Meerut (Uttar Pradesh): He, like millions across the globe, is a fan of melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, but Gaurav Sharma’s devotion is unique.
He possesses every book written on Lata Mangeshkar, even by the Pakistani and Australian writers, and his collection includes all the songs she ever sang.
He has even set up six ‘Lata vatikas’ in schools where he has planted thousands of trees in honour of the legendary singer.
Sharma, 39 says he has devoted his entire life towards “worshipping her art and craft,” not even getting married lest it interfere with his sadhana (worship).
Sharma’s house is a “shrine” to Lata that he now wishes to convert into a museum. A large framed horoscope of the singer hangs on the wall of the drawing room, while her photos — in all the stages of her life — are put up throughout the room.
Sharma’s cupboards are full of news clippings about lata Mangeshkar.
For years, Sharma’s neighbours have been waking up to bhajans, sung by the Lata Mangeshkar, wafting out from his house.
“I appeal to the Prime Minister, who is also a great fan of Lata Mangeshkar, to take over all my collections for a museum in her honour,” Sharma told reporters.
He further said, “For me, she is immortal. She is a star and will always keep twinkling in the night sky. Her voice will continue to act as catharsis, and uplift the mood of souls. I am neither sad nor happy. Her life was full of struggles. Now, she has crossed that realm.”
Sharma said that he was just six years old in 1988 when he first listened to a song sung by the singer.
The song was ‘Radha Na Bole’ from the 1955 movie ‘Azaad’.
“My grandmother would often hum that tune. She told me about Lataji’s struggles and gave me a picture of her. She said ‘khoj karni hai to inki khoj karo (if you have to find something, find her) and there was no turning back for me,” said Sharma, who works in the state education department.