Governor Prabhudas Patwari

Have you heard of S Kannan? I have never met him but stories of him at the Academy are legendary. If the lobby and walls of the Academy could talk they could relate several tales about him. Kannan was the brother of S Natarajan, for long secretary of the Academy. Unlike his brother who was a pillar of the establishment, Kannan was a man about town and quite notorious at that.

The brothers were never on the best of terms and in one Academy election Kannan actually campaigned against his brother. Natarajan having won, swore to keep Kannan out of the Academy.During the season of 1977 he instructed the Boy Scouts to this effect. Governor Prabhudas Patwari was chief guest that year and ML Vasanthakumari the Sangita Kalanidhi designate.

Came inauguration evening and Kannan turned up in his trademark white. He prowled about the compound not making any attempt to enter the hall. The Governor’s cavalcade came in and Patwari emerged from his Car.

The Academy functionaries prepared themselves to greet him when there was a commotion. Kannan broke his way through and greeted Patwari loudly. The governor turned round and on seeing Kannan was all smiles. “Kannanji” he cried whereupon Kannan enveloped the Governor in an embrace. The two then interlocked arms and walked hand in hand into the auditorium.

Natarajan was furious. But as a Boy Scout explained if they had to pull Kannan away it would have involved pushing Patwari!

Till date nobody has solved the puzzle of how Kannan got to know the Gandhian Patwari so well.

This article is part of an irregular series concerning strange happenings during the December Music Seasons past. The earlier episodes can be read here:

The Mridangam artiste has a malady

A Hairy Tale

The Tambura Man Vanishes

The double-crossing violinist

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