Surrogate Love

If you haven’t read the earlier parts of the story, do read

Chapter 1 :

Chapter 2 :

Chapter 3 :

Chapter 4 :

Chapter 5 :

Final Chapter : Until we meet again….

Years flew by. Kumari’s practice grew a lot. Prakash opted for a career change and invested in his own start-up. Parth was studying to become an engineer.In his free time, he accompanied his father and learnt the ropes of business.

On the other hand, Kumar was trying to get into military service. On his twenty second birthday, Kumar threw a small birthday party with his own savings. Just his father, Kumari, Prakash, Parth.

“Madam, I got selected for Air Force training! It’s a dream come true. Ma would have been so proud of me” he called her up one day. “She is, beta, she really is very proud of you”, said Kumari. But Kumar did not know the real emotions behind those words.

He stayed in touch with her throughout the training period and visited occasionally. Kumari was overjoyed as he emerged stronger and wiser through the tough training period. One day, he called up at her home. Prakash answered the call. “How are you doing, Kumar?” “I am doing very well, Sir. I called to tell you that I am being deployed on border. I must leave today. I called up to seek your blessings…” Prakash told this good news to Kumari. Kumari felt as if her heart would burst with pride, but she was also greatly concerned for his safety and well-being. “Krushna, please take care of Kumar.” She prayed sincerely.

Prakash smiled. “Why are you bothering Krushna? Kumar is a very brave and capable boy; he can take care of himself. Not only himself, he is going to take care of all his fellow citizens. You should be happy and proud today. Let go of your constant worries, dear”.

“You men will never understand how a mother’s heart will always worry, no matter how old the child gets”, Kumari went to the kitchen. Prakash did not know the meaning of those words. He simply admired how maternal affection was all-encompassing. 

Kumari’s fears, though, were not unfounded. A few weeks later, the terrible news flashed, “Kumar Sushant Joshi of Maharashtra has been gravely injured in a plane crash today morning on the border…”. Kumari broke down and wept like never before. “My child…my child… my Kumar” she sobbed, clutching his photo to her bosom. “Take me to him, Prakash, take me to my child. Let me hold him to my bosom, like I did years ago…”Prakash was flabbergasted. He couldn’t understand what she was saying. “Years ago? What are you saying?”

“I am his mother. I gave birth to him. I fed him my milk. Kumar is my first child. I was a surrogate mother. I left him on his first birthday” Kumari wept. She kept looking at setting sun; She sobbed continuously.

Prakash was too shocked to react coherently. “I beg of you, Prakash, please take me to him. One last time, let me see him, let me touch him”, Kumari said. Prakash nodded. They called up Sushant immediately, who gave them the hospital address.

Sushant was standing in the hospital corridor, weeping. He was accompanied by Kumar’s fellow soldiers and some of his superiors. Doctors had successfully revived Kumar, but since he had suffered very serious injuries, chances of recovery were close to nil. Kumari reached the hospital. She asked all those she met, “Where is my Kumar?” They guided her to his room.

She saw Sushant standing outside the room. “Let me in. Let me see him” she begged to him. Kumar’s fellow soldiers tried to reason with her. “Madam, he is barely conscious. Please wait for sometime until he gains consciousness. Then we can be allowed to meet him”. But Kumari, teary-eyed, begged them to allow her in. The doctors knew that Kumar would not be able to hang on to life much longer. In such a circumstance, it was only humane to allow his family some final moments with him. The doctors asked Kumari, “Madam, what is your relation with the patient?”

“I am his mother” she said, simply.

The doctors looked at Sushant, who nodded. Then they allowed her in. Prakash and Sushant were also allowed to accompany for a short while.

“Kumar, open your eyes. See who has come to meet you” said Sushant, his voice trembling with grief. Kumar was barely conscious. Kumari wiped her tears, calmed herself and gently sat by his bedside. She placed her palm softly on his forehead. He had sustained many grave injuries. Kumari couldn’t bear to look at the bandages which were wrapped on him almost head to toe.

“Beta, open your eyes” she said in a soft voice. In her heart, she knew that this was the last time that she would see him alive. But she felt strangely at peace, as if Krushna Himself had come to take her son with him, to the land of the brave.

On hearing her voice, Kumar opened his eyes with great effort. He seemed to have reserved his life breath just for her. He looked into her eyes, “Nainam Chindanti…” he tried to say. Fresh tears sprang into her eyes. Even in his final moments, even in this great pain, he was only concerned about her grief. He was trying to recitethe 23rd shlok of the second adhyaay of the Bhagwad Geeta. It said, “The soul is immortal. It cannot be pierced by the weapons, nor burnt by the fire. Neither can it get wet in water, nor can be blown by the wind.” In other words, weapons could only destroy the mortal body, not the immortal soul. Even the cremation would only turn his body to ashes, his soul would be unharmed. He was trying to convince her to remember him for his valour and glory, not how hurt he was on the battlefield.

He smiled for one final time, “Madam, you came, Ma…”. His eyes closed and his heart stopped beating, but the smile remained. For a long time, Kumari only held on him, caressing his face repeatedly. Finally, his body had to be carried away for his final rites. He was given a funeral as is fit for a martyr. Even though it was Kumar’s body that was wrapped in the tricolour and cremated, Kumari felt as if her own heart was being snatched away from her forever.

Surrogate Love

if you haven’t read earlier parts of the story , do read

Chapter 1 :

Chapter 2 :

Chapter 3 :

Chapter 4 :

Chapter 5: Welcome to family

“Madam, you wouldn’t believe what happened yesterday!” Kumar narrated the entire incident to her in detail. “Dad came home early. He was crying. I didn’t know he could cry. He told me how much he loves me, how much he loved my mother. Then we both cried. He hugged me. Yesterday I realised that he is not really the cruel monster I thought he is.”

“You never expected that, did you?” Kumari pretended to know nothing about it. “Did you tell him everything that’s on your mind?”

“No madam, not yet. Yesterday we kept talking about Ma. He told me stories of the fun they had together, just like Ma used to tell me.”

“That’s nice. See, every coin has two sides. Now you realise.” Kumari smiled.

“Yes, madam, you were right, as always. He has even accompanied me for the session today!” Kumar said enthusiastically.

Kumari was surprised. She had not expected this, but she was very happy. “So, Kumar, would you like to call him in?” she asked.

