‘Afterwards’ by Jaishree Mishra

Afterwards, the simple story of two neighbours, who become soul mates in the due course of time and later depart from each other forever, is a sublime piece from Jaishree Misra’s works.

The story revolves around Rahul Tiwari who arrives in Kerala for a summer vacation from London after his breakup with his lover, to fulfill his passion for playing mrudangam. As his beautiful neighbour Maya , who at the beginning is only a good friend of him, turns to him for help to save herself from her claustrophobic marriage and her uncaring and suspicious husband Govind , Rahul lends her a helping hand and both of them flee from Kerala with Maya’s child Anjali. Later both of them fall in love and make a happy family in London.

Fate is like a strange unpopular restaurant filled with old little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like. When Maya meets with a car accident in the busy streets of London, Rahul loses almost everything in his life. Soon after losing his beloved Maya, he loses his lovely kid Anjali to Govind as he is not her biological father. The reader goes through a rollercoaster of emotions and perspectives in this part of the book.

Finally Rahul makes his journey back to Kerala with Maya’s ashes to meet her parents who had performed death rites when Maya was alive because of the simple reason that she boldly eloped with Rahul to throw off her husband for the simple reason that he was loveless and suspicious. The novel ends as Rahul meets Maya’s widowed mother and performs her death rites and her ashes float onto the peaceful waters of Kerala.

There is always, if not exactly a ‘happily ever after’, at least an ‘afterwards’ to every story. This is a really heart touching novel that brings tears in the reader’s eyes. If I’m asked to rate this book, I’ll give it a five star rating. Hats off to Jaishree Misra for her wonderful creation.

Reviewed by  S.Aparna

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