Midnight at Palani Train Station

By Rajan Padiachi

It was in 1982 July that i travelled with Guru M N Kandaswami from Chennai to Palani by train for me these journeys were not about travel and sight-seeing while on the train. I watched would gaze at Guru and i could gauge in his eyes that he was composing some mridangam morhas or korvays before i could take a breath, he would ask me to put thalam and he would teach me what he was composing at that moment, the noisy railway sounds would be drowned by a flurry of korvays and morhas that guru reeling off from Guru  and this would take most of the journey. On this particular journey we arrived midnight at Palani Station, and Guru told me with tears in his eyes, that it was nearly twenty years ago when he arrived at Palani Station accompanying his own Guru Vidwan Palani Subramaniam Pillai for a concert at the Palani Murugan Temple ,and his Guru and himself sat midnight at the railway station and he was taking mridangam lessons at that quiet hour sitting on the floor, we did exactly the same for the next few hours guru taught me many morhas and korvays.

Early in the morning we proceeded to Krishnan Villas a Hotel and restaurant owned by a disciple of Guru Palani Subramaniam, he was from the first batch of disciples of Guru Palani and  his name was Palani Krishnan, a pleasing soul and has such high regard and love for my Guru. As we walked to the walked towards the cable car, there was a thavil duet in progress and i asked guru can we stop and listen and guru told me ” that thavil duet may have started over an hour ago and may go on for another hour, such is the creative greatness of those players they can go on for ever “

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