By Chaitanya Padukone
Iconic melody-queen-and famous-international restaurateur ‘ageless’ Asha Bhosle ushered in her 89th birthday (on Sept 8th) and entered into her ‘90s last night. This time however the overall mood is expected to be rather sober-austere minus the usual joyous jubilation. That’s simply because, just seven months ago on Sunday, February 6th, her legendary elder sister Lata Mangeshkar (who was also Asha-Tai’s mentor and Guru-Maa) gracefully exited into immortality. Leaving behind her rich legacy of thousands of evergreen chartbuster songs.
Known for her ardent passion for both singing and cooking, (gaana-aur-khaana) the effervescent, outspoken yet witty Asha-Tai loves to experiment and defy conventions. “If there are no creative challenges in life, it would be so dull and routine “, Asha-Tai had once said to me. The energetic versatile singer (over 20000 songs in some 21 languages) Asha has her own interesting ‘take’ on birthdays. “Every day when I wake up, it’s like a birthday for me. No one knows what may happen during the night. Therefore, I try to spend each day differently, keep myself active and do good deeds. Every day is a birthday for me.” About legendary elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, she reacted, “Lata-Didi’s blessings are the biggest priceless birthday gifts for me.
The supreme songstress continued, “I have spent over 75 years in my career. I started my musical journey by overcoming the rugged rocks and slippery surfaces like a flowing stream. I have never complained in my life, never cried in the open. Nobody has seen my tears; everybody has seen me only smiling. Whenever I felt like crying, I used to sob, standing under the sprinkling shower. All along it was only my loyal fans, the Janata who supported me unconditionally. At heart, I am just like any common woman when I mingle with my Chefs in my restaurant’s kitchens or go shopping in nearby open markets in the Lower Parel area, “she elaborated”. The outspoken ‘Padma Vibhushan’ versatile singer Asha-Tai feels that sometimes, it’s unfair, that only the song composers get the entire credit. “It’s a classic trio-tridev-combination of the lyricist-composer-and the legendary-retro-singers, who in turn make the songs evergreen and immortal.”
(The above story-feature is written by Chaitanya Padukone– eminent senior film and music journalist-author of memoirs book R D BurMania)