“My mother was both a mother and a father to me. No doubt my mother is my greatest influence …that goes without saying. My mother became a widow at a very young age. She was five years younger to my father . My father was only 41 when he passed away…From then onwards my mother took full responsibility of my brother and my sisters .
I started working five months after my father passed away.My first earning was 300 rupees for three months’ work. My mother taught me everything I know about conducting myself in public. She took care of us like birds in a nest. We had just one faithful servant to help mother.
My brother had trouble with his leg. I’d leave early in the morning and my mother would look after everything at home. She always told me to follow my father’s example in singing. She taught us the right values. Until she passed away we all looked towards her for support. We were very scared of her.
Not that she had a temper or hit us. But we could never say no to anything to her. She was a wonderful cook and taught us all how to cook. Mymother gave me the strength to go out in the world and be a working girl at an age when other girls played with dolls. She always said, ‘Never cry over the fact that you’ve to work at an age when you should play.’ I remember our sleeping arrangement. Mom used to be in the middle.
My brother Hridayanath and youngest sister Usha used to be on both sides of her.I used to on the corner of the bed. She looked after all of us. After she passed away in 1995 I miss her terribly. Her room was right in front of mine. And even today I keep forgetting she’s no longer there. If I need to consult her on details about my father’s career I head for her room forgetting for a moment that she ‘s gone. Just last night when I was unwell I wanted my mother’s lap. Then I remembered she was no more.”