The story of the uncle-
One fine Saturday afternoon, my parents and I were enjoying lunch at Amul India Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. We were the only people there at 4 PM. We were all looking at the fish tank close to the entrance. There were 3 fishes in there. 2 of them were tiny and playful while the 3rd one was bigger, fatter, had a wicked look and it simply stared at us; it looked ready to bite any moment.
The owner walked towards us for making a conversation. Since we all are Indians, we managed to find a connection. We talked about India. Then he informed us that most of his friends happened to be from Gujarat which is my home-state. He shared that used to visit my hometown Amdavad to sell potatoes with his father, an occupation that helped feed his family. He revealed that this is why he understood my mother tongue language – Gujarati – very well. Who would have thought that a staunch Punjabi uncle like him would know Gujarati! It was such a strange and pleasant co-incidence!
The story of the fishes-
Anyway…then he went on to tell us the story of the 3 fishes in his fish tank that we were looking at. It was quite difficult to own fishes, he declared. The scary looking slightly bigger fish had managed to eat or kill all the other smaller fishes he had brought to this tank. But it never even touched those two little ones. Those two smaller fishes were brought to his tank together with bigger one. They were new borns then and had grown up together in his tank. They must have built some kind of kinship…that we humans wouldn’t understand, he added quietly.
The story of the monkey-
This reminded me of a story that my mother had told me once. Once upon a time, a monkey and a man had climbed up a tree trying to escape from a hungry lion. But lion was relentless and sat at the base waiting for one of them to fall or come down. After several hours, when it got dark, monkey and man got tired. But what if they fell down? So, they decided to take turns to sleep while the other watched out for the lion.
Man slept first and monkey was on watch. The shrewd lion tried to cut a deal that if monkey pushed the man down, monkey could have its freedom. Monkey got angry and said that he would never deceive his friend. A few hours later, it was monkey’s turn to sleep and for the man to be on watch. The lion tried the same deal with man.
Man saw the opportunity in this idea. He impulsively pushed the monkey but the smart monkey had tied its tail to the branch so it wouldn’t fall. Monkey said to the man…I knew I could never trust a human