Three-year-olds don’t want to go to school. I wasn’t an exception. After months of unsuccessful attempts to make me stay for at least an hour in the school, my parents were exhausted.  

Jayanthi handles children well, someone advised them.

Mom carried me to a house on the next street. She spoke to a cute looking woman. Staring around, I knew something was wrong when mom walked out leaving me behind.

Oh, the horror!

I could whisper softer than an ant or wail louder than an elephant. It depended on the situations. No points for guessing what I chose that instant.

All was in vain though. Mom did not even look at me. Instead, the cute aunty, a stranger, picked me up. She took me around the house showing me the plants, flowers as goo from my nose dripped onto her saree. I don’t think she minded.

Loving her wasn’t a decision I took. It just happened one day at a time. Each time she fed me as my mom did; sung lullabies when I napped in the noon at her place; made sure I drank milk; and most importantly, she introduced me to something that became my life- stories.

Sitting on her lap, I learned the alphabets. Helping her in the kitchen, I learned the words and their meanings. Playing hide and seek with her and uncle, I found another set of parents.

Years later, I’ve realized not many are capable of loving a stranger’s child as their own while trying not to claim a stake on the child. From being a stranger to a teacher to becoming a second mother and a Godmother, Jayanthi aunty has always been an integral part of my existence.

How blessed I was to be Jayanthi aunty’s pet!


*Jayanthi aunty was fondly called Julie by family.



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