At forty, there was nothing exciting about life anymore for Varsha. She sighed as she drove through the traffic, trying to focus on the road ahead.

The spark had gone from her marriage. She and Vinay hardly spent quality time together. When not discussing their children’s studies, they were either busy on their laptops, chasing deadlines, or were fighting. Three silent days had passed since their last tiff and neither of them had extended the olive branch yet. Ego bound their hands.

Diya and Pranav, teenagers now, were busy with their lives and had no time for her. She missed those days when they were little kids. Everyone else seemed to be living life to the fullest—her colleagues, her cousins, everyone but her. She couldn’t remember when they last went on a vacation together as a family or when Vinay had made her feel special. 

Parking her car in the parking area of the hospital where her annual health checkup was scheduled, she took the elevator to the third floor.

Two hours and a battery of tests later, she waited for the next test, mammography.

A tiny worm called fear crawled up her spine. Her Aunt had succumbed to breast cancer. What if she had it in her genes? She remembered a little ache she had felt last month. Now, it took gargantuan proportions in her anxious mind. 

‘Varsha?’ the nurse called.

With a pounding heart, Varsha followed her.

Half an hour later, she was called again.

Out of the ten women who underwent the test, two were asked to wait.

‘Varsha, you need to undergo an ultrasound too,’ the nurse said.

They must have found something. Maybe she had inherited the faulty gene. 

Images of her Aunt’s struggle with the big C flashed through her mind.

Cancer is curable if detected on time, she consoled herself.

She would live. But how long? Would she see her children graduate? How badly would she suffer? Would life ever be the same?

Liquid dread pulsed through her veins.

Her earlier complaints with life seemed so trivial now.

With a jolt, she realized that she was solely responsible for her dissatisfaction. She was so busy comparing her life with others that she forgot how to live. She had been blind to her blessings-health, family, a normal life. Maybe it was too late now. 

Hearing her name, she went in, terrified.

An hour later, she fearfully eyed the report that looked like a ticking time bomb.

‘Nothing to worry, everything is clear, just wanted to double check as you mentioned family history,’ the doctor said reassuringly.

With immense relief, Varsha wanted to hug her.

A health scare had put everything in perspective.  She had complained enough in life.

Now was the time. Time to live. 

Life wasn’t mundane anymore. It was beautiful.

She wasn’t dying. Nothing else mattered. Nothing!

‘Can you come early today, I miss you,’ she called Vinay.

‘Is everything okay?’ he asked, concerned.

‘Everything will be okay now. I promise.’
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Shailaja Pai
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