My mom turns 84 today on the 4th of October. Touch wood- she’s superb for her 84 years. Enjoys reasonably good health, is fiercely independent – physically, mentally and financially, sounds mellifluous for her 84 years – probably thanks to her lifelong passion – singing.
She loved singing right since her childhood though it wasn’t considered a good passion and even a worst profession by her family. However, after marriage, she found a supporting husband in my father, who encouraged her to sing, whenever any opportunity came her way. She soon realised that professional singing required learning under a good Guru and practice or riyaaz. And in spite of her familial responsibilities and limited scope, she went on to achieving one milestone after another. From singing at the local cultural programmes to singing in Gurudwara, temple and social parties to singing on AIR and cutting a disc for HMV, she achieved all that was possible given her rather late start and other constraints. And her active career spanned almost half a century till about a couple of years ago, when she decided to slacken the pace and sing only occasionally at the most special request.
However, if there’s get together – whether of family members or friends, it’s not complete without her singing one ditty from the large repertoire of work that she built over the years of her professional singing career. She sang almost in all genres – Geet, ghazal, bhajans, folk songs, film songs, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Haryanvi et al and earned public accolades.
I think her passion for music has kept her young, mentally alert, generally happy and having zest for life. It’s unfortunate that none of her children or grandchildren could emulate her art, though all of us possess an ear for good music.
Happy 84th birthday Mummy. It’s just a number for as long as your voice retains melody and heart love for music, you should live and enjoy life.