Raman: My sister and her husband are visiting today.
Ajeeth: So, feast? You got a big fish for the day.
Raman: No, friend; don't have money to fetch the ingredients to cook, thinking of selling the fish. And with that money, would arrange a veg rice plate.
Ajeeth: I'll buy the fish, and you bring your guests to our place for dinner.
With teary eyes Raman sold the fish, and with a smile accepted the invitation.
A photographer overheard their conversation; overwhelmed by their friendship, he asked for a picture to publish in his blog..
Trawling ban meant no more ships in the sea for 45 days. Kheru had a tough time making sure his family was safe and well kept with their food stock and greens before the ban. There used to be a huge traffic of big trawlers before the ban. So he heaved a sigh of relief when he saw the last trawler pull away from the sea. But he was shocked as he felt that he too was being dragged along the trawler. As he looked back he saw that his tail was caught in the net of the trawler.....
A smile came to Ajoy's face when he looked at this old photo where he was holding the biggest catch of their lives which he and Maha had caught that day after hours of tireless fishing in the Noureeli lake. It was a big fish, it really was! And probably the biggest in the market. All the other fishermen were looking at it enviously. Well if only they knew that our habit of catching fish in the lake would one day put a question mark on our very existence then probably they wouldn't have been that envious..
â€œHow did you get this one?â€ asked the reporter.
â€œWe had to sail through rough tides for it. Battling heavy rains and bad weather,â€ the fishermen explained.
They were happy they had got hold of that fish. It was a rare catch. And it would earn them loads.
â€œSo how do you think you could get this catch in such bad weather?â€ the reporter probed again. She wasnâ€™t satisfied with their previous answer.
â€œWe donâ€™t knowâ€¦ maybe the mermaids helped us.â€ The fishermen sounded serious about it.
The reporter wasnâ€™t sure if she should report on the mermaids.
â€œHave you heard of life-giving opportunities to the poor? Drama with our lives and empowers the verdicts, parting us with no options? Everyday fish and roof are the basics and survivalâ€™s demand now. We need to do this else...â€
Interrupted thoughts ahead of his dialogue. Though he joined him, he had made his decision. Life does not offer you options but it always gives a chance to recover the erroneous. Little did the other one know that smuggling drugs with fish was never a chosen option. The export with fish and drugs was filled and set.
We are friends, Mahesh and George, sons of fishermen. Our fathers were rivals of the backwaters because they competed for the biggest catch. Though their style of attire, language were the same, their religions were not, which became the reason for the rivalry. But we knew only about friendship and today, we do the same ancestral business of fishery. Though our clothes, â€œshirts and lungisâ€, are the same that our fathers used to wear, we have graduated from backwaters to the sea, from small fishermen to the kings of market with the biggest catch of sea every day..
"How do you deal with this stinky, foul smell constantly around you?" I asked one of the fishermen, agitated by the environment and the dry and humid weather at an interview at Kasimedu on a Sunday.
The reply that I got back was very astonishing.
"When the survival of you and your family is intrinsically tied to the natural world, survival and tolerance is a lifeline you grasp with both hands."
Absolutely amazed, I captured them in the lens and left the expanse..
Since time immemorial Nitra was a port, today was no different. Times were changing; the ones with trawlers gave stiff competition to local fishermen.
"Two Indian fishermen who infringed foreign waters held," read the headlines along with an image of the two seen holding a fresh catch .
It was Hemanth and Alok's idea to row further into the Arabian Sea. Artisanal fisheries were dead. It was the year 2045. All the polluting industries had killed it..
He dared me to do shoplifting at least once in my lifetime.
I lifted up the only fish in my shop and proved that I dared..
Amidst the blue waters, breaking away from my school, I spotted a sphere of little squares... Befuddled swimming into it, I didnâ€™t discern I was in a death trapâ€¦. I felt a tightening around me and blinding light aheadâ€¦ feeling breath leaving my body, I could hear the laughter and cheer of men around. Loud. Emphatic. Hands on my body, prodding, shakingâ€¦. I hear a story, of a young girl walking into a trap like I did, of being touched, prodded like I wasâ€¦ of men laughing and cheeringâ€¦ Loud, emphatic. Itâ€™s the same worldâ€¦ above or beneath, we choke, they laugh. We die, they celebrate..
Night after night I scoop up fish from the basket. I carry them to safety and they swim out of my wretched hands. In the morning I am still the worthless old fisherman, working for filthy, rich, bloodsucking businessmen. After a hard day's work I see them posing with the prize catch, for another blood-soaked picture frame going up on his office wall. Night after night I try to save all I have caught. Instead, I watch, men on the sidelines count the fish, string them up, brag about the size and weight, then throw their bones away..
He had not spoken to me for three months. Or was it four? Yes four, not since the last catch. I had spent many nights thinking about it. Wondering if it was because of the bad catch or because of Minu, his wife? Did he see us? But today's catch has changed all that. Look at him now, hand on my shoulder, grinning beside me, happy for me. Minu is either forgotten or is not important any more. It was the best catch in a long time, in more ways than one..
Their happiness knew no bounds for they had had a great catch this time.
This meant that...
Their kids could be enrolled into a better school this year.
Their wives would complain a tad bit less about their lives.
They would just sleep better this summer.
But but... I just met Nemo, Marlin, Charlie, Jenny, Destiny, Hank and so many other beautiful souls.
No no, I cannot bear to see them on my plate!
How does one choose?
Fishing is all they know...
But fish are people too!
Nothing, nothing could be more heartbreaking than this. Sigh! .
â€˜Last year I caught this huge fish. Yours is smaller,â€™ said Neo.
There he goes bragging again, thought Saira as she proceeded to cut the fish. â€˜Really, and was it alive?â€™
â€˜Yeah. It also tried to bite me. See this scar. He did it,â€™ said Neo and lifted his shirt to show a scar.
â€˜Tell me how it stayed alive for so long out of water,â€™ Saira asked without looking up.
â€˜There was some water, in the bucket we carried him in. He put his nose into the water.â€™
â€˜Must you always start a stinky fish tale?â€™
For people in the coast, food is incomplete if it's vegetarian. If there's rice and dal at least a fish fry, but only if it's fish curry there's a satisfying burp. Mohan was very happy because she was coming home after three years. She had turned vegan, but he wouldn't give up for this was competition, yet heâ€™d deny. She'll eat for her father, he knew.
He had practised the line all day to the unwelcome guest, "You caught a big fish, not me."
Eric listened to all the short stories from his stranger friend, knowing very well, by the time he was home, he wouldn't remember them.
"I have a memory like a goldfish," he confided to the stranger.
"That makes a good fish-story," the stranger replied.
He reeled in his rod to find a fish dangling.
"Isn't this a good catch? My wife cooks them very well. Would you like to join us for food?"
"I would love to, but I have to complete that fishy story and I have a deadline," the stranger replied.
He asked, "What was it about again?"..
He was tired of trying. Nobody seemed to listen to him anymore. The younger folk seemed to think very highly of themselves, ignoring the mortal peril that was surrounding them. They saw it as an over supply of food and had begun to grow lethargic. He couldn't live to see his clan perish under his watch. He took the bait, gnawing at the rare worm that dangled around those parts.
He made the headlines, the next day.
"Ever elusive Hilsa finally captured. Local hero narrates tale of persistence."
Elsewhere, the water bodies continued to be polluted beyond repair. .