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An emotional family roller coaster

Nuggehalli Pankaja, Jan 5, 2014, DHNS: 19:25 IST
“Fathers, like mothers, are not born; Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” How true! Lakshmi Menon has aptly brought out this famous saying of David Gottesman to strengthen her novel Cherished. The story revolves around a family of two — husband and wife, but it is the daughter Jyoti who adds colour to this novel presented to the readers in fluent expressive language and unambiguous relevant conversations.

Though Jyoti is introduced in the beginning itself, flashback technique is used to unfold the significant events bringing in Grishma and Praveen — the main characters of the novel. Grishma, a fiery independent woman, defies her family to marry the man of her choice. All goes well till an unexpected suspicion crops up turning the tide. Forgetting the principle that mutual trust is the basic ingredient of marriage, Grishma gives vent to emotion.

The inevitable follows — clash of egos, acid words, bitterness in the wake of emotional conflicts. Here, not only the lives of two persons get affected beyond repair, but an innocent baby is also deprived of its father.

The elders too have their responsibility, what with their maturity and experience. As such, Grishma’s father could have asserted himself and stopped her from returning with him. What a gross mistake.

Reactions of her brother and the sister-in-law are typical. Who would like to be saddled with the sister of the husband and her children after she has been given away in marriage? “She has to change her decision and go back to her husband atleast for the sake of her daughter.” She takes her husband to task — “Bringing up a girl child is not an easy jog; how long can we fend for her?”

Long afterwards, when her mother is no more, her words come back to Grishma’s mind — “Girls shouldn’t act so stubborn... It is the question of your life. You won’t realise it now, but by the time you come to realise its effects, it will be too late.”

Unknowingly victimised by all these, the forlorn figure of the teenaged Jyoti pervades through the future chapters fumbling for security, which only a solid family can give, protection from the hazards of life, which only a father’s strong arm can offer.

The way Grishma begins to fill the void in her life, the grit and determination shown in delving the truth, and setting things in the proper perspective, have been etched deftly. The author has shown creditable finesse in dealineating each character, and building up the plot dexterously. Will the estranged couple unite?

Cherished
Lakshmi Menon
Cyberwit.net2013,
pp 146
250

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