Monday, September 15, 2014

103. There is a catch!

Have patience. Fish is waiting for you! 
Fishing is what fishermen do, hydrophobia afflicts the rest. Barring few exceptions, hydrophobia is a common trait among Indians. Uncanny it may sound but canine teeth haven't got much to do with it, though occasional dog bites do add to the numbers. Credit must go to doting parents and curious astrologers instead, who cast fear in the minds of children toward water or more specifically 'flowing water'. It has worked as an inter-generational cognitive trap! 

Hydrophobia has persisted as a social reality, nonetheless. While the elites drive to the golf courses, weekenders head for the hills instead. The idea of 'green' overwhelms popular perception, keeping away from 'blue' plays up sub-consciously. Neither do people flock to river fronts to stay away from noise nor seek the comforting experience of fly fishing. For self-immersed entertainment seekers (other than rafting) river fronts hold little promise.   


Holding rivers in ritualistic reverence once or twice a while has only contributed to their neglect and consequent decline. Since people don't protect rivers, rivers don't save people either. If you don't protect 'blue', you get many shades of 'grey' in return. How disgusting? Keeping distance from what creative writer John McPhee calls 'the ultimate metaphor of existence' has not done much to our being. Our foibles, our loneliness, our boredom, our anxieties, our frustration and our helplessness are products of our isolation from the rivers.      


There is something intriguing, rivers can provide heart-soothing serenity as well as heart-pounding excitement. Try sitting or walking along a riverfront for a while, notice the calm that it provides. By constantly changing its contents and shape, rivers can be as much an avenue for escape as a part of our quest for redemption. It offers natural refuge for disturbed minds. Not without reason, people go fishing to seek everything from solace to a romantic respite. 


Travel Writer Gretel Ehrlich writes that 'water can stand for what is unconscious, instinctive and sexual in us, for the creative swill in which we fish for ideas'. If you are in courtship, ride over your entrenched hydrophobia and persuade your partner to go with you for fishing. You will surely net your catch! 


This was published in Deccan Herald dated June 2, 2015.