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.”