Malayalis came to know that violin was so melodious through Balabhaskar, who died early on Tuesday while under treatment for grave injuries he had received in a car accident last week. His daughter Tejaswini (2), who was along with him in the vehicle, died earlier.
It has been a quarter of a century since Balabhaskar and his violin first entered our musical space. A child prodigy, Balabhaskar was performing on stage by the time he started reading and writing, and became a renowned musician.
He formed a band. Focusing on fusion, it was an attempt to provide a global outlook to music. He roped in world renowned musicians to spread his wings wide in the horizons of melody and rhythm.
The violinist had tried to help deserving talents by taking them along in his musical journey. He organised music festivals and held awareness classes. “We are asking you to just listen it. The dreams that have interrupted my sleep; songs, music and rhythm that have inspired me, the sensations that they have aroused in me... Let us listen them together."
Balabhaskar was a surprise for even his friends since he used to practise every day. Even if he was extremely busy, when he sits in front of his uncle and guru B Sashikumar, he would turn into a studious child. Even for small programmes, rehearsal was a must for him. "I am a person who measures myself; I try to better myself every day. And in the process, I am competing with myself. I always try to perform better than I was in my previous programme. For that, continuous practice is a must. You can call it fear or persistence. Whatever you call it, I am inspired by it," Balabhaskar used to say.
After he shot to fame when, as a 17 year old, he composed music for Malayalam film 'Mangalyapallak', his magical journey continued. He cut hundreds of albums and organised musical programmes that caught the eyes and ears of music lovers. He also made his name by collaborating with overseas musicians to create fusion music. As much as he stirred the youth through his electric violin, he was an obedient student of classical music at concerts. “These two are at two levels. In fusion, there are no rules and restrictions, you get full freedom."
"But if you misuse the freedom, you destroy it. So, I experience freedom and try to share my musical experience. But for classical music concerts, there are rules and regulations. You shouldn’t deviate from them. I enjoy when I perform within those restrictions too. I enjoy the beauty of both," Balabhaskar used to say.
Along with the violin, Lakshmi had become part of Balabhaskar’s life. Now, she has been left alone in life not knowing that her husband and daughter are no more with her. It was at the Thiruvananthapuram University campus that Lakshmi and Balabhaskar first met. Since their families didn't agree, they got married before their studies were over. Since then, she was the muse in Balabhaskar's life.
When Balabhaskar grew famous, she stood along him like a shadow. During his musical journey, she became a silent presence. Whenever he went alone, he rushed back saying he finds peace when he is with her. There was only one sorrow in their life. That too came to an end when they had a daughter after a wait of 16 years. And, soon Tejaswini (Jani) became the new tune of their life. Lakshmi might have never thought that one she would have to live without her Balu and Jani. Her friends and relatives are scared about the moment she comes to know this.