Saturday, May 07, 2005

Going Fishing In Kerala

Digging back into the earliest memories of my youth I found one of the day one where I went fishing when I was around 7 years old my Paternal Grandfathers home in Puthupally, Kottayam, Kerala. My Appachen as I called him was an avid fisherman who would wake up at a really early hour in the morning like 3 or 4 am and go fishing. This was while he was still working on a full time day job ! He was into fishing with a Vala and was not a rod and reel type of guy. When he planned to go fishing he would have to make sure his fishing Vala was in top condition and repair it if it was torn in any place. He would have to get the vala dried and properly arranged (Im struggling to find a word to describe it as "folded" does no justice to it) from the prior fishing trip before it could be used again as it was pretty heavy when wet. He had also carried along with him a bright torch , a wicker backet to carry home the catch, a stock of paaku(paan type mix) and vethala(betel leaf) and beedies along with the vala. Attire was pretty casual ...a mundu and shirt was worn only if it was cold. And the Mundu was one of the older more comfortable "Color-Mundus" than the more formal Church going ones. This was a loner type sport and he always went alone. No one else got the privilege to go with him. Not even his own two sons.
But surprise surprise... he asks me if I would like to go with him ? Of course I wanted to and spent the time till we went in eager anticipation. In preparation of the big event I was given my dinner early the night before and sent to bed early. Was woken up at what was to me at that time "the middle of the night" but really only around 4.30 am or so. Later I was told Appachen went later so as to give me more time to sleep. I was dressed and ready in shorts and t-shirt and "hawaii"(rubber) chappals. Drank a bit of water and off we went in the darkness down the long and dark drive way of our home to the road. The driveway was not paved but had two grooves where vehicles and walking had worn away the grass that covered the rest of the place.
I was given the job of holding the wicker basket in one hand and was holding my grandfathers hand with my other hand.
Dont remember much of the fishing as such but do remember that Appachen caught two small fishes which I had the privilege of putting in the basket and carrying home when we were done. It was fish fry for lunch that day ;-)

Vala - Net
Mundu - Dhoti in Malayalam
Color-Mundu - Lungi in Malayalam

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