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Chachi - A short Story

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by Ashna, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Ashna

    Ashna Bronze IL'ite

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    Running towards Kamal a five-year old boy asked, "chachaji, will you bring me a train?"

    Stretching both his arms towards him Kamal said, hm. He lifted the child in his arms kissed him and said, "What will you do with the train?"

    The child lisped, "I will ride in it and go very far away. I'll go and also take Gudia along. I won't take papa. He does not buy me the train. Chachaji, if you get the train, we'll take you."

    “ Who else will you take with you?"

    Pausing to think the child said, "That is all, nobody else."

    Kamal's wife sat close by. Pointing towards her Kamal asked, "Won't you take your aunt?"

    The child looks at his aunt for a while. At the time Chachi sat looking somewhat annoyed. The child did not like the expression on her face, so he said, "I won't take Chachi."

    As she sat shredding the betel nuts, Chachi said, "Take your uncle. Have mercy on me."

    Chachi spoke these words rather curtly. The child sensed her annoyance.

    Again Kamal asked him, "Why will you not take your aunt?"

    The child said, "Chachi doesn't love me."

    Kamal asked, "If she loves you will you take her?"

    The child seemed doubtful about this. Seeking her mood he did not think that she would love him. This made him silent.

    Demanding an answer, Kamal again asked him, "Why are you not speaking? If Chachi loves you will you then take her on the train?"

    The child only nodded his head to please Chachaji but said nothing with his lips.

    Kamal took him close to his wife and told her, "Here cuddle him, then he'll take you." But this joviality of her husband did not please the child's Chachi. She petulantly retorted, "You sit in the train and go. I don't want to go."

    Kamal paid no heed to what Kaveri said. Trying to make the child sit in her lap, he said, "If you don't love him he will not let you sit in the train. Isn't it, Amar?"

    Amar didn't answer his Chachaji.

    Chachi pushed Amar from her lap. He fell down. His body was not hurt but his heart was. The child burst out crying.

    Kamal lifted the child in his arms. Kissing and hugging him he pacified him and after promising some money and the train, he let him go. Staring fearfully at his Chachi, Amar walked away from there.

    After Amar left Kamal questioned Kaveri, "What sort of behaviour is this? You pushed the child. Suppose he had been hurt?" Making a face, Kaveri said, "Had he been hurt it would have been good. Why did you load him on my head? You are the one who thrust him on me and now you are talking like this."

    Fretfully Kamal said, "You call this loading on the head?"

    “ What else do you call loading? You just can't sense anybody's joys and sorrows except your own. God knows when who is feeling what - this does not concern you at all. You are only concerned with your jocundities."

    “ No matter what the mood is like, listening to children talk sweetly indeed pleases the heart. But of what strange metal is your heart made?"

    “ May be it pleases your heart and perhaps it does happen but only if the child be such. Can someone else's wealth fill our coffers?"

    After remaining silent for a while Kamal spoke, "If one's own nephew can be called someone else's wealth, I don't understand what can be called our wealth?"

    Agitated, Kaveri said, "You know how to talk grandly. He is your nephew, whatever you may think, but I do not like this kind of talk. We are destined to suffer, otherwise why would we have to see these days. Your ways are distinct from the world. What lengths men go to beget children-pray, worship, observe fasts but what do you have to do with these ways? You are forever engrossed in your brother and nephew."

    An expression of hatred appeared on Kamal's face. He said, "All this-prayer, worship, fast-is hypocrisy. Prayer cannot obtain whatever is not fated. At any rate this is my irrevocable belief."

    His wife spoke in a tearful voice, "This belief has ruined us. If everybody sits back with such a belief, how will things carry on? If every one believed thus, why would people make any effort?"

    Kamal considered it improper to bandy words with this stupid woman, so he stepped away from there without replying.

    Kamal was a wealthy man. He ran a commission agency for Hardware. He was a financier as well. He had a elder brother. His name was Raman. The families of both brothers lived together. Kamal was thirty-two-years old and his elder brother was about thirty-five-years old. Kamal was childless. Raman had two children. One son with whom the reader is familiar and a daughter. The daughter was two-years old.

    Kamal had great affection for his elder brother and children. Such was the strength of his affection that being childless did not pinch him. He considered his younger brother's children his own. And the children too were so close to Kamal that they loved him even more than their own father.

