“Why not that green one, I have always seen you going for green shades?” my friend asked in surprise, for that I replied “Green is my favourite colour, but I don’t know…I just liked her this way, cladded in Purple blue, blue being her identity… and I feel she is the only one who has a personality in this entire space...” It took only seconds to make that choice… and take her with me to the hostel room.
No need to confuse! Both of us were not talking about girl friends… This talk happened many years back near my college campus in Chennai, at a shop that sold fishes and aquarium… It was about my purple blue fighter fish. While my friend took an hour deciding on his favourites and finally brought half a dozen gold fishes, I was waiting at the teashop sipping hot tea in front of Selaiyur IOB bank holding a small bowl with my only fighter. Almost two three years later someone looked into my orkut profile and laughed at the statement that my ideal match is ‘a purple blue fighter fish”, for that I replied “I’ll be insulting myself in case I still think… if she is a purple blue fighter...”
I had never seen a woman like her. She was really tuff to understand… With her sharp eyes winking every single second, and the wide purple blue wings waving in a poetical passion she always proclaimed her rule. She cared a lot for her lone little space … that she cherished like a queen. I never talked much to her to make her feel that way, her freedom and comfort… as if I am not even bothered about her. Her individuality had all the shades that matched any rainbow. I could never stand those colours to get faded away like those rainbows becoming ‘yesterday’s illusion’, as she been my only ‘silent’ solution then. It was a great feeling watching her silently, during tensions of assignments and projects during college days. In no time, I used to get boosted with so much of energy and enthusiasm.
I was never been so addicted or attracted to any of those light hearted gold fishes, the little angels, guppies, black mollies or the sharp sharks that lived in groups. None of them seemed to have any sense of individuality or love for freedom. I couldn’t even differentiate one gold fish from another in the aquarium and thus they failed to create any fascination in me. But the very moment I looked at the lone lady fighter, as the glare of light hitting the bowl, I saw my own face reflecting on its smooth sides of the glass. Thus she and her lone little space became a part of my paradise - Room no.169, Heber Hall. At times I used to imagine myself to be her partner, diving into that bowl and swimming smoothly holding her tight.
At the aquarium they asked me not to touch any fish with hands while taking them out for changing water, pebbles, shells etc. But I always preferred to lift her with my own hands so softly; with utmost care coz I never trusted the sharp edges of the net. Moreover I hated the fact that the water always drained out while lifting a fish with the net, leaving them suffocate for some time. She, my fighter, was so cosy in the very little water I held in my palm while taking her out. More over she seemed to understand that I wouldn’t hold her for long like that, but leave her free… back in her free space.
Unlike other fishes she was never been so restless swimming so aimless like mad. She liked to stand at one place quietly for long time waving her purple blue skirt, deep in some thought, turning eyes in all directions watching her territory with utmost care. Her swim was more poetical and musical. It always matched with the music from my computer speakers. Moreover I have noticed her staying close to the speakers. She never liked any ‘hide and seek’ business and naturally never hid herself under the shells or pebbles. She didn’t seem to enjoy going to the bottom of the bowl. She used to come up so close and grab her food from my fingers touching the surface of the water.
Once my friend left a gold fish with her, to see her behaviour. That handsome boy (almost three times the size of my fighter girl) was chased all around the bowl up-down, left-right, top-bottom, north-south, east-west…in all possible vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines and circles - until we both felt so bad about him and took him out of the bowl. He was so tired and suffocated… taking deep breaths through his gills - almost out of his freaking mind. When we left him back in his aquarium, it was horrible to watch his weird disabled way of swim, as if he had forgotten how to swim. My purple blue girl was still relaxed as if nothing happened, quietly doing the salsa in the same poetical pattern, turning her head in all sides, winking her beautiful eyes with the rhythm of music.
She was a real tuff woman to handle, whom I respected a lot. I had to change water only twice a month for that small bowl that didn’t even have any artificial air pipes. She could live without any nourishment for two weeks long. I never had to be bothered about her when I had to go for vacations or project works. If it was for a longer vacation at my home in Kerala, I used to carry her with me in the train. She was such a silent girl, who seemed to like the travel in the train. I remember those restless baby rabbits I carried home with me form Hyderabad during my graduation days. Rabbits became a part of my family so well, sharing the same cage with the lovebirds. But none of them were a match for my purple blue. Whenever she came home with me she was treated so precious. She used to get more attention than me, from my parents and sister.
She was the only one that looked good on me. It was painful losing her. But then one day I realised that her dreams were beyond the boundaries of that bowl. One evening when I came back from college she was not there in the bowl. After ten-fifteen minutes of search, I found her near the door. It was so painful to see her so badly wounded and completely covered by dry dust. I washed her carefully and left her back in the bowl. She was just amazing…beyond imagination. From that critical condition she regained her strength spreading her wings wide. The obvious wound marks got covered by fresh new purple blue scales in two weeks.
You guys can call me cruel or selfish. Even after realizing her urge for more freedom and space, I was not ready to loss her. Many times I took the bowl to the Heber pond thinking of leaving her there, but came back… feeling so insecure about her… She was with me for a longer time, more than the time any of those gold fishes lived in my friend’s aquarium. I have seen him changing fishes many times. But I had only one purple blue fighter till this date. She died…
Fighters are of three colours, green, blue & purple blue. But mine was always that purple blue… with her I always forgot that my favourite colours are the green and the greys… “I never insulted myself by thinking, when I saw my purple blue…”, she still stay with me... in memories...