Cherished - by Lakshmi Menon - is the story of a young girl who is in pursuit of her parental love.
ISBN 9788182534414 Published by Cybervit.net (Sept 2013)
Blurb of the Book -
Grishma, accompanied by her father and four month old baby, boards the train to Delhi to join her husband and surprise him with an unexpected visit. She dreams a happy family life with him. Little does she know that her journey will end in havoc to her life. 19 years later, Grishma's daughter Jyothi, longing for her father's love and support and a family reunion determines to search for him, despite her mother's strong protests. She succeeds in her mission, but will Praveen accept her as his daughter?
It was the evening of the last Sunday in the month of January. The weather was as pleasant as the previous evenings. An old melodious Hindi film song was playing on the TV downstairs that Mrs. Rao liked a lot, and she hummed along with it. It was one of Jyothi’s favourite songs, too. She remembered the scene very well - a father’s song for rocking his daughter on his shoulder, as he walked in the corridor, patting the back of the child, while the mother was busy in the kitchen. Whenever she heard this song she pictured herself in that position and regretted not having enjoyed the precious time with her father during her childhood.
Located in a prominent residential area, Mrs. Rao’s house was adjacent to the main road. Widowed two years ago at forty two, Bharathi Rao stayed in the same house where she had a very happy married life with her architect husband and two wonderful sons. Though both of her sons since had left for the States, one for a job and the other one for higher studies, she preferred to stay alone in the same house with the memories of her late husband. She believed he was still there with her, though not physically. Her old maid Venkamma stayed with her, which was a great relief to her. Bharathi Rao wanted to take up a job to occupy her time, but her sons did not want her to go out and work. When the nineteen year old Jyothi was accommodated in her house as her paying guest, her life took a different turn
On a Wednesday evening, Savitha, one of her husband’s relatives, visited her house on her way back from office. She could not come and see Bharathi Rao when she was mourning, so she decided to meet her on the way back from work. Savitha had another motive for her visit, but she didn’t want to discuss it with Bharathi, until she felt comfortable with her. After chatting with Bharathi for some time, she asked, “Why don’t you have a girl with you as a paying guest? She will be company to you and you will feel more motivated in your daily life.”
Bharathi Rao was not interested in having an outsider in her house. She didn’t feel confident enough to accept Savitha’s suggestion. Savitha noticed her reluctance, and then said, “A friend of mine is looking for a safe place to accommodate her College going daughter. She has applied to the College hostel, and is waiting for a reply. Until then she has to stay somewhere close to the college.” As there was no response from Bharathi Rao, Savitha added, “The girl has no father and it will be of great help to the mother, if you agree to let her stay here with you until she gets accommodation in the hostel. This may take about a month. If she gets a seat earlier she would gladly leave your house.” Savitha glanced at her hopefully, and then added, after a pause, “I guarantee you that you will not have any problem with her.”
After careful deliberation, she decided to allow Jyothi to stay as her paying guest until she got hostel accommodation. “As Savitha suggested, her presence would be of some help during the difficult period of life, and it would also help the girl and her mother,” thought Bharathi Rao.
The following day Savitha came again, but this time her friend Grishma and her daughter Jyothi were also with her. The fair and thin looking girl, with short hair and a tinge of grief on the face, wore a blue short skirt and a white top. One look at the girl made her feel her decision to help the girl was wise. Since she had no daughters of her own Bharathi Rao felt a special affection towards her. Since that day she was no more known as Mrs.Rao to Jyothi, but as PG aunty.
The same night itself, Jyothi discussed her family history with Mrs.Rao, and so she felt more sympathy for her. “I want to meet my father at any cost. Please help me auntie,” Jyothi had cried that night, as though that was the only reason she had agreed to join a College in Bangalore. . Consoling her, Mrs. Rao had nodded in support of her. That was ten months ago. She could easily understand the feeling of a girl who was denied a father’s love.
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