Siri and the World of Beauty

Arjun was walking from one side of the corridor to the other in monotonous strides. His hands were clasped and he was praying to God. There was anxiety visible on his face and his lips moved constantly in silent prayer. His parents were seated on the metal chairs counting the beads of the rosary trying to suppress their emotions. Nurses in white dresses moved in and out of the caesarean section in haste, refusing to answer Arjun’s queries. On repeated enquiries, the nurse finally said that things turned a bit complicated and they were trying their best. The family’s faith in God helped them stay emotionally strong. Few hours passed and the shrill cry of the baby broke the silence. Hasini delivered a girl who would be named Siri.

The house was bustling with activity. Relatives from far off places came to catch a glimpse of Siri’s face. With her eyes closed and dreaming either about the previous life or the future, she was moved from one hand to another, each of whom planted a kiss of her cheeks admiring her beauty. Now, it was time for little Siri to decide her future by picking one of the things lying in front of her at a distance of two feet. 

There was a book with a pen having Siri’s name engraved on it in Gold, a mini stethoscope apt for Siri’s size, a smartphone meant to be thought as a mini computer and a miniature model of a Veena, among other items. Siri’s parents put her on the floor and pointed their finger at the items directing her to pick one of them. Following her parent’s directives, she moved to these glittering items and stared at them for a few minutes. She was uninterested in them. She looked around and found her mother’s handbag in one corner of the room. Crawling on the floor with her tiny legs, she moved towards the handbag, grabbed it with her tender hands and started exploring the hidden treasures. A lipstick, an eye liner, powder and a small mirror- she took them all, one by one and started playing with them.

Childhood experiences have a considerable effect on the thought process and the future of a child. Siri, knowingly or unknowingly has chosen the path of beauty - something which everyone craves for and something which can overthrow kings and kingdoms.

Hasini could be termed as one of the best creations of God - It wouldn’t be an exaggeration. She was interested in modelling since childhood and had a dream of winning the ‘Miss Universe’ title. She pursued her interest with strong support from Arjun. The birth of Siri bought some degeneration of her physical beauty, but she didn’t worry. She considered Siri as being more important than anything else - the reason for a million smiles. Her positive attitude helped her a lot. The statement ‘Beauty in the heart gets reflected on the face’ proved to be true and she got selected for ‘Ms Universe’ finals. Siri was seven years old then. 

The entire family went to be a spectator to the event. The contestants came one by one, trying to impress the audience and the judges. Siri’s eyes were eagerly looking for her mother and she finally came onto the stage. Siri’s face featured a bright smile. As her mother walked on the ramp, Siri bought her hands closer, applauding her mother’s beauty. Unfortunately, the family’s dream, of seeing Hasini as the ‘Ms Universe’ was not fulfilled. The audience and the judges were heard whispering that it was too tough a competition.

Goals are meant to be achieved. But often, one fails to do so. Parents, considering it as their right, force their aims and ambitions on their children. Hasini didn’t do so but Siri has wilfully accepted to achieve the dreams of her mother, she herself not realising that she has accepted it.

Siri turned ten years old. A grand celebration was called for. It was her day and none was allowed to disobey the orders. Least did Arjun and Hasini expect that the birthday party would turn into a beauty parlour cum fashion parade of boys. Moving stealthily, Siri entered her mother’s room, searched every nook and corner and amassed a heap of makeup products on the bed. She and her gang of girls covered their faces with fairness creams, eye liners, lipsticks and everything else the world of beauty and make up has ever heard of. ‘Wouldn’t the boys feel bad if they are not allowed to place their hands on the makeup kits?’ thought Siri, and invited the boys to participate in a fashion parade to which they nodded their acceptance. They draped themselves in Siri’s and Hasini’s clothes and the guests had a hearty laugh.

A life without friends is nothing but a tale of monotony. Things are shared with friends, goals being no exception. Siri dragged her friends into her world of dreams.

Time moved into the future. Siri stood in front of a huge mirror. She was ill. There were wrinkles on her face. Her hair had turned grey. Yet, she was beautiful. There was a glow in her face and lustre in her eyes. She recalled the day when her parents narrated to her how she preferred cosmetics to books and toys even when she was a small kid. She recalled the day when her mother walked the ramp to get the title of ‘Ms Universe’ and the day when she with her friends, indulged in a day of naughtiness. And finally, she recalled the day, just ten days after she was married to Sravan, when experienced a jolt in her life.

There was a party at Sravan’s office which they decided to attend together - their first appearance in a get-together after their marriage. Sravan bought a new sari, a diamond necklace and a range of cosmetics to make Siri even more beautiful. He promised that he would return home on time at five in the evening after which they would leave for the party together. Draped in a beautiful sari with a diamond necklace adding to the beauty of the sari and to Siri, she stood at the door eagerly waiting for her husband’s arrival. The hands of the clock kept moving but Sravan didn’t come. She walked around in the small room and fell asleep. Few hours later, she woke up to the sounds of footsteps. The police arrived with the dead body of Sravan. Tears rolled down her eyes.

She opened the wardrobe, took out the sari and the necklace which Sravan bought that day. She took a bath got dressed in the sari, decorated her neck with the necklace and put a bindi on her forehead for the first time after Sravan’s death. She looked at her image on the mirror for a few minutes and then lied down on the bed. She passed away peacefully in her sleep with thoughts of Sravan moving around in her mind.

That unfortunate day, Siri’s beauty was meant to please the strangers she would be meeting at the party. This day, she wanted to please her husband, whom she believed was silently looking down from the heaven, waiting for her so that they can together move into their next lives. And unknowingly, she also satisfied the burning desire in her to be the beautiful and the gorgeous. Twenty years of despair and gloom in the memory of Sravan ended with a beautiful smile from a beautiful woman.

10 comments:

Bhavya Kaushik

The last paragraph : heartbreaking!
Beautifully narrated Ranjith. Best wishes for the contest :)

Vijay Prabhu

Lovely tragic story, loved it

dipali sharma

Simply wow…commendable write up Ranjith… believes you me…I guess no one would have thought on these lines…loved reading it… specially the end…. All the best for contest :)

Pankti Mehta

Beautiful one...best of luck :)

Aditya Manchanda

Nice post Ranjith.. All the best for the contest!!

Canary

Ranjith, I really wish it was a happy ending, but that doesn't mean I didn't love every bit of it buddy! Just wow :)

vandana sharma

tragic but beautiful story..;)

Ragini Puri

Beautiful story Ranjith. But why the sad ending? :(

The Fool

Beautifully written, Ranjith. I feel the ending kind of fits.

renu sethi

It is beautifully written. Tragic but beautiful.

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