As we all know, a well is dug for “water”. I have grown up in a typical village in Goa, where people, including my mother, would draw water from the well for household chores. Apparently, there are very few wells in Mumbai and the few that still exist could be termed as multi-purpose wells, and the well beside my house in Mumbai can conveniently fall under this category.
First, every morning women come with buckets full of clothes to wash as well as vessels to be done. There are a couple of people who do come and give their bikes a bath too.
Second, as the wedding season approaches, as a part of their tradition, East Indians come to the well for Umracha Paani. (This is a celebration held a day before East Indian weddings. Everyone goes in procession to fetch water from a nearby well, and the bride and groom are supposed to bathe with this water as a sign of purity. However, this water is not got by the bride or groom, but by the unmarried family members. “Umra” is leaf of a tree called Umra and “Paani” means water.)
Third, even though it has been established that well water is used to wash clothes and do dishes, some irresponsible citizens and selfish people do exist. The well outside my house is also used as a garbage dump yard. (see photograph)
Fourth, what else could this well open itself to? If you haven’t yet thought about it, it is also the well people look forward to when they think their life needs to end. During the three years I’ve spent in Kalina (Santacruz), I have known of at least five suicide cases. What was the scene before that can certainly be dealt with if your mind has the capacity to think about the same.
One well can serve so many people. It can even be a death partner. Keeping such issues in mind, recently, I have no idea who took the initiative, but the well was covered with an iron grille. Good start, perhaps!