Memory Trigger 14. The Well.


There are two triggers for this story. One if the well and the other is Kerala.

I had the great fortune of being posted in Kerala for a thirty month stint between 1974 and 1977. For my late wife and me, this was the best posting ever as we were in a small community of friends and colleagues in a colony with some great amenities.

During the time that we were there, my mother came to visit us and she too had a grand time not only visiting many places within Kerala that she had dreamed of all her life, but she also accompanied me on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala, which she always maintained was a grand achievement with her arthritic knees.

A little background before I continue with my story. My mother’s parents and other uncles, aunts and cousins were all from a town in Kerala called Alappuzha. My mother however was born in the Northern part of India as her father had emigrated there in search of employment and my mother had never visited Kerala before I was posted there.

Among the towns that she wanted to visit was naturally Alappuzha and I obliged her on a special visit. She had no idea of where her home was or whether any of her relatives were there, but we went there trusting her higher power to lead us to what will happen. In Alappuzha, I had a very knowledgeable local businessman with the most unlikely name of Baby, quite a normal name for men in Kerala,  and he was delighted to arrange for an escort for my mother and me to explore various places in Alappuzha after she gave some background information about her family to him. We eventually zeroed in on one place which had a well like the one shown above under a jackfruit tree in the front courtyard, which was how my mother remembered her mother describing their home. A Christian family was living there but they were very hospitable and confirmed that they had bought the house with the compound from a family belonging to our community. My mother was more than satisfied and was elated that she could visit her ancestral place.

With that background let me now take you to what another Malayali friend, now resident in Mumbai,  sent me as being the kind of wells that are built in Kerala. A sure indication of new wealth made overseas, called typically and with some envy, by residents as Gulf Money. He had sent this to a group of friends and ex colleagues in WhatsApp and the combination of Kerala and wells triggered off my memory of the visit to Alappuzha to locate my mother’s ancestral place.  Please click on the images to get larger resolutions as then you will see how innovative the builders have been in locating the draw wheels for the rope.



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