Being Women

Lata Didi, You Will Be Missed And Never Forgotten

Lata ji, the Nightingale of India, will live in our hearts today, and forever.

The music-loving world, and the diaspora of Indians spread across the globe, are still processing the immeasurable loss, the void left behind by Lata Mangeshkar’s passing. The epoch of the divine, golden voice has come to an end.

A beautiful journey she took us all on, spanning so many decades! She tugged at the heartstrings of so many generations with the magical lure of her voice. She became the loving ‘Didi’, big sister, soothing and healing the world with her voice. 

Growing up, for so many of us, not a day went by when we did not hear her voice in the music reaching our ears, playing on the radio, television, or the tape recorder. Her melodious sur floating on the airwaves somewhere from inside the home, or from a next-door neighbour’s window. The song that would lift up a sour mood, or set someone happily tapping their feet, humming the melody.

Lata Mangeshkar became a permanent fixture in my life when I began to learn classical and light vocal music at the age of five. Her voice was like a steady lighthouse, showing the path for so many who wished to embark upon the musical journey, aspiring to worship and find the swar within. 

Listening to her renditions on the recorded cassette, and trying to sing along, in her high-pitch scale was a huge challenge! As I prepared fifty songs from different genres for the sugam sangeet exams, I realized that so many of them were timeless classics in the voice of this ‘Nightingale of India’.

Duets featuring Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle

Marathi songs like तिन्ही सांजा सखे मिळाल्या – Tinhi sanja sakhe milalya, चाफा बोलेना – chapha bolena, and so many countless renditions of hers, learnt as a child will remain close to my heart, forever. Her album- ज्ञानेश्वर माऊली -Nyaneshwar Mauli, has a very soulful place in my being. I must’ve heard those abhangas thousands of times. The पसायदान – Pasayadan in her voice, brings tears to my eyes, every single time. 
And although final goodbyes are tough, the emotions she evoked with her ethereal voice will remain, indelibly. The bubbling joy, the desolate sadness, the sharp pain, the gut-wrenching longing, the soul-quenching reunion, and all that was pure love, that resonated with us, through her blessed voice. 

She was an orchestra of human emotions, all in one angelic voice. Her voice will continue to echo until the music is alive. She will be missed but never forgotten.

By Swaroopa Gadgil

Swaroopa Gadgil is a Physical Therapist and a Yoga Teacher, who lives near the Jersey Shore. She is a multi-passionate nature lover, immersed in Art, Yoga, Writing, and Photography. Swaroopa loves to share the experiences she has lived through; people she has encountered in her professional practice through writing and art. She can be reached at

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