High praise from Mudikondan Venkatarama Iyer, by Gopalan Natarajan

I learnt Carnatic music under Srivanchiyam Ramachandra Iyer in the late 80s and he once narrated me a story that he witnessed while with his guru,the legendary Mudikondan Venkatrama Iyer. This was sometime in the 40s. MMI was slated for a concert in a temple town. Sri Venkatrama Iyer had completed his concert in the evening and was waiting to hear MMI whose slot was at the usual 8pm. As MMI sat down on the stage and was getting ready to start he noticed Mudikondan in the front row and immediately bowed his head and said to him “Periava (i.e. Mudikondan) is sitting in the audience, pl forgive if I make any mistake in my concert”. Pat came Mudikondan’s reply – “nee ovvaru swarathilayum samadhi adayaravan – eppadi pezhagu vara mudiyum – nee bhesha padu Mani” meaning ” you attain bliss in every swara – how can you ever make a mistake – you rock on”. So true were these words about Mani Iyer’s inimitable style and his shruthishuddam – which remains unparalleled to date.