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“Chapter 1”

I could hear the sound of rain! Monsoon rain!

Somewhere from a distance someone called, checking for me, I called back.

Lake Fishing at Bhimtaal

The “bata’s” (labio bata) were on a feeding frenzy and my bucket already held over a score and a few carp brats. The water was dark and deep. A few big carps were feeding near the lily pod, it had started raining heavily, drowning all other sounds except the drumming of raindrops on the umbrella. The over sized umbrella was grossly inadequate in keeping the rain away and I was already soaked to the skin but I knew a couple of big carps were still lurking below, waiting for a chance to snack on the juicy earthworm dangling from the hook  and I was not about to run for shelter.

And then the alarm rang, transporting me forty years forward. Thankfully it’s a Saturday and I could afford to indulge in a little bit more of “fishing” without getting out of bed.

As a child I used to wait for my Grand father and uncles to leave for office and out would come  my most treasured possession, a five foot bamboo rod with “moonga silk” line, an inch of peacock quill float, the smallest hook with a lead weight, couple of inches above the hook.

A small ball of atta dough, some earth worms freshly dug out and wrapped in a piece of banana leaf, a small bucket to keep the fish and I was all set to conquer the world. The short walk to the chosen pond or tank would be covered in the quickest possible time, the spot for the day chosen and I would settle down for the next couple of hours. If it was raining it was more fun. I loved rain. The smell, the feel: and everything appeared freshly washed. And after the rain stopped one could hear nature’s symphony!

Overhead, a flock of parrots flew past, calling. The crows were flapping their wet wings trying to dry themselves as best as possible. The frogs had started croaking. From the overhanging branches, drops of rain water kept plopping into the pond, sending off tiny ripples in concentric circles. Patches of freshly washed blue sky wrapped in whiffs of white clouds were smiling indulgently. The dragon flies were out, flitting from leaf to leaf of the water plants which trembled in the mild moisture laden breeze. My bucket, half filled with water, was filling up with Poonti (rosy barb), bata and carp brats. A couple of hours and I would have 25 to 30 fish in the bucket.

Early morning at Ram Ganga

Sometimes my Grandmother would join in. Everyone fished at home but I always preferred to fish alone, Grandmother, I did not mind, but others would make small talk and I preferred solitude in order to catch the biggest fish in the world or stalk that man-eater in the Himalayan foothills which had already killed over 100 people. That was my world!

I was on that magical mystery tour.

Copyright 2008-14 Suprio Mukherjee