    But Kamal's wife, Kaveri, was extremely unhappy about being childless. Day and night she languished for a child. Her husband's affection for his elder brother's children hurt her like a thorn in the flesh.

    Kamal, after having eaten his dinner and finished all other tasks for the day, lay along in bed enjoying a cool and gentle breeze. Close-by on the bed, Kaveri was lost in deep anxiety. Both the children had just got up from Kamal's side and had gone to their mother.

    Turning towards his wife, Kamal said, "Today you pushed Amar so badly that I'm still sad about it. Sometimes your behaviour becomes extremely inhuman."

    Kaveri answered, "You have made me like this. The other day the Pandit did point in our horoscope to a favourable configuration for us to be blessed with children. Taking recourse to certain rituals and prayer may even lead to the birth of a child. He also suggested appropriate rituals but you did not even try a single one. You are just engrossed in these two. This attitude of yours inflames my heart. Man, at least, attempts the remedies. Whether or not they are fruitful is subservient to God's will."

    Kamal said, "What can I say to a simpleton like you. You believe in these astrologers who are liars and knaves. They earn their livelihood on the basis of these lies."

    Kaveri spoke angrily, "You perceive the whole world as false. All these scriptures are also false. Pandits do not churn out concoctions on their own. They tell us what is written in the scriptures. If that is untrue then they too are liars. Your English education has made you think that all others are nobodies. What has come down to us from generations-even that you say is false."

    "You don't understand the matter, but keep harping on it. I cannot say the science of astrology is false. Possibly it's true, but most astrologers are hypocrites. Without fully knowing the science, having read an odd book or two, they proclaim themselves astrologers and go around cheating people. Then how is it possible to believe in what they say?"

    Continued...
     
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  2. Chilbuli Imli

    Chilbuli Imli Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Ashna,

    Dear Ashna,

    Lovely story buut eager to read ahead. Can you post the remaining story for us.

    cheers
     
  3. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Please continue

    Dear Ashna,
    the story is good. Please do continue.
    varloo
     
  4. Ashna

    Ashna Bronze IL'ite

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    Chachi - A short Story Continued...

    "Hm ! they are all liars, you are the only great, true one. Alright, tell me, don't you ever long for a child?"

    This time Kaveri hit the tender most core of Kamal's heart. For some time he kept quite. Then drawing a deep breath he said, "Could there be such a person whose heart does not nurture the desire for a child? But what can be done? When there is not any hope of having a child, what is the good of worrying uselessly? What my children would have been to me, so are my brother's children. What love I would have for mine, I have for them. Also, what joy I would have from their childish playfulness, I have from them as well. So why worry then?"

    Fretfully Kaveri said, "What can I say about your views? But this very thought gnaws at my heart day and night. Just tell me, after you, will they carry on your name?"

    Kamal laughingly said "Oh! what petty things you have brought in. the name isn't carried on by one's offspring. Good deeds carry on the name. Every child in the country knows the name of Tulsidas. Surdas died a long time ago. Similarly, are the names of all great men remembered on account of their children? Truly speaking, the hope of children immortalizing one's name is matched equally by the fear of their disgracing it. But benevolent deeds are such that they lead only to fame and never to disgrace. In our city, Rai GirdGopallal was so famous once. Where is his progeny now? But his Dharamshala and orphanage perpetuate his name and will do so for who knows how long.

    "Kaveri pointed out, "It is written in the scriptures, he who does not have a son, he does not get salvation."

    "I don't believe in salvation. What does salvation mean? Even if salvation is possible, how can one believe that all those who have sons will find salvation? Is it so easy to obtain? Will all those who have sons obtain salvation?"

    Kaveri, left wordless, said, "Now who can argue with you? You don't value anyone other than yourself."

    The human heart values the sense of belonging. However useful and beautiful a thing is, as long as man considers it alien, he does not care for it. But even the ugliest of the ugly and absolutely worthless thing, which he considers his own, he loves it. No matter how valuable, how useful, how beautiful an alien object is, man does not grieve over its destruction because that object is not his but someone else's. However ugly, worthless his own object, man grieves over its destruction because it is his own. Sometimes, it happens that man starts loving something which is not his own but somebody else's. In such a circumstance also, man does not rest contented until he has won the object of his love or begins to consider it his own. Belonging generates love and love ownership. Both go hand-in-glove. They are inseparables.

