“The perfumed ME is nothing but The grease stained MY FATHER.
Throwing a glimpse on the life of a fisherman, is like a pleasant cover paged book inked with a doleful writings. Spotted with grease soaked costume, along with a mixture of diesel and fish stink is the standard hallmark of every fisherman. These veterans knows nothing but sea and sea alone, spending half of their life time with the lonely dark deep world of “sea” risking their lives for survival.
Growing as a kid along the coastal stretch every move of mine is intertwined with the happenings on the shore…… my morning alarm is nothing but the turbulence from the fish market just right back of my home. The shriek voice of the mid aged women in the bid is my final alarm; to get off from the square box shaped chill cement floor and get ready before the scary horn of my school van. The unloading of the fishes from the catamarans, the glow from their faces after a good catch for the day, each and every fish on the net counts, which varies from school fees for the little daughter, new dresses for the church annual feast, pending money bill from the “ice plant” and so forth.
“The luckiest fish is the one which lies in your brother’s plate, the fish in your plate should have been an unruly kid like you” my father would often say to me. The way my father or any other fisherman eats fish is really an art I will say. Believe me even a cat cannot find a crap to lick also, cleanly eaten leaving only a pale white spine.
When “chitthi” was most of awaited person at sharp 09.30pm in the entire household, me and my brother will be drooling for the fresh fish, the moment we hear the engine sound our happiness knew no bounds. Peeping through our small window staring the dark lonely moon, we see group of comrades dispersing after a week’s voyage. As a kid always I envy them especially those rogue fellows of my brothers age, they don’t need to worry about their exams, no need to hide themselves from the teachers in the church, most importantly these people are staying in a sea for a week where by carrying so many snacks from bread to uppma all masalas and rice for cooking during their stay in boats. It’s more like a picnic. Time grows so did I, now I realise how these men were fighting for their survival in spine chilling cold in the night and scorching sun in the noon, along with the anxiousness to have good catch not minding the hidden pain of reaching the shore.
Saturdays are the best days in my childhood diaries. That is when my appa has a holiday; from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon my swing is my appa’s lap. Staring outside the window watching appa and others doing something with the fishing nets in the scorching sun, with my maths homework note on the lap under the fan is my favourite weekend pastime. The sweet midnight kisses of appa with a strong stink of fish and diesel after his return from the boat is a charm dose of sleeping pill to me.
Nostalgia always struck me hard and leaves me with a droplet of water near the corner of my eyes, the life of a fisherman is a life challenging occupation yet he does it with a hope that one day every pain will be paid by his kids. His world is nothing but the deep blue sea through which he colours the dream of his family.
Every fisherman is a “chosen” one, a superhero who sacrifices everything for the betterment of his family….. “Who made me to fill my cartridge with his sweat Who coloured ma dreams with his blood Who made me too see the world through the hole, of in shirt Pocket Who perfumed me with his fish stink hands- and I call him “APPA”
From a fisherman’s little daughter.
A voyage through the eyes of a fisherman’s little girl.
Article by : Kanyakumari Memes Admin #Hera