At a concert in the Sai Kulwanth Hall in Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, the well known Prof. Anil Kumar introduced the star of the evening "Mandolin is Srinivas and Srinivas is Mandolin". It was a simple yet profound statement. Very few knew this ever smiling, humble child prodigy as U.Srinivas. He was universally known as Mandolin Srinivas! It is known that the surname of some people usually comes from their profession and then stays on for generations. But in his case this surname simply meant he was one with it. He was born to play with mandolin. When most children his age played marbles he mastered the western instrument and made it sing Indian classical music! Thus the universality of the sapta swaras was proclaimed one more time. Every music lover of Chennai of the early 80s has a story to tell about him. And that would be about how they went to the concert of a kid with skepticism and returned with superlatives.
Today when Srinivas left us in a hurry to play for the Gods in the heaven, I feel a sense of great loss and recollect meeting him at the Sai Ramesh hall in Brindavan, Whitefield last year. His humility at the pinnacle of success was both instructive and inspiring. It was ethereal as he enthralled the audience with a medley of Carnatic kritis and Sai bhajans. He ended the concert that day with this piece that I captured.
May he rest in eternal peace. It is a privilege to have heard him and we will continue to do so. Music world, grieve not, be grateful that he enriched our world so much.