Siroun? What does it mean?
“Beautiful”, she says softly.
Oh, just the right name for you!
A conversation that plays over and over in her life with slight variations. At every party, every get-together. Anywhere she meets new people. Yet Siroun doesn’t tire of it. She smiles charmingly, acknowledging the compliment she deserves.
Drawn by her beauty, boys in her college vie with each other to take her out, shower her with gifts, and even write poems in her praise. Other girls watch on, neglected. Whispers fly around.
She lets them do it. That’s why they’re all over her.
Siroun’s best friend, Kiran, flies into a rage whenever she hears such bitchy comments. But Siroun is dismissive. She knows these comments spring from jealousy.
I have you, I don’t need them as friends. Anyway, who has time for girls when there are so many interesting boys around.
Siroun finds two of the boys especially interesting. Vicky, the handsome captain of the college cricket team. He comes from an established business family and plans to join the business soon after graduation. The other one is Amar, the dynamic leader of the student’s union. Not particularly good looking, but there is something compelling in his eyes.
Siroun spends most of her free time in college with either Vicky or Amar. Never with both of them as they don’t seem to like each other much.
As the final year comes to an end, Siroun’s parents start looking for a groom for her. Siroun too wants to get married. It makes sense to marry someone she knows. Her parents understand and ask her whom she likes. Siroun is at a loss. She likes them both. She turns to her friend for advice.
Kiran approaches the problem in her usual logical way.
Tell me why you like them.
Do you have to ask? Just take one good look at Vicky and tell me if he doesn’t make your insides melt.
He is certainly delicious! I would have tried my luck with him if he ever took his eyes off you and looked at me instead. So why are you even thinking twice about it?
Siroun sighs. It’s just that I really enjoy being with Amar. He makes me laugh.
Pshah! That is what you want in your husband? A joker?
Umm… I like talking with him.
So who’s stopping you from talking with him? You can marry Vicky and still talk to Amar. But can you marry Amar and still shag Vicky?
This practical advice makes a deep impression on Siroun. Why shouldn’t she enjoy what she likes about them both?
But it doesn’t quite turn out the way she wants. Vicky becomes extremely possessive once he becomes her husband. Amar, a little heartbroken, moves out of town.
Siroun is initially upset about losing a good friend, especially as Kiran too goes away soon in pursuit of her career. But after having two kids in quick succession, Siroun has little time to miss anyone.
Today, Siroun wakes up with a feeling of contentment. It is her wedding anniversary. Vicky and the kids bring her breakfast in bed. She basks in their love and attention. She did end up making the right choice. Bless Kiran!
After a while, Siroun gets up and inspects herself in the mirror. Five years of marriage and two kids had not robbed her of her beauty. If anything, they have added a certain glow.
A crimson envelope that comes in the day’s mail changes everything. Inside, a wedding card announces in an extra-loopy, celebratory font:
Categories: Short Stories
Leena T Pandey
I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure.
In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on.
As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more.
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.