The story and photos of the fort william tank by jude brought back memories
of my days in calcutta at this wonderful weekend retreat, i was then working for the mittal group and the mittal family took delight in sending their driver to my place many weekends asking if i could come to the house on some
excuse to do with their travel plans or such trivial things as custom documents arriving in the mail.
but i soon learned not to spend my sundays at home, so it was dawn at havaldah tank 1 or 2, twenty rupees secured you a machan[upto 1984].
I remember this day as if it was yesterday, I had secured a machan at tank 2, on the dividing strip under the palm tree, and it was the 26th of december[boxing day]1984.[just before i came to australia]
My wife was with me on that day as she always was in those days, [now its
excuse after excuse from sea sickness to the sea is too rough or i'm going
shopping with the kids, mind you the kids are now adults aged 22 and 24 and do their own shopping anyway!]
Anyway we had settled in for an enjoyable days fishing , groundbaited the char' with some secret mixture of ingredients passed down to me from my peers and a combination of ready mixed ingrediants from sealdah market where i had picked up our fresh ants eggs the day before,[prices veried considerably according to weather it rained or not,etc.]
There were the usual banter with the other regular anglers like lou O'brian etc,and we always managed to send someone for tikias and paratas from kidderpur, which were fantastic to eat hot and hot, along with our packed lunch.
I was soaking my tope' in rum[old monk] as i had been advised and nothing happened till about sunset, when i noticed tiny bubbles on the surface right over the char',soon i got a few gentle bobs on my float,
indicating a fish on the bait but not quite taking it down enough for me to strike, by this time my stomech was churning and my anticipation was reaching fever pitch, my grip on the rod tightened several times as the
float indicated it may disappear any moment, only to continue to drive me insane,
I turned the music off on the tape recorder and lowered the lamp light
till it was just a flicker, hoping that might help the situation, there was only half an hour left to packup time which was 8 pm, and i was going to take the chance and strike if the float came down to the surface, which it had done several times earlier, only to come up again.
then it happened !the float went down slowly and as it touched the surface i struck! the rod buckled over and line screamed of as the tiny
3" brass reel howled in protest above the silence of that winter night,
with heart pounding and a million thoughts racing thru my head, keep the rod tip up! let him run ! keep the tension on the line , lift and wind! were
followed with prayers of O'god don't let me lose it!
By then all who heard my reel rushed over to see the tamasa! and throw in free advise, some wanting to "pull the fish in for me!" etc.
But hay ! was i about to hand my rod over to someone else after sitting there the whole day! waiting for this moment! Over my dead body!buddy!.
Finally i saw the fish! it was massive,a rohu of gigantic size shimmering
in the light of some one's flashlight and i promptly got into the water, beside the machan' and netted the beast, to the cheers of all around!
it weighed nearly 9 kg, and i was proud as punch!
I could not wait to get home to show my dad my catch, proudly hanging the fish in a nylon keep net on the side of the yazdi as i motored home
with my wife [than my girlfriend] and i will always remember the look on my dad's face, as he threw me his usual line"so, did you catch anything!"
Dad! feast your eyes on this ! I replied as i carried the fish in thru the front door, I don't know who was more proud , me, my dad, or my wife,
But i will always remember that day when i followed in my dad's footsteps .
Peter, the connection from down under!