For most of us, “is this a fish market?’ reminds us of our school days! The phrase has been reverberating in classrooms since time immemorial! It seemed to hold true in every school i went to…having been to many,across the country,and i would think to myself how can teachers think just the same across the borders of states and rivers?My young impressionable mind concocted a very weird imagery of the fish market,a place that i never thought of going to,ever in my life.A vow i had taken in all innocence.
Now picture this…many a times my destiny betrayed me,and i was the one sitting on the first bench to be asked by the teacher seething in anger- ‘Is this a fish market?’ Oh Lord,heavens above,please help me ‘what will the right answer to this question be?’ ..’Ummm…no Ma’am..i don’t think it is a fish market!’ The teacher almost ready to give me a nice one on my cheek- “So you think this is not a fish market,Miss?’ Turning to the class- ‘She thinks this is not a fish market!” laughter ensued as always,but i as a young girl of eleven-twelve years,was left thinking what was the right answer!
An evening of rains in Shillong,and my tayaji asked me if i would be interested to go with him to the fish market…a part of me said nooo right away,while a part of me wanted to see ‘THE FISH MARKET’…he saw the confusion play large on my face.I explained to him what i was going through and he laughed the grownup’s laugh and told me,his teachers said it too! Imagine my plight…all teachers said it!! Oh Lord!
Well holding his hand and navigating through the lanes of the Bara bazaar fish market in Shillong,i saw how organised it was.The freshwater catch on one side the catch from Bay of Bengal on the other,well stocked rohu,catla and surmai…small fish for pickles stacked in gunny bags at the foot of the bazaar.To me it was a very organised place and the speaking and shouting was only out of necessity,to promote business.On my way back home i realized,it wasn’t that bad a place,after all! I am glad i took the step of speaking to an elder in the family and telling him what upset me.I am glad i went out to see the dreaded place for my own self. For all your shouting teachers,i feel some student somewhere has an urgent pressing need to turn around and ask you ‘Is this a fish market?’