The title of this week's column is not about the deadly device that goes by the locally pronounced nomenclature of bumb. It is, in sharp contrast, the name once used by farmers in the Punjab for a life giving source of water known to us as the tubewell. I was chagrined to note that a search of Punjabi dictionaries on the internet did not come up with the word, raising fears that it may have died its own death due to disuse, like so many of its other companions. My advice to you is to just sit back on a comfortable chair, momentarily set aside the nagging concern of how to run your next month's kitchen and at the risk of freaky stares from your loved ones, loudly utter the word Bumba. Your lips will compress together at the first three syllables and then explosively part at the last two, releasing stress, much like crystal clear water gushing out of the old tubewell in our mango garden. Our Bumba was a 30-foot deep brick-lined hole with circular steps leading down to a large-sized electric motor. This complicated looking monster sat atop another steel pipe that plunged into the ground to an unfathomable depth, while another fat looking steel pipe emerged from somewhere in its side and went up the hole. As it emerged from the ground, it bent itself into a 90 degree angle ending over the top of a cemented water tank that cascaded its contents into another lower tank. To us children, this entire system offered unlimited opportunities for adventure and on some occasions the painful experience of being held down by an elder, while tincture iodine was applied to cuts and bruises obtained as a result of falls from the horizontal pipe, which often became our 'war horse'. The Bumba made our summers not only tolerable, but a season that was actually looked forward to. We would troop down to the two tanks in our katchas or shorts led by my grandfather's younger sibling, whom we all called Chotay Nana. This unforgettable man was a retired civil servant, who had remained single and had virtually adopted us as his own children. His motto in life appeared to be the pursuit of happiness and fun and every minute spent with him was like a wish come true. Chotay Nana would create a big splash, as he jumped into the upper tank under the cataract from the four-inch pipe, while we waded into the lower tank. What followed then can only be described as bedlam, as we cavorted porpoise like in the cool, clear and sweet water for the next hour or even more. My next encounter with a Bumba came much later, when the mango garden was no more than a cherished memory. I was passing through the difficult teenage phase, where everything traditional is looked upon with disdain and life is but a confused whirlpool of want and want not. It was in this state of mind that I was invited to stay with an old school friend, whose father was posted as some senior government official near Sulemanki Headworks. I found that the host's residence was an old colonial bungalow surrounded by acres of lawns and farmland. Standing in the rear verandah of the house, I spotted a cluster of trees and some old buildings that appeared to be the living quarters for domestic help and their families. Suddenly, I saw a group of children emerge dripping wet from under the trees, clad only in the 'emperor's new clothes' and then run back into the trees as their eyes fell on me. Succumbing to an inexplicable urge, I began walking towards the spot where the children had vanished and began to distinguish the sound of falling water and carefree childish laughter. A few moments later I stood before a sight that brought tears of nostalgia to my eyes, for there before my eyes was the Bumba with its cataract, twin tanks and a group of youngsters with happiness written large on their faces. I found myself thinking straight once more - of family and loved ones who were there no more. Before I knew it, I was in one of the tanks with the children, still wearing my shirt and trousers and that is how my astonished hosts found me when they came looking for me. I returned from the trip in a totally new and clear frame of mind and told my surprised parents what I wanted to do with my life. I took up a career, made a whopping success of it and retired gracefully into the shadowy world of a man with no assets, except personal honour and good memories linked to an almost forgotten name - the Bumba. The writer belongs to a very old and established family of the Walled City. His forte is the study of History.