Sometimes the most ordinary situations can drive home profound truths. A friend, who lives in Bur Dubai, often walks about two kilometres in the evening to reach the creekside to feed atte ki goliyan (tiny balls made from wheat dough) to fish.
She claims it’s one of the most satisfying activities she can think of.
Last evening I decided to join her, never mind the choking humidity. She led me through the narrow corridors of Meena Bazar and the charming old souk. By the time we reached the spot, near Bank of Baroda, I was soaked in sweat. “Never mind,” my friend said brightly. “A little trouble to make the fish happy.”
She handed me some of the wheat balls that she had carried from home and instructed me to throw them one by one over the railing at the creek water below, where I could see shoals of small, black fish. Next to us was a Filipino gentleman, engaged in the same activity.
I was a bit worried whether it was illegal to feed fish with homemade atte ki goliyan.
But my friend pooh-poohed the thought by saying “we are engaged in a noble cause.”
So there we were, gently throwing the balls one by one at the eager fish that would gobble up the feed in the twinkling of an eye. It was a nice experience indeed, meditation-like, to stand quietly by the water feeding the fish and watching them glide and swim in the water.
Next I saw were some pigeons trying to scoop up the stray wheat balls that had landed on the wet embankment. But no sooner would the pigeons catch the balls in their beaks, the damp wheat would slip out and fall into the water to be gulped down by the fish.
When I pointed it out to my friend, she wisely remarked: “Daane daane par likha hai, khane walon ka naam.” You’ll get something only if it’s meant for you.
Truer words were never spoken.