    Although Kaveri did not have the good fortune of becoming a mother, her heart was full of maternal qualities. In her heart were present and latent all the qualities, which a mother's heart has but they had not developed. Her heart was like the soil in which lay the seed but there was no one to care for it. Her heart did get drawn toward those children yet when she remembered they were not hers, but somebody else's, in her heart aversion was felt, hatred was aroused. Particularly when she saw her husband doting on children who were not his, her malice grew all the more.

    It was evening. Sitting on the terrace Kaveri was revelling in the cool breeze. Her sister-in-law was sitting beside her. Both the children were romping on the roof. Kaveri was watching them play. At that time Kaveri was enjoying the innocent play of the children. Hair flying in the air, small mouths open like lotus flowers, their lively, lisping talk, their shouting, running, retreating, all their play was soothing to her heart. Suddenly Amar leapt forward to beat his sister. Laughing heartily she ran and dropped in the lap of Kaveri. Running after her Amar also came and fell in her lap. Kaveri forgot all her ill will at that moment. She hugged both the children as only someone who yearned for children would. Hungrily she caressed them. At that moment if an unknown person had happened to see her, he would have taken Kaveri to be the mother of those children.

    Both the children continued to play in her lap for a long time. Suddenly the children's mother, hearing the sound of somebody coming, got up from there and went away.

    Kamal appeared on the terrace saying, "Amar, here, take the train." On hearing his words both the children restively wriggled out of Kaveri's lap and ran towards him. Kamal first fondly stroked them and then sitting down started demonstrating the train to them.

    At this point, something snapped inside Kaveri. Seeing her husband engrossed in the children she frowned. Once again the same old ill-will and hatred arose in her heart against them.

    Giving the train to the children, Kamal walked up to Kaveri and smilingly told her, "Well! Today you were showering love on the children. It is obvious that you also love them."

    Kaveri was offended by what her husband said. She regretted her weakness. Not just that, she was also vexed with herself. Pain and anger grew manifold by her husband's statement. The revelation of her weakness became intolerable for her.

    Kamal said, "No wonder I say it is futile to think about our own offspring. If you can shower love on them, you will feel they are your very own. I am delighted by the fact that you've learnt to love them."

    Through Kamal spoke in all innocence and sincerity Kaveri sensed sharp sarcasm in it. Irritated, she said to herself, "Even death does not claim them. If it were to do so, the story would end. Day in and day out their presence has my heart wishing to love them. Because of them I feel my deprivation all the more."

    Seeing his wife remain silent, Kamal told her, "Now what's the point of feeling embarrassed. Trying to conceal our love is useless. Concealing is not even necessary." Inflamed Kaveri retorted, loving them is none of my business. You are welcome to them. Worthless things, they force themselves on me of their own accord. Living under the same roof it becomes necessary sometimes to laugh and talk. The other day I gave him a little push and you ticked me off hundreds of times. My life is one crisis. There is no peace for me."

    Listening to his wife's outburst Kamal was really annoyed. In a harsh tone he spoke, "Strange heart this woman has! She was happily sitting and loving the children. The moment she sees me she changes colours like a chameleon. She does whatever she likes but on my asking she throws tantrums. I don't know what poison is dissolved in her statements. If my words are so resented, I will not speak as I do. But remember that henceforth if you utter any derogatory words like 'useless' or worthless, if will serve you ill. These children are much more dear to me than you are."

    Kaveri did not answer. Instead she expressed her sorrow and anger through her eyes. The more affection Kamal showered on the children, the more hatred and malice grew in Kaveri's heart. Often husband and wife had an altercation over the children and Kaveri had to listen to his bitter words. When Kaveri saw that because of the children, she had fallen into disfavour with her husband, a storm gathered in her heart. She reflected, "For the sake of his brother's children he loves me less and less all the time, saying all kinds of things. To him the children mean everything and I am nothing. Death overpowers the world but not the two of them. Why didn't they die soon after their birth? If it weren't for them, I would not have fallen on these days. I'll rejoice the day they die. They alone have ruined my home."

