I have an ear for music right since my childhood thanks to my mother, who was a singer of some repute. There was musical atmosphere at our home in Delhi and musicians of various hues used to visit off and on. I, as a child, had one grand desire – to listen to Bollywood icons – Lata, Rafi, Kishore, Asha, Mukesh – performing live on the stage and this one thought used to attract me to this Mayanagari called Mumbai. Unfortunately, Mukesh died quite early in my adolescence and when I was still in my teens, Rafi bade adieu. Kishore was still there when I was about to turn professional and hoped to catch up on his live performance, if posted in Mumbai. Unfortunately, Kishore also died in 1987, while my first visit to Mumbai, albeit fleeting , happened in 1993. Of course, though a short visit, I made it a point to go to Pedder Road to see Prabhu Kunj, the abode of Lata , albeit from outside.
I finally shifted to Mumbai in 2001 by which time, Asha and especially Lata were already in retirement mode. Of course, the advantage of being in Mumbai was indeed availed of by me and I did get to witness live performances by quite a few icons – Salim Sulaiman, Bappi Lahiri, A R Rahman and above all my this generation favourite Sonu Nigam. But this is what makes Mumbai a magical place for the lovers of music, art and films. When you see Shankar Jaikishan Chowk, Laxmikant Chowk, Mohd Rafi Chowk, RD Burman Chowk and even N Dutta Lane, you can virtually hear the strains of music.
The idea of this article clicked to me when I read the news that Santoor maestro, Padam Vibhushan, all time great Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma expired at his Pali Hill residence. This is another loss to the musical scene of Mumbai after deaths of Lata , Bappi , Pt Jasraj ( I think he was in Pune) and now Pt Sharma in rather quick succession. May their legacy continue and May local administration continue to honour these greats by naming streets and chowks after them.