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.
17 thoughts on “Memory Trigger 14. The Well.”
wells as works of art!
and learning more of fascinating india little by little.
thank you rummy. 🙂
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agree with tammy
There is a downside to those wells Tammy! Where they are located, there is usually no municipal running water and water from these wells have to be pumped up. Thankfully, there is plenty of electricity available to do that!
Beautiful! And what a special experience with your mother!
Thank you Delirious. I enjoyed writing the post.
I’m so happy your mother was able to have that experience. 🙂
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There were a number of people who were too and now, having read the post, some relatives who had not known about the story.
and further to the arty wells, it they should dry up – they will still look well in the landscape…
Very unlikely that they will dry up in the foreseeable future in Kerala, blessed as it is with plenty of rainfall every year without fail.
That’s amazing, Ramana. Thinking outside the well, as it were. It’s great how, with a little imagination, the visually appealing – indeed fun – can be incorporated in the functional. Makes me happy every single time.
How lovely the memory of your mother (and her arthritic knees). I can imagine how emotional it must have been for her to retrace her family’s steps.
I love rummaging around in the treasure trove of our past – so, please do keep your memories coming. And, as Tammy says, and I recently remarked to the Angel, who’d have thought than one day I’d become far more interested in India than I was and, almost unnoticed, also be given an education and a glimpse into a so very different culture. And all by meeting you in this most remarkable place – namely, blogland.
Don’t tell Barath, it might frighten him – but should you and I never make our long outstanding Eastern promise of dancing, and singing should it be raining, your brother (assuming he still lives in England) will have to do and stand in for you. He’d probably not so much sing as call for help.
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As much as the prospect is very alluring, I have given up hopes of dancing in the rain with you as I doubt very much that I will travel overseas in the foreseeable future. There is a post waiting to be written on the whys for that doubt. My brother is indeed still living in the UK, he is a British national incidentally. His wife is very likely to look at the whole deal rather unfavourably if he was to replace me!
‘we went there trusting her higher power to lead us’…This is such a beautiful thought, since it is exactly what happens in some cases, when the faith is there. So happy that your mother had her wishes fulfilled, Ramana!
The story continues. After reading my post, my cousin, that is my maternal uncle’s son rang me up to ask if I remembered the address. I didn’t but tried to get it only to find that the entire area has now been converted to blocks of apartment houses and the older bungalows have all been demolished!
Can’t believe my eyes! We had the old fashioned (non-gulf-money) ones in our grandparents’ homes in Trichy and Karur. Nice memories.
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I have used similar wells in a number of places in Tamil Nadu and yes, the new well photos reminded me of those as well.
Is it your Village Alappuzha whee the wells are located? or some other place.. Can ou provide geographic locations for these wells? (Village/District)
Photographs of the new wells are doing the rounds in WhatsApp and so I couldn’t tell where they are located. I am sorry.
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