The wonderful thing about blogging and the comments is that the audience keeps throwing up ideas to include and write about. So thanks to Anupama for asking me the above question that makes me answer the same through a post.
I originally started learning violin because of an interesting incident. My parents were avid concert goers in the early seventies. Once during a Lalgudi concert at Krishna Gana Sabha, when I was barely 2 years old it seems I told my mom "I want to play the violin like Lalgudi!" My mom took it very seriously and put me in violin promptly when I was 7 yers old. It was a typical twice a week class. Around 1982 my teacher had just started me on the manodharma aspects, but he decided to migrate to the states. I continued with a couple of teachers including Shri TS Seshadri, a disciple of MS Anantharaman and two classes with Kanyakumari. Then my mom asked me if I was willing to commit to 2 hours of violin practice every day. Otherwise she was not willing to spend money on my music lessons! I just refused flatly. I still nurtured cricketing ambitions then! Around the same time I also broke my hand twice and literally could not play the violin for long periods of time.
Meanwhile during this period of confusion my grand aunt Smt Rukmini Rajagopalan asked me to just come and sing as I had a good foundation and it was not nice to waste it. So I just started singing.