    Few days passed thus. One day Kaveri was sitting alone on the roof while all kinds of thoughts were coming to her mind. Thoughts of nothing other than that of the lack of her own kids, the fondness for her husband's brother's children, etc. After some time when her thoughts became painful, she began to walk around to divert her attention.

    Just then Amar came running. Kaveri raised her eyebrows as she stood on the roof resting her hands on its four walls.

    It was evening. Multi-coloured kites were flying in the sky. For some time Amar stood and watched the kites, thinking what fun it would be if a kite landed on his roof. After hoping long enough for it to fall Amar ran to Kaveri and clinging to her legs pleaded "Chachi, get us some kites." Kaveri snubbed him. "Get lost, go and ask your uncle."

    Somewhat stunned Amar again turned his gaze to the sky. After a while he couldn't contain himself. This time he said with great love and in an extremely pathetic tone, "Chachi, do get some. We will also fly them."

    His innocent plea melted Kaveri's heart. She looked at him unmoved for a while. Then taking a deep breath she told herself, "Had he been my son there would not have been another more fortunate woman than I. The worthless being, what a good-looking child he is and how sweetly he talks. I really feel like lifting him and embracing him."

    Thinking thus she was about to stroke his hair when seeing her silent, Amar spoke, "If you don't get the kites for me, I'll tell uncle and have you beaten."

    Even though this innocent statement of the child had sweetness in it, Kaveri's face became red with anger. She snapped at him, "Go and tell your uncle. Let's see what he can do to me."

    Frightened, Amar moved away from her and again longingly watched the flying kites in the sky.

    Kaveri said to herself, "It is because of his uncle's undue affection that this slip of a boy threatens me. God willing, may lightning fall on him."



     
  5. Ashna

    Ashna Bronze IL'ite

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    Chachi - A short Story Continued...

    "Hm ! they are all liars, you are the only great, true one. Alright, tell me, don't you ever long for a child?"

    This time Kaveri hit the tender most core of Kamal's heart. For some time he kept quite. Then drawing a deep breath he said, "Could there be such a person whose heart does not nurture the desire for a child? But what can be done? When there is not any hope of having a child, what is the good of worrying uselessly? What my children would have been to me, so are my brother's children. What love I would have for mine, I have for them. Also, what joy I would have from their childish playfulness, I have from them as well. So why worry then?"

    Fretfully Kaveri said, "What can I say about your views? But this very thought gnaws at my heart day and night. Just tell me, after you, will they carry on your name?"

    Kamal laughingly said "Oh! what petty things you have brought in. the name isn't carried on by one's offspring. Good deeds carry on the name. Every child in the country knows the name of Tulsidas. Surdas died a long time ago. Similarly, are the names of all great men remembered on account of their children? Truly speaking, the hope of children immortalizing one's name is matched equally by the fear of their disgracing it. But benevolent deeds are such that they lead only to fame and never to disgrace. In our city, Rai GirdGopallal was so famous once. Where is his progeny now? But his Dharamshala and orphanage perpetuate his name and will do so for who knows how long.

    "Kaveri pointed out, "It is written in the scriptures, he who does not have a son, he does not get salvation."

    "I don't believe in salvation. What does salvation mean? Even if salvation is possible, how can one believe that all those who have sons will find salvation? Is it so easy to obtain? Will all those who have sons obtain salvation?"

    Kaveri, left wordless, said, "Now who can argue with you? You don't value anyone other than yourself."

    The human heart values the sense of belonging. However useful and beautiful a thing is, as long as man considers it alien, he does not care for it. But even the ugliest of the ugly and absolutely worthless thing, which he considers his own, he loves it. No matter how valuable, how useful, how beautiful an alien object is, man does not grieve over its destruction because that object is not his but someone else's. However ugly, worthless his own object, man grieves over its destruction because it is his own. Sometimes, it happens that man starts loving something which is not his own but somebody else's. In such a circumstance also, man does not rest contented until he has won the object of his love or begins to consider it his own. Belonging generates love and love ownership. Both go hand-in-glove. They are inseparables.

    Although Kaveri did not have the good fortune of becoming a mother, her heart was full of maternal qualities. In her heart were present and latent all the qualities, which a mother's heart has but they had not developed. Her heart was like the soil in which lay the seed but there was no one to care for it. Her heart did get drawn toward those children yet when she remembered they were not hers, but somebody else's, in her heart aversion was felt, hatred was aroused. Particularly when she saw her husband doting on children who were not his, her malice grew all the more.

