I am a blockhead. My teachers at school told me I would never be able to do anything substantial in life; I have done justice to their prophecy.
But my brother, older than me by four years, is just the opposite - he has loads and loads of grey matter. He always received merit cards in school for excelling in science, mathematics and other subjects. I received a merit card only once - when I was in the third grade; merit card for "Good Behaviour". Although a blockhead, I had enough wisdom not to open my mouth un-necessarily or do something to attract the attention of the teachers for fear of punishment; the school thought that was "good behaviour".
I think my earliest peek into my brother's repository of grey matter was when I was seven years old and he eleven.
Mother had sent brother to buy something from the market and I followed him in the hope of getting a share of candies if he could manage to buy some.
As we made our way to the market, we saw a group of children encircling a roadside magician (you don't get to see them nowadays).
Curious to know what was going on, we joined the crowd. The magician was "making rain"! He held a tin can in his hand, and when he uttered the words "rains start", water spurted out from the bottom of the can. When he said "rains stop", the water stopped pouring. For a kid of my age that was simply amazing.
I looked at my brother; he had a cynical smile playing on his lips. He went up to the magician and demanded to be shown the can. The magician refused. The tin can, he said, had to be handled only by the right persons; if touched by anybody else, it would lose its magical properties.
When we returned home, I began excitedly telling mother what I had seen. Brother had disappeared and was nowhere in sight. He appeared even as I was in the midst of recounting my tale. Brother held a tin can in his hand, and when he said "rains start" water poured out and when he said "rains stop" the water obeyed. I could only gape at him in astonishment.
Of course, brother, unlike the magician, was more than willing to tell me how the trick worked. He had obtained a small can with the lid fitting tight. He had punched a hole in the centre of the lid and a number of holes at the bottom. He kept his thumb pressed on the hole in the lid after filling the can with water. All that he had to do to cause the "rains" was to remove his thumb from the hole; when he wanted to stop the "rains" he had to cover the hole again. The words "rains start" and "rains stop" were mere mumbo jumbo.
That was simple science, with atmospheric pressure really "performing the magic". But, as I said, I was a blockhead who was more interested in witnessing the magic rather than probe into the causes. So, I did not ask my brother how the trick actually worked; it is years later that I learned about atmospheric pressure.
Anyway, next day brother was sent to the market once again, and I followed him. Brother carried his magical tin can with him, and he made it to the spot where the roadside magician had performed his tricks. But the magician was nowhere in sight; he was a prudent magician who never performed his magic at the same place more than once!