Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar says that as a child she had “so much energy” that her mother had a very tough time curbing her enthusiasm. Remembering her mother on Mother’s Day on Sunday, Lata Mangeshkar said: “I have vivid memories of my mother even when I was 3 or 4. I remember the exact colour of the sari she wore, the design of her earrings, the rings on her toes… I remember every detail of my childhood, especially the times I shared with my mother.
“I was a very precocious child. My mother had a very tough time curbing my enthusiasm. I had so much energy. I would be running around the whole day singing to everyone the songs that I heard my father (classical singer and theatre actor Deenanath Mangeshkar) teach his students.”
The veteran singer had an “instantaneous grasp over tunes… and this quality came in good stead when I became a professional playback singer.
“I would learn songs very fast, and I would rush to the kitchen to sing my newly-learnt song to my mother.
“The kitchen was very large as food for a daily stream of guests had to be prepared. My mother would be toiling endlessly in the kitchen, and I’d hop, skip and jump into her domain.”
There were many large containers in the kitchen containing food grains and spices.
“I would plonk myself on one of the containers and announce in Marathi, ‘Maai, I’ve learnt one more song’. She’d sigh and let me sing. Then I’d say, ‘Now listen to this one’.
“She would let me go ahead while continuing to cook. Then I’d persuade her to listen to a third and fourth. Finally, her patience would wear thin and she would say, ‘Don’t burn my ears any more. Go and play’. She would shoo me away.”
Her mother was her first dedicated audience.
“It was with her that I realised the importance of holding the listener’s attention while singing live. My mother never differentiated between us sisters (Lata, Meena, Asha and Usha) and our only brother (Hridaynath).
“In fact, all the women in the household became our only brother’s collective mother.”