Entertainment (Movies+TV Shows), Everyday Musings, Life

5 Songs by Lata Mangeshkar That Helped Me Get Through Some Tough Times

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley

The earliest memories I have with music are those associated with a single radio set that we shared with an entire family of over fifteen people. We used to live in an Indian joint family and this device was what connected us all. Early in the morning, either my father or my grandfather used to turn on this radio set, and for most of the rest, who were not yet up, this used to be our wake-up call.

Though I was too small to understand the concept of music and songs, I remember a particular voice from this time. It was much later, that I was able to associate a name and a face, to this voice. This voice, in the coming years, was to become a companion, in my good and bad times.

This voice, as I write this blog post, is no longer with us, physically. But, as they say, artists never die. Their works live in us and with us. So, today, I want to talk about this voice, that stayed with me from that first memory of music, and through many moments of my life.

Here’s a look at the songs of The Nightingale of India aka Lata Mangeshkar, that will stay with me, as long as I live.

1. Awaaz Do Humko (1998)

This movie made me look at Kajol with newfound respect. At the time when it came out, I was only eight years old. Though I understood the movie, it was only much later, when I became a teenager that I truly appreciated it in its entirety. To be more specific, it was then that I came to love the songs of this movie. A lot of factors contributed to this, but I think one major reason was me moving away from my hometown and living all by myself in a new city. Awaaz Do Humko became a favorite during the days when I felt homesick or lonely. It gave words to my feelings and Lata Mangeshkar’s voice was my balm.

Listen to the song:

2. O Paalanhare (2001)

Who doesn’t remember Lagaan, right? India’s first official entry into the Oscars marked some great memories. For most of us, especially cricket lovers, this movie became an instant favorite. This song, which appears at the climax, right before the final day of the match, is full of hopes. I was teary eyed when I heard this song the first time while watching the movie. Even today, despite knowing how it ends, I can’t help getting choked up. This might be because I have so many fond memories associated with the movie too. We’re a cricket and Bollywood loving family. These two things helped me bond better with my father and elder brother. Lagaan brought together our favorite things and probably for the first time, we had a common favorite movie, that we loved and were crazily rooting for at the Oscars.

Listening to this song in my later years, when I was away from my family, made me recall those happy times. It made me look towards the future with hope. In my difficult times, it made me believe that, even though things look low right now, it will turn out well, just like it did in the movie.

Listen to the song:

3. Hum To Bhai Jaise (2004)

When someone asks my favorite SRK movies, this is among the top five. But that’s a topic (or blog post) for another day. A major reason this movie is close to my heart is because of its music. I mean, can any song beat Do Pal when it comes to expressing love? Sigh!

Coming to this particular song, a few of you might remember the song Chocolate Lime Juice from the movie Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. It became an instant favorite of girls around the nation. I, however, could not resonate with it beyond the love for chocolates and ice creams. I tried to become like other girls, loving soft toys and dolls, but it is only now that I realize it was simply out of peer pressure and societal expectations.

When Veer Zaara, came out, I was a teenager. To be precise, I was in high school. My adolescence had just kicked in, and I began to take notice of the opposite sex in a different light. Like most girls around me and of my age group, I too craved some attention, if not at all the time, from the opposite sex. When I failed to receive it, I began to think there must be something missing in me. Ergo, the wondering of I’m not like other girls or I’m not good-looking enough, etc kicked in. This song came as a respite during that time, helping me accept myself the way I was. A couple of years later, school ended and I stepped out of my hometown (Surat) and into an unknown city (Mumbai), all alone, to begin my college life.

I came in my own, became a little confident, and had a bit of what might be called a ‘makeover’. This probably, finally, led to some attention from the opposite sex. Now, I did not know how to handle this. I remember conversations with friends and cousins, even my family sometimes, circling around What I needed to change in me, How I should dress and behave more like a girl, etc. That’s when this song became my go-to. I failed to understand why I should change myself for somebody. Even as an 18-year-old, I believed that if I have to change, it has to be for my own growth and happiness. Whenever someone tried to have a conversation along the lines of me needing to change or becoming more ‘girly’, I sang this song, to make my stand clear on such ridiculous notions.

Today, when I look back at that time, I still smile about my unbelievable understanding in the matter. This song is a reminder to my grownup self about the teenage me kicking patriarchy in the ass.

Listen to the song:

4. Luka Chhupi (2006)

We’re never too old to miss or need our mothers. There are some days and moments when this need makes us emotional too. For someone like me, who has been away from parents for fifteen years now, this need comes up every now and then.

For those moments, this song is my respite. The lines ‘Yahan sab kuch hai maa phir bhi, lage bin tere mujhko akela’ express my feelings truly whenever I miss my mom. Till date and probably for a very long time, this song will forever be what I call Maa Waala Gaana.

Listen to the song:

5. Kitne Ajeeb Rishte Hai Yaha Pe (2005)

Watching the movie Page 3 made me look at the ugly side of an industry I was such a fan of. Just a year later, I came face to face with some ugly truths of life myself.

Moving away from the coccoon and shelter of my parent’s home was a revealation and a cultural shock for me. With every day bringing forth some new challenges and showing me truths about dealing with people, is it any surprise that this song found its way in my list?

Listen to the song:

Which is your favourite song of Lata Mangeshkar? Do you have any memories associated with her songs? Let me know in the comments.

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Thank you for reading.

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