Sushant’s nervousness was quite obvious, but his eyes conveyed the gratitude that he felt. Kumari acknowledged the gratitude silently. They talked quite formally about Sushant’s business. After a while, Sushant said “Madam, I have a request.”

“Yes, say”

“Madam, it is obvious to me that Kumar has become very attached to you. He says you are like his ‘Ma’. Thanks to you, he has shown such great progress in a very short period of time. As you are well aware, he has his entrance exams are coming up in a few months. I know it is bold of me to ask you thus, but would you please allow him to stay over at your home occasionally? It would really cheer him up”, Sushant said awkwardly.

Kumari was surprised. “Sush- Mr. Joshi, I am sure you understand that it would be a major breach of professional ethics”.

“An occasional visit, then?” Kumar was disappointed, but would not give up.

“Kumar, if that is what you want, then maybe we can discontinue the treatment and I can refer you to another psychologist for further treatment. Then you can visit me anytime you please, without me having to compromise on my professionalism”, Kumari said. After all, she herself was much tempted to agree to her son’s request, but it was as if Krushna had given her a warning. “Ethics is nothing but your Dharma. Dharma, as you know, is above all relations and personal affections”. She was also worried about what Prakash would feel about this arrangement. Though he was pretty broad minded, he would not easily accept an intrusion into the family space. “After all, Kumar is a stranger to him”, she thought with sorrow. “Nor can I tell him the truth”.

“No madam, I don’t want to discontinue my treatment with you. You are the only one who got me out of my depression; you are the only one I can trust”. Kumar was very sad. Sushant tried to console his son.

“Maybe you can join me for some snacks on Sunday evenings, here at the clinic. An hour a week. But promise me that you will study hard for your exams” Kumari finally said.

“Yes madam. Thank you so much!!!” Kumar was happy. Sushant and Kumar left.

But Kumari was left to wonder, “What would be the repercussions of this? I should have asked Prakash first. I don’t want him to be upset. Maybe Parth would not appreciate this either. How can I hurt one son to please the other? I should have thought about my decision at least for a day before committing. But Krushna, I couldn’t resist. After all, I am Kumar’s mother, and mother’s love is above all, isn’t it? An hour a week of informal talk, here at the clinic, is not going to breach my professional ethics, is it? Also, I am sure Prakash and Parth are mature enough to understand…” But all her justifications couldn’t bring her peace of mind.

Unknowingly, she was massaging her temples. At that time, Madhura peeped in. “Madam, should I send in the next patient?” she asked. Then she saw that Kumari was not looking well. “Madam, do you need some paracetamol? You don’t look well. Do you want to go home? Should I cancel the appointments? Should I call Prakash sir?”

Kumari smiled at her kind assistant, who as aptly named Madhura. “Madhura, don’t be silly. Its just a minor headache. Just a tablet of paracetamol, along with your ginger tea, would set me right.”

“Bringing it right up!” Kumari just loved Madhura’s ginger tea, and Madhura was always happy to make it for her.

When Kumari went home, she decided to talk to Prakash and Parth. But she sad when both of them reacted negatively; she had been hoping against hope that they would enthusiastically agree to her wishes.

“Honey, that boy Kumar is just your patient”, Prakash said. “I understand he is a boy in need but that doesn’t mean you compromise on your professionalism. You shouldn’t have made this commitment. I don’t know what is so special about this boy that you have gotten so attached to him. You have treated more complicated cases than this one, haven’t you? Treat him like a patient, dear. Don’t get attached.”

Parth said, “Ma, didn’t you always say that Sundays are only for the family? You never allowed me to miss out on even one family dinner. Why are you breaking the rule? Why should we spend our Sunday evenings with this Kumar?”. He was displeased with her.

Kumari’s heart was weeping. How could she tell them that she was getting attached because he was indeed family? That night, she cried herself to sleep.

The next morning, at breakfast, Prakash said to her, “Honey, please don’t be sad. I just want you to know that we both are not happy with your decision. Maybe we can make some compromises on both sides”. Parth also came over. His tone was also kinder now. “Ma, I am sorry that I lashed out yesterday. But our family time is too precious to be shared with anyone else”.

Kumari said quietly, still sorrowful, “So what do you think I should do?”

Prakash said, “Why don’t you ask him to come over to the clinic on Saturday evenings? That way, we will have the Sunday to ourselves and you will also be able to keep your promise”.

Kumari just nodded in agreement and left for the clinic. She texted Kumar, “Why don’t we meet on Saturdays, instead of Sundays?”

“Cool with me, madam!” he texted back immediately.

“Why are you on your phone? Focus on your studies!” she couldn’t resist replying. He just replied with a smiley and a photo of his notes, indicating that he was studying. Kumari smiled a tiny smile.

Then she bowed to Krushna, still sorrowful, “Madhav, I don’t understand what is happening in my life. I know I chose to be a surrogate, but I never expected these consequences. At that time, I thought I was being very practical and doing it just for the money. I thought, “It’s not my own child. I wouldn’t be so attached”. I thought of it like playing with a kid in a park. I thought that I would calmly hand over the child to its mother as soon as it was over. The day I actually had to hand him over to Sunidhi, I was shattered. Today even after all these years I cannot let go of my attachment to him. It is becoming impossible for me to maintain professional detachment. My son also knows, subconsciously, that I am his mother. See how he is drawn to me. He feels safe and happy with me. But Prakash and Parth are not happy. I cannot hold my elder son to my bosom and shower him with my unconditional love. I feel like Queen Kunti, who knew the truth about Karna but couldn’t breathe a word of it. I feel so suffocated, Keshav. Help me please!”.

The first Saturday they met, Kumari took a review of his studies. “You’re weak at Maths”, she noted. “Yes, madam, I don’t like the subject.”

“Don’t worry, Prakash can help you out” she said out of habit, then bit her tongue. “I mean… my husband… he likes maths. That was his favourite subject in college.” She tried to avoid further discussion.

“Oh nice!” Kumar said. 

That day, Kumari had ordered some sandwiches and coffee. They talked about their favourite movies and trivia like that. Both of them noted down each other’s likings in their mind.

That night, Kumari was happy to have talked to Kumar, but sad that Prakash and Parth didn’t enquire how her day was. They still seemed to be upset about her decision. She tried to put it out of her mind.

