Bombay Jayashri's journey to the Padmashri award
The only celebrated classical musician to receive a Padma award this year, Bombay Jayashri was her usual composed graceful self on what the award means to her. "I can't say this award was expected but its something I am very happy about. I am so grateful for the support for so long; starting with my mother, my brothers, my teachers, my disciples. This award re affirms my work all these years, my "sadhana", my work with the children of Manjakuddi, having taken music all over the world, my work with films - I think it acknowledges a little of every thing I have done over the years."
"I was able to pursue this journey for so long, being trained by the best Gurus, having the support of the best co artists - there is a feeling of great gratitude. There are so
many thousands of extraordinary people in so many different fields who in their quiet way are really praise worthy, so to be singled out is for me a huge honour."
Modest as always, Jayashri continued "When I started out in my journey, I did not imagine this one day; it is of course a huge spur too. There is this Tamil verse that I relate to, it moves me a lot. The gist
is - You know what I deserve, You also know whats coming my way, so why should I trouble myself with asking for things. What is there that I know I should ask for. This verse makes me feel light and free; you do what you love doing, that's really enough. My friend and Guru behen Shankari taught me this years ago and it has stayed with me."
Pondering on the journey, she said "I am so thankful that my routine exists - some days you don't want to do your "riyaaz". But the moment you start, there is this feeling of calm. The feeling of maybe being rattled, restless or frustrated, (I am going no where with this "raagam", its where it was last month) just disappears. The moment you start, its ok. You need that whip on yourself (of course growing up it was my mother who had the strongest, largest "whip" but she taught me I need to use the whip myself, and not
wait for the external whip,no one else will care to); you committed to singing at this time, now just get down to it.
My husband has been a huge support, he just let me be, didn't have any demands, he let me do whatever I wanted to, whenever; my in laws also put me before themselves. Thoughtful little things like a family wedding, my mother in law would always say, she has something on, she can't attend.
When I look back, I don't recall feeling deprived in life, of having spent so much time only on music. Music has given me back so much joy, its not been a struggle for me. I have loved my space in music. Through it I have been able to give joy to so many."
Replying to what her biggest strength as a musician was, Jayashri said "I try to extract the "bhaava" in whatever I sing. My training with Lalgudi ji taught me what good music should sound like."