When filial love broke barriers of time, distance









Swedish woman Jyothi Svah (second from left, foreground) with her new-found family, including her biological father Dasharath Rao, her brother Maruthi, Rao’s second wife, their daughter and granddaughter.

“The pain I had endured for the last 23 years has now come to an end,” said this overjoyed 28-year-old, whose search for her biological parents finally ended on Monday morning after a three-year hunt.

At the age of six, Jyothi Svahn, a Swedish citizen, knew that those she called ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ were not really the ones who had given birth to her. “Their skin was white, but mine wasn’t,” she said, recollecting the vague memories of a woman who bid her and her sister Gayathri goodbye, several years ago.

“All I can recall is the memory of a woman crying constantly,” said Jyothi while speaking to DH, soon after her reunion with her biological father Dasharath Rao, who resides in Kumaraswamy Layout in the city. “It was a big relief when I finally got to meet my father today. Our meeting was not awkward at all. He was laughing with joy when he first saw me. He is such a cute old man – he is very kind- hearted,” said Jyothi.

Jyothi and Gayathri were only five and four years old, respectively, when their mother Kamala Bai gave them up for adoption in 1993. According to the adoption agency, Kamala Bai had forsaken her children as she had no means to take care of them. She had deserted her six-year-old son Maruthi and husband Rao, after a fight with the latter.

In 2013, Jyothi began the search for her biological parents in Bengaluru, along with her Swedish parents. She had to return home disappointed.

Jyothi got in touch with NGO ‘Sakhee,’ a Pune-based organisation that works in the field of child protection and the Netherlands-based NGO ‘Against Child Trafficking,’ which made a breakthrough last year. Last week, Sakhee president Anjali Pawar landed in Bengaluru, and Jyothi followed suit. On Sunday, she made an appeal on a television channel, following which things started falling in place. The same night it was established that Rao was still residing in Bengaluru.

While Jyothi’s mother is no more, Rao has remarried and has a daughter from the second marriage.

“My wife left me and my son after a fight. She took Jyothi and Gayathri with her.

I looked for them for months, but to no avail. I had never dreamt that I will ever meet them,” said Rao. Jyothi, who is a social activist and writer, plans to return to India next year, so that she can be closer to her new-found family. She said that her sister too was planning to visit India soon.