If music was the lifeblood of Lata Mangeshkar, so was her relationship with cricket

Singer Lata Mangeshkar joins cricketer Sachin Tendulkar at an event in Mumbai in March 2014. (Photo credit: PTI)

Singer Lata Mangeshkar joins cricketer Sachin Tendulkar at an event in Mumbai in March 2014. (Photo credit: PTI)

One of the defining statistics of Lata Mangeshkar’s eight decades long career (yes, she started her professional singing career at the age of 12) is that she has contributed over 30,000 songs to the world in 36 languages.

No other singer comes close to imitating the size or quality of the Indian Nightingale, and her voice fell silent after her 92-year-old body gave up the fight against pneumonia on Sunday morning. The last 28 days of her life were spent in a hospital bed.

It was dark in the dressing room of the Indian team at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera and it was unusual for players to wear a black band in the first ODI against the West Indies.

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has canceled a celebration planned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India on the occasion of India’s 1000th ODI (the first team in the world to reach this milestone). Legendary singer, he had a great love for cricket.

Indeed, the origin of Lata Deedee’s close relationship with cricket and cricketers lies in her relationship with the highly respected Rajasthan cricketer Raj Singh Dungarpur – a relationship that lasted for more than half a century until her royal death in September 2009.

It is a well-known fact that without the classification of Lata (Indore-born Hema Mangeshkar), the two would have been in love and their relationship would have been sanctified.Devadasi“(Servant of the Gods) was forbidden to be untied.

Despite being unhappy with their unity, Lata Didi and Rajbhai were honest with each other, unlike most couples. When the singer expressed his desire to settle down in Pune, Rajbhai reportedly sold his palace property on Altamont Road in Mumbai and bought a more modest house in Pune, where he reportedly spent a month in Lata Didi’s exclusive company.

It is another matter that Rajbhai was suddenly tired of the serene atmosphere of Pune. He also missed the hustle and bustle of Bombay (then known as Mumbai) and the atmosphere of his favorite gymkhana club, the Cricket Club of India, where he was president for the longest time. He and Lata Didi agreed to return to Bombay. The singer returns to the spacious garden flat at Prabhu Kunj, the legendary building on Peder Road, where Rajbhai, who rented an apartment at the top of Worli Hill, will remain an eternally respected visitor.

However, we are ahead of ourselves in the story of Lata Mangeshkar’s closeness to cricket and cricketers. She had a great admiration for the “master” bamboo (Vinu) Mankad, who considered herself his sister, and would tie a rakhi (or ‘rakdi’, as they call his hometown Jamnagar) around her wrist.

Both were from humble backgrounds and had to work hard for success. Lata Didi lived in a one-room house in Shastri Hall, opposite Bhaji Galli, a vegetable market in Nana Chowk, Bombay. Mankad lived very close to the Pannalal Terraces, near the Lower Medium Grant Road area, which is densely populated by mill workers.

Mankads belong to the Nagar community, which is genetically linked to art and music. Vinu Bhai was a pioneer of Hindustani classical music and was often seen sitting in a corner of the hall where Pandit Bhimsen Joshi or Kishori Amonkar performed. The Mangeshkar family was interested in cricket, especially when Bombay was the birthplace of Indian cricket.

Lata Didi and Vinu Bhai formed a community that adored each other and greeted each other’s art; He lauded their struggles from anonymity and poverty to the highly respected personalities of the respective places and lauded the palace residences at Prabhu Kunj and the ‘Sindhu’ building on Marine Drive. Rahul Mankad, the youngest son of Vinoo Bhai, still remembers the joyous ‘Sangeet Mehfil’ that took place in both their houses in the alleys of Grant Road.

Test batsman Vijay Manjrekar is another favorite of the Mangeshkars. Manjrekar and Mankad were close to Lata Didi and a big misunderstanding about the nature of the ambiguity, for which the cricketers blamed Rajbhai and the relationship deteriorated forever.

“I was not guilty of parting ways with Lata, but I never got a chance to explain,” Raj Singh once told former Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain Shishir Hattangadi. “I loved both of them sincerely and my biggest regret is that neither Vinu Mankado nor Vijay Manjrekar spoke to me even once before their death.”

The 1971 team under Ajit Wadekar – who made historic maiden victories in overseas Test series in the West Indies and England – will have fond memories of the concerts performed by Lata Didi on her initiative for the achievement of two of the most successful Indian cricket teams. The 1983 World Cup-winning team unexpectedly defeated the West Indies in England.

The West Indies, champions in the inaugural (1975) and second (1979) editions of the world’s best ODIs, were aiming for a hat-trick of World Cup victories, but were bowled out for 140 as India chased down a modest score of 183. Lata Didi was at Lord’s to watch the match. It was a victory worthy of grand celebration at home, but the BCCI was unable to adequately reward the players.

“I saw the final at Lord’s and could not believe we had won the World Cup by beating two-time champions the West Indies,” she said. “Naturally, as an Indian, I’m very proud of this achievement. After the match, I personally congratulated the Indian team; I remember a special hit song sung by my brother Hridayanath and all the team members with me. Kapil Dev. Sunil Gavaskar was by my side as we sang it.

Lata Didi organized a concert at Raj Singh’s tacit suggestion and did not charge a single penny for it, but raised enough funds to put Rs 1 lakh in the pockets of each of the World Cup-winning players. In today’s world where compensation is in the billions, that figure may not seem like much, but remember, when we bought a trillion in 1983, money was made available to players today. Lata Didi’s warm gesture was appreciated by the players and the public alike.

While Sunny Gavaskar remains one of his favorite cricketers, Lata Didi has developed a special bond with Sachin Tendulkar and enjoyed his association with him. It helped alleviate the tide of loneliness after the death of her best friend Raj Singh in September 2009. Tendulkar, who respects the singer, listened to her as she advised him as he went through a rare breakdown in the middle of his career.

Lata Didi has admitted that she went over the moon when Tendulkar was part of the team that won the 2011 World Cup in Mumbai. “All cricketers are good, but Tendulkar is my favorite,” she told BBC Hindi. “Everyone loves Tendulkar, so why should I go after him? I can not help but feel sad when I hear that he has decided to retire (in 2013) .It was a terrible feeling, but over time, I came to terms with it. .

On the eve of her deteriorating health, when asked by a section of the media at Breach Candy Hospital, she may have had a similar thought in mind when it was difficult to explain her health.

She went. But does she have?

One of her immortal melodies goes like this: “Rahen Na Rahen Hum, Mehoka Karenge, Banake Kali, Banake Saba, Bagh-e-Wafa May“(Whether I am left or not, the fragrance of my presence will remain like a freshly sprouted bud in the garden of love).

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