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'Didi looked after us like a father'

Last updated on: September 28, 2023 12:14 IST

Lata Mangeshkar would have been 94 on September 28.
Her sister Meena Khadikar looks back with love, and tells Subhash K Jha, 'We cannot thank her enough for what she has done for us.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Meena Khadikar.

Meena Khadikar had a very special gift for her sister Lata Mangeshkar on her 90th birthday.

She put out a Hindi translation of her biography on her illustrious sister.

"It was called Mothi Tichi Savali in Marathi. In Hindi, I've named it Didi Aur Main. There are so many biographies on Didi but nobody knows her the way I do," she says.


Photograph: Kind courtesy Lata Mangeshkar/Twitter.

"I've virtually been her savali (shadow) from childhood, watched her struggles and triumphs. I have seen and experienced her emotions and feelings from close quarters. Who better qualified than me to write about her?" reasons Meena, who gave up singing 60 years ago to look after her home and children, Rachna and Yogesh.

Rachna was very close to Lataji.

"Rachna calls me maasi (aunt) and she calls my sister ma. That's how close Rachna is to Didi. Didi looked after all of us like the father of the family."

Photograph: Kind courtesy Lata Mangeshkar/Twitter.

"Didi's life changed completely at the age of 12 when we lost our father. Before that, she was like any other girl child, busy with her games and dolls. When we suddenly lost our father, she became our sole bread-winner.

"We were all very young, but she held herself responsible for our upkeep. She didn't have to but she looked after us like our father."

Meenaji's voice brims over with emotion: "We cannot thank her enough for what she has done for us. She was and is the driving force of the family."