Lost My Best Friend
by Vaman Acharya
When I was a very young boy, perhaps nine or ten years old, and had not yet learned to swim, my friends took me to a large open well on a hot summer month day.
The open well was in the vicinity of a Temple. It was a walking distance, about five minutes from our home in a small town of Karnataka in India.
At the elevated position of the open well, there was a small concrete platform, where all the friends, including myself, kept our towels, half pants, and shirts. From there one could walk down a few steps from the platform. We had been here before several times during the summer vacation and I was not capable of learning the skill of swim.
Water in the well was deep of about 10 feet. I could learn the art of swim after undergoing lot of practice.
But on this particular day, I was in the company of few friends and enjoying the game of swim in different types like jumping from the up in various styles. In the process one boy while in action, he first hit the stone wall and his head was severely injured and then fell in the water.
He could not come up for some time. We became scared and informed the same to his parents. They rushed to the spot. Within few minutes people gathered to know the situation. An elderly person present there was expert in swim, went inside the water. After the hectic efforts for about two hours, he found the boy and took him outside. But the boy was not alive. He was declared dead.
It was a difficult task to calm the parents. The elders were taken a decision not to report the matter to police. The parents agreed for this, after convincing them the repercussions in case of complaint lodged to police.
The open well was maintained by the temple authorities as it belongs to them. Their permission was required for taking bath or swim. They were allowing only children during the prescribed time. Little care was given towards hygiene. The well was considered as sacred, because the water was used for the purpose of Lord’s worship.