Happiness Key: Janya’s Story, Part Two

In an exploration of the background of the characters of Happiness Key, I’m sharing Janya’s story this week.  Remember, my publisher is offering a coupon good all month: 

Here’s part two.

peakdefinition photo.jpgDarshan was, on first sight, the end of all my childish dreams of a lover and husband. He was better than any dream, the handsomest man I had ever seen, tall and broad-shouldered, heavily lashed dark eyes, black hair that curled over his forehead. Darshan had an attentive gaze. When we chatted, it was as if I was the only woman in the world. He leaned forward and his gaze never left mine. When we were interrupted, I could read the distress in his eyes.

I discovered, to my delight, that Darshan was a promising student at the same school as I, in the separate department of architecture, a burgeoning field in a city whose skyline seemed to change as one gazed at it. Now that I knew I might see him on our campus, I was thrilled and hoped he would be, too.

After we left for Padmini’s home she warned me about Darshan. Darshan was a superior flirt, she told me, and not free to marry just anyone. His father was expected to be the next governor of our state. His family was not only powerful, but rich and well connected. Darshan might not submit to a traditional arranged marriage, but he would follow his parents’ lead, and his choice would be advantageous to his family and above reproach.

Until that moment I had never thought of myself as “just anyone.” My family was good, my marriage prospects as good. I had been told I was beautiful. I was praised for my art, particularly my painting. I was both convent educated and carefully raised. I had rather thought that the man who wed me would be the lucky one.

If Darshan subscribed to Padmini’s theories of his life, he never let on. We met for tea on campus, once, then once more. He invited me to a party, accompanied by Padmini of course, and I accepted with delight. After a month of escalating meetings, like the dutiful daughter I was, I informed my parents.

My mother was, at first, concerned. My father and uncle, though, put her immediately at ease. Unless Darshan was not worthy of his family’s excellent reputation, we had nothing to fear. Either he would cut short our flourishing friendship and marry another, or he would persuade them to accept me. Whichever it was, unless I put myself in a compromising position, I could not be harmed by this informal courtship. I would know soon enough which it was to be.

I continued to see Darshan for months, most often on campus or when I was visiting Padmini, who protected us when Darshan and I wanted to be alone. I had fallen deeply in love by then, something I had hoped would not happen to me until after I was married to a good man. Many Indian girls of my class were making love matches, but I had seen first hand how many hurdles they had been forced to overcome. I had hoped to miss that particular obstacle course.

Tomorrow: Part Three


  1. Sally Pifer on July 2, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Happiness to me: waking up to a clean, orderly house and my own bed and pillow at night after a hard day.

  2. Rosemary Reeves on July 2, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve been waiting for Happiness Key to be released but PURE HAPPINESS to me was that amazon.com released it in KINDLE form. Now I can read it comfortably on my way to ITALY. Keep them coming Emilie…. I read everything you write. I’ve loved them all.

  3. Emilie Richards on July 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Oh, that’s neat. You clearly love your Kindle. And I’m so glad you’re enjoying my novels, even taking one to Italy.

  4. Gayle O on July 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I also have a Kindle and it has not only made me happy but my mother. Whenever she is visiting me, she borrows my Kindle and just reads away. She also loves it. I’m thinking of getting her her own Kindle for her 80th birthday in February. Watching her enjoyment with something that I also enjoy makes me very happy,
    Thank you for entering me in your contest.

  5. Vicki Hancock on July 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I love my Kindle. I love seeing a book I want and knowing that more than likely I can go straight to Amazon.com and download it in a minute without worrying about driving to a bookstore (the closest being about 30 miles). I love it. For those that don’t have one, get one!! Expensive, yes but worth every penny!!!

  6. Joan Woods on July 10, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Happiness to me is being with my family.Of course, I am always happy when I am reading a good book. I don’t have a Kindle but want one very much. Maybe one of these days.

  7. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    How many American women would look at marriage and love this way. Many parents do want a good match for their children, but not all. I often wish our daughter would have let us make a match for here. Stars can get in your eyes and then you don’t see who the person really is.

  8. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Like Janya, I met my perfect match. I sat next to him in a high school chemistry class. I’m amazed and very happy that we met up again 7 years later. We never dated, we were just friends. I’m happy we had the friendship first. It is a good foundation for love.

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