The next day, she thought, “Maybe once they meet Kumar then the relations will thaw out a bit”. But she decided not to hurry about it. The next Saturday, she insisted that Prakash come over to pick her up. She didn’t mention Kumar. She just said, “Come over after your office. Let’s go for a dinner date. I’ll make the reservations”. Prakash agreed happily. He left his office at 5 pm and reached the clinic by 6 pm. Still in the car, he honked. “Come on Kumari” he shouted. “I am not done yet. Come up” she said. Grumping about unnecessary delays on date nights, he parked the car and entered the clinic. Kumari handed him a cup of coffee. Madhura had not left yet. They all chatted for a while, when Kumar came in. Prakash pursed his lips but didn’t say anything.

“Hello, Sir. I am Kumar Joshi”, Kumar smiled and approached for a handshake.

“Hi, Kumar” Prakash reciprocated reluctantly.

“Kumar, come over. Sit down” Kumari invited him in the reception area.

“Prakash, would you like to eat something?” Kumari asked. “A sandwich maybe?”

Prakash looked at his watch meaningfully. “Sandwich, now? Dinner will be due shortly”.

“Dinner reservation is at 9” Kumari said calmly.

“Oooh, date night…!” Madhura teased them. Kumari blushed. Prakash also smiled a little. “What to do? Your madam is so busy these days!”

“Next time, Madhura, please make me some ginger tea!” Prakash said, as Madhura packed up. “Whenever you come next, Sir” she smiled and left.

Prakash said, “I am tired. I’ll just rest in your office”. “Sure” smiled Kumari. But she noticed that he didn’t close the door fully. Apparently, he was curious.

“Water?” she handed Kumar a glass of water.

“Thanks!” he said and gulped the water down.

“What does sir do?” he was curious.

“God knows” Kumari giggled involuntarily. “Ask him later” she said. Kumar also laughed.

 “So, did you read the book I gave you?” Kumari had given him her copy of a famous self-help book by Robin Sharma, ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’.

“Yes! It’s amazing!” Kumar was very excited. “It has so many techniques that I can start using immediately!”

“Absolutely, that’s the beauty of that book” Kumari agreed. They discussed the techniques in detail and how Kumar could start incorporating some of those in his daily schedule.

An hour later, Kumari knocked on the office door. “Prakash, shall we make a move?” she asked. Prakash had dozed off, as the book discussions were boring for him. He came out of the office, expecting that Kumar would have left. He was a little surprised to see that Kumar was still waiting. “He wants to know about your work” Kumari justified his presence.

Prakash explained in brief the kind of work he did. Kumar smiled, “Thank you so much Sir. See you later, madam” he said and left. Sushant had come to pick him up.

Kumari didn’t say a word about Kumar that night. She just enjoyed the date with Prakash, discussing his dream of a start-up.

Two sessions later, Kumari gave some errand to Parth so that he would have to come to the clinic at the time when Kumar was present. She introduced them both, “Kumar, this is my son Parth. Parth, this is Kumar Joshi.”

“Hello Kumar Da” Parth greeted him warmly. They shook hands like grown up men, which made Kumari smile. They discussed the entrance exam scenarios and some common hobbies. They found out that they both liked to play badminton.

“Why don’t you sign up for a game together?” Kumari suggested. “Parth is getting lazy anyway” she smiled mischievously. “Kumar, it’ll cheer you up a bit”.

“Sure, madam, why not?” Kumar was enthusiastic. Kumari could sense that Parth was not really keen, but he was too polite to reject her suggestion in front of others. Parth had sensed that his mother really did care for this Kumar Desai, though he didn’t know why. He was slightly jealous, but mostly curious. He also regretted his initial outburst, so he decided to cooperate with his mother.

“Next Saturday evening, then, Kumar Da? 6 pm?” Parth asked.

“Yes sure, Parth. I’ll book the court for an hour” Kumar replied.

That Saturday evening, Prakash and Kumari enjoyed a short date at home. Prakash was very happy. Unknowingly, his animosity towards Kumar began to lessen.

When Parth came back home, he was tired but happy. “Kumar Da is really good at the game! We had a good time together” he said.

In some sessions, Kumari discussed certain important shlokas from Bhagwad Geeta with Kumar. They both were staunch devotees of Lord Krushna. It seemed as with Lord Krushna Himself had placed His healing hand on them as Kumar’s grief was transformed into wisdom. Sure, his eyes still teared up when he talked about Sunidhi, but now he also had an occasional smile on his face. He did not know why Sunidhi suffered the way she did, but he now felt that she was safe with Lord Krushna, beyond pain and sorrow. That belief gave him fortitude to bear his grief.

On his last session, Kumari prepared the special kheer taught to her by Sunidhi. But she could not reveal that secret. As Kumar tasted the first spoonful of that kheer, his eyes were filled with tears. He touched Kumari’s feet and said, “I was often angry at Lord Krushna for taking my mother away from me. But now he has brought me to you, who is just like my Ma- loving, generous and kind. Even the kheer that you prepared today is exactly like hers”.

Kumari wiped his tears and said to him softly, “When motherly love is the secret ingredient, all food tastes divine. Even I am grateful to Lord Krushna for bringing you to me. Now I have two sons- Parth and Kumar”.

Surrogate Love

If you haven’t read the earlier parts of the story, do read

Chapter 1:

Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Chapter 4: Stalker?..

Kumar had sent her a friend request on Facebook. It was Parth who saw it, when he was playing games on her phone. “Ma, who is this Kumar Joshi? He has sent you a friend request. Should I accept?” Parth always asked her permission before doing anything on her phone.

“I’ll check it later. Parth, shouldn’t you be sleeping now? Come on, its 10 pm already.” She feigned disinterest.

“Kumar, huh?” Prakash teased her that night. Prakash was easy-going and mature; he was also used to his wife receiving ‘friend requests’ from her clients. He was confident of her professionalism and her fidelity, so he was never jealous. But he was very mischievous and loved to tease her about it.

Kumari felt a strange sorrow in her heart when she heard Prakash utter her child’s name, because for Prakash, Kumar was only her ‘client’, a stranger. But she was terrified of revealing the truth she had held so close to her heart.

