Just like her books, Shunali Khullar Shroff is brilliantly unassuming. The author and compulsive reader has penned two books, Battle Hymn of a Bewildered Mother and Love in the Time of Affluenza, netting in rave reviews for her pithy, humour laced style of writing, replete with generous inputs from real life parenting experiences of her gorgeous teen and pre-teen Zara and Rania, whom she raises with her husband Shravan Shroff.
Excerpts from a conversation with Express Parenting:
From a full-time working professional to a full-time mom to now an author mom, are you happy
Yes, I am in a happy space now. As I feel one parent needs to take a step back on the career front, to be around for the children (not that my husband offered to stay at home!), I chose to stay at home. When you are young and impetuous, you don’t think twice about tossing your career away for motherhood. I was pretty kicked about turning mom when I conceived Zara. In retrospect, I feel I should have kept my career going on the backburner, on low heat. The folly of youth
What makes you say that?
I believe whether you are Posh Spice or Michelle Obama, under the best of circumstances, you need to have a source of personal wealth. For me, it was convenient to stay at home, as there was no responsibility (by the grace of God) of paying bills.
When did realisation dawn?
About nine years ago. My younger child was two years old when I took over the corporate communications of my husband’s company. That was before I turned author.
Did that fulfil you?
No. Being a creative person I was in a marketing profile. It sapped me.
What made you want to start work again, begin writing once more?
The beauty of turning 40 is that you know what you want, very clearly. The same happened with me. When my first child came along, she was the centre of my existence, I just couldn’t get enough of her. Then she wanted a sibling. I breastfed my girls for over a year each, and was around them all the time, because I did not want maids and cooks to bring them up. I always wanted a large family, but we stuck to two kids as my second pregnancy was extremely challenging and relegated me to complete bedrest.
When did you realise that a void had set in?
That happened when the kids were set into their routines, with school and classes. Suddenly, I found myself with no professional friends, and no mommy friends either. As I was not working, beyond the “How is Shravan? How are the girls?” there was no conversation to be had with me. I do not want to sit on judgement, but I did not fit into the mommy lunch circuit. I wasn’t the chatty poolside mom either as I preferred reading a book. I began to miss the peer interaction, the dynamism of a work environment…I love my children, and am totally into my girls, but I began to crave adult company in my own age group. There was a time when I was watching a comedy with Shravan and I began crying. I knew something was wrong.
Shilpi Madan for The Indian Express