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Lata Mangeshkar Is Fine, And Back Home



Lata Mangeshkar

The  Nightingale  of India is  well on the way  to recovery.She did give us  all a scare, though,  when a chest  infection landed her in  the hospital on Monday.

Just days before  her hospitalization I had spoken to her. As always I could sense she was not well from the  moment she said  her first word on the phone,‘Hello’.

“Didi, what’s wrong?” my voice rose to  a shrill near-hysterical pitch.

“Calm down. I am  fine,” she whispered in a rasping tone. “This is why I don’t tell you when I am  unwell. You get so worked up that I end  up regretting telling you about it.It’s a routine chest infection. Nothing major.I’ve fever. I feel a little weak but nothing to worry about,” she had reassured me.

But somehow I wasn’t pacified. I  knew this time her ailment was  more serious than her  cold-and-cough and the upset stomach.

But I didn’t press the  point. I quickly reminded her that the last time we had  spoken was on her birthday when my city was  submerged in flood waters. In spite  of  the  calamitous  weather I had  to take her  blessings on her  birthday. How could I not? I feel every time I miss out on taking her blessings I lose a  precious chance to touch divinity.

So I reminded her that in  her  birthday this  year I  insisted on  wishing her   and kept calling her until she came on the phone.

“I had  to  take your call on my birthday because if I did not, you would  keep  trying until I did.You  never give up,”she  teased me.

We  both laughed at that. Her laughter  was  frail, though. I  felt uneasy about her health. And I  was right. This is  the  first time she was hospitalized in the last twenty years. I froze when I got to know of her  condition. But  even more alarming was  the  conjecture and  exaggerations in the media.

“Lata Mangeshkar Critical,”  … “Lata Mangeshkar  On Ventilator…”


Where  does all this (mis)information come from? And why are alarmist headlines so  popular? Why is  is  it more exciting to say ‘Critical’ rather than ‘Stable & Recovering?’

Lataji and I had spoken about alarmist headlines when  Mr Bachchan was  hospitalized recently.

She wondered, “Why are people so  eager to hear  alarming  news reports on Bachchan Saab? The nation wants him to be well and healthy always.”

As for reports filtering out of hospital sources giving away health bulletins,  a source  quoted  in a leading news agency’s report claims  Lataji was  brought to the  hospital in a  “critical condition”.

If this is not a violation and breach of an individual’s right to  ail privately, then what is?  Lataji was neither ‘critical’ when she was admitted  into hospital nor was she ever in  a high-risk area of  health scare.

She  was  admitted as precautionary measure to ensure  her  condition remained  stable.And  it  was alarm and  dread  that were projected  in the press.A panic state of  pseudo-concern  concealing a disturbing  glee gotten from celebrity distress.

As Lataji recovers  I remember telling her  recently that I  wished to come to Mumbai to meet her again.

Aaiye. Zaroor aaiye, Aapko kaun roke sakta hai,” she replied with that sense of mischief in her voice that belongs not to someone  90, but 9.

Keep  laughing, Lataji.And don’t scare us again.

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