In life, there are incidents that you don't want to forget and then there are incidents etched in your memory so vividly that every time you reflect upon them, they come out as fresh as you had remembered them to be. You grow with it, and as you do its memory opens up newer perspectives, dimensions, thoughts that had not crossed your mind yet. So the same incident gets an all-new meaning in your head; only until you remember it again. Nostalgia is such a spiral, but talking about incidents that have left lasting impressions on my memory, I remember many many years ago that one late afternoon when my dad's friend Bal Deshpande had visited our home.
As they continued discussing about rare complex ragas and artists who performed these with utmost finesse, Bal kaka said 'he neither had an imposing voice nor a grandiose stage personality but what a rare gem of an artist he was!' I had not heard about this artist until then, so asked dad to suggest a few recordings that I can listen to. Out of the many albums he pointed out, I selected raga bhimpalasi and once it started playing; a new world opened up in front of me. I discovered something new that day, the best kept secret of Hindustani Classical Music was now upon me. And that's how I was introduced to the music of Mallikarjun Mansur.
Of the many felicitations attributed to him like the doyen of Hindustani Shastriya Sangeet or the last of the purists; Mallikarjun Mansur was an artist, truly one of its kind. A towering personality, that was a sublime combination of humility and eminence. Born in 1910 in a village named Mansur near Dharwad in Karnataka, Mallikarjun went on to become one of the most celebrated singers of Hindustani Classical Music. His story is that of a genius who chose to live his life as a sadhak (disciple) of music.