“You have been stalking that boy for hours now!” Prakash had sneaked up on her as she sprawled over the sofa, mobile in her hand. “Cast your pretty eyes on this miserable fool… the fool who is desperate for your affection!” he really was a dramatic and romantic idiot. He tickled her and she giggled.

The sessions with Kumar continued. He had begun to show good improvement, when Sushant insisted on moving out of their home into a rented one. Sushant said he wanted to renovate their flat before Diwali. “The roof is leaking and the bathroom needs repairs…” he gave some flimsy reasons. Kumar was livid beyond all reasoning. “Her ashes haven’t cooled and he wants to wipe off all her memories already! I wonder if my Diwali ‘gift’ is going to be a step-mother.”

All of Kumar’s previous improvements were washed off in one stroke. Kumari was distressed by Sushant’s behaviour. She decided to pay him a visit.

She took an appointment at his office using her husband’s name. Sushant didn’t recognise her initially, but when she introduced herself, he greeted her warmly. “I didn’t know you were still in town. I expected this guy Prakash, but what a pleasant surprise you gave! You should have visited us at home. Sunidhi would have been thrilled…” but then his throat choked with grief.

“She passed away last year… breast cancer… snatched her away… one painful breath at a time…” he had tears in his eyes now.

Kumari didn’t say a word. She let him compose himself. “Anyway, why did you come to the office? Let me call it a day. Let me introduce you to Kumar, professionally of course… what do you do these days?”

“Do you really give a damn about your son’s emotions, Mr. Joshi?” Kumari lashed at him. “Kumari, mind your tongue!” Mr. Joshi grew equally furious. “Who are you to question me like this?”

“Kumar’s mother, don’t you know?” the sarcasm was leaden with cold fury.

Sushant’s face grew pale and he stumbled into his chair. “How do you know everything?” he asked. Kumari did not reply.

“Sit down” Sushant said finally. “Kumari, I give too much of a ‘damn’ about my son’s emotions, I always have. But I don’t know how to handle it all.” Sushant’s eyes filled with tears.

Kumari sat down. “I am not the cruel monster that he thinks I am. I just want to keep him safe, protect him from the grief…” Sushant continued to sob. “He has his entrance exam this year… how can he focus in that house where we have all the precious memories of Sunidhi… he needs to move on now… if he sees me crying and grieving, how will he feel?”

“You need to talk to him, Mr. Joshi, about everything. He may not understand everything just now, but at least he is old enough to realise that you love him and that you have his best interests at heart.”

Sushant nodded. “Don’t tell him we met” said Kumari. Then she left.

Surrogate Love

If you haven’t read the earlier parts of the story, do read

Part 1:

Part 2:

Chapter 3: Blame game

“What’s that burning smell?” Prakash ran to the stove and switched it off. “Darling, the milk is burnt crisp!” But she was lost in her own thoughts as she looked out of her sea facing balcony. Her thoughts were as gloomy as the monsoon sky at twilight. Prakash quietly switched on the exhaust and cleaned the mess.

“Ma, I am home!” Parth came running to her and hugged her.

“Beta, wash your hands and feet first” she said in mock anger, but secretly glad that her son still hugged her. Soon he would grow older. Then he might not want to give her a tight hug so often.

“Daddy!” He hugged his father. “Off we go to the bathroom!” saying so Prakash pushed his son into the bathroom. Parth was in his mid teenage, but he loved being pampered like a child in the privacy of his home.

As she smiled at their mischief, she couldn’t help thinking about a father-son duo with a very different relationship. Kumar and Sushant.

Even during dinner, she was lost in her own thoughts. Prakash and Parth were wise enough to let her be. They knew that sometimes she couldn’t maintain strict professionalism and that her patient’s troubles gave her grief. Especially when the patient was very young or old. In such cases, she often needed a few days to recover.

Kumari, though, was barely herself. She often cried when she was alone. She had nightmares that Kumar had jumped from the balcony or that he had sliced his hand with a sharp knife. Even when she woke up screaming, she had to lie to her husband, saying, “I had a bad dream about Parth”.

Meanwhile, her sessions with Kumar continued. She diagnosed him with borderline anxiety and depression, and referred him to a psychiatrist for medication. Also, she signed him up for weekly counselling session. At first, she was hesitant to treat him, since she knew that maintaining a professional relationship was almost impossible. But he pleaded that she alone treat him, and she agreed. He seemed to be very eager to accept her help and advice. He really wanted to get well soon.

He opened up about his troubled relationship with his father, and the grief of losing his mother. “He is always busy. Busy with his clients and his meetings. He just doesn’t care about us. All he cares about is his professional success, his money, his status. He didn’t deserve my Ma and her selfless love. I don’t love him one bit. Ma was the only one who understood me. She is the only one who ever truly cared.She took care of me even when she was ill. But he couldn’t tolerate that either. He sent me away to his brother’s place. All he said was, ‘Focus on your studies, you have your boards this year’. He is not a father but a monster.”

Kumar’s grief and ignorance made him think of his father as a monster. Though Kumari knew there are always two sides to the same coin, she also felt anger towards Sushant. She thought, “I should have enquired about Sushant in detail before signing the contract. But I was taken in by Sunidhi’s kindness and her grief. Today because of my thoughtlessness, my Kumar is suffering.”

That day, Kumar’s appointment was due at noon. At the last appointment, Kumar had mentioned that he missed Sunidhi’s special ‘kheer’. Kumar, obviously, had no clue that Sunidhi had taught Kumari her secret recipe years ago, and that Kumari loved that kheer too. Kumari thought of surprising him with it, without revealing the secret.

“Ma, I don’t like kheer. You make it too sweet” Parth complained. “Shut up and eat your food” Kumari brooked no arguments when it came to food.

Prakash didn’t like kheer either. “Honey, you know all that sugar is bad for health” he tried to reason with her. “You don’t have to eat it, Prakash, but neither is there any need for complaint.” Kumari bristled when anyone complained about food. Her anger stemmed from her childhood at the orphanage, where food was always bland and limited in quantity.

“Yeah, okay, so you are going to eat all that kheer by yourself?” Prakash raised an eyebrow. “Madhura likes it” she lied.She packed all the kheer and took the tiffin to the clinic.

“Madam, that boy Kumar has cancelled his appointment. We have another walk-in instead. A middle-aged lady…” Madhura was informing her.

“Kumar cancelled?” Kumari was shocked. “Did he call?”

