The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal is the story of an Indian girl from brought up with traditional Indian values.
Vinita Shelke, 19, is the topper of her class in Shivraj College, Palgaum, Karnataka. Her father is an accountant and her mother, a pious, traditional housewife. Her elder brother, Vishal, is a chartered accountant who works in Bombay. She learns Bharatnatyam and Prema is her best friend.
Somesh Kori, a rich landlord’s son, is the college heart throb and the captain of the college cricket team. As a wager in a bet, he makes Vinita fall for him, plays with her emotions and leaves her when she is pregnant.
She decides to keep the baby and says that she would do whatever she can to take care of the baby. To save the family name, her parents and her brother move her to Bombay where her brother takes care of her. Her family tells her that her son was stillborn.
She reconciles with her life, studies in Bombay and gets a job there. She is introduced to a few eligible men. Girish Patil, a divorcee from New Jersey, is one of them. She likes him and is unable to divulge the truth to him, even thogh, she does not intend to do so. May be this is her destiny.
Thirty years later:
Mrs Vinita Shelke Patil, who now lives in New Jersey with her husband, Girish, and daughter, Arya, receives an anonymous letter from Bombay saying that her son is dying and that her brother knows the details. Her husband, who does not know her secret, is out of town and she cannot confide in her daughter. When she tells it to both of them, Girish withdraws into his shell and Arya, after her initial withdrawal, becomes her confidante.
She decides to go back to Palgaum, meet her family and her son. She wants to be there for her son, Rohit, who teaches Chemistry in Shivraj College and help him in whichever way possible, even if that means that she becomes the bone marrow donor or talk to Somesh and ask him to become one.
The characters have been very beautifully described. Vinita is strong and independent, yet an introvert and modern yet traditional; Girish is very understanding and open; Vishal is very strict on the outside but very soft inside; Arya, very understanding. Communal riots between the Marathis and Kannadas add a little political angle to the story.
I liked the way the author has described the courtship of Vinita and Girish, she wanting to tell him everything, but somehow, cannot do so and he so open about his past. She has wonderfully shown the different directions a mother daughter relationship can move depending upon the people in question.
A very well written story of a mother’s love for a child she did not know existed. As I was reading, I got so involved in the story, like all Shobhan Bantwal’s stories, that I could not keep the book down and was reading in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil and dreamt of the characters.
Book Source: Bought