What could be more exciting than the ringing of the school bell at 5 p.m.in the small town of Kesarwal. The echo spreading right into the lush-green mountains and the three friends would sprint like water from breached dam. Out of the school. Uphill they ran, the blades of golden grass slicing on their exposed knees. It was November. The wind was pleasant on their sweaty faces, lungs desperate for more air, but still they ran. And now they stop, just to admire the view. The entire village was left behind…so were their worries….Altitude here worked like magic. The streets, houses and their problems…all seemed small from up here…It was twilight. Sky was at its best in color display, they thought the time should freeze at this moment. A math class never made them feel this way….Nothing in school was close to this.
Samuel, one of the three, removed the water bottle from his heavy school bag and drank some water and passed it to the other two tired souls. They drank dripping it on their muddy school uniforms and wiped out their mouths with their hands. Then, they continued running.
This hill was like any other in Kesarwal- green, with few wild rabbits sprinting and occasional butterflies around, but for the three of them, it was special. At last, they reached their destination-a concrete water tank right on top of the hill. Mathew was the first one to jump on it, despite the iron ladder attached that was meant for climbing. He liked the thrill. Samuel followed Mathew, and now it was Davids turn to jump. They landed him a hand and he was up too. The tank was ancient. Back then, it was the only drinking water supply for the entire village. But now it was invaded by flora and fauna. It was big enough for all three of them to swim! The giant, now rusted, pipeline from the tank bridged down the hill to the village and later spreaded out to the individual houses. Now, it was all replaced with a new tank in the village itself with underground pipelines.
Samuel slided the heavy iron lid horizontally with effort and the three curious heads peeped inside.
A trickle of water from a small inlet was filling the giant tank; the gush of water was loud and echoed inside.
“Be careful..” Samuel warned David, who was peeping all the way in. “You don’t want to end up inside do you?”
“I can swim!” David retorted back.
“Water is not the only challenge down there!” Samuel said.
Mathew chuckled. David stared at the depths…The ripples were ghastly, with few fauna stuck on the walls and tadpoles swimming inside, overall, the tank imparted mysterious feeling. The water smelled of metal.
“Is it copper?” David racked his brains, being taught about “the elements” recently in school.
“You know what i meant!” Mathew tried again but David knew that he was just fooling around. He gave one last look at his shimmering reflection and jumped back on the ground. “Its getting late” He said. “I am not scared though..” He added defensively.
The other two smiled at each other. “But the magic is not yet over!” Mathew said. “Fine….” David crossed his arms and waited. He wanted to see the magic too. This is what made them come here everyday. The three eyed the sun, waiting. After a while, the sun rays hit the water at a perfect angle and the whole tank insides were lit up. They peeped inside, mesmerized. They could see frogs floating with still beady eyes. The green was greener now. The ripples glowed , the reflection on the walls left them speechless. They waited…for a long time…. then, the magic was gone.
It was time to leave. They looked back, down the village. Few street lamps were lit. Their parents must have been back home from work. The three closed the lid again and rushed down the slope. It was easier now. They screamed in union and laughed at their own stupidity. Now their stomachs growling, as they remembered the taste of the hot noodles waiting for them on the kitchen table. “Bye..See you later”! They bid goodbyes to each other and parted the three different paths. But only for a while. The magic was not yet over. The sun would rise again….