“No, he dropped a message on your office number”

“Did he give any reason? Did he request a reschedule?”

“No madam, neither” Madhura replied.

“Show me the message, will you?” Kumari said. Despite her calm exterior, she was imagining the worst. ‘What if he has gotten into an argument with Sushant? What if Sushant had prevented him from coming? What if Kumar took a reckless step… Why did he not call me up personally?’ She began to panic.

“Here. It reads ‘Sorry madam I cannot come’” Madhura read out the message to her.

“He has not even signed his name! Thank God you save all the contact numbers. Give me the phone, let me talk to him once.”

Kumari chewed her nails anxiously until she heard his soft ‘hello’.

“Kumar, beta, where are you? Why did you cancel the appointment?” Kumari’s voice was a pitch higher than usual. “Madam, I am so sorry. I had an important assignment…” Kumari relaxed a bit. “That’s all, right?” “Yes madam, I will come again next week. By that time, I will be done with my class test as well.”

“So, now you are finding it easier to study?” “Yes madam, much better than before. The medicines are also helping a lot. But talking to you always soothes me” he always spoke his heart out to her without reservation. “Good. Study well. Call me on my number if you need anything, okay? Take care. See you next week.”

She again prayed to Krushna most sincerely before she focused her attention on the next client. She then took the kheer and some more snacks for the children of the orphanage she grew up in. Their happy faces always gave her immense satisfaction.

Surrogate Love

If you haven’t read the earlier part of the story, do read:

Chapter 2 : New life..?

After leaving Kumar with his biological parents,Kumari started her own practice as a psychologist. Eventually, she got married to Prakash and had a son Parth. Years passed. Parth was now 15 years old.

“Madam, there is a new patient today. A walk-in. Boy, 20 years old. Should I send him in?” Madhura, Kumari’s receptionist asked her. “Yes, send him in” Kumari said.

“Help me Krushna” she prayed before every patient entered. The ritual kept her grounded, impersonal and patient. The idol of the dark-skinned God, with his gentle smile and his flute, never failed to reassure her, “I am here for you”.

“Madam, this is the file” Madhura handed over a crisp new file to her to write her notes and prescriptions. The name of the patient was ‘Kumar’.

Kumari’s heart skipped a beat. “Kumar, my baby?” she thought. It was all a long time ago, but mother’s love never ages, never fades. “Could it be my Kumar? He would have turned 20 now. Krushna, you promised to look after him!”

There was a nervous knock on the door. Kumari took a moment to let her heart settle. She had to be grounded and impersonal, like her profession demanded of her. “Come in” she said. “Good morning madam”, said the boy softly. He was tall, lean and fair, with striking black eyes that look wise beyond the years. His nervousness was obvious, along with a guilty look on his face, as if he made a mistake coming in here. “Sit down” Kumari said. “Thank you, madam” he said in the same soft voice.

“Have you filled the form?” Kumari asked. “Yes, madam” he said and handed over the form to her. Kumari was impressed by his articulate handwriting, but concerned with the prominent left tilt in it. That was her first impression of him. Then she saw the name written on the form- ‘Kumar S. Joshi’.

She was taken aback. Her baby, her Kumar, whom she had left giggling in Sunidhi’s arms, had come to her for help? “No, no it can’t be” she thought to herself. She looked at him again. Fair and black eyed, just as she remembered him. But she wouldn’t let her heart believe. With a slight lump in her throat, but trying to be casual, she asked, “What are your parents’ names?”

He hesitated for a while. “Mr. Sushant Joshi and Mrs. Sunidhi Joshi”, he said finally, nervous. “But madam I beg of you, please don’t tell him that I am here. Please. He will be very angry with me…” His words were a blur now. Her heart was beating too fast. There could be no two boys of the same name, age and physical appearance in the same city. It was her own Kumar who was begging her for help.

She couldn’t contain her emotions. Faking a cough, she covered her face with a tissue and ran into the bathroom. For a moment she felt like sobbing her heart out then and there. “Krushna, what is happening? Help me Krushna, help me!” her heart cried. She felt like running back into the room and holding her son to her bosom, never to let go again. His palpable nervousness was like a stab to her heart. “What on earth has befallen my dear child, that he should suffer thus?” her motherly love cried out.

But within a few moments, she came to her senses. She was being extremely unprofessional at the moment. She couldn’t break down like this, no matter what the situation was. Her strong work ethic pushed her into wiping her tears, washing her face and getting back into her chair with an impenetrable mask of professionalism.

“Please excuse me” she said. “No problem madam” he said kindly. “If you are unwell, madam, I can come in later” he said with genuine concern.

In spite of the obvious grief and confusion she felt, even through the mask of her professionalism, she also felt a jolt of motherly pride. “My boy is so wise even at this young age!” she thought.

“Ahem. No please. Stay. I am fine. Don’t worry” she said. She took a moment to settle in her chair and to reopen the file.

“Tell me, Kumar” her voice trembled slightly as she spoke, yet she continued, “what brings you here?”

“Madam, first would you please promise me that you wouldn’t call up my dad? He would be very angry with me if he found out. I wouldn’t be able to face him. Madam, please keep my visit a secret” he was very nervous.

Suppressing the pangs of motherly affection in her heart, she said, “Kumar, please don’t worry. I am bound by my work ethic that guarantees professional secrecy. No one needs to know that you have come here, unless you wish to tell them yourself.”

He heaved a visible sigh of relief.

“But tell me, Kumar, have you come here all alone? Where is your mother? Or maybe you have a friend to confide in?”

When she mentioned his mother, he was visibly upset. “My Ma passed away due to metastatic breast cancer”, he said. “When?”, she asked. “A year ago”, he replied.

Kumari could feel her own tears threatening to spill over. How could a mother not cry when her son did? She only looked at Krushna and his unwavering smile. He was her only hope at the moment. But even the words ‘my Ma’ pierced her heart. “I am his mother. I gave him birth. I fed him my milk…” she thought.

“I am so sorry, Kumar” she said, trying to be professional. “Is that the cause of your present grief?” she asked, after his tears had somewhat subsided. “I don’t know madam. Since her illness began, I always felt sad, and scared. Scared of losing her. Scared of making her unhappy. She wanted me to study hard. I always tried to score the highest. I worked hard even for mathematics, which I don’t like. But then she died” he started crying again.

