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TS Parthasarathy: A fountain of knowledge
- Deepa Ganesh, Manchester

November 24, 2006

It is not surprising that for a giant like T S Parthasarathy, an ever updated encyclopedia, many masters will owe their success and guidance but what about the ordinary mortals?

The best part of maama was that like true knowledge he was for everyone - young and old, famous and ordinary, the rich and the poor. His accessibility was amazing, more so the way he organized himself. With the mammoth collection in his own brains and in his library, one would be surprised that in answer to a query, within seconds, he would say, "In that 3rd shelf, go to the 7th book titled.... and open to 3rd page, chapter 5 and in that read the second paragraph." Voila your answer is waiting for you!! If you were too busy to go to him, he would do all the homework and give the readymade answer through the phone or wrote it completely for you to pick up!! He had no ego problems about that.

If you thought books were his passion and hence he was so organised, you have to see his phone and address book!!(In my case, my phone book remains a highly coded personal secret which cannot be broken by even the cyber techies!!). Meticulously organised, anytime you book an appointment, you would always be greeted right from the gate with an ever welcoming smile through his favorite window by the desk. With a never say die attitude, even after he was confined to a wheel chair, he always encouraged anyone with a thirst for knowledge. After all that was him - books, books, and books.

Not only was the depth of his knowledge in any subject impressive but also the variety was all embracing. He always seemed to know more. He had a greater collection of literature on my great grandfather, Maha Mahopadyaya Nurani Ananthakrishna Sasthrigal of Calcutta / BHU University than most of us, his family members. In fact, true to the definition of a guru in every sense, here was a man who generously rewarded knowledge for anyone who asked, without any expectation. Just about anyone could fill
their pail from this akshayapaatra! Like how anyone and everyone seem to learn dance and music, every other person seems to have got some photocopied sheet or other from TSP maama.

Rarely will one find a person, so genuinely seeking knowledge, generous and yet understated. We will all miss not only his ever ready answers with the innocence of a child, but also the twinkle in his eyes and chuckle in his voice.

Bharatanatyam dancer Deepa Ganesh is the director of Upasana.