By Surani Perera
Dhanik and Dilantha (Dilly) romp into the house on Friday afternoon. Straightaway, they hide their heavy school bags underneath the clutter of grandma and grandpa’s bed.
This is the brothers’ way of celebrating the start of the school holidays. No more homework and no reason to get up early in the morning. The fun part is when mother allows them to stay up a bit late at night.
Dhanik is taller than his brother Dilly because he is a year older. But Dilly is always the first to finish up his plate and get’s a head start on the toys they share.
“Last one to finish is a really rotten black onion,” shouts Dilly and bolts up the stairway to shed his school uniform and get into comfy shorts.
Finishing up the last bits of mallun is a pretty loathsome task for Dhanik, whereas Dilly laps it up quite willingly, since he wants to be healthy and stronger than his big brother.
Grudgingly, Dhanik manages to clean up his plate with great difficulty after being caught making small bullets out of the gotukola. Sometimes he feeds it to the fish in the tank.
Humming a merry tune on his lips, he ambles on to see what his little brother has got up to.
Today, the boys have permission to play on their PlayStation and they are at it for a longtime. They shan’t play it much when the girls come to spend the weekend tomorrow.
“I beat you Dilantha, I beat you! I always beat you at this game,” cries an ecstatic Dhanik, who takes considerable pleasure in rubbing it in. He likes very much to poke fun at little Dilly and boss him around.
“It’s not very challenging,” mouths a resolute Dilly, who is already fishing for the dinosaur jigsaw puzzle in his toy chest. He is very clever at solving puzzles and sorts out the mismatched pieces in double quick time.
Soon the boys feel sultry and have got the munchies. Slowly, they make way to scavenge on a mid-evening snack. Dhanik gets up onto a stool and reaches for the empty box of ice cream that his mother keeps the cookies in.
“Chocolate chip cookies are my favourite,” exclaim the ankle-biters, pleased as punch. They really look forward to Sundays when mother has time to roll up her sleeves and mix up batter.
The troupe makes it a point to bake a fresh batch of cookies every week. The crème de la crème is when mother allows the boys to finger clean the bowl just before she puts it away to rinse.
Pouring him a glass of milk, Dilly gulps it down with relish, bottoms up. “I have all the goodness of milk,” he extols.
Dhanik is peeved off and flushes down his throat a cup of “Apple Soda.” “It’s the next best thing to apple juice,” he laments.
“I am going to have strong bones and if I have a fall they will not break or crack,” blurts a proud Dilantha. He adds, “I love drinking milk.”
As they wipe off the last crumbs of cookie, guess who arrives? It’s six o’ clock, chimes the cuckoo bird on the wall and in walks mother.
“Ammi! I missed you,” they both sing in quick succession. Mother bends down to give them a big hug and kiss on each cheek.
Making herself a cup of tea, she asks the boys how their day was. “It’s the best day of the year,” shouts Dilly, “you want to know why, because we don’t have to go to school for thirty sleeps.”
“That’s absolutely wonderful,” says mother. Dhanik quips in, “you want to know what is better than that?”
“What?” asks Dilly.
“Tomorrow, we get to play with Anithra and Maneka,” bellows Dhanik.
“Alright you two,” mother says, “time to have your supper.”
They eat their broth, slurping the noodles here and there and run up the stairs to get ready for bed.
Mother gives them a quick bath and once scented and powdered up, tucks in the squirmy little ones for the night.
Reminded to say their prayers, they thank for their blessings and shut eyes tight. Both dream that tomorrow is going to be a mightily exciting day.