“The benign gaze of the ruler then fell upon me,” she wrote in her brief biography, published towards the end of her life in Gruhalakshmi magazine. This was in 1893 or thereabouts when she made her debut at the coming of age celebrations of the Princess Jayalakshmammani. The ruler Chamarajendra X became BNR’s first patron.

Prior to him there was a royal family member who was inflicting his unwanted attentions on her, aided and abetted by her uncle. But the Guru Munuswamappa rescued her from these two malefic planets as she wrote humorously. After the king became her man so to speak, these two must have fizzled out.

BNR’s relationship with the king lasted barely a year for he died in 1894 in Calcutta. She was then maintained by Justice Narahari Rao of the Mysore Law Court for whom she sang maTAda bAradenO and the rest is history of course.

I have caught the benign eye of Chamarajendra several times during my visits to Cubbon Park, which is practically every time I go to Bangalore. Cubbon Park is my idea of heaven. The king stands in a small enclosure and this time the gate to it was open. I then managed to take this photo. I noticed that he has lost half a shoe and a foot. And someone has stuck plastic pottus on his forehead and his belt buckle. But otherwise all is well.

He must have been rather old for her but then who are we to complain?