This thought has been troubling me for quite a while now. Having entered my twenties, I have started realising the most painful drawback of adulting. When you grow up, you have to let go of the things you grew up with and embrace the new ones. Being an amateur singer, music is one such thing for me. I have grown up listening to the songs of the 2000s. May it be falling in love after listening to ‘ Teri Jhuki Nazar’ or dancing like crazy to ‘Tu Mera Hero’, songs have always been an integral part of my life. Apart from the usual connection with songs, I also subconsciously associate songs with memories. A certain song reminds you of the friend from who you first heard it. Songs that you sang at your 10std farewell still remind you of the day. These are the songs I have by heart. Each syllable, each word, each alaap has been imprinted on my heart forever. Talking about these golden songs always reminds me of the songs of the 90s. Being a 2000 kid is no different than being a 90s kid. My mother who also sings pretty well and is very fond of ‘her’ songs, often plays a playlist in the morning. So, a lot of my mornings start with the melodious voices of Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Kumar Sanu and Lata Mangeshkar. It's really a shame that the subsequent generations will never be introduced to these singers. Singers who have created a name for themselves in the industry and in the hearts of millions of Indians. Each one has created an individual identity.

“Naam Ghum Jaayega, Chehra Ye Badal Jaayega, Meri Aavaaj Hi Pehchan Hain”

Talking about singers who have created a place in our hearts, one can’t forget Lata Mangeshkar. She is a legend, icon and soul of the music industry. For those who don't know her, Lata Mangeshkar was an Indian playback singer and has recorded over 25000 songs in Hindi alone. Apart from that, she recorded songs in Marathi, Bengali during her career! Maybe it's true what they say; you never really understand the value of a person until they leave. 2022 left us one of the greatest losses ever. Lata Mangeshkar recently passed away, on 6 February (2022) due to Covid-19. What a greater tribute to her than an article in her praise. I have always considered myself lucky that I got to witness the voice of Lata Ji. It is physically impossible to discuss all of the beautiful songs brought to life by Lata Ji. She is someone who has entire albums in her name. Bollywood classics like “Hum Apke Hain Kaun” and “Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” have been immortalised by her voice. These songs are such that, even today they evoke the concerned emotion within us. A simple example of this is “Pehla Pehla Pyaar”. A fun thing about the songs in the “Hum Apke Hain Kaun” album is that, each song has characteristic tunes of the other songs. It is often said that in the olden day songs used to be much longer than what they are today. In the late 90s and early 20s, the industry has experience songs with durations up to 6 minutes. The industry was at its peak during this time and I am afraid that it will never again reach such a high.

“Pehla Pehla Pyaar Hain”

Lata Mangeshkar undoubtedly ruled the genre of romance. Songs like “Tujhe Dekha To Ye Jaana Sanam” (DDLJ), “Humko Hamise Churalo” have proven to be love anthems for all generations alike. Evergreen sad love songs like “Tere Bina Zindagi Se Shikva”(1974), “Ajeeb Dastaan Hain Ye” (1960) and “Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma Hain” (1972) Songs like “O Sajana, Barkha Bahaar Aayi”(1960) and “Aap ki Aakhon Mein Kuch Mehke Hue Se Raaz hai(1978)” and even “Tu Jahaan Jahaan Chalega”(1966) although lesser-known to this generation, are popular songs of their age and are have a special place in the hearts of listeners. Lata Mangeshkar even sang numerous ghazals amongst which “Aye Dil-E-Naadan”(1983) “ and “Dikhayi Diye Yun”(1982) are two of my favourites. Talking about romantic gems, one can never forget “Jab Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kya”(1960) from the historical classic, Mughal-E-Azam which is considered to be the most romantic song of all time. In an interview in 2007, Lata Ji said that an echo effect was required in this song and technology was not as advanced. This required her to first record the song from a distance and then gradually come closer to the microphone. Listening to such memories not only makes one realise the effort that was put into making films amidst the lack of technology but also helps in understanding how powerful her voice is, literally, in terms of reach and even metaphorically.

“Aaja Saanjh Hui, Mujhe Teri Fikar, Dhundhla Gai Dekh Meri Nazar, Aaja Naa”

Such is the love a mother has for her child. “Luka Chuppi”(2006) is a song about a mother longing for her child. If you have seen the film this song is from, you will know that in reality, this song is about a mother desperately wanting to meet his son, who unfortunately has been killed in an accident. Whenever I listen to this song, my eyes are filled with tears. The simple lyrics of the song touch you immensely. Prasoon Joshi wrote the lyrics about the mother and son playing hide-and-seek with the sad reality of the son being hidden forever. Like a mother longs for her child, a wife longs for her husband. Songs like “Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain”(1975), “Beeti Na Beetayi Raina”(1972), “ Naina Barse Rimjhim Rimjhim “(1964) are songs that depict the emotion of longing or the distance between lovers.

“Tumhare Bina Hamara Kauno Nahi”

Rephrasing something which a friend told me, “A devotional atmosphere would be created while listening to Meera Bhajans or Sant Dnyaneshwar’s poetry sung by her.” The love and softness in her voice reflects in every song she sings. Whatever is the genre of the song, she pours her whole heart into it. “Ek Radha Ek Meera Dono Ne Shaam Ko Chaha”(1985) and “Kanha Kanha Main Aan Padi Tere Dwaar”(1967), are two such songs. Apart from the immense collection of Hindi songs ranging across almost seven decades from the early 1940s to the 2010s, Lata Mangeshkar has also recorded numerous songs in Marathi, Bengali and even Rajasthani. Some of the notable mentions are “Me Raat Takli”(1977), “Asa Bebhaan Haa Vaara”(1963), “Airani Chya Deva Tula”(1965).

“Vande Mataram”

It is difficult to find a genre of songs not touched by the soulful voice of Lata Didi. Through her patriotic songs she calls out to the Indian in all of us. She sang a beautiful song, “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo” penned by C. Ramachandra dedicated to the martyrs of the 1962 India- China war. Jawaharlal Nehru who was present at the event, asked Lata Didi to come back after she had left the stage. He told her that her song brought tears to his eyes. Such is the immense emotion one can experience while listening to her. She also sang “Aisa Desh Hain Mera” (2004)

“Sunya Sunya Maifileet Majhya, Tujhech Me Geet Gaate”

The twenty something songs which I have mentioned in this essay don’t do full justice to the commendable career she has had. The vast ocean of her songs is such that once you enter you can not come back unscathed. At least one of her songs will affect you deeply. While talking about her favourite songs , my mother told me an observation of hers. In the olden days a few movies would be such that the actors would not show any emotion during the song and Lata Didi’s voice alone would be a mirror to the emotions the character is feeling. Out of curiosity, I asked my mom what she would like to say to Lata Mangeshkar given the chance. After thinking for some time she said “Sunya Sunya Maifileet Majhya, Tujhech Me Geet Gaate” which loosely translates to “In this lonely concert of mine, I still sing your songs” 

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