This happened when I was in 7th grade. It was a Friday morning, 7 30 am, and I was on my way to the bus stop to catch my bus for school. Friday was my all work and no play day of the week, so I never wanted to go to school on Fridays, but this particular day I had another reason to miss school.

The previous evening, I had overheard a conversation between my mom and dad about some "relatives coming from the US, who'd visit for a few hours before they had a flight to catch." Now, I had just one uncle (mom's brother) living in the US with my aunt and their two sons, who happened to be my favourite cousins. They were to visit today, and would be gone before I came back from school. I thought this is probably why my mom hadn't told me about it, so I wouldn't insist on missing school. But I was cleverer than she thought.

As always, I had a plan in mind. That morning I never reached the bus stop. I just watched, from a safe distance, as the rest of the kids gathered at the bus stop, waited for the bus to arrive, and watched it leave. As the bus disappeared from sight, I started my walk back home, revising the story I had made up for my mom.

"What do you mean, there's no school today?" said my mom as I told her the story.
"I didn't know either. There was no one on the bus stop, so I called Ankit from the sweet shop, and that's what he told me. He said it was Foundation Day or something." She would have questioned some more, but just then the maid came in and my mom got busy. So I retired to my room, pleased with myself, to catch an hour or so of sleep before the guests came over.

I woke up an hour and a half later to the sound of the doorbell. Thrilled, I ran to the balcony to see who it was. It was a man on a bicycle, with some packets in his hand. "Courier delivery," he announced. I picked up the courier and came back to my room, disappointed. I couldn't sleep now, so I decided to play some video games. I did that, and then sat down to read a book, waiting eagerly, all the while. I couldn't ask my mom when the people were to arrive, because then she'd know I had planned the whole school-is-off thing.

Then there was another doorbell. I got excited again but I let my mom answer it this time. I asked who it was and she told me it was for the lady who lived upstairs, Mrs. Sharma; they rang the wrong bell. Idiots, I said to myself. I waited for another half hour, but still there was no sign of my relatives. I was bored of the video games and the book I was reading, and there was some noise coming from somewhere that had started to annoy me now. Frustrated, I got out of my room to confront my mom.

I went up to her and asked, "Where's all this noise coming from, Mom?"

She was watching some daily soap or something. Without looking at me, she replied, "Some guests upstairs; Mrs. Sharma's relatives from the US. The people who rang the wrong bell, that was them. Don't worry. They'll leave soon; they have a plane to catch."

No. That can't be right. Refusing to give up so easily, I asked her, "What about our relatives from the US? When are they coming?"

"I really don't know, son. Maybe next year." Then she turned to look at me, confused. "Why do you ask?"

I slapped my forehead as everything fell into place.

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