Keep Swimming

I have a liking for fishes. No I do not eat them rather I keep them. Fishes are a pet for me. Ever since my mom showed me that local aquarium shop back when I was a kid, I’ve been in love with them. As they say, it was love at first sight. So I would accompany her whenever she’d to go to the market and while return I would visit the aquarium shop and stay there for a while staring at colorful fishes the shopkeeper had with him. Aware of my fascination, my mom started taking me to Children’s Park near India Gate where I used to gaze at the tanks for hours. It was like heaven for me. Fishes of all types could be found there – small or big, thick or thin or flat, colorful fishes, fishes with fins resembling wings, fishes that glow in the dark, fast moving fishes, slow moving fishes, fishes chasing fishes, fishes hiding behind rocks or bushes, fishes staring at you, fishes clung to the tank walls, fishes everywhere. I used to find myself in a wonderland – imagining myself to be one of them and swimming with them. It seemed amazing to me how they could survive in water for all of the living things that I’d seen then were non-aquatic. I would throw questions at my mom that sounded silly but she patiently used to answer each one of them. Soon I learnt in school that they’re different from us and have got special organs called gills that help them breath inside water. I could then frequently dream of suddenly being transformed into a fish having gills, fins, tail and scales, swimming swiftly with other fishes. No need to go to school or worry about homework! During one vacation at my Aunt’s place in Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh, my mom took me to Machhiyal which is a nearby lake known for its fishes. Fishes are fed here and worshipped. How I loved feeding them those aata balls! By now I’d decided to buy an aquarium and keep fishes. That never happened until a year ago when I bought a 40 liter tank – not big but good for a start. With carefully chosen 12 fishes and couple of artificial plants, the tank looked amazing. I could gaze at my fishes whenever I wanted and for as long as I wanted. It was fun to feed them – dropping tiny balls of fish food into the tank and seeing them pounce on them or quarrel among themselves for an exclusive share. Coming back from office and feeding them as the first thing, recycling little water every weekend, quarantining sick fishes or removing dead fishes carefully, aquascaping, cleaning, etc became part of my routine. With the kind of turmoil my life was going through at that time both personally and professionally, fishes provided me the reclusion I desperately needed.

Fishes require time and care. But at the end of the day the feeling that you get to see your fishes swim is just out of the world. With time those 12 fishes were replaced by others (like red African Jewels which I got with lot of difficulty and am in love with totally) as they died. At the time I was about to leave for US, my tank had 7 fishes in all with good amount of aquascaping done. My mom was now the new custodian of the tank.

It has been almost 5 months since then. I miss my fishes. Mom told me they all are dead 🙁

If I’m born again, I would want to be a fish (or a bird but I’ll talk about that in another post), unaffected by anything that’s happening around me and just keep swimming but that is about next life. What in this life? Hmm…scuba diving, a new big fish tank and a fishery some day!

Video: my tank..

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