It has been a life of struggles against odds with success crowning it. No wonder Ariyakkudi referred to her as Paadu Patta Ammal (the lady who had worked hard). Today, it is often erroneously said that Pattammal is the first lady artist and that she was the first woman to sing pallavi. In reality, she needs neither to glorify her. She showed that women from all backgrounds could succeed in the fine arts provided they had grit and determination. Therein is her real achievement.
By her own admission (and from my own experience too), DKP, when she sings, can bring tears to the eyes of the listeners — lay and trained, alike — in an interview that would ever remain green in my memories she talked of how Chellamma Bharathi was moved by her renditions of Bharathi songs, and how a senior musician, after listening to her Bhairavi, exclaimed with tears in his eyes “Ippadiyum or Bhairavi-ya Kuzhande — Is there a Bhairavi like this too?”. So, to Sriram’s last line, I will add that her other real achievement is also that she connected with her audience at all levels — musical, intellectual and emotional. May we have the pleasure of listening to her a lot more!