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Goan Fisherman’s tale – traditional wisdom, traditional fishing

July 16, 2013 3 min read

While one half of the world chases efficiency and big money, Goa continues to chase the perfect life.

Afternoon siestas are still not traded for earnings. I have been turned away from a store at 1 pm – by the shopkeeper who knew that I would be buying worth about US$1500 – simply because of 1pm and time for his lunch and siesta …. he politely asked me to come back at 4pm. He knew that money is not a good substitute for sleep.

Young men and boys still spend their leisure time ‘playing’ football very seriously against other village teams instead of just watching strangers play the game in some other part of the world.

They “live” life instead of watching it.

They fish for their dinner and they tell you that they enjoy it doubly because they have caught the fish themselves.




These pictures were taken on my phone on a lazy stroll on Miramar beach, Panaji, Goa.

I got a glimpse of  the local traditional fishing, – a glimpse that showed me their hard work, their small catch and their deep wisdom contained in the following story about a fisherman’s wisdom:

A boat docked in a tiny village.

An American tourist complimented the village fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the fisherman.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with all your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs…I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!

You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.

Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.”

“You can then leave this little village and move to the big city and maybe even to the US. From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the fisherman.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stock and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that — and this is the best part — you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, catch a few fish, take a siesta, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends!”

The fisherman was puzzled “Isn’t that what I am doing already”

My guess is that this fisherman’s tale of wisdom was set in Goa…….





July 2013


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