Last year it was the Newsmakers Achievers Award, and we wanted to pay our gratitude to Babasaheb Purandare and Lata Didi. I was really hesitant to call the number that I had. To my surprise, when I called her number Lata Mangeshkar ji’s niece, Rachna Shah picked up the call and she was so humble in her approach that I really could not believe for a moment that I was talking to Lata Ji’s family member. She was very warm and considerate.
I expressed my wish, and she asked for more details. That is how Lata di gave her consent to receive “Newsmakers Achievers Award 2021- Lifetime”. My happiness knew no bounds; I was eagerly waiting for days to pass. Trust me, for a few days I was just a lost person.
I shared my happiness with my team but they hardly believed, imagine a legendary singer who has got all the highest civilian awards. Lata Di hailed as one of Indian cinema’s iconic singers, Mangeshkar received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in the year 2001. She is also the recipient of several other awards, including the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, and multiple National Film Awards.
She is the most worshipped person in our country; she could have easily said no to us. But appreciation needs a lot of thoughtfulness for life; we wanted to say thanks to her through this award. Our intentions were poise, maybe it’s her understanding towards her fans and especially our generation, she stood by us in all her capacities. I have no words to express Rachna Shah’s ease, and the way she fulfilled the entire event. Perhaps, this is what imbibing values and this is what samskaras are all about. No matter how tall their status is, they are still approachable.
Lata Di has ruled the hearts of the people with utmost love and acclaim. The accomplishments never changed her. Such humble soles are rarest of the rare. The award event was nearing and Rachna made me talk to Lata Di, at that moment the sky was looking small to me. Her melodious voice, and especially when she said Vaidehi, melted my heart. That was the ultimate nirvana of life. Lata di expressed her regrets for not attending the event due to her ill health. But she sent a beautiful audio message to play in the award event. When her voice was played, Babasaheb was wiping his tears; the Honorable governor was just amazed and calm. For a few moments, the hall was pin-drop silence. I think we all felt her presence there. Some voices are so powerful that they remain in your hearts and mind forever. Her song “Meri awaz hi pehchan hai” is very true in her regard.
My impulse or you can call it the strongest urge to meet Lata di knew no limits. I wanted to greet her and just seek blessings for life, I wanted to tell her how much I feel for her, and I know each of her fans thinks the same. She is our melody queen, thousands of minds solaced with her beautiful songs. She played magic with her vocals. For decades she served the Indian music industry. She was always in my prayers. I was waiting to hear about her good health and returning back to normal life.
When she got admitted to hospital, my heart broke. Whenever there were rumors, I literally used to get shattered and not only that, the idea of losing her was tearing me apart. I landed up disturbing many of her known people, just to know how she is doing.
Finally, that painful day arrived, and she bid good bye to all of us. My inconsolable pain was not allowing me to settle, meanwhile one song was played on the TV channel after her funeral….
रहें ना रहें हम महका करेंगे, बनके कली , बनके सबा, बाग-ए-वफ़ा में
जब हम ना होंगेहों , जब हमारी ख़ाक पेतुम रुकोगेचलतेचलते
अश्कों सेभीगी चाँदनी मेंएक सदा सी सुनोगेचलतेचलते
वही पेकहीं हम तुमसेमिलेंगे, बनके कली…
Huh… we need to accept the fact that life is perishable,
We have to bid them send off, keeping them in our hearts.
Rest in peace, Lata Di!