Every year on my birthday, she would send me a sari: Runa Laila

Lata Mangeshkar and Runa Laila
Photo: Collected

Much like the rest of the world, Bangladesh's music industry was shocked by the demise of eminent singer Lata Mangeshkar. Celebrated singer Runa Laila wrote a description of her bonding with the legendary singer. Runa Laila first met Lata Mangeshkar in 1974, at a concert in Mumbai, where Lata Mangeshkar was the chief guest. It was Runa Laila's first concert in India.

In 1975, they met when Runa Laila did playback singing for the film "Ek Se Badhkar Ek". The music for the film was directed by the popular duo of that time, Kalyanji-Anandji. Lata Mangeshkar attended the music launching of the film.

After that, Lata Mangeshkar and Runa Laila kept in touch on a regular basis, and they also met in 2017 in Mumbai.

Runa Laila took to social media to recall her memories of the legendary singer.

Lata Mangeshkar and Runa Laila
Photo: Collected

"The voice that has inspired millions like me is now singing for the angels in heaven.

Over the years, we built up a beautiful relationship of love and mutual respect. Above all, we became friends. We exchanged messages on a daily basis and had long telephone conversations, talking about music in general.

With her permission, I even dared to send her jokes, which she enjoyed immensely.

Didi had a great sense of humour and would tell me some of her experiences and we would have a good laugh. I loved listening to her. That honey-dripping voice was music to my ears.

In reply to my "Good Morning" messages to her, she would send me pictures of things she loved, of flowers and children, and audios and videos of her songs, most of which I had already heard and memorised, and coming from her was an added bonus.

Every year on my birthday she would send me a sari. This year she said since you are going to be in London, I will send your gift once you come back to Dhaka. Didi the biggest gift you have given me is "YOU".

When we spoke last, just before I came to London, she told me that she liked talking to me and when we spoke, she felt like I was a very close family member.

She said I was her younger sister and that she loved me very much and respected my talent.

She said she missed me a lot and to come and see her soon so we could have long conversations in person.

I said I would go and see her once the situation (pandemic) improved but that was not to be.

I am filled with a sense of desolation and emptiness that will remain with me forever, that I won't hear that lovely voice again, saying Runa ji Aap kaisi hain? (How are you, dear Runa?)

Didi, you have given me and so many others so much, and I am grateful that you gave me more than so many.

Thank you for the Aashirwaad (blessing) you sent me in your last voice messages.

I shall cherish your blessings and love till the end, Saraswati Maa. My Didi."


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তিনি ছিলেন স্বাধীন বাংলাদেশ গড়ে তোলার স্বপ্ন-সংগ্রাম ও স্বাধীনতা পরবর্তী রাজনৈতিক মেরুকরণের অন্যতম নিয়ামক শক্তি। তিনি যেভাবে চেয়েছেন, যা করতে চেয়েছেন, তাই করেননি—করিয়েছেন।