Dr. (Mrs) GunaIenkaran, from Malaysia, started a musical evening at her residence in 1991 or 1992 at which a few women used to sing. Then the group started meeting at the Indian Association Hall on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. It was a very informal affair and the participants used to sing whatever they liked – classical, semi-classical and even light music on their volition. Some Sri Lankan ladies used to attend as well. We used to have biscuits and tea at the end.
Having heard of this group meeting at IAASA Hall, I started attending since 1992. Early in 1993, we discussed the possibility of holding the ThygarajaAaradhana and it happened February-end or early March. It was a memorable event in more ways than one as we received some good news when we came home from that event. We brought home the garland used on that occasion and that was adorning Lord Rama’s picture until 2006 as a dried flower garland preserving its beauty.
In 1993, the group took some formal shape with membership and small subscription. So, a bank account was opened and it needed two people to sign cheques. Krishnamoorthy and I took up that responsibility. In 1994, we held the first ‘AGM’ at a park with less than a dozen people attending. It started raining and we all dashed to Mythili house to continue the meeting. Since no one wanted to take up any office, it would have spelled its end. I suggested that DrLakshmanan. Krish and I would continue to keep it going without taking any title position. So, the organisation continued. I can’t recall when the name Shruthi was given although I later designed a letterhead.
Before each ThyagrajaAaradhana, I used to send a write-up to local Messenger and I even got a picture of a few of ;our ladies (Aanandhi, Lakshmi, Mythili and Nalini) at a Prospect Rd Park published as pre-event publicity. We used to have four events a year. I never held any official position but was keen to see Shruthi continued to exist. So, before each AGM, applying ‘sama, dhana,bedha, thandam’ technique (back room deals), some committee always emerged. I was asked to play the role of Returning Officer to announce these names and eventually ended up returning every year until 2012.
My personal goal was to make as many as our community members come on the stage so that they develop public speaking skills and thus aim for bigger things in life. I am glad to see this has happened as many of our ladies have acted as Presidents/Secretaries/MCs, a number our youngsters have participated in many programs and lately, the youth have taken active part in running Shruthi. Every one who acted as President has improved its stature and we owe a debt to all. Next year, it will celebrate its 25th year. I never imagined the organisation would last beyond that rainy day in the park in 1993. So pleased to see it is still there and growing. Keep up the good work.
PS: If there is any inaccuracy in the above, it may be due to my failing memory.