Fish Out of the Water

by Shunha Jaggi
(India)

Even though Fish was a fish like all the other fish around, he felt different. For one thing, he was the only fish ever born who couldn’t swim. He had Happy Fins, and he could splash and squish and slosh about, but he couldn’t swim.


For another, others were comfortable in this little lake leading their little lives.

Fish was unfortunate enough to realize that there was a world beyond. And the world beyond beckoned to him...
 
Boy was bored. Bored of his school, classmates and parents. Recently his parents had enrolled him in a dance class, so he was bored of his  whole life. He had Happy Feet and couldn’t get the beat right. Even the teacher while shushing others, couldn’t control her smile. He wanted to run away. He didn’t belong here...
 
Fish asked his mother, “Can I grow wings?”
“No, Fish, you cannot grow wings.”
“Why can’t I grow wings?”
“Because then you would become a bird.”
“Can I atleast ride on a bird?”
“No, because the bird will eat you. Now go and play with your school!”
Fish made a fishy pout. He hated his school of fish!
 
Boy told his mother, “I don’t want to go to dance classes.”
“You have to. Everyone should know dancing.”
“Then can I leave the cricket coaching?”
“No, every boy must know cricket.”
“Then can I play cricket and leave school?”
“No Boy, you cannot leave anything! Now shut up and go to school!”
How Boy hated school! Fat and lazy, he didn’t fit in anywhere. So he didn’t like it anywhere.
 
The fish were hosting their awaited annual contest, Finding Nemo. This year Fish was Nemo and he had to hide.  Eagles were fasting – far more fun watching fish than eating them today! The fishermen threw away their baits and waited with baited breath. Three... two... one... Go find Nemo!
 
Boy’s school was having Annual Functions. Boy was in a group dance. The whole school cheered amid bright lights, his parents’ eyes even brighter. The curtain rose and the dance began...
 
Shh... shh... said Fish to himself. Just keep hiding behind this water lily and you are safe...
“There he is!”
Whaaa...?? Fish was startled. He was bad at hiding and worse at deceiving. If he lost now, not only would he lose but he would also break the records by being the fastest loser. So he started swimming, twirling, spinning for his life...
 
Just three minutes ten seconds, Boy told himself. It will be over before it starts! It’s just four moving arms and legs with a silly smile! A bright smile for the bright lights...
Boy was indeed smiling brightly. But that’s all he was doing. He had forgotten to move at all! Soon he was behind the others... he failed the rhythm and the rhythm failed him... So he stopped dancing and started running, stumbling, fumbling for his life...
 
Boy ran and ran with his baby elephant wobble till he reached the lakeside. Stopping for breath, soaking his legs, he started sobbing.
 
Fish was looking for a bird to hop onto. He didn’t find a bird but he found Boy.
 
Plop! Wet pouty Fish leaped into boy’s lap. Oui! Said Boy, throwing Fish into water. Fish tried again and licked at his feet, tickling him funny. Boy laughed, looked at Fish’s orphan-Annie eyes, and finding a broken bottle, put Fish inside.
 
Now Boy feeds Fish while Fish kisses Boy’s fingers. Fish is free of school but Boy isn’t so lucky. Still, coming home to a friend makes him happy. Happy kids do things better, so Boy dances and studies and bats better. Fish loves the way human lips produce sounds... his only produce bubbles and pouts! Boy’s family is nice to Fish, they let him watch that box with moving pictures and sounds. Imagine, humans actually made a movie out of Finding Nemo!
 
Best of all, Fish is loved without having to win every time. So is Boy. Kids ignored Boy, but now they play at Boy’s home to play with Fish. When Boy takes Fish to the lake, Fish’s surprised friends see Boy fussing over Fish and wave their way. Fish’s mother sees him smiling so she too smiles.
 
For she has always known that Fish wasn’t meant for the waters, Fish was meant for the skies. And he found the friend that gave him wings.

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