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“Ma’am your Passport has been rejected because of information issues.” This statement from the customer care department of Passport Seva Kendra made her blood boil. Shruti was annoyed and it showed in her tone. “How many times do I need to apply? This is the second time my application got rejected.” and she disconnected the phone.
Coming back to the office, her colleague asked the reason behind her foul mood. “Arre Yaar! This Passport people are just annoying me. They have rejected my application for the second time.” Shruti said. “Try reapplying as you have hardly any time left” her office friend suggested.
Shruti had an important official event coming up in Australia and she had to attend it as she was in the core team from India. Back at home, she shared this incident with her dad and he said “leave this passport episode and no need to go out of the country. Anyone else can go on your behalf.” She was shocked to know his feedback, as in all these years, he never stopped her from doing anything and today his this advice is shocking her & when she is a part of such a prestigious project and she has a chance to be in the foreign land for the first time.
Nevertheless, she reapplied and kept waiting with fingers crossed. After 15 days, the status was disheartening for her as it was rejected again. Panicking she called up the customer care to blast them and what she heard on the other side was something enough to shatter her.
She immediately called her father to know on this but his reply couldn’t convince him. She called her mother and said “Mummy, the Passport office people said my fathers’ name is different in the application I have submitted and in the govt. documents submitted. This is the reason my passport got rejected every time.” I asked dad he said, “I had changed my name but how can somebody keep such different names and what was the need for it.”
Her mother was mum, but Shruti pressurized her to speak, the answer from her mother was something she never expected. “He is not your natural father Shruti.” Said her mother. Shruti was traveling in the local train after her office but couldn’t hold back her tears and cried like a baby publicly while speaking with her mother on the phone.Her whole world got devastated in a few minutes. She called her best friend at work, to tell the truth about his father. The friend tried her level best to support her mentally but everything was never like before. That night she reached home late with puffed eyes. On her way, she got innumerable calls from her father but none were answered.
That night, her home was quiet and her sobbing was the most evident sound there. Her father gave her a glass of water and made her sit next to him. “ what do you want to know?“He said. Shruti was looking on the floor with tearful eyes, her heart was throbbing hard and she was sweating and chose not to murmur anything. “Yes, I am not your natural father. Life is never certain, let me tell you a story of many years back that time you were too young, may be 2 years old or so.
“You were traveling in a crowded bus, a man was also traveling with his family and his daughter. That day was unfortunate for many travelers. That bus met a bad accident and many people lost their lives. The situation was bad, many of us were surrounded my bodies, crying women and kids and what not. In that accident, you lost your father and that man lost his wife.” He said.
The last sentence was the most hurtful for her to hear. Soon she felt her elder sister and mother were sobbing.
He again said “That man helped you, your elder sister and your mother to reach to a safer destination and made all of you meet your immediate family. Luckily, that man didn’t lose her daughter in that incident.”Shruti’s mother was now next to her holding her hands tightly.
“It was sheer destiny and mutually your mother’s family and that man’s family decided that they both should get married. The man was known to your mothers’ family since many years and it was indeed required to fill the vacuum caused by that loss in their lives.
That man is me. All these years, we didn’t tell this truth to any of our 3 kids, but trust me I have never loved you less than your own natural father & I feel so. If this passport chaos would not have never happened, this truth would have been sealed in the hearts of your mother, me & your elder sister.”
There was a pause from his side and he said.
“It’s up to you that after knowing all this you want to call me Papa or not.”
Shruti couldn’t control her tears and they rolled down her cheeks profusely. She held her dad tight in her arms and said: “I Love you, Papa”. The father and daughter had a hearty cry that.
Isn’t it a beautiful story, I think both the families were truly blessed by god and even after such a tragic incident they lived their lives so beautifully. Sometimes we hear stories of stepfather or stepmother and their cruelties on kids or family but, understand the beauty of this relationship that the connect and bond was so strong that the kids never got to know that they were not being raised by their natural father or mother.
That night on the bed, Shruti recalled all those moments, when she nagged with her father on her demands and how pleasantly he fulfilled whatever he could. Without him what would have happened to their lives and how happy they are with him today.
After two months Shruti was flying to Australia and her whole family was at the airport to see off. Her father said “You are the first person in my family to fly abroad. Thanks for making me proud beta.” It was an emotional goodbye. As her plane took off she left behind all her guilt and sadness and waited eagerly to come back to her Papa’s nest.
Today Shruti is happily married to her love. She was supported by her father and she thinks she has the best dad in this world.
Shruti was my colleague in ex-office and I too cried heavily after listening to her story. Just wish that God blesses her family with abundance.
Note: Name of the protagonist has been changed with respect to privacy.