Saturday, April 06, 2013

Finding Nemo, Floyd and other Fish tales

I have always been fascinated by underwater creatures (fish AND others, including mermaids!) I used to insist on one summer treat every year from the age of 8 or so.... the smelly, dirty, excuse of an aquarium in Chennai. There is something soothing yet exciting about watching fish swim around. Colors, silence, their little pouting mouths, their peculiar ways.... its addictive! 

Although I am a vegetarian, in honor of the excellent Ilish maach in Kolkata, I became fishitarian one autumn, and then once when I was served some prawn (and it didn't agree with me), fish and me continued our relationship with a glass wall in between again. 
Love the idea of danger - Jelly Fish

My fave sea creatures - Sea Horses
My first 'great' experience of an aquarium was at Monterey Bay, CA. I was newly-married and my husband was indulgent and amused and accompanied me in what-he-thought-was-a-2-hour-vist-but-turned-out-to-be-a-day-long-visit to the aquarium there. I was deeply upset at not having brought a swimsuit to accompany a diver into the tank. I particularly enjoyed how the aquarium was just an extension of the natural underwater flora and fauna of that area and how the sea water is constantly pumped in and out of the aquarium. I have said it in many a post and I say it again, Indians suck at marketing. Monterey Bay is again a classic example of how you can buy fishy toys, souvenirs, have experiential learning via diving, feeding, touching etc. I still remember how 'touching' a baby shark felt. How you ask? 1 part scary(it did have teeth, though it was a baby), 2 parts leathery (mildly repulsive, like touching a wet canvas shoe) and 1 part thrilling (I was touching a SHARK, yippee!) My love for aquariums was quite fulfilled that year (including a smallish aquarium in Camden, NJ). And continued in my travels whereever I went. 

And then one summer I had a baby. My love for fishy babies came to an end, or a dormant phase and I became immersed in the joy of parenting my son. 

Some years later, we went to Singapore on a holiday with our 3 year old, we took him to Sentosa's underwater aquarium.We had planned for this to be a 1 hour stop and then go on to Universal Studios. We ended up spending over 5 hours there - over an hour just outside the Nemo - clownfish-reef display (thanks Pixar!) He really wanted to touch a sting ray - 1 part excitement, 2 parts fear, 1 part thrilled...sounded similar.... and it suddenly clicked. He has my genes after all! We are not the oh-i-gotto-tick-this-off-today type of tourists and enjoyed the experience with him very much. I got to do something fantastic that day in the show... I touched a sea-lion. Made myself AND my son proud... both of us conquered a bit of fear that day! These days, after his lessons on 'conservation' at school, my son has been telling anyone who cares to listen that we are going 'snorkeling' this summer at Maldives, Andamans AND Lakshwadeep and that his baby (my infant daughter) will learn swimming there. (Doesn't stop to think he's older and can't swim eh?) 

In other fish tales, I have sent many a goldfish to their next abode by buying and over/underfeeding or not giving oxygen or by cooing too much at them! And named ALL pairs Floyd and Rahman :( Have you had success with goldfish? 

On my bucket list, a shark dive. Have you done it or want to do it? 

Before I sign off here's one of my fave Floyd songs(Floyd was my alternate F topic!) Don't miss Gilmour singing 

"How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground. 
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here"


  1. Headed to Singapore next week. Look forward to be able to pen something of a fishy experience too :D

  2. I'm having a serious falling in love experience with your son! ;) Loving your space - you have a great way of telling a (fish)tale!

    1. :) Thanks Corinne. Coming from you its high praise indeed. You made my weekend!

      And my son, well, I can't be objective ain't it? He's adorable and easy to fall in love with... until he starts throwing tantrums!

  3. We had a whole lot of goldfish for a long time but when the last one died we decided it was time to stop. Aquariums are addictive. My son was thrilled to hold a young penguin when he was little at an aquarium in Napier, NZ.

  4. have been to Sentosa and the experience was really awesome. My husband touch many undr water creatures. I could not !! Having a gold fish gives luck some say. I still hav desires to get acquuarium

  5. That made for an interesting read! We have been having gold fishes since the last 7 years. And we have always named them Ginnie and Goldie. Like your Floyd and Rahman, we've had too many pairs of G & G too!! But we keep getting new G&G. Some stay for a long while and sometimes they die just one after the other! Watching the fishes move in the aquarium is so fascinating, I can see them for hours...

  6. Not sure I can appreciate the shark dive (still too many bad memories of Jaws!)! :D
    How honored I am to know that you tasted ilish maach!! :P

  7. Loved the tale, loved the style :-)

  8. Love the names for the the finishing your narration :-)

  9. Your son is a great little guy. Those genes must be powerful ones, no doubt about that. Loved your post, especially the part where you touched a baby shark. Cool!

  10. We live very near the Atlantic Ocean, so have a natural love of ocean creatures. We went on a whale watching tour and saw hump back whales in the Bay of Fundy. We were quite taken by the shark encounter, walk through tunnel at Sea World in Florida. Great F post.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

  11. You are giving us a virtual tour of so many places around the world. Thanks.

  12. Your experiences are a delight to read. That Floyd song is among my favorites!

  13. Loved this description of your family outing. Your son seems to sweet and precocious. I look forward to reading more about your adventures.