Aunty Bose was the pain of my life. She was one of those women who only smiled after telling on you, describing to your parents the mischief you had been up to during the day. She would use her toothpick-like arms to demonstrate the severity of your crimes by raising them really high like a choirmaster who sought high notes from his choristers. The essence of such action was to make one’s parents really angry, and this anger was surely going to be converted into a good beating. Sometimes, her stories were true; however, they were often exaggerated. But most times, they were simply the vengeful tales of a woman who hated everything about happy children.
Some of us called her “auntie” while the rest of the children living in the dilapidated two-storey building secretly called her a WITCH. Of course, it had to be done in secret because we knew she would cook up lies to avenge herself. Indeed, this description would prove to be apt.
To all the working-class parents, Aunty Bose was godsend because she was a sit-at-home wife –another name for joblessness. Aunty Bose’s availability meant that she could always keep an eye on other people’s children, watching out for faults the way a kite watches the movement of a potential prey. To summarise it all, she was adored by many parents. Who wouldn’t like a woman who helped you watch your kids for free while you were away?
The earliest memory I have of Auntie Bose was when she tied my hands and legs to the hands and legs of another boy because we were caught trying to draw water from the well. We were about five years old. To Auntie Bose, tying our hands and legs will stop our “touchy touchy” and our “waka waka”. No wonder why many parents respected Auntie Bose.
Now, I should not get all nice and warm in my description because none of the aforementioned adjectives could be used to describe Auntie Bose. She was the kind of woman who would store water in buckets at her backyard for days whenever our regularly-dry well decided to produce water. Most times, this water would turn green because she never had use for the extra she always stored. It was believed by many children and even adults that she intentional stored excess water so that others would have none when they needed water from the well. Perhaps, Auntie Bose was just being smart by storing water for the dry day. Nevertheless, I, alongside others, remained of the opinion that she was a witch — the greatest there was and the greatest there ever will be.
One would think that Aunty Bose would we satisfied with all she did; however, one was to be proven wrong because Aunty Bose was prowling about like the biblical roaring lion, seeking who to devour. Pardon my hyperbolic allusion. The major thing that got destroyed in her itinerary of doing mean things was our balls. Do not fret it, she was not completely devilish because, by “balls”, I literally mean “footballs” and not the other one you know.
The ability of Auntie Bose to put away balls was legendary for different types and colours of balls met their waterloo when they came in contact with her. Most times, she would use a knife to cut them into many pieces, throwing the pieces back at us in a bid to see our sad faces. Knife or not, we all knew that once balls got into her hands, they would never be released because she loved her balls: probably too much.
Surely, we were not going to sit for long without giving Auntie Bose her share of pain. The resistance started with us children refusing to give her her daily food — greetings. Many a time, we would intentionally pass where she was perched and blatantly refuse to greet her. Of course, her face would then become contorted into something really ugly. We could easily see the veins in her face swelling as blood, fueled by insane fury, rushed into them. We knew she would complain to our parents but we were past caring. In fact, we blatantly refused to surrender our footballs whenever she wanted to seize them; this was the beginning of her downfall, or was it?
One day, we decided to up the game. Auntie Bose had just smartly taken and destroyed our football so we swore vengeance. We had to hit her in a way it would hurt. So, plans were made and plans were discarded. Notwithstanding, there was one plan that stood the test of time. It was the plan. It was despicable!!!
Remember the buckets of water she regularly stored?? That was the plan. Undoubtedly, you will think that the plan was to steal the water or probably to pour it away. No! That was never the plan. The plan was much worse. It required the use of liquid to pollute liquid. The first and second liquids refer to URINE and WATER respectively.
Yes, we decided to urinate into her buckets, and we did. Some of us were to watch out for danger while the rest of us were to commit the act. However, everyone wanted a piece of Auntie Bose, so we committed the act together all the while laughing maniacally like villains do when they declare their intentions of world domination. We did not bother about getting caught because we knew that Auntie Bose went to the market. As we were creating a confluence of two waters, we heard a voice saying, “What are you doing?”
The voice belonged to Auntie Bose. She was back!!!!! She repeated, “What are you doing?”