There was this man called, let’s say Phi, in my village, who loved fishing . He took meticulous care of his rods: he had four, shining steel with sharp nylon-silk threads. He wrapped the handle with rubber grips, for the quick turns and wallowing pulls. He had been to every pond and fished there. However his favorite remained the pond next to my hut.

Phi had an unusual way of fishing though. He spent hours, looking for worms under mossy stones and muddy polythene bags that washed up on the banks. After he had filled the empty cola can with worms, he would take out the healthiest of the lot, wiggle the creature and pierce it with his hook. Then with an air of utmost composure, or carelessness, with the poignant flourish of his hand, he threw the rest of the worms in the pond.

Then he took out his rod, and with the preciseness of a dart, and the poetry of a peacock, he threw his line in waters…On somedays he would get a fish, others he wouldn’t. But he sat with his line like David of Michelangelo. And with a hawk in his eyes, he waited.

One day, I couldn’t resist my curiosity and asked,” Phi, why do you throw the can of worms in water? The fishes will never take your bait! They’ll happily have the other worms.” Phi laughed. A laugh of an innocent kid, or the laugh of a maniac, I don’t know. He gave a mock slap and said, “I am preparing for the contest you know. There will be a lot of competition!”

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