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The apple box dare

Illustrazione vettoriale al tratto a colori. Rappresenta un paesaggio agricolo, coltivato a frutteto con filari di alberi di mele. In lontananza c’è una fattoria su una collina. In primo piano c’è una cassetta di mele rosse mature.  

When we twins were five, someone sent my parents a big dealwood box filled with a hundred apples from Kashmir. Each fruit was carefully wrapped in tissue paper. I remember the fragrance when the box was opened. Eventually, after we ate or gave away all the apples, the box, an unusual and versatile addition to our play room, was painted green and all our toys — big and small, of various shapes and sizes and in different states of damage — piled into it. As anyone who made do with cigarette tins and matchboxes and whatever was available in the hardship years following Independence knows, the more grotesque a plaything, the more dear it was.

Naturally at some point, we emptied the box and climbed in and out of it — a game in itself. One day we crouched inside, lowered the lid carefully and balanced the flap on its iron clasp allowing some air space between lid and box, and yelled for help. What joy it was to watch our cook and mother dashing about looking for us. Finally they found us and we climbed out triumphantly. I wonder why we were not rewarded with slaps. Anyway, we played this game every now and then, and our tolerant family played along with us pretending to be panic-stricken. “Where are the children? Find them! Find them!”

One day we went too far and the clasp slid off and the lid closed on us. This time when we shouted, no one heard us. Very soon, we launched genuine calls for help and when no one reached our room, we were really frightened. It was pitch dark inside the box. I am sure it was my brother who cried first but it might have been me. Luckily within minutes, the power of twin lungs brought mother and some guests to our rescue. We didn’t mind the thwacks that followed our rescue. At any rate, the “box” game was one we never played again.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 7:49:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-apple-box-dare/article34288538.ece

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