The Mother I never Knew: Sudha Murty; Penguin Books; Rs. 250. pp 206
Compared to the rest of the world, in India, motherhood is considered most divine. However, like several other anomalies, we find women were treated badly and many unwed mothers and unclaimed children here.
The two novella by Sudha Murty named Venkatesh and Mukesh deal with two men who had to face the most testing situations. The first novella Venkatesh describes how a modest bank manager with an aristocratic family going in search of his father’s abandoned first wife who had given birth to his lookalike brother in a remote village near Hubli. She lives in penury with her son through his father and he wonders how he could find atonement for his father’s mistake. His wife and son are not interested in helping them though his daughter is by his side. How he satisfies his conscience forms the rest of this novella.
The second one is more engaging because the rich business man Krishna Rao’s son Mukesh is his adopted son which once again comes out on the death of his father. Mukesh goes in search of his biological mother only to find more intriguing and complicated details shrouded his birth. What he wants to do at the end and how he feels about his biological mother and the mother who brought him up lead to touching climax.
Sudha Murty had weaved two interesting tales of love, family and affection in a simple but compelling style. How situations and fate change the paths of life of a person come explicitly in these two stories.
Not a tear jerker. But, definitely stories that could keep one engaged with their honesty and simplicity.