“Kumar, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I am so glad you came. You are a wise boy”.

“Thank you, madam” he said softly again, with the hint of a tender smile on his face. 

Kumari could only hand him a tissue for him to wipe his tears, even when all she wanted was to wipe his grief away with her own ‘pallu’. He continued, “Since then, madam, it has become impossible for me to focus on studies. I just cannot concentrate. I am finally attempting my boards this year, after a two year gap. I dont want to fail. I want to make my Ma proud”.

“Have you consulted anyone for your symptoms?” Kumari asked. “Only google”, said Kumar sheepishly.

“Google is not a doctor, Kumar. Now on, please don’t let Google substitute a professional opinion.” said Kumari.

“Yes madam. But madam, will I ever be happy again? Madam I want to study very hard. I want to score very high marks and make my Ma proud of me. I want to be a soldier, just like she wanted me to be!” he said.

“I will do my best, Kumar. I will do everything I can”, Kumari said.

“Madam, I feel very good now, after talking to you. Thank you so much” he said, with a genuine smile on his face. “That’s my duty” Kumari smiled too. She then took his detailed history and his personal information and administered a battery of tests designed to identify the disorder and its severity. After that, she asked him to come after two days.

She said, “There is no need to suffer in silence. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I am here for you, beta, whenever you need me”, she struggled to contain her trembling voice.

“Thank you so much madam. You are just like my Ma, so caring. I am so glad I met you.” Kumar’s face had lit up. Kumari could only smile. Kumar stood to leave. Just as he was about to close the door after him, she suddenly called him back, “Beta, you live in Churchgate, don’t you?”

“Yes ma’am”

“Then why did you come here in Bandra, so far away?” Then she struggled to mask her concern, “I mean, it will be a little far from home for you…”

“Because ma’am, your name is very similar to mine. It’s a coincidence, isn’t it? When I read your name, I felt like I could connect to you, like you could help me out… I am so glad I met you. When I saw your kind face and Krushna’s idol, I knew I had come to the right person.”

That night, Kumari was tormented with grief and confusion, but Kumar slept soundly for the first time since Sunidhi’s death.

Surrogate Love

The story is a fictional one, bearing no resemblance to people dead or alive. The story reflects the circumstances before commercial surrogacy was regulated and banned.

The relation of a mother and her child is the most natural and pure form of love. The mother feeds the child and cares for it and at times protects it even at the cost of her own life.
But who is exactly is a mother? The one who gives birth and feeds the infant, or the one who takes care of it as it grows up?
Surrogate mother is a woman who nourishes the foetus with her blood, but the foetus does not contain her genome.
Here is a love story of a surrogate mother and her son.

Chapter 1 : Birth

Kumari was sleeping peacefully. Sunidhi woke her up gently. “Kumari, the appointment is at 5 pm. Come on, get ready!” Kumari let out a huge yawn and then got up to get ready for the doctor’s appointment. “Are we good to go? Do you need anything?” Sunidhi asked. Kumari smiled, “You worry too much Didi. Now come on we need to catch the train!”. “Don’t be silly. I told you a hundred times already; we are going by cab, and no, I won’t hear a single argument. Now come on. Have you taken your case papers? Water bottle?” Sunidhi was very particular. Kumari could only smile and admire the way Sunidhi was caring for her. “The journey to ‘our’ baby is beautiful”, she thought.

It all began a few months ago, when Sunidhi sought professional help for depression. At that time, Kumari was interning at that clinic. She was a psychology graduate seeking hands-on experience. She had been observing Sunidhi’s case closely. The main reason for Sunidhi’s depression was her childlessness. Due to medical complications, she was advised the option of surrogacy. They were desperate for a child. The elders in the family had a rigid mindset against adoption, so Sunidhi was considering the option of surrogacy. She asked her sister and a few of her trusted friends, but none of them were able to help Sunidhi in this situation.

At that time, Kumari was just turning 21. She was an orphan and lived in the orphanage. As per the policy of the orphanage, children who turned 18 had to make their own living arrangements, but Kumari took up a desk job at the office of that orphanage and was allowed to stay there until she graduated. Due to her fierce determination to succeed and with the support of a kind matron at the orphanage, Kumari graduated with flying colours. She wanted to specialise in child psychology, but she needed money for further education. So, she decided to be a surrogate for Sunidhi.

Of course, looking at Kumari’s tender age, Sunidhi and even the psychologist of the clinic tried advising her against the option of surrogacy. They asked her to consider the long-lasting social repercussions. “It would be very difficult to find a good husband later. You have your whole life before you, think about that”, Sunidhi warned. “Kumari, you are hardly 20 years old. You shouldn’t be considering the option at such a tender age. The psychosomatic repercussions of this are long-lasting. Please consider all this before you decide.” Kumari gave due consideration to all these aspects but was determined to proceed with surrogacy.

Sunidhi then moved Kumari to an extra flat that she owned and told her to stay as long as she wanted to. They discussed the commercial aspect of surrogacy, like custody and the monetary compensation involved. Then they approached an IVF clinic and in two attempts, Kumari got pregnant. Sunidhi arranged for a small party of close friends and relatives to celebrate the good news.

Sunidhi took it upon herself to take excellent care of Kumari. She often began to stay over with Kumari, feeding her healthy foods and looking after her medications. She took care of Kumari when she felt nauseated. She also insisted that Kumari register for a short six- month diploma course of child psychology. Sunidhi was very religious and often felt like reciting stotras and mantras for the well-being of the child, but hesitated to ask Kumari as she was not a religious person. One day, however, when Kumari was telling Sunidhi the effect of positive affirmations on the development of the child, Sunidhi asked her. Due to her difficult childhood, Kumari believed that hard work and persistence was the only way to success. She did not really believe in worship of God. But she also knew that positive affirmations had a very strong effect on the development of the foetus, so she agreed.

