The Fishing Nets of Kochi

July 22, 2010

Absolutely innovative design! Created a few centuries ago. As curious as cormorant fishing!In the sleepy town of Kochi.

I saw these for the first time on a walk by the waters, in the evening. A time, when the fishermen had gone home after the morning’s work, had a hearty nap and a few had returned to chat or do some maintenance work on the nets.

The nets used are the size of a small 2 storeyed building. The mechanism requires at least 6 strong men to operate. It is fixed on the banks and extends into the water. The large nets tied to the bamboos, are lowered in with teamwork, and then when the team leader yell’s out, the nets with their heavy catch are lifted up using large coir ropes.

I had never seen anything like this. And through the delightful conversations that neither side quite understood completely, I concluded that I was invited to watch the whole process early next morning. So our little troupe consisting of my kids and their parents, landed up at dawn at the wharf, surprising the group of fishermen!

We watched for awhile and through more friendly language-less chatter, it was agreed that we would now contribute our energy to the fishing process. And so we took charge of a few of the ropes  and did what we were told. It looked easy enough!! The job was to pull the rope downwards to raise the rocks tied at the other end of the pulley like system. Raising the rocks would result in lowering the beams and the nets they held, into the water – like in a see-saw.  A job that had looked so easy, was so tough that my entire weight hanging on to the rope was not enough to do what my arms were meant to.

Much huffing, puffing and laughter ensued –  for the fishermen who enjoyed the spectacle of us tumbling with the unexpected momentum.

After an hour of such early morning fun, we were invited by the fishermen, all christians, to join into their road side celebration of Christmas morning. So standing in groups with them, along side carts that would carry their catch away to the bazaar, we enjoyed plum cake and some red wine in plastic cups.

A truly delightful Christmas morning!

Videos posted on youtube.com at

jm

http://www.wovensouls.com

http://jewelsofthepeacock.com

http://nikonista.org

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