Like most of Indians my first interaction with Reshma ji’s songs was not via Hero movie’s lambi judai song. It was rather via Radio Pakistan, Lahore. The songs like haye o rabba nahio lagda dil mera and akhian nu rehan de akhian de kol kol were already very famous and used to play regularly on Lahore Radio.
But yes it was when lambi judai was recorded that she became a house hold name in India.
Because she mostly sung in Punjabi so she was already well known in Punjab. In those days most of the Punjabi newspapers used to carry articles about her and talking about the very very simple and humble life she used to live. Few of the incidents I still remember. Like:
When she wore saree for the first time and was asked to go on stage she was so scared that it might fall down.
While memorizing a Urdu song she had to put a lot of hard work as she had never attended a school.
Once she went to Russia for some concert. In the evening she went out of the hotel for a walk and while coming back lost the way. She didn’t know English so was confused whom to ask for help. She says that then she spotted a Sardar guy and directly went to him and told him in Punjabi that here is the key of my hotel room (it has the hotel address on the key ring) and I have lost the way to the hotel. Then he helped her reach the hotel. She used to joke that if something hasn’t changed at all it is attire of Sardars and Reshma. She always always wore a salwar suit and dupatta on her head.
She traveled across the world for concerts but her style didn’t change a bit. She remained the same Reshma born in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
I remember when I listened to Masooma Anwar for the first time hers was the voice that immediately reminded me of Reshma’s original husky voice. Of course there is no comparison but if you listen carefully Masooma’s voice is also husky one. Very few female voices fall in that category. For a sample see Masooma’s rendition of ve main chori chori
With her passing away two greatest voices from the Thar are not with us. First it was Mehdi Hasan saab and now her.
I am reminded of a post I did 4 years back when she attended Lux style awards and looked very weak. She wasn’t able to sing properly. Today she is not with us .
May her soul rest in peace. Her voice through her songs will live forever !