Bhagavatar) in Bombay and later under TR Balamani. She trained
Vasumathi painstakingly in Carnatic music and simultaneously put her onto
Bharatanatyam, a dream she could not pursue in those days. In many ways
Vasumathi is living her dream today, as a Carnatic vocalist, a Bharatanatyam
dancer and as a thinking artiste. Vasumathi’s production on women composers in
South Indian music - Stree Gaanam, premiered in 2005, was dedicated to the
cherished memory of her mother.