For that creative swill

Fishing is what fishermen do, hydrophobia afflicts the rest. Barring a few exceptions, hydrophobia is a common trait among Indians. Credit must go to doting parents and curious astrologers who cast fear in the minds of children toward water or more specifically ‘flowing water’. It has worked as an inter-generational cognitive trap!
Hydrophobia has persisted as a social reality, nonetheless.

Despite our folk literature being loaded with immortal love stories that flourished along the rivers, there hasn’t been as much affinity for rivers in the present times. From Heer-Ranjha to Sohni-Mahiwal and from Sassi-Punnu to Mirza-Sahiban, the heartrending stories of immortal love continue to be retold and frequently captured on celluloid, for their ever-lasting appeal in a world that is increasingly been torn apart by hatred and violence.

These stories remain in popular imagination only! No surprises, therefore, that while the elites drive to the golf courses during weekends, common folk head to the hills to spend their vacation. The idea of ‘green’ overwhelms popular perception, even as keeping away from ‘blue’ plays up sub-consciously. People neither flock to riverfronts to stay away from noise nor do they seek the comforting experience of fly-fishing. For self-immersed entertainment seekers (other than rafting), riverfronts hold little promise.
Holding rivers in ritualistic reverence  has only contributed to their neglect and consequent decline. Since people don't protect rivers, rivers don’t save people either. If you don’t protect ‘blue’, you get many shades of ‘grey’ in return. Little is realised that these rituals are poor reflections of our love and affection for flowing waters.  

Keeping distance from what creative writer John McPhee calls ‘the ultimate metaphor of existence’ has not done much to our being. Our foibles, our loneliness, our boredom, our anxieties, our frustration and our helplessness are products of our isolation from the rivers. Need it be said that flowing water has been the source of all life and sustenance of all beings?

There is something intriguing: rivers can provide a mind-soothing serenity as well as heart-pounding excitement. Try sitting or walking along a riverfront for a while and notice the calm that it provides. By constantly changing its contents and shape, rivers can be as much an avenue for escape as a part of our quest for redemption. It offers natural refuge for disturbed minds. Not without reason, people go fishing to seek everything from solace to a romantic respite.

Travel writer Gretel Ehrlich writes, “Water can stand for what is unconscious, instinctive and sexual in us, for the creative swill in which we fish for ideas’. If you are in courtship, ride over your entrenched hydrophobia and persuade your partner to go with you for fishing. You will surely net your catch!

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