Sunidhi recited many melodious stotras in the early morning hours and in the twilight hours. And then at night, Sunidhi told stories of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna. “Ram and Krishna are the best of men and listening to their stories will make our child virtuous and brave” she said. “This ritual is called garbhasanskaar. It is highly recommended for the all-round development of the child”

Since Kumari had voluntarily given up all use of technology, including her mobile phone and television, she looked forward to Sunidhi’s entertaining stories every night. She was fascinated by Krushna Leela and inspired by Ram Leela. When she understood the message of Bhagwad Geeta, she realised that she had been losing out on the most precious gems of knowledge. She began worshipping Krushna as her Guru, because he had revealed the workings of the human mind with such clarity and precision as no other psychologist ever could. She was now determined to learn and chant the whole Bhagwad Geeta. She made it a ritual to chant one ‘adhyaay’ every evening.

After seven months of pregnancy, Sunidhi arranged for a grand baby shower for Kumari. Sunidhi’s friends and family showered their love on Kumari and gave her many gifts. Just as nine months were completed, she delivered a healthy baby boy.Everyone was ecstatic.

As per their understanding, Kumari was supposed to hand over the baby to Sunidhi. She was trembling with grief, “I only have one request. Please name him ‘Kumar’. He may never know why his name was Kumar, but I will. It will always bond us together.” Kumari was now free to proceed with her life. But Sunidhi understood that the love between a mother and child cannot be governed or controlled by legal contracts. So, she insisted that Kumari breastfeed the infant for at least a year. Kumari stayed on. She rejoiced when her son wobbled his way into his first steps, how he came running into her arms, and how he called her “Kumari Ma”.

At last, after Kumar’s first birthday, she chose to leave. It was the most difficult decision of her life. She was grateful of how Sunidhi always treated her kindly and took care of her. She refused to accept monetary compensation for surrogacy. When Sunidhi and her husband insisted, she said, “I agreed to be a surrogate for the money but I had failed to realise how intimate the relation between a child and the mother is. Today, looking back upon all the beautiful memories of Kumar and the time I spent with you, I realise that I have a treasure trove already. I can earn for myself, but these happy times are what I hold most dear. Please fund Kumar’s education using the money that was due to me. In doing so you will fulfil my heart’s desire”.

As she closed the door behind her, she wondered whether she could ever again get a chance to be a part of her son’s life, or was that door closed to her forever.

What “Completes a love story?”


Today’s post is an imaginary conversation between Sadashivrao and Parvatibai, and how their tender and chaste love binds them together forever.

Parvatibai sat on the couch, sobbing. Sadashivrao entered their room with a rose in his hand. He went near her and held her with his hands. But when he saw her crying,his mood totally changed. He gently wiped her tears with his hands and asked her, “What happened sakhi? Why are you so disturbed? Everyone is happy today but you are crying! What happened?” Parvatibai continued to sob. “Did Gopika vahini say something?” he grew agitated now. 
Looking at Sadashivrao’s disturbed face, Parvatibai wpied her tears and said, “Nothing much Swami. Today Lakshmibai gave us good news and I am happy for her and the Peshwa family. But…” “But?? Parvati will you please tell what happened. Why do you always fight such battles on your own? I am here for you. You can always share with me, can’t you?” Parvatibai lowered her eyes and said, ” I am happy for the family, but why can’t I give this good news to you and to everyone? You had a son until destiny snatched him away, and I never even got pregnant. I love you so much but I can’t make you happy. Even my daughter-in-law, young Lakshmibai is bringing joy to our family, but I remain barren. Why did God make a woman like me? A barren woman is a wasteful creation.” 
Sadashivrao felt his own throat choke with grief. He cupped her face in his hands, wiped her tears, looked into her eyes and said, ” What on earth are you saying, Parvati? You, my darling, are among the most brilliant women I have ever seen, and undoubtedly the kindest. When I get wounded in battle, only the ‘lep’ prepared by you can put me at ease. I can always rely on your wisdom in tackling any situation. You are my priceless jewel, Priye. Never doubt yourself.” 
But Parvatibai was still sobbing. She started removing the ornaments one by one. “Aho, Gopikabai was saying that I should be present at the garbhasanskar ceremony to comfort Lakshmibai. But she warned me against staying there for long. A childless woman should not be present around a pregnant woman, she said, it could have unpleasant consequences.” 
Sadashivrao was infuriated. “How could she say such things to you? Peshwinbai forgets even basic human decency. You wait here while I consult Shreemant on this matter. I will not tolerate any injustice against you.”
“Aho nako. It is not right to bother Shreemant on the matters of the ladies. It was a loose comment, that’s all. Moreover, she spoke the truth. You know what happened to Janakibai. Of course Gopikabai doesn’t want anything bad for her daughter-in-law.” Sadashivrao hugged her and said in a heavy voice, ” Parvati, why are you so kind and quick to forgive? You deserve a good home and kind people. This cheap politics is not for you. I am so sorry that you are being dragged into this for no fault of yours.” 
Parvatibai smiled and said,”Let that be. I am very happy that I have you as my husband. A brave, kind and handsome man that every girl dreams of. I don’t care what others say because I am blessed with your pure love.” But her eyes were again moist. “The only spot on the moon is…my childlessness. Why, Swami, can I not beget you a child? I tried every possible Vrat and medicine…but I am destined to be barren.”

Sadashivrao with a calm tone said,” Parvati, you think a child can complete our family. But look around you. Look at Shreemant. He has three healthy sons but not a pleasant wife. Between her bitterness and his lust for concubines, is their family happy? Look at Janakivahini. She bore a son but even then Raghunathrao failed to give her happiness. You can see with your own eyes that everyone can’t be happy. Even if we had a child he would’ve been suffocated in this terrible competition for Peshwai. God forbid, some  tragedy might have befallen. After all, my son died at such a tender age. Maybe Uma forsaw all this and look him away into her safe arms. It is a raw open wound and always will be. I cannot handle any more grief. Not again, not ever.” Then he wiped his own tears, smiled a little and said, “Our love doesn’t need a child to be complete, Priye. We complete each other. So a wise lady like you should not lament like this.”
Parvatibai smiled too. “I will try and see the higher good in this and every other situation. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but your selfless love makes it much easier.”Sadashivrao held her tightly to his chest and she lay her head on his shoulder, content. Sadashivrao tucked the rose into her hair and said, “Be my sweetheart for eternity.” She blushed a deep red. 

The full moon smiled brightly on the true lovers. 


