Rumjhum Biswas
Tamil Nadu. India

“The Well”
The well in our back garden was still. Not a ripple on its dark waters. No frogs. No blind white turtles. No snakes. The boughs of an ancient Margossa tree kept the sun out and the dead leaves in. The leaves lay like anchored boats on the water’s surface, until they had soaked up enough liquid to drown.

We never threw stones into the well. Nobody drew water from it. Even bats avoided it. Only during the monsoon, when the rain fell so thickly that it seemed the whole sky had turned into one massive waterfall, did it show any signs of life. It opened up its maw and drank up all that water. But its thirst was never quenched. The water never reached out for the rims of its old brick walls. Worse, the water remained dark like before. Never glassy white like the fresh rain it consumed.

The elders said the well was an endless tube running straight into the Earth’s bowels. Of course we were forbidden to play there.  We didn’t feel tempted either. The well annoyed us. It took up good garden space that we could use. It ought to have been bricked up long ago. But the elders would have none of it. They shared something with that old well; and someone.

We would just have to wait until the elders died and we were able to take their place.

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