“Death ends a life, not a relationship.
And though I never had the opportunity to meet her in person, my relationship with Lata Didi defines my childhood and my passion for singing.
The first song I ever remember listening to was a beautiful lori by Lata Didi – ‘Dheerey Se Aaja Ri Ankhiyan Mein’.
Childhood memories of Lata ji’s rendition and my grandmother’s version interchangeably lulling me to sleep, made for me to believe Didi was a member of the family who would take turns with Bajo Ami to sing to me. This made me develop an instant intimacy with her and what imbibed and embedded in me the desire to train in singing, for it would otherwise be impossible to sing her songs.
As a professional singer today, I continue to be overwhelmed not just by Lata ji’s emotive and ethereal expression but also by her unmatched rigor. An impeccable professional, she had monk-like commitment to her craft.
Being a student of music, I know how hard it is to develop the ability to throw those little flourishes, she so beautifully expresses in her songs with ease. Her humility and modesty cloak the giant personality that could conquer any song or work with the most outstanding Indian musicians and match and go beyond their wavelength. Her work and songs are an encyclopedia – a reference guide of singing. Unfortunately, we have perhaps lost what really was the last of a mindset to singing as a craft.
Lata ji, I want to thank you for amplifying the emotional essence of my life, which without you will never be the same again.
Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar was admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital earlier in January after she was diagnosed with Covid-19 and pneumonia. After nearly a month-long hospitalisation, she passed away due to multi-organ failure. She was cremated at Shivaji Park in Mumbai with full state honours.