By: Mid-Day, IndiaFM
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Before she became singing sensation asha bhonsle, she was her father's darling child. 'She is my cat,' he'd say indulgently, whenever she raided the kitchen for her daily dose of cream. 8th September was her 75th birthday and to celebrate, she revisits those glory days, in her own words.
When we were kids we had a huge house in Sangli. We had a huge corridor and there were rooms leading from the corridor. I have lovely memories of my childhood. I used to roam about in my underwear. We had this kitchen where a wood fire burnt all day. Milk was kept to boil on this fire. I had the habit of going to the milk vessel and with one hand pulling the whole cream to my side and eating it up. I used to put my hands in the milk and everyone got mad at me but my father adored me and said: 'Quiet! No one must shout at Asha – she's my cat!' Everyone had to drink my 'jhootha' milk. I used to eat all the cream and I was very fat. I think my health is good today because I ate so much malai! I still eat malai — I love adding it to my food etc.
"Below our house, there lived this family whose sons used to have these long shendis. They were playing cards one day, I was only a kid then. I was watching them play and cutting paper with a pair of scissors in my hand. I cut the paper into tiny bits and when I finished I took the hair of one boy and cut it off with my scissors — and started making small bits from it. They had a huge quarrel with my mother saying look what she's done!
"Father used to teach us the Gayatri mantra and all of us used to recite it. I was very lazy; Latadidi and Meenatai used to recite it but I went up to my father saying 'father, Suryachandra masau dhaata yata' is very difficult for me to say. Father kept laughing because I was saying the mantra and protesting that it was difficult for me to say it! He said: 'But you are saying it.' And I said 'no I don't know it.'
We had a beautiful childhood climbing trees playing so many games. We were like wild plants — today's children are like hothouse plants. We'd steal sugarcane and peel off the skin with our teeth and that's why the whole Mangeshkar family has good strong teeth to this day!
"I was fond of reading and read all the classics in translation. I used to read as much as one book a day. I don't think I let one book get away. I read everything."