I fell asleep quite early last evening, and not surprisingly. I woke up at an ungodly hour. And that’s when I found out the sad news. Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of India, has died. While most in the west are familiar with the classical genius of late Pandit Ravi Shankar, for Indians of rank & file, she was the voice of the nation.
“Music is my life and God. My prayer is music — it is like a father and mother to me,” she noted in her book.
Her songs, through decades, have been the soundtrack of a nation. Along with now late male singers like Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi & Mukesh, she created emotional mile markers in life’s journey for one and all. Her passing brings down the curtain on a more innocent time in Indian society.
As an immigrant, most of my life has been against the faint strains of her melodious voice. Even today, her songs bring tears and smiles. Whenever I feel nostalgic and reflective, I put on some of her classics — and there are many. Thanks to modern technology, we will always have Lata’s voice to cherish and enjoy for eternity.
“Happiness is for sharing with the world, and sorrow is for keeping to yourself,” Mangeshkar once noted. What a great way to live your life.
February 6, 2022. San Francisco