On this day a year ago, my iconic aunt Feroza Begum died. She was such a strong willed and tough person, who had overcome numerous challenges and serious medical conditions. Somehow, I deluded myself that she would fight it out and recover once again. Whenever she was in hospital, I would say to her, “No problem. You will be fine Inshallah!” On the evening of September 9, 2014, everything came crashing down on me. She had left us and millions of fans around the world forever. I was in denial of her death for some time. I was the last one to visit her in the ICU at the hospital, when she had said to me, “Tui Bhalo Thakish!” (You stay well!). Her voice still echoes in my heart and soul.
It was very difficult to pick up the 'khatas' with all those hours of interaction with her, embedded in each of the pages. After every performance, I always used to go straight to her for her incisive comments. Now, in painful silence I stand by her grave before my performances. She had told me how bereft she had felt when my phupa/uncle, legendary music composer and her guru, Kamol Das Gupta, died in 1974.
I feel the same way today. It is why I have why I dedicated my latest album “Shishirer Sporshe Gatha -- Sound of Seasons” to her.
I feel it is my responsibility to bring her passion for Nazrul forward to people around the world. Today, marking her first death anniversary, I am opening an archive on her, linked to my website: shusmitaanis.com, so that all her fans around the world can share their collections of her old and rare songs or her experiences with music. I know many people have collected her songs over the years. I am sure very soon people will collect her LPs, videos, audios in all forms.
I will also pay my tribute to Feroza Begum today by releasing three unique songs tuned by Feroza Begum, reticent as she was about her talent. I sang the songs with the recordings of my aunt talking about the songs. These songs are very close to my heart.