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It is amazing the kind of ‘treasures’ you come across when you go through stuff that has been locked away in a box for years. I spent a few hours last week going through some such boxes. When you live in a house that has more space than you really need for living, you tend to postpone the filtering and sorting of stored items. After all there is no emergency at hand of managing scarce space.

I was astonished to find the number of test papers/answer sheets from the sons’ school days I seem to have accumulated. I do like to keep tokens from the different stages of their life, but this seemed a bit overboard. What’s more there were many question papers too! In all probability I had stuffed them in a file intending to sift and choose later and promptly forgot about it for fifteen years. Five more and I could easily be called Rip Van Winkle.

In one of the bags, I found a ‘scrap book’. I had intended (but somehow it was forgotten half way through) the book to be a collection of ‘contributions’ from the sons in the form of drawings, paintings, poems, jokes or whatever they fancied jotting down. To encourage them, I made my own contributions too in the form of amateurish watercolors and also stuck birthday cards in it. It has some cartoon drawings and parody songs written from the First Born, also a water color. Some pages are devoted to craft work by ‘Mummy’ and the Second Born. We cut different shapes from fabric and pasted them in the book with the names penciled below. There are water colors and cartoons from him as well.

Among some loose pages that nestled inside the book, I found a paper with exercises in writing that I had set for the Second Born. Reading it, I burst out laughing. Truth be known, I have no remembrance of any of it. But there is no doubt that it is my handiwork. Evidently I had made it a point to include the First Born’s forgetful nature in the exercise I set for his brother. It amused the sons greatly when I dashed of a picture of it.

The best yet was a letter written by the Second Born to dad in which he mentions how he has ‘only twenty four teeth now’ and also that the home is really silent much to his relief because his brother is away at college. Coming from a boy who used to talk non-stop this was hilarious. I also learnt from his letter that I had been watching the movie Mercury Rising and hence he had made noodles for dinner which came out rather sticky. What I liked best were the little faces he inserted after each sentence to convey the right emotions.

It is not over. The treasure hunt is still on. I wonder what else will come up next week.

© Shail Mohan