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Dipesh Majumdar

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The wrong fish

April 1, 2012

Today I went to an aquarium shop to buy some fish. The shopkeeper listened to my needs very carefully. Then he asked, "What fish you already have in your aquarium?" I answered, "A small shark (I have given it a nick name: Kalu) and a tiny white fish." He immediately remarked with a little disappointment, "You have the wrong fish!" Sharks eat and shit all day long. They never tire of eating...The more you give the more they will eat and the more they will pollute the water. Your filter will go mad cleaning water all day long for other fish. And other fish will die.
 
I asked, "What do you mean by other fish will die? Shark will eat them or what?" He replied, "No, shark will make the water murkier, dirty and unfit for other fish to live."

It is then I realized that for quite some time now other fish have been dying in that aquarium. The fittest of them all, a tiny white one has managed to survive mysteriously. And I have also been wondering for quite some time now as to how on earth my filter was unable to clean the water. I never had the faintest clue that it was due to Kalu's never ending excretion. As I thought what I could do about this the shopkeeper continued, "Shark do not need oxygen and you are providing oxygen. It doesn't need light and you are providing that also. It should be simply left alone in the worst way possible and it will still survive. Throw him into a nearby water body or pond or if you don't find any bring it to our shop."
 
I thought for a moment there, looking at the different aquariums filled with colorful fish and finally backed out, thanking the shopkeeper repeatedly.

As I was coming back, I realized that the shopkeeper could have easily sold me some fish without getting into so many details. But he sounded genuinely concerned and took utmost care that my hard earned money doesn't get wasted. In future I will definitely visit his shop, if any aquarium-related need arises.

Now the million dollar question surfaced in my thoughtful mind, "How will I get rid of Kalu?" Then immediately I remembered those days when I bought it. Initially it was very small and weak. I had bought a pair of them. One died and one managed to survive. It will be some 4 years or so. Kalu has grown up quite big and looks healthy. It swims gleefully in the aquarium from left to right and vice-verca in an infinite loop. When the aquarium is cleaned, the glasses shine and it plays continuously with its own reflection from the glass. Kalu has been with me for a long time now, through bad times and good times and I have kind of become attached to him. So I can't let go of him. Shown below is Kalu in playful mood with the little white fish:


I thought of another thing. The shopkeeper kept on criticizing Kalu. It's strange that Kalu has no good quality. I couldn't agree with him though. I remembered the adage - 'Even a faulty watch is right twice a day.' Kalu must have some good qualities. I was confident. May be we don't know what.
 
Then finally I thought that in reality there are some people like Kalu. This unique category of living organisms is more or less like parasites. You will find in the organization you work, in the society you live and in many other places. People who come in Kalu's category consume a lot of resources...eat a lot, take fat pay checks, talk a lot, promise a lot but finally the output that comes from them is very less. They are less efficient. They don't produce any useful work. They are a burden to the society. It is Kalu who is not only not producing anything worthwhile but also is responsible for others' downfall, death and misery.
 
Having realized all this I still can't let go of Kalu. He will remain in that aquarium for as long as possible. I leave it to nature to take her own course.

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