यादों के साए ने कुछ कहा हमसे चुपके से,
नींदों का दामन चुरा के लिपट गई सहम के।
रातों की चांदनी ने दिए हमें चंद पल,
वही जो रास्ते में खो दिए थे हमने कल।
उस चांद ने भी फिर कुछ ऐसी जादूगरी दिखाई,
तुमसे दूर होने निकली थी पर फिर भी तुम्हारे पास आई।
ये यादे भी बड़ी आजीब है हर पल मुझे ऐसे ही सताती है,
जितनी दूर जाती है उतनी ही पास आती है।
तुम अब नहीं हो ये मै कभी तो मान लूंगी,
पर इन जिद्दी यादों से मै कैसे पीछा छुड़ाऊंगी ?


Never wanted to leave you,

Never wanted to let you go,

But I didn’t stop you,

Wasn’t able to tell you…


Well… we never did talk as much,

Neither hung out that often,

Yet you were always special for me,

Wasn’t able to tell you…


You always told me not to expect,

That I was the only one you wanted

Did it go wrong somewhere?

Wasn’t able to ask you…


’twas you who always stood up for me,

’twas you who always had faith in me,

’twas you who mattered the most to me,

Wasn’t able to tell you…


Now I wanna open it all, a last time

I wanna hug you tight, a last time

Then why can’t I come forward?

I’m unable to tell you…

Yeah I’m unable to tell you…

‘cuz I am unable to tell myself…

The Pensieve Thank you for help.😊😊

A Nameless Relationship


I know it has been a long time a haven’t posted anything. Actually I wanted to share some raw and very pure emotions.

So here is my new story. Actually it’s not a story but a conversation between two people with many emotions……

“Hey shirish.” said Priya enthusiastically. “Hi!!” Said Shirish in his usual calming tone….

As they made themselves comfortable on shore Priya was looking at sun and the colorful sky.

“So where are we leading??” He asked her in very silent tone….”I don’t know…” Priya avoided the eye contact with Shirish… Looking at her quite face he said ” Hmmm I can understand….”

There was a silent moment between them.. “Tell me one thing Shirish… do we really need to name our relationship??” Priya was frustrated and Shirish could figure out that from her face..

“Priya, we live in a society and I think our society still needs a name to any relationship….” “But why so?” Priya wasn’t happy with this answer “Tell me one thing…. when we met in our college festival what you thought of me?”

“I thought That you are too rude and we can’t be friends.” Priya answered innocently. “Exactly, so firstly you wanted to be a friend right?.. that means even you wanted to name this relationship…” Shirish said this in his usual calming tone.

“Shirish that was a way back…. In a first meeting everyone wants to be a friends…. no one wants such a nameless relationship…” Priya said with her usual innocent tone but yes she was still frustrated . “Hmmm I know….”

Shirish was Priya’s senior from college. They had nothing in common except their love for music. They firstly met for college festival and then developed friendship eventually.

“So you are getting married??” Shirish wanted to change the topic as this could have ended up with a fight. “Yes finally I am naming one of my relationship…” Priya actually taunted him .

“Yeah…. Shantanu is a nice guy…..”

Shantanu is Priya’s boyfriend. They both have a long relationship of almost 6 years. Shirish wasn’t knowing about this before because Priya never told anyone about Shantanu as she always kept her secrets to herself only.

But on Priya’s birthday this year Shirish came to know about her relationship with Shantanu by herself only.

“Yes he is. He always supported me. Like a true partner.” Priya again taunted him “ooh!! So I suppose I wasn’t a good partner.” Shirish said that with winking an eye. Both smiled.

“It’s not like that. You know you were an amazing partner rather I think you are. Shirish please find someone say yes to radha. Get married it’s fun.” Priya said in a convincing tone but as usual shirish took it very lightly and he laughed.

“You are saying that Priya. Remember you were confused before getting married.” “I know.” Priya said very silently ” Hello, you had a 6 years old relationship and you didn’t tell me, and for what you were confused??”

“I don’t know shirish.. even you know we used to talk. We used to meet. We used share our problems. Do you remember you told me that I am the only one who knows your entire journey upto the date?? And I was confused about Us…. I was confused about… ” Shirish looked at her with care in his eyes “are you still confused??” “No……” Priya replied immediately “How???” “Because I….. ”

“you thought rationally….. you thought about situations and everything very very practically priya…”Shirish had a point. He was knowing how to handle Priya and her confusions.

“Shirish…. “But this time priya wasn’t convinced. “Listen to me. You and shantanu have a long relationship…. and you both are happy together I saw that. What we have is can’t be explained….”

“That’s the problem. That’s why I was confused about. Shirish what we are??? Are we best friends? Are we lovers? What are we?” Priya was trying to control her tears..

“Don’t think much… we are nothing but two close stars in the sky full of many stars and no one knows are name….” shirish was ready with his poetic solution. .. Priya thought for a moment. Looking at sun and listening to the music of wind she seems to be convinced with the answer.

She smiled looking at him.

“See this is why I say, whenever I talk to you I feel like talking to my elder brother. ” Priya was quite close to her elder brother who was living far away from her.

“See just now you changed our relationship…”Shirish said joyfully and they both laughed…

Wind was blowing a priya once againg broke the silence.

“You know why I came here?” Priya asked Shirish while looking at him.

“To see me. talk to me. Have a good time and feel the freedom before marriage for the one last time.”Shirsh said mischievously. Priya smiled.

“No, I came here to tell you that I respect you and I have a small part in my heart which will always belong to you… ” she was looking at him and he blushed …. “Awww so cute… “said priya.

“You know, I always liked you and may be I loved you too but I couldn’t figure out what truly my emotions are… Even I will get married someday soon.. but I promise you that you will be there in my heart forever…. will you do a me favour?”shirish wanted to light the mood.

“No. ” Priya said mischievously

“Listen na.” Shirish said very seriously

“Say.” “Ask shantanu if he has any sister near my age… that will be fun….”

“Seriously shirish…. ” priya gave a typical look to him.

“Joking… but yeah I am thinking of getting married too. Then you will have a good company to gossip about me and shantanu….. ”

” The way we used to gossip about our officemates?”

Both laughed… and went in old memories.
As moon was rising they both realised that it’s time to go back….. they just exchanged a look and talked something with their eyes which no one could ever understand…. priya stared singing a melody in marathi,
‘Natyas nav apulya deu nakos kahi, saryach chandanyanchi jagatas jan nahi.’

Which means,don’t name our relationship as it represents a star in a sky which no one knows about.