A few years back, I was on the bus reading a book, blissfully lost in a different world. A beautiful voice speaking in Tamil caught my attention. He was sitting beside me and opposite him was a woman. She smiled at me warmly and I smiled too. She looked familiar but I couldn't place where I had seen her. As I alighted the bus, I saw a bright green turban. I finally realised who had been sitting beside me. Anandha Kannan. The lady opposite him was his wife. There are Tamil teachers who do not speak the language outside of their classes. But here he was speaking in beautiful Tamil. As I alighted the bus, I wished I had said hello to him and his wife. That image of his turban is the immediate memory that comes to mind when I think of him. An icon. A legend. More importantly, a kind human.
I have seen him in other Tamil events; he has always been full of life and passion. His positive spirit and smile were infectious. He was always encouraging everyone especially youth and youth-led initiatives. There are few people who dedicate their entire life to the language and the arts, especially in Singapore. Of those, there are fewer who live a life with humility and kindness. Owing to his and his team's efforts, there's a greater awareness of true Tamil art forms in Singapore. While he may no longer be, his legacy lives on and dances to the beat of Parai. 🥁