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The Trout and The Fighter

The days of tranquillity are probably over. The two-leggeds are back. They have been uncharacteristically away for a while now. No idea what kept them so busy that they decided to forego their annual pilgrimage to our humble abode.

Whatever it was, they seem to have dealt with it. Here they come, in their warm sweaters made off the wool from our sheep, wanting to lie in peace at the quaint valley of our own Parvati.

For the record, I do not hold anything against the two-leggeds. I find them to be simple and soft creatures. Their bodies could not tolerate the mood swings of the climate that they had to wrap themselves in artificial layers of skin. Their bodies are not fast enough that they had to build metal boxes to get them places. Delicate creatures.

Often they come here - with tall tales of how they long to be one with nature. Between you and me, most of them come here primarily to inhale the magic plant.

Anyway, I don't intend to indulge in gossip much. Their arrival doesn't make any difference to me. Well, maybe a bit.


***


I love humans. Far from the days of my ancestors who spent their lifetimes in stinky marshlands and paddies, we are now treasured globally thanks to the love showered on us by them. Now they shell their hard-earned bucks on us, buying us beautiful glass homes, colorful pebbles, and even plants.

It has been at least three months since I moved into this sweet home of Shankar, Suma, and their lovely daughter Shreya. Shreya takes enormous care of me - feeding me pellets every morning, and changing my tank water once every week without fail. Everything is calculated meticulously. All I need to do is lay back and chill and flaunt by the gorgeous tail. Life is good.


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When I said earlier that the arrival of the two-leggeds doesn't make any difference, I was not being truthful. To be completely honest, they do affect us in some ways. My community is pretty close-knit and we don't venture out much outside of our home at the valleys. The clean spring water and the pleasant weather has made us overwhelmingly homesick. For this very reason, they consider us exotic and make it a point to have a piece of us during their vacation in the mountains. Not all of them, but those who consider themselves fish lovers specifically aks for us. We are a delicacy to them, and it's fun to watch them fight over the recipe that does justice to us the most. I have lost several of my friends to the two-leggeds' insatiable cravings.


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My tank has begun to smell. Stink is the right word, I suppose. It has at least been nine days since the water in my tank was last changed. Shreya, who had a keen eye on my well-being, is now preoccupied with her upcoming term examinations. Changing my water must have gone over her head. I often hear her mom scolding her for not taking a shower so I guess it is only expected. Her exams would end in two days, and things would be back to normal. She has even invited some of her "fish lover" friends to our house to show me off. I would be expected to pose for their insta feeds.


***


Yesterday they came for my friends. Today, they came for me. My glorious life here in the Himalayan valleys thus comes to an end. Here I lay at the chef's table of an Israeli cafe, my body draped in some herbal mixture, waiting to be baked. Baked Trout, was what they wanted today. If it was up to me, I would have chosen to be fried. The piping hot oil has always excited the adventure enthusiast in me. I have no qualms though. I have heard the two-leggeds singing high praise of this baked recipe. Maybe I am better baked, and that's what matters. To attain salvation while the fish lovers fed on me. You can't top that.




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To die doing what you enjoy the most is in fact a blessing. Shreya's friends came home today, and I won them over in a jiffy. They were all vying with each other to hold my tank in their hands and see me up close. Some clicked my pictures, some made kissing faces while some others tapped at the walls of my tank with their index fingers.


Then came the feeding session. Shreya, Athira, Tony, Nancy, Sarath, and Priya all took turns in feeding me pellets. I have a problem. Despite the Fighter in my name, it's very hard for me to say no. This is why I kept on eating the food even though my appetite was fulfilled by the second bite or so. I knew my tummy was getting larger, but the look on their faces as they pampered me with food - there was no way I could stop them. Anyway, is there a better way to go than by being fed by my dear fish-loving friends?


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