    It was evening. Sitting on the terrace Kaveri was revelling in the cool breeze. Her sister-in-law was sitting beside her. Both the children were romping on the roof. Kaveri was watching them play. At that time Kaveri was enjoying the innocent play of the children. Hair flying in the air, small mouths open like lotus flowers, their lively, lisping talk, their shouting, running, retreating, all their play was soothing to her heart. Suddenly Amar leapt forward to beat his sister. Laughing heartily she ran and dropped in the lap of Kaveri. Running after her Amar also came and fell in her lap. Kaveri forgot all her ill will at that moment. She hugged both the children as only someone who yearned for children would. Hungrily she caressed them. At that moment if an unknown person had happened to see her, he would have taken Kaveri to be the mother of those children.

    Both the children continued to play in her lap for a long time. Suddenly the children's mother, hearing the sound of somebody coming, got up from there and went away.

    Kamal appeared on the terrace saying, "Amar, here, take the train." On hearing his words both the children restively wriggled out of Kaveri's lap and ran towards him. Kamal first fondly stroked them and then sitting down started demonstrating the train to them.

    At this point, something snapped inside Kaveri. Seeing her husband engrossed in the children she frowned. Once again the same old ill-will and hatred arose in her heart against them.

    Giving the train to the children, Kamal walked up to Kaveri and smilingly told her, "Well! Today you were showering love on the children. It is obvious that you also love them."

    Kaveri was offended by what her husband said. She regretted her weakness. Not just that, she was also vexed with herself. Pain and anger grew manifold by her husband's statement. The revelation of her weakness became intolerable for her.

    Kamal said, "No wonder I say it is futile to think about our own offspring. If you can shower love on them, you will feel they are your very own. I am delighted by the fact that you've learnt to love them."

    Through Kamal spoke in all innocence and sincerity Kaveri sensed sharp sarcasm in it. Irritated, she said to herself, "Even death does not claim them. If it were to do so, the story would end. Day in and day out their presence has my heart wishing to love them. Because of them I feel my deprivation all the more."

    Seeing his wife remain silent, Kamal told her, "Now what's the point of feeling embarrassed. Trying to conceal our love is useless. Concealing is not even necessary." Inflamed Kaveri retorted, loving them is none of my business. You are welcome to them. Worthless things, they force themselves on me of their own accord. Living under the same roof it becomes necessary sometimes to laugh and talk. The other day I gave him a little push and you ticked me off hundreds of times. My life is one crisis. There is no peace for me."

    Listening to his wife's outburst Kamal was really annoyed. In a harsh tone he spoke, "Strange heart this woman has! She was happily sitting and loving the children. The moment she sees me she changes colours like a chameleon. She does whatever she likes but on my asking she throws tantrums. I don't know what poison is dissolved in her statements. If my words are so resented, I will not speak as I do. But remember that henceforth if you utter any derogatory words like 'useless' or worthless, if will serve you ill. These children are much more dear to me than you are."

    Kaveri did not answer. Instead she expressed her sorrow and anger through her eyes. The more affection Kamal showered on the children, the more hatred and malice grew in Kaveri's heart. Often husband and wife had an altercation over the children and Kaveri had to listen to his bitter words. When Kaveri saw that because of the children, she had fallen into disfavour with her husband, a storm gathered in her heart. She reflected, "For the sake of his brother's children he loves me less and less all the time, saying all kinds of things. To him the children mean everything and I am nothing. Death overpowers the world but not the two of them. Why didn't they die soon after their birth? If it weren't for them, I would not have fallen on these days. I'll rejoice the day they die. They alone have ruined my home."

    Few days passed thus. One day Kaveri was sitting alone on the roof while all kinds of thoughts were coming to her mind. Thoughts of nothing other than that of the lack of her own kids, the fondness for her husband's brother's children, etc. After some time when her thoughts became painful, she began to walk around to divert her attention.

    Just then Amar came running. Kaveri raised her eyebrows as she stood on the roof resting her hands on its four walls.

