“My wedding anniversary is next week. I don’t know what to get Siya,” Rohan confessed.
“What did you get her for your first anniversary?” inquired Vicky, his best friend.
“Roses and a red velvet cake.”
“Siya’s allergies flared up that day. I had to throw the roses away because they made her sneeze. Additionally, she was dieting that week. Ultimately, I ate most of the cake. And humble pie too! “
“She thought the gifts were impersonal, and I didn’t put any effort into them. Back then, I bobbed my head up and down like a toy, demonstrating my remorse. I thought I had all the time in the world to redeem myself. One year later, I am still at square one!”
Vicky commiserated with Rohan.
“The second anniversary is called Cotton Anniversary. Do you think she would like something in cotton, like casual wear?”
Rohan considered this for a moment. It was tricky, buying clothes for his better half. Buy a size bigger, and the accusations would come through, fast and furious. Do I look fat? Buy a size smaller, and all hell would break loose. Do you expect me to fit into that?
Rohan brightened. “Perhaps something for the household, like cotton tablecloths?”
“Not unless you want to get divorced! What does Siya like?”
“Books and poetry.”
“Oh, then I have the perfect solution! Write a poem for her.”
Rohan shook his head in exasperation.
“I can rhyme ‘cat’ with ‘rat’. That’s about it.”
Vicky skimmed through his phone and found what he was searching for.
“There is a website called RhymeWeaves. You can send them the details of your spouse. They compose a poem and etch it in the material corresponding to your anniversary. For the first anniversary, they print the poem on paper, for the second they embroider it on cotton, for the third they sew it on leather, so on and so forth. They print your name at the bottom. And for Rs. 99.99, they throw in a frame too!”
“Are the poems personalized?”
“Absolutely! She will think you composed it for her. Expect her to melt into rivulets of adulation. Thank me later!”
The parcel arrived, and it exceeded Rohan’s expectations. The poem was embroidered in cursive style, on a colourful cotton cloth. It looked sophisticated in its ornate frame. Rohan felt that the composition was exquisite. He chanced upon the word iridescent. He wondered what it meant. Who cared? It looked fancy enough.
“Siya, I got you our anniversary gift! You will be happy to know that I took your feedback seriously. Tell me what you think.”
Siya was pleasantly surprised. Her nimble fingers ripped off the wrapping. She gasped.
My dearest Siya,
You are the undisputed Queen of my heart,
My oasis in the desert, my end, and my start.
My salvation is in your iridescent brown eyes,
Your enchanting smile is my cherished prize.
Two beautiful years since the beginning of our fairy tale,
May our eternal love ever prevail!
Siya teared up.
“This is so beautiful! Did you write this?”
Rohan nodded, keeping his fingers crossed behind his back. Siya threw herself at him.
“You are the best husband in the whole world! I love this thoughtful gift. Wait till I show you yours! But first, let me take a few selfies.”
Rohan was on cloud nine. This project had exceeded his expectations by a mile. RhymeWeaves ought to be given a prize for fostering marital peace if there were such an award.
Alas, his moment of marital bliss was short-lived. Siya barged in, fuming. Uh-Oh! Not a good sign. She showed him her Facebook page.
“Rohan, I uploaded a picture of ‘your’ poem. Why is it that at least three women have come forward with similar poems, with a word or two interchanged here and there? Did you lift this off the internet?”
Rohan went pale. The game was up. That confounded site! He would leave them a strongly-worded review. Wait, would that be an admission of guilt?
Abandoning his discontent with E-commerce for later, he came clean to his wife. He confessed that he had availed of the worldwide web’s assistance and was now tangled in his web of deceit.
Siya burst into rage-filled tears.
“I asked you to try for once, and you couldn’t! Leave me alone!”
She barged back into their bedroom and slammed the door.
Rohan was flummoxed. There was only one way out of this sticky situation. He grabbed pen and paper. Visions of his fifth-grade English teacher flooded through his mind.
“Rohan! Poetry is beautiful. Feel it! Experience it!”
If poetry were the language of the soul, his was one black hole.
Siya heard a knocking on the door, and a note was slid under it.
When you cry, I feel sad.
I tried to do good but was bad.
I don’t do words and rhymes,
I wrote this after trying many times.
Won’t you forgive me, please?
I ordered spa vouchers for thousand rupees.
Happy anniversary sweetheart,
You are always in my heart!
She smiled through her tears. The poor guy had tried. You had to give brownie points for that. She decided to absolve him of his guilt.
“Rohan, don’t ever lie to me again. And in the future, let’s ask each other what we want. Surprises are overrated.”
Rohan hugged her with relief. All was well.
The next day, Vicky texted Rohan to check if Siya loved her gift.
“Totally!” Rohan replied. Too bad WhatsApp didn’t have a sarcasm mode.
“You lucky dog! It’s my anniversary next month. I should sign up with RhymeWeaves too. The wife will be tickled pink, reading ‘my’ poetry!”
“You won’t regret it at all!” Rohan smiled deviously as he remembered that Vicky’s wife and Siya were Facebook friends.
Oh well. Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction. No wonder, Newton remained a bachelor for life.
This story was my entry for a competition by the Hive Publishers.