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Lata Mangeshkar: What My Mother Taught Me

Sing Sena Supremo Lata Mangeshkar hero-worshipped her father.  But not  many  people know that she was  equally attached to her  mother, if not  more.

Recalls Lataji, “Aaee, as  all  us siblings called our mother, was the  more dominant   influence on  us. We  lost  our father  (the  great musician Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar) at a very  young age. He  was  only 45 when he left . My memories  of  him have mostly  to do with music. It was Aaee who took charge  of our lives, me  and three sisters and  brother.”

Lataji says she  learnt how to  conduct herself  in the  Big Bad World from her  mother. “If it wasn’t for my mother I wouldn’t have known how to go out  and fend for myself when I was barely  16-17. At  that  age  , and this was  in  the  1940s , I would travel  from recording studio to recording studio looking for work in my  chappals and 70-rupee saree.”

Lataji says she took along her mother’s  principles wherever she went. “The first thing that  I learnt  from my mother  was to never , never ever,  tell a  lie. She  had very simple  reason for advising  us to tell the  truth, come what may. As  she  explained  it, ‘A lie may simplify  your life when  you  tell that lie. But it is temporary relief. In the long run you will  need to remember the  lie that you first told and  all the  subsequent  lies to cover it  up.’ I’ve lived by my mother’s  honesty-is-the-best-policy  all my life, The truth may hurt some . But it simplifies everyone’s lives. You  won’t find me  pretending  I like  someone if I don’t.”

The other big lesson in  life that the Nightingale  learnt from her mother? “Do not value material things. Value human relationships. This is  the other thing I’ve  learnt  from my mother. The  people who have been with me   are those who I’ve known  for  years and  years. How many years have  I known you? Twenty-five?  To me  my bonding with you is   vital.Never take  your friends and  loved ones for granted.”

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