Padmatai acknowledges with tremendous gratitude the musical as well as personal and human values that she inherited from all her Gurus. She has been able to extract the best qualities out of their music, and has knowingly and unknowingly incorporated it into her own Gayaki. While acknowledging that she has learnt a great deal from some of the great musicians like Ustad Amir Khan by listening to them, here she talks about the Gurus that she received formal taleem from. She makes it a point to mention that because of the great clarity that all her Gurus had about the grammar, as well as the character and “personality” of the ragas they taught her, she is able to preserve the purity and essence of the ragas in her own music. Padmatai says that the good student realises the subtleties and importance of many of the things the Guru teaches, several years down the road in his or her musical journey. Such is the profoundness of what the student gets from the Guru.

Pt Pimpalkhare buwa

pimpalkhare GurujiPadmatai started her music education with Pimplakhare Guruji when she was still in her early teens. According to Padmatai, the training she got from him in the finer aspects of swara and laya laid the foundation upon which she has built her gayaki. Gangadharbuva was principal of the Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha school, and had also received training in Hindustani Music from Pt. Vinayakbuva Patwardhan. He was also fortunate to have had the opportunity of accompanying Sawai Gandharva on the tanpura in several performances, and had imbibed from him the feel for the perfect swara. He was a true teacher at heart, and loved his students like a father. It is said that a large majority of vocalists from Pune, male as well as female, many of whom are now well known names in Hindustani music, got their initial training under Pt. Gangadharbuva Pimpalkhare, refrred to as Pimpalkhare sir, or simply "sir" by his students. He would teach with complete dedication and concentration, pouring his heart and soul into every minute that he spent teaching students. Padmatai mentions that he was so deeply focussed when he taught, that his eyes would be closed almost during the entire lesson, and any interruptions of any kind would upset him no end. His commitment to his students was unparalleled, and something that was hard to find even in those days.

Smt. Mogubai Kurdikar

padma talwalkarPadmatai received taleem from Mogubai for six years, during which she acquired a deep understanding of the subtle qualities, that are considered to be some of the defining characteristics of Jaipur Gayaki. For example, Mogubai laid great emphasis on every student producing an open and clear “aakar” in all aalaps and taans, and would not be satisfied until the student could do that. The other aspect that Padmatai internalised due to Mogubai’s taleem, is the tremendous emphasis on laya and taal, on every note and every syllable of the bandish’s words falling on a specific matra (beat). She considered this so important, that if the swar fell even slightly before or after the matra, the student would have to repeat the whole aavartan. She would teach along with tabla accompaniment right from the first lesson even for a new student, and considered real taleem to start only when the lesson had tabla accompaniment.

She recalls that when she started her training under Mogubai, she taught her raag Gauri for the first nine months. Padmatai would often wonder whether she was ever going to learn any other raag from her Guru, but of course, dared not say anything. In retrospect, however, she feels that it was the best thing that could have happened, because it gave her a thorough understanding of not only raag Gauri, but also Mogubai’s Gayaki.

“Mai”, as Mogubai was known to all her students, was a strict disciplinarian and meticulous about punctuality, and complete focus and concentration during lessons. She would teach her students in a closed room, with no other person being present in the room, except the tabalji, and would not tolerate anybody interrupting a lesson. She also insisted on daily riyaz by her students. Padmatai says that Mai herself practiced regularly and rigorously every day till the very end, and she herself is a witness to that. The importance of daily riyaaz, regardless of the artiste’s age and seniority is something that she got from this Guru, and Padmatai lays emphasis on that with her own students as well.

Pt.Gajananbua Joshi

pimpalkhare GurujiPadmatai took taleem from Gajananrao Joshi for seven years, during which she learnt the essence of Gwalior Gayaki from Buva. It is a well known fact that he was one of the most accomplished violinists playing Hindustani Music in his time, and also an excellent vocalist who had imbibed in his gayaki, the best of Gwalior, Jaipur and Agra gayaki. Very few people may know, however, that he was as accomplished a tabla player as well, and had a very good "hand" on the tabla. According to Padmatai he played the harmonium and even the jala tarang extremely well. He was gifted with an extraordinarily keen intellect and a photographic memory, and could remember bandishes after hearing them just once in a concert. Legend has it that some musicians who were possessive about their bandishes and reluctant to share them with others, would ensure Gajananrao did not attend their concerts. What distinguished him from many others was his insatiable appetite for knowledge, be it ragas he was not familiar with, or new compositions he had not heard, and he would often approach other musicians and learn a thing or two from them. When he decided to learn Jaipur gayaki from Ustad Burjhi Khan, he moved to Kolhapur with his entire family consisting of his wife and four children.
While he was himself thirsty for knowledge, he was equally generous when sharing with others whatever he had. According to Padmatai, she acquired the skill of the structured presentation of a khayal composition, which is considered to be a characteristic of Gwalior gayaki, from Gajananbuva. He also laid great emphasis on taal, and demanded that all his students, whether they were learning vocal or instrumental music from him, remember the "bols" of all the taals, and could say them with ease in the laya required for the presentation of the raag and bandish in question. Gajananbuva also believed that in order to provide good "sangat" the tabalji should know the raag and composition as well as the main performer, and not just be able to play the tabla.
Whatever raags and bandishes Gajananbuva taught, he conveyed the structure and essence of the raag to the student with complete clarity, in a way that the student would remember it forever. Padmatai still remembers very clearly, and sings with a lot of emotion, the surawat of Purba that he taught her on the first day of her taleem!