    It was evening. Multi-coloured kites were flying in the sky. For some time Amar stood and watched the kites, thinking what fun it would be if a kite landed on his roof. After hoping long enough for it to fall Amar ran to Kaveri and clinging to her legs pleaded "Chachi, get us some kites." Kaveri snubbed him. "Get lost, go and ask your uncle."

    Somewhat stunned Amar again turned his gaze to the sky. After a while he couldn't contain himself. This time he said with great love and in an extremely pathetic tone, "Chachi, do get some. We will also fly them."

    His innocent plea melted Kaveri's heart. She looked at him unmoved for a while. Then taking a deep breath she told herself, "Had he been my son there would not have been another more fortunate woman than I. The worthless being, what a good-looking child he is and how sweetly he talks. I really feel like lifting him and embracing him."

    Thinking thus she was about to stroke his hair when seeing her silent, Amar spoke, "If you don't get the kites for me, I'll tell uncle and have you beaten."

    Even though this innocent statement of the child had sweetness in it, Kaveri's face became red with anger. She snapped at him, "Go and tell your uncle. Let's see what he can do to me."

    Frightened, Amar moved away from her and again longingly watched the flying kites in the sky.

    Kaveri said to herself, "It is because of his uncle's undue affection that this slip of a boy threatens me. God willing, may lightning fall on him."



    Continued...
     
  6. Ashna

    Ashna Bronze IL'ite

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    Chachi - A short Story Continued...

    Just then a kite was cut loose, and descending from the sky towards the roof, passing over Kaveri's head, drifted down to the terrace. There were four walls all around the roof. Where Kaveri was standing, there was the only door, which led to and from the terrace. Kaveri stood blocking that door. Amar saw the kite fly to the terrace. He ran towards the terrace to catch it. Kaveri stood watching. Amar ran past Kaveri almost brushing her, and standing two feet away watched the kite. The kite having flown over the terrace fell down in the courtyard of the house. Putting a foot on the boundary of the terrace Amar glanced in the courtyard below and seeing the kite fall there he was too overjoyed to contain himself. Swiftly he turned to go down but while turning his foot slipped. He fell but as he was falling down he managed to hold on to the parapet. He climbed on to that and looking towards Kaveri shouted, "Chachi".

    Kaveri saw all this happen with a pounding heart. "It was good, let him die, get rid of him forever," she wished. Thinking thus she stopped a moment and Amar began to lose his grip. Fearfully and beseechingly he looked at Kaveri and shouted, "Oh Chachi!" Kaveri's eyes met Amar's. The imploring look on Amar's face made Kaveri restless with grief. And perturbed, she extended her hand to hold Amar's. When her hand just about reached his, the parapet slipped out of his grip. He fell down. Kaveri let out a shriek and dropped on the terrace.

    Kaveri remained unconscious with fever for a week. Sometimes she would scream, "Here he is falling, rescue him, run, rescue my Amar." At other times, "Amar! My son, I didn't save you. Yes, if I wanted I could have saved you, I delayed," so she babbled on.

    Amar's leg was dislocated and had to be set again. Gradually he regained his normal state.

    After a week Kaveri's fever abated. Regaining her consciousness she enquired, "How is Amar?"

    Kamal replied, "He is well."

    Kaveri said, "Bring him near me."

    Amar was brought to Kaveri. She endearingly held him to her heart. Tears poured out from her eyes in an endless stream, hiccups choked her throat.

    A few days later Kaveri recovered completely. She no longer nursed any malice towards Amar and his sister Gudia. And Amar was now her life. She couldn't bear to be without him even for a moment.
     
  7. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Very emotional story

    Really a good story. I liked it Ashna. It is true that all yearn for a child of their own. But loving other children is also mother's love only. Children who grew up in joint families would love some aunt or uncle more than their own parents, had they been taken care by the uncle and aunt. We feel more affection for the people who loved us when we were children even after we have grown up. In the story, the lady at last found out that loving children without unconditionally will bring joy to the heart.
     
  8. Ashna

    Ashna Bronze IL'ite

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    Chachi

    Hi,

    Yes its true, I come from a joint family some thing like Suraj Barjatya's movie where a family lives together, eats together, shares joy and sorrows.

    This is real story though names changed of a family in our neighbourhood which had great impact on my mind since my childhood days.

    Ashna
     

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