I swallowed a fish bone and it got stuck in my throat at dinner last night. After the nightmare that I went through a couple of years ago, I started preparing myself to go to Apollo and get it taken out. My wife told me just cough very hard and it will come out and it did. Thank God.
This is when I realized that there is an art to eating fish which comes naturally to folks born on the coast but to a Bihari like me, the art of eating fish, gave a total miss. While eating fish I am like a dancer with two left feet or a musician who is tone-deaf and this is after 48 years of eating fish (I am pretty sure that I was fed fish within the first year of my birth).
The real artists take a big piece of fish and without checking for bones using hands, put the thing in their mouth. Magically after a few strategic mouth movements and expressing the glee that is obvious on their faces, they spit out the bones. And believe me, this disgusting procedure, is a delight to see, for non-artists like me. The abstract artists among the fish eaters really create something which is difficult to comprehend and understand and yet beautiful. They take the piece of fish, along with all the bones, and do not spit out anything. The bones disappear. This piece of blank canvas that these artists create is something to behold and enjoy.
For me, I have decided that I have to join an art class which teaches the art of fish-eating. There are 3 universities, one in West Bengal, one in Kerala and one in Goa. I am inclined towards West Bengal because of the specialty in the very difficult art of eating Ilish. The admission process is very cumbersome. You have to give details about name, gender and ethnicity, not of yourself but your favorite fish. There is quota for Ilish and Rohu. If your favorite fish happens to be Pomfret or Tuna, your chances of getting in is very small. You also have to write an essay. The topic is very provocative in general and changes every year. For e.g last year’s topic was “Does eating fish bones increase corruption and decrease the poverty line?”. After the essay, you have to attach full portfolio of fish-eating that you have done in the past, preferably saved as movie on a VHS tape. The application fee is Rs 432/kg.
So please wish me luck as I pursue my dream of becoming a true artist. If I am successful in finishing my masters degree, I might pursue a PhD degree in the more advanced area of “crab eating without using napkins.”
About the Author: Ashwini Mathur is a resident of Hyderabad. In the past he has worked at GSK Pharmaceuticals as a Senior General Manager and at Novartis after that. He has a Master’s degree in Mathematics from IIT Delhi, a PhD in bio-statistics from University and College Berkeley, California and an executive MBA from IIM Bangalore.