This incident is still fresh in my mind and I rag him about it even today.
In those days, Guide to English Grammar by Wren and Martin, was considered to be the Bible of English Grammar. Students trying to polish their tenses or struggling with their verbs were eager to procure one. My father got the grammar text for my brother. His class teacher asked my dad if he could buy one for her too as it was not available easily then.
My father bought a copy as requested by her and sent it to school through my brother. He told my bro that he should not take any money for the book, even if the teacher offered it to him.
That day mom who was standing in our seventh floor balcony looked down into the garden below and saw my brother digging the mud in one of the flower pots kept there.
When he came home, she questioned him, casually at first, when he had taken up gardening as a hobby. But then seeing my brother stammer and swallow and come up with bizarre answers, she became suspicious.
He had hidden money in the flowering pot.
From where did he get the money?
The teacher had paid him for the Wren and Martin Grammar Text. He had refused it at first, saying that his dad would be upset if he took the money. But apparently the teacher had forced it on him.
He was sure that his dad would be displeased if he knew that his son had disobeyed him. But the teacher would not take the book for free.
So he did what he thought was safe and innocent at that time. He took the money from his teacher but did not tell our dad about it. Feeling too scared to bring the cash home, he had hidden it in the pot.
I remember the resounding slap my brother received that day.
Poor lad, I still tease him about it asking him if he thought he was growing a money bearing plant, when he hid the loot there.
My brother is a big engineer now and doing well in his profession. He turned out to be a brainy chap despite the earlier hiccups when my parents thought that he was going to turn out to be a nincompoop.
Story by Aditi. Written by Gulsum@talkalittledo.