Swapping, A Way of Life

The early morning sun broke through the chintz curtains on the window. Shefali heard the alarm and lazily stretched out her hand to put it off. She turned on her side as Tarun shifted restlessly. The alarm and he had a love-hate relationship. As did all of us, thought Shefali. Anyway, it was time for her to make the first role swap of the day.

The mornings saw her as a harried homemaker. She quickly went into the kitchen, put on the kettle for the mandatory Coffee for her and Tarun and made a hot chocolate drink for Dhruv and Amara. Tray precariously balancing the four cups, she made her way into the children’s room, first. Faces scrunched up against the light as she drew the curtains aside, Dhruv mumbled, “Good morning, Amma” while the omnipresent “Love you, Amma” came from Amyra.  Shefali smiled. The phrase never failed to do that. She had taught them to start and end the day with “I love you.” That did not leave any space for anger over petty problems of life. And one started the day on a positive note.

Next stop, Tarun. As they shared their coffee time, they exchanged notes on the up-coming day, chores that needed to be done, bills that needed to be paid, calls that needed to be made.

The bell rang. It was Rajani, the maid. “Good morning, Didi,” she said. As Rajani went about her duties, Shefali quickly made two lunchboxes, packed two school bags and quickly got the kids ready for school. The school bus would be here any moment.

A quick shower and she waved goodbye to Dhruv and Amyra.

It was time to swap roles again. She was a serving Army Officer. Donning the uniform made her back straighter, tummy would get pulled in. Her hair tucked away neatly under her beret, shining black shoes and she was ready. The dishevelled mom had disappeared.

“Bye,” she called as ran down the driveway to get into her car. She had an important case to do today.

By 8 am, she was in the Operation Theatre to operate on a young 21-year-old girl, a medical student herself, for an ovarian tumour. She deftly manoeuvred her way through in the abdomen and completed the surgery in record time, much to the admiration of her students and assistants.

The rest of the cases were small ones. After a quick lunch from the hospital cafeteria, she took rounds of her ward. Looked in on her operated patients again and then made her way home through the traffic.

Once home, she enjoyed the brief lull period before the family got together for dinner. The kids were out playing in the park and Tarun was on the Golf course. She got out her laptop as slipped into her next role. A part-time writer.

Wife, mother, homemaker, doctor, army officer, writer.

She loved each role and the regular swaps. It made her day interesting, her brain agile and her heart happy.

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Aruna Menon

Aruna Menon is a Gynecologist working in the Central Government. Relationships and words fascinate her. She writes both prose and verse. She loves weaving stories and has a blog called Ripples and Reflections on WordPress. She loves her job and often writes on work life balance. She's always a romantic at heart.

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