It is a small village. I
remember there were three wells fro which people used to draw water for their daily needs. There was perhaps one more in the
area of the then untouchables. I really do not know if I should mention it. It was a historic fact. I am sure even now in
that village every one do not draw water from the same well. Good that there is no water in the wells at all. There is protected
water supply system where no problem of touching any ones pot.
The biggest well interestingly
was next to my home. Of the three pulleys arranged, one used to be next to our back door. Our rope always used to be there
on that pulley. No one touches it. Even when requires to draw water using that pulley they would humbly ask for it. My people
remove the rope as if doing a favor.
Yes, it was a favor, I came
to know later in my life. The house and the land that belonged to the family were not my grand fathers property but, belonged
to my grand mother. My grand mother did not have any brothers. So, my father looked after his grand mother, that is his mother’s
mother. The property came to him. Otherwise we belonged to another village where we lost all the property, thanks to some
My father’s mother’s
mother, Her name was Seetamma, was a kind hearted lady. She was getting a well dug in her premises. They found that the well was yielding so much of water, that it can supply the needs of the entire village, not
just one family. Grandma very generously, agreed to rebuild her premises and leave the well to the village. They dug up the
well and also put a place where the name of the lady was engraved. This engraving was not there in a rock but in a depression
in the wall top. The name was written Urdu. Those days I could never read Urdu, but I was told that the name of Seetamma Garu
and the year in which the well was dug up were there in it. Later some time when I was not really understanding what was happening,
they repaired the well wall. In the process, the depression remained in the wall, but the name disappeared. My father somehow
never took notice of this.
The depression in the wall
had a totally unconnected purpose for the villagers. Whenever a woman delivers a baby, after the tenth day or the 21st
day, the woman is brought out to the well and made to worship, what god I really
do not know, at the well. They used put three big pebbles in the depression in the wall. Apply Haldi, kumkum. The woman then
draws water from the well. They distribute boiled bengal gram to all the woman folk who collect there. I am sure it was to
signify that the woman after delivering the baby, is coming back into the normal life by drawing water. When the well was
repaired, people thought that a depression is needed to be there in the wall so that the woman continue to perform the ritual.
They never thought about the lady in whose honor the name was engraved.
To put it simply, the well
belonged to our family. People recognized the fact very much. Rarely when they had to refer to the location, they used to
call it Brahmin’s well, I remember.
I only wanted to tell that
grand mother was kind enough to give what she had , to the village.
My family retained that recognition
much later also. We were known for feeding people without asking questions. The village Karanam, the local honorary officer
in charge of the revenues, was a local man as required. Later the family moved to the town next. They had their lands and
the position in the village also continued. For those transactions, the gentle man used to visit the village frequently. His
relative another old man and land lord of the village was also living in the town. He also used to come to the village frequently
to look after his agriculture. Whenever these people were to come, a messenger would come and tell the family. They would
, like very close relatives, walk in at the right time, have their meal and leave. I really don’t remember, they giving
anything in return. Mind you, they were very rich people, and we a poor school teachers family. I am only thinking of this
equation now. No one thought about it.
I have learnt a principle,
because of the attitude of my people. If you through a fishing rod at a particular place, you may not get a fish there only.
If you are really patient, somewhere, there would be a boon waiting for you. I mean to say, you need not expect for fruits
for any effort right then and there. You will be rewarded for your effort, in some other way.
There was this old man, who
invited me for a meal at his place. I came to know that he had a purpose in doing so. Some people are calculative. He was
too very calculative. He was after all using me as a cat’s paw. After a few days, he openly told me that expects me
to call him for food as a return favor. I was in no position to do that, because I ahd my own problems.
You need not expect favors
from the same people whom you have done some good. You go on doing what makes you happy. The world will find it’s own
ways to make you happy. I have already told that ours was a poor family. I am sure the poorer we were, the more respectable
we were those days. I remember the family who were right opposite my place were agriculturists. Tay used to have a lot of buffalos and
so, a lot of milk. They would even make curds and take out ghee from it. There would be a lot of thick buttermilk left with
them. They had not much use for it. It was almost a waste byproduct for them. We needed it so badly. The family knew this,
and every morning the lady of the family comes home with a big vessel full of buttermilk. My mother would be more than happy
to take it.
The days were different.
Everybody would perhaps enjoyed the pleasure of giving. Farmers would grow vegetables. Not many consume them by themselves.
They would only sell them. That makes the srop commercial. In spite of that fact, they would invite my family to go to their
farm and collect as many vegetables as possible. That would be the first harvest there. I remember in Dasara and Dipavali
days, my home will be full of vagatables and flowers. Marigold was one flowers which was available in abundance. We would
decorate our house with so many flowers that it would have been an enviable place for the folks now. All that without spending
a paisa. So many vegatables that my mother would dry them for future use. She would soke them in salt solution and dry them.
Those dry vegetables would be fried in oil to be eaten with dal rice or Sambar. I have the craving for such things even now.
For sharing anything with your fellow beings, it is the heart that is neede and not the money.
As for food there is a beautiful
saying in urdu or Hindustani. It says, “ Daane daane pe likha hai, khane waaleka naam”, meaning each grain has
the name already written on it who is destined to eat it.
Anything you have in excess
is to be shared. Even if you have bought it, you are not expected to enjoy it all by yourself. That was the practice those
days. Some kind souls would share what is not in excess also. It is a pleasure sharing, the joy of sharing.