On Thursday night, some hoax messages about her death were circulating on the Internet. Within minutes, the Mangeshkar residence was besieged with anxious calls from musicians, actors and fans.
One of the first to call was Sanjay Dutt [ Images ], with whose father Sunil Dutt Lataji shared a very long and cordial friendship.
"Luckily, only those very close to me have my private number," she says. "The residence phone was ringing all night. Since only my sister Usha was at home with me, she spent the whole night attending calls from people. My niece Rachna received at least 50 calls after 11 pm asking if I was okay."
Lataji was especially worried about her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar's reaction to the rumour. "He is in the interiors of Maharashtra [ Images ] near Nagpur, which has no network. I got through to him with great difficulty to tell him I was hale and hearty. My brother reacted by saying, 'Such rumours only add to the life of the person who is killed by rumour-mongers.' I truly wonder who spread this strange rumour! It must have been someone completely drunk. In this era of quick and bulk communication anyone can send a vicious SMS about anyone and spark off an ugly rumour. Do such people realise how disturbed people get by these rumours?" Lataji says.
Then seeing the humorous side of the rumour, she adds, "I've heard such rumours about Amitabh [ Images ]ji and Dilip Kumar [ Images ]saab. But this is the first time I've been killed off. I am privileged to be in that elite club where some people actually want me dead. I want my well-wishers to know I am hale and hearty, and in the mood to party!"