The child was not born in the most auspicious of circumstances. The anti nautch movement hung like a pall over the cool Madras air of December 1926. The mother, the outstandingly beautiful Parvatavardhani was all of sixteen and it was expected to be a difficult delivery. The child's grandmother, Kamalam, of the famed Kondi Paramparai (see box) of Tiruvarur had not reconciled herself to her daughter's love marriage. She had had great expectations from her daughter and was trying to come to terms with the girl's independence. Parvatavardhani had been learning music from Simizhi Sundaram Iyer and so had the handsome young man from Kerala, Paramasivam. An admiration for, and great skill in singing, Ramalinga Swamigal's arutpa-s, had brought Parvatavardhani and Paramasivam together and Kamalam though disappointed had to give in. The girl had also broken tradition, for she had chosen her companion before her formal dedication to Tyagaraja, the patron deity of Tiruvarur, to whom all the members of the Kondi Paramparai belonged. Shortly afterwards, Parvatavardhani became pregnant.
Kamalam's sister Meenakshisundaram Ammal decided to move the expecting mother to Madras closer to the date of delivery in order to ensure the best medical attention. The renowned Dr. Rangachari was pressed into service.
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