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The Calling Well
The Calling Well
Somewhere in the dusty land of Rajasthan, was a small village known as Rajoli. Generally, every place is famous for some or the other thing, bad or good, stories or legends. Rajoli was famous for one such legend, the legend of ‘The Calling Well’. It was the greatest fear of the villagers of Rajoli who avoided talking about it. Amidst all this, was a vibrant girl who believed in what her heart tells her too. Everyone in the village loved her because of her helpful nature.
‘Radha, how many times have I asked you to maintain your distance from the villagers. It is a great thing to be helpful but at the same time you never know in what problem are you putting yourself in,’Radha's mother explained her with worried eyes while serving her dinner.
‘Mother you are a sweetheart. I love you for making me such a delicious meal.’ Radha licked her fingers and grinned.
‘Don’t change the topic. This is serious my child. You are making it difficult for me. Let your father come back, I will complain about your troublesome behavior.’
‘I am sorry mother, please do not say anything to father.’ Suddenly some noises started coming from outside and turned to unavoidable screaming within no time. Radha and her mother ran outside and saw some gathering outside their neighbor’s house. People were shouting and crying. They looked frightened. Radha's mother, Sarita asked a woman about the gathering.
'Do you know what happened?', the woman looked back. There was a hint of fear in her eyes. Before she said anything, Sarita understood what might have happened.
'You go inside and finish your meal; I am coming in ten minutes.' Sarita ordered Radha and pointed her to the house.
Radha was about to argue but Sarita gave her a stern look and without any question, she went inside, irritated.
Sarita came back in ten minutes and looked a bit stressed. Radha went up straight and asked, 'What happened?'
Sarita avoided the question and went inside the kitchen.
‘Why are you not answering my question? Is it related to “The Calling Well”?’
Radha had one weirdest fantasy, she wanted to see “The Calling Well”, while everyone in the village scared to even talk about her, Radha dreamt of visiting it. Every day to her way back from school, she felt like secretly escaping up on the berm leading to “The calling well” but her best friend always stopped and reminded her of the promise she gave her mother.
‘Mother, I have given you the promise of never going close to that well so please tell me the story behind it’, Radha pleaded her mother. ‘Mother the more you keep the secret the more I feel like unleashing the truth, which would mean breaking your promise and I can’t hurt you by doing that, so please tell me.’
Sarita discontinued whatever she was busy with and took a deep breath. She took a moment and started, ‘Around one century back, a witch was killed here in Rajoli by the villagers. It is said that before dying she cursed the village and promised to avenge her death. Few years later, a cloth mill was built near the village and accommodations were made for the employees. Due to insufficient water supply, they dug a well right outside the village, both for their employees and the villagers. Soon after that, people started disappearing. The villagers tried to find out the truth but who ever went to the well never came back and soon it was known that the witch was killed in the same place where the well was dug. Until today, it is believed that whoever goes close to the well never comes back and thus, Rajoli is carrying that curse since then.
Radha first broke the silence, ‘Mother do you really believe in this myth?’
Sarita looked at Radha with disbelieving expression, ‘Have you forgotten how Ridhima’s brother died? He was last seen going in the direction of “The Calling Well”.’
‘I still do not believe it anyway, why is it called “The Calling Well”?, she asked curiously.
‘Because it calls to give death’, Sarita said it coldly. ‘Enough for one day, I want no more questions from you. Go and sleep.’
‘But mother,’ Radha protested. ‘No means no, go to sleep now.’ Radha stamped twice and ran to her room in anger like all girls of her age do at 14.
After few days, Radha was returning from school with her best friend Ridhima. They both were laughing on jokes and talking about the happenings of the day in the school. Suddenly, Ridhima remembered that she left her science notebook in the classroom.
‘Radha, I need to go back to school and collect my notebook. It will take ten minutes. Okay!’
‘Yes sure. Do you want me to accompany you?’, Radha asked her seriously.
‘No need. You just wait here, bye!’
In all this, neither Ridhima nor Radha noticed where she asked her to wait. Excited Radha looked at the place curiously but controlled herself from going any further. She decided to divert her thoughts and started looking in different direction. It was then that she heard a voice. She turned back and focused. The voice came again and this time it was clear. Someone was screaming out for help and without giving any second thoughts, Radha dumped her school bag on the road and ran toward the direction from where the voice came. What she saw there was unbelievable.
A man, half in the sand screamed out for help. His body was being engulfed by the sand every second that passed by. The expression on his face was pleading for help. Radha could not see this and jumped into to help the stranger. Without examining the circumstances, she ran to the stranger and caught hold of his hand. She tried to pull him out but the sand with a greater force was pulling him. Radha leaned backward and shifted the entire bodyweight on her legs against the ground to pull him off but instead now she was being pulled.
For one second she thought of leaving his hand but then it was her heart that did not permit her. She tried her best to pull him off but things were not in her favor. Radha saw him going inside the sand inch by inch. Amidst all this, she did not notice that she was already dragged in and was now being pulled. She tried to pull off her legs and walk out of it but the more she tried to struggle, the more she was being dragged into the sand. She could feel her body crushing and more than the pain was the fear of dying. Tears rolled down her cheeks and with watery eyes, she saw the well. Then everything fell in place for her. People were not dying because of the witch but because of their thirst. The dry quick sand was engulfing whoever came to the well to quench their thirst, which was right in the path that led to the well. Now the picture was clear and before shutting her eyes, she laughed at the situation and voiced a saying that was taught in the school. “Believe in what you see”.