Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finding Meeno - Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.

The previous night's gala dinner was a truly fishy affair. Trust me on this one - the taste of all the fish that you normally buy from the market pales in comparison to freshly caught Nemos. I had heard this multiple times before, but this was the first time that taste hit me. It affected all the five senses - smell, sight, taste, touch, and hearing. (Hearing? Yes, ever heard fish being fried in bulk in coconut oil? It's music.) It also affected another sense - my sense of balance.

Next morning, we decided to go crab hunting. My wife started wondering if I had any intention of meeting other relatives. After all, we had gone to Kannur to meet her relatives and visit some temples. I categorically denied having discussed any plans like that, and went along with her cousin Jith, another uncle, and my father in law. Hey - they are also relatives.

First, we went and got some basic devices to catch crabs. Then we managed to get some chicken waste [Chicken waste for us - but these are essential parts from a chicken's point of view - legs, beaks, "flower" etc.] from a meat shop.Crab hunting was going to happen in the same stretch that we had gone to the previous night - to the estuary of Valapattanam river.
The walk to the fishing point was pretty slushy. We had walked this stretch with the aid of torches and lanterns the previous night.

Water level started rising as we reached the end of marsh lands.
Our cousin Jith, tying chicken parts to the trap. The device is simple and can be made at home.

This is the trap. A simple net is tied around a steel frame. Ropes are attached to the frame to lower them into the water. The chicken "nugget" for the crab is placed in the middle. Unsuspecting crabs sense the meat, sits comfortably on the net, starts munching on the bait, and we comfortably pull them up.  No crab has ever lived to warn the others, so this technique has been in vogue for a long time.

 Throwing another trap into the water.
We just sat there idling on the banks of the river. Occasionally one of us would go and lift the traps to see if we had visitors. We were lucky a good  number of times. The beauty of the trap is it can be reused without even changing the bait. A catch can be seen in the pic below.
The weather was rather gloomy that day, but scores of mud crabs made up for it. Here's a fisherman on the river.
We kept putting the crabs in a sack, till we thought we had enough for lunch. Two or three times, we found two crabs huddled around the bait inside one trap. Guess they were having some quality time! Mud crabs don't look pretty, but they taste better than their seagoing cousins.

After the lunch, we relaxed for some time. Some more relatives had come to meet our family. But we had just not had enough fun and went for round 3 of fishing. We had covered the small neck of the river with a fishing net while we waited for the crabs. The catch was good.

I didn't bother to take pics, but after coming back home, had to photograph this beauty. To think that it was trying to get out of my hands an hour back!

During the day, my wife had gone with some relatives to visit the temples and some other families. Generally speaking, there was peace all around. By the time we finished dinner that night, a consensus had emerged. It was official by then for my wife's family members - their precious had married a fisherman. One of these days, I'm gonna go there again. The river was in the news for some political reasons recently. I don't care as long as my  crabs and fishes are left untouched.

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