“We’re all like fish, you know”
Dhananjay’s legs dangled down from the dam, water rushing beneath his feet in white frothy rage.
The dam was one of his favourite haunts since his school days. He would pick up Suresh from his house and they both would take turns cycling through the bumpy road as the other one sat on the front bar.
They used to come here for the freshly fried river fish, forgetting the tiredness of school hours as their aching
calves pushed on for one last stretch of cycling.
To Dhananjay and Suresh, the dam was worth the cramped up leg muscles.
And now here they were, middle-aged men who still hadn’t missed a beat from their childhood bonhomie.
It wasn’t just fried fish nowadays,Dhananjay brought the glasses and Suresh had the liquor.
They found solace with a glass and a ciggie in each hand. The weekly visit to the dam gave them bigger fish to
“We’re all like fish, you know”
Said Dhananjay as he ashed his cigarette into the rushing water below. Suresh was no further behind, always
ready with a sarcastic comment.
“We’re always drinking till our ears leak and flopping around when on land, is that why?”
“Ever seen a goldfish?… The ones living in the fancy bowls”
Dhananjay was immune to sarcasm. His total lack of humour wasn’t because of the alcohol. He treated life as
one big staring contest even when sober.
“Yeah what about them?”
“How would the world look like to them.What runs through their minds when it rains food once every two
hours, what is the level of understanding they have of this world?”
“Looks like I’ll have to do the driving tonight”
Suresh was not into conversations about goldfishes. But he knew there was no stopping Dhananjay at this point.
The floodgates were opened. Sitting back and listening was the only thing he could do.
“Let’s just say a goldfish is not aware of the fact that there is a bigger world than the tank it lives in.Whatever it
understands is confined to that small tank. It has no idea of how life works, and it associates every single
positive or negative act in its life to fate or..”
Suresh sat straight, the conversation was taking shape into something comprehensible.But comprehensible is
not always coherent, thus came out the question
“But if the goldfish is us..and by what you say, we’re all seeing and feeling things just because someone bigger
than us makes us to, doesn’t it make that person God? And what would be the purpose behind all this?”
He swept his hand across the surroundings, cigarette in hand as if implying the dam, the water and all the
people in them were somehow meant to be purposeful creations by God himself.
“There is no purpose! Don’t you see!”
Whatever general morbidity that was a part of Dhananjay, was lost in the budding excitement of this
“Why would you raise a goldfish or a colony of ants for that matter… And give it a purpose? Would you not
give it a free hand instead of.. somehow trying to give it a convoluted clusterfuck to find it’s life in?!’
Suresh had no choice but to cut him off, Dhan was never one to swear on instinct.
“Okay! Okay man, let’s dumb it down a bit.What are you trying to tell me? What has the goldfish to do with
“Okay let me simplify things”
“The God we speak of has no reason to bring in any rules. There is no holy scripture. There is no instruction
manual to our birth.We have an open canvas and we have the right to live…”
Suresh cut him off again, but this time, he had a clear reason.
The conversation had continued till late night, and the cops had begun to clear the dam of night crawlers and
drunkards. And since they both were holding their own share of alcohol, Suresh and Dhananjay naturally
dropped their bottles and cigarettes upon the sight of the police constable and began to walk inconspiciously
towards the their bikes, hoping the law doesn’t sniff out their dose of booze.
“Okay.. tell it to me in short”
Suresh whispered under his breath as they walked past the police officer standing menacingly with his lathi.
“Tell you what?”
“Tell me what you meant by all this?”
“What I meant was, that there are no rules!”
“Then why are we afraid of the policeman?”
“Because he doesn’t know about the goldfish, and also because we’re about to drink and drive”