White Chanderi with a deep magenta zari border. A very special saree for me, preserved and conserved for over 24 years! Circa 1990. At the time I worked for Gramophone Company ( better known as HMV ), posted in Calcutta and handled marketing of a product category we called ‘New Films’. A very special film’s music rights were acquired by HMV- ‘Lekin’ produced by Lata Mangeshkar. The grand lady wanted to be fully briefed of HMV’s marketing plans for her film. It was my job to make the plan and brief her. Worked the plan, prepared a presentation and armed with the slides and a carousel tray (those days we didn’t have ppt) flew in for the briefing to Bombay. At the meeting I discovered that I would be presenting our plans, not only to Lataji but to over twenty people! She had invited the film’s writer, director Gulzar, her brother, Hridaynath Mangeshkar who was the music director for the film, and several members of her family!! plus my seniors were in attendance. I remember shaking like a leaf, standing in front of all of them- before, during and after making my marketing plans presentation. Somehow managed to do the Job, received a few pats on the back and left for the office to pick up my bags and fly back that evening to Calcutta. That’s when it happened….V.K.Dubey, the A&R Head summoned me to his office and asked what time was my flight back to Cal…he went on to explain that Lataji had called to ask because she was sending a package for me and Dubey saab must ensure that he makes me wait till it reaches me. My flight was in the evening, so the wait was easy. Then the package arrived, gift wrapped in a yellow and silver paper with a small gift tag which said- “To Madhulika, with blessings…Lata Mangeshkar”. I immediately ripped it open in front of Dubey Saab and there was this beautiful Chanderi saree. I could not believe my eyes as they say. I wore it first time to her film ‘Lekin’ premiere in Bombay. And on a few other special occasions. I did preserve the wrapping paper and the tag for many years, but eventually it tore away. I hope I can preserve it always as I treasure the saree and the memory….
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