28
Apr
08

fishmonger.

Of all the people I have encountered in Bombay, the group I find most intriguing are the fishmongers, who live in a small community near the sea. At low tide their little wooden crafts are grounded among the rocks of the coast. I first noticed this community when Sam and I drove past rows of little fish drying on wooden racks in the sun. Later I started accompanying him to the market near the train station, and I instantly fell in love with the fishmongers.

We enter the market through a special style of fence that only humans (and cats) can navigate. I notice the sound of chickens rustling and clucking in their cages; the butcher is through the doorway on the far side of the building. This wisps of incense momentarily mask the pungent odor of the market. I carefully wind my way around the platforms on which each woman has displayed her family’s catch. I can’t help but think of Tony’s early dream sequence on “The Sopranos” when I notice the rows of empty, glassy fish eyes staring up at me.

We approach the place where Vithabai sits. She has been selling fish to Sam’s family for years and remembers when he was a boy. She still makes him bargain for a decent price, but this is India after all. Vithabai and the other fishmongers sit perched on stools slightly above our eye level, giving the vague impression of a queen enthroned. These women are not shy; they are big and strong and loud. They chop off fish heads and scoop out the guts while haggling with potential customers. These women, I think, must not be afraid of anything. I am completely enchanted.


Advertisements

0 Responses to “fishmonger.”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: