A Fisherman’s Tale: Chinese Fishnets in Kochi

The Sun laid down lazily on the horizon and there was a lethargic atmosphere in the air. By the harbor, crows kept the waters company, the good old seagull was absent. Walking by the river, a strange structure draws me, slowly shaping over yonder. It’s clumsy outline came to me as an articulated spider diving into the water. While I was still trying to work out what it was, a strong hand touched my shoulder. A short, dark skinned man, his weathered skin glaring in the afternoon sun. rugous The classic “Hello, where you from?” Popped into his lips almost mechanically. “I’m from Portugal”. His smile took a short turn vertically down, not so much of disappointment, but more of surprise. “Serial, Sir?? You not Portuguese… you not!” I just smiled and told my name. The familiar tilde sound caused some sort of reaction as he seemed to recognize it. “Portuguese brought these nets, you know? Long time ago. But you don’t look like any of them, sir.” He took a bidi out of his pocket and lit up as he offered me a seat. We both stared at the pre dusk brightness, not speaking a word. “You know, I’ve been doing this for 35 years. Damned life, but I couldn’t stay away from the sea. I tried, but just cannot, sir.” These last words acquired somewhat a very proper cockney accent. “I know what you mean, Benjamin, it’s a hard thing.” Benjamin opened a huge smile “Problem? Sir, no problem! River washes away!”


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