Mystique of the Playground Well

Childhood is abound with unsolved mysteries and the fantasies that they are; and as a 3 year old kid I was no exception. Living in a joint family with two other cousins, the same age as mine, was the best thing that I could ever hope for. Idling away our time, roaming about without any purpose, playing out till the last ray of light was all we ever did.

But almost always the centre of our activities was a dilapidated well in the playground, and, pray, why was that? Because it was unlike any other well we had ever seen (the only ones we had, were those that were pictured in textbooks); there wasn’t any pulley with a bucket, no women ever came to fill their pitchers, it didn’t even have a single drop of water! What kind of a well is that and what purpose does it serve?

But it did have one thing- a fleet of stairs. So, did anyone live down there who chose not to be seen? We could think of only one way to find out. Day after day, we would throw in stuff, all kinds of stuff, hoping that somebody would come up and return them or maybe just throw them back at us in exasperation! So, in went- balls, used/broken toys, chapatis made for lunch, even our grandma’s medicines. But, nothing ever came back…

Even the older kids threw in their football occasionally, and we’d be elated as we knew they wouldn’t get it back, either. But shockingly, it reappeared the next day we went out to play! So what, now do even the people down under know that these kids were burlier than we were and not to be messed with??

Eventually, the mystery began to subside, until one day, we saw an absolute commotion outside our house upon returning from school. Hordes of people, known and unknown, jostling about. What had happened? No one would care to say. Everyone seemed to be there, but for the eldest of my cousins. Where was he amidst such a hullabaloo? After incessant pestering, mum answered.

He went inside the well.

What!Why! Did he throw in something the well didn’t return?

He failed to pass his board exams twice in a row.

So, did the well people decide to help him out?

No answer.

So we decided to find out ourselves. Maybe he’s still in there, and we can persuade him to come out. Surely, you don’t need so many people for that. But, to our utter dismay, the mouth of the well had been shut by a huge boulder. We tried and tried to get it removed, citing the obvious reason that if footballs regularly return, so would he. But who would care to listen to 3-year olds rambling on?

Now, the well was out of bounds for us, but the questions still remained. Surely, he would try to come out, how long could anyone possibly stay in that dungeon.

The boulder wasn’t removed then, still hasn’t been. Yet, the mystery remains unsolved. Personally, I’d like to believe that he indeed managed to sneak out one night and went someplace, where there weren’t any board exams to trouble him. Who knows?

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