Where’s the bucket?
Anna* and I used to fight like cats and dogs as little kids. Our fights would often get physical, and we’d hurt each other pretty badly. Our mother would patch us up more frequently than she would have liked, and grudgingly we would apologise to each other.
To the outside world, though, the story was entirely different. We were extremely well behaved around guests, and even stood up for each other. In family photographs, we looked like the sweetest sibling combination.
Maybe there was something there that the photographs captured, that we couldn’t comprehend. It was perhaps due to our silly childish stubbornness, that we chose to ignore the obvious. Despite all the petty fights and bashing up, we made one heck of a team – if we wanted to.
It was a week before our parents’ anniversary. I was very small – maybe eight or nine years old. My brother had saved up a little money. I have no idea how, but that was not of any concern to me. Anna and I went to a local florist, and we chose a beautiful bouquet for them.
On our way back, anna kept the bouquet a little further away from the staircase leading up to our apartment on the first floor. He asked me to go in first.
Our house was seldom locked at the time, and we went in and out of the house without having to disturb anyone to close the door.
My job was to enter first and distract my mother, while anna would come in later and hide the flowers somewhere inside the house. And then we had to wait – till one of them found the hidden gift. It was a perfect plan!
I did my part of the job, and anna did his. So good was the execution of the plan, that even I didn’t know when and how my brother hid the flowers. The hardest part was waiting for the bouquet to be discovered.
And we waited for a long time. I grew fidgety and restless. After what seemed like aeons, when I could no longer control my impatience, I pulled my brother into the kitchen, and asked where exactly he had hidden the gift. In my excitement, I blabbered ‘Where is the bucket?’. He gave me a bewildered look.
‘Where is it – where did you hide the bucket? They haven’t seen it yet!’ I continued, ignoring the strange looks.
He looked past me, and refused to answer. ‘What are you looking at?’
I turned around, and found our mother standing right behind me. She looked down at me, and unable to control herself any more, burst out laughing.
That day went down in our family’s history as the ‘bucket fiasco’ and the source of laughter for years to come.
* Anna is a Tamil word meaning elder brother.