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Hook, line and sinker

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY


Angling for the big catch!

IMAGINE YOURSELF in a natural setting of a serene lake, where the only sound that disturbs the tranquillity is the pleasant din of the ripples and a mild breeze brushing gently against your ears. You're reclining on one of the myriad rocks, away from the monotony of your mundane office life and plaintive daily chores. You are totally beside yourself amidst nature's pristine resplendence with a fishing rod in hand. Just about time when you are beginning to get lost in your own thoughts, a sudden vibration - and, before you actually realise, there is a catch - a 20-pound `Mahseer'. The feeling is inexplicable.

"Indeed, the pleasure of fishing is divine," says socialite Lolly d'Silva. Thirty-year old Lolly symbolises the Hyderabadi women of the elite class, who is always in a perennial hurry. Household chores and partying often leave her stressed out at the end of the day. She needs to freak out to unwind. And, she just seems to know how - fishing.

Yes, fishing is her weekend pastime. Far from the madding crowd, in Shamirpet's Manjira dam site, she casts her line and waits patiently for the catch. Her bait was once taken by a 60-pound `Mahseer' that helped her to earn the rare distinction of being the only woman to overhaul the biggest fish in the country.

Lolly's excitement is not exactly in the catch. It is in the solitary idling by the waterfront, where she is able to open up to the vastness of the placid Manjira. "It's my way of getaway or rather my way of getting into myself, to find my own rhythm and the silence in the space within my heart. These are my moments of discovery," she says.

Much the way Stanley Balsing feels when he drives off to Durgam Cheruvu on weekends. The 25-year-old executive with Jet Airways says, "Nowadays it is fashionable to fish," and goes on to add that the fad is fast catching up with a large section from the elite class "chilling out" with quiet moments of fishing. "It is quite evident from the large number of people flocking to the various water bodies in and around the city to chill out in nature's lap," Balsing says.


Sharing time and healthy experiences.

Apart from Durgam Cheruvu and Manjira, Himayatsagar lake and Gandipet lake, which offer equally sylvan landscapes and authentic village vistas, are the other hotspots where one can unwind, relax and get rejuvenated with family and friends. For those more adventurous, the Cauvery undeniably remains the perennial favourite.

Says noted businessman and avid angler, Lin d'Silva, "We go and fish at Cauvery three or four times a year. Bookings have to be made one year in advance because of the heavy rush. But we make sure that everything is arranged despite the exorbitant price-tags on the camps."

The Cauvery provides exhilarating settings and fishing in these areas carries the tenacious challenges of the mighty Mahseer and massive Murrels. "An added advantage is a refreshing holiday in the natural, unpolluted environment of some unfrequented parts," pipes in Lin who is as much into fishing as Sachin Tendulkar is into cricket.

Echoing Lin's views, celebrated garment exporter of the country and managing director of Normak Fashions Private Limited, Gusti Noria, unapologetically describes, "I am often left completely worn out after a heavy schedule of work during weekdays and nothing more than fishing relaxes me or helps me unwind better."

Having just returned from one of his fishing retreats with fellow anglers, Gusti feels fully communed, bonded and recharged.

And indeed angling, because of its rejuvenating aspects, is clinically advised by doctors to relieve stress. Explains noted psychiatrist of Medwin Hospital, Dr. Prasada Rao, "There is nothing like roughing it in the wilderness and living off the land to rejuvenate one's spirit. And, fishing is the only peaceful exercise of such kind. Men regularly need this escape from today's fast-paced world to commune with nature, bond together and recharge their batteries. The spirit from such a trip is much more renewed by some less tangible, although just as real, aspects of the getaway. It is rejuvenating to spend some time just enjoying and appreciating the beauty of God's magnificent creation."


Fishing for relaxation. - Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

"Recreational fishing reduces stress and builds confidence, especially in children. It also helps us from lasting relationships," Dr. Rao states. According to Dr. Rao who deals with family matters as part of his practice, fishing with friends and family members is an excellent and affordable means of enhancing emotional well-being. "Fishing in a natural, stress-free environment is conducive to quiet conversation, enabling people to bond emotionally," he emphasises.

Sharing time with others when the focus is on this kind of simple, relaxing activity allows people to gain some physical and emotional distance from their problems. By taking children for fishing, adults can create opportunities to share the same healthy experience which reassures the youngsters. They derive confidence from knowing that the grown-ups are happy to care enough and spend time with them, Dr. Rao adds.

Because of its more-than-one benefit, probably Padma Shri Dr. Nageshwar Reddy goes for fishing, once in a while, along with his family. He gives fishing high marks as a therapeutic activity for anyone who is suffering. "By its nature, fishing is a quiet, relaxing activity that helps people alleviate the pressures of daily life. It allows people to spend time in a peaceful and soul-restoring way that can be quite healing. As a bonus, research shows that laughter, a common by-product of fishing, also boosts our immune systems," he adds.

Although a reasonably expensive pastime, with good fishing rods costing at least $ 500 and almost the same amount for fishing lines and reels, and about $ 25 for a good fishing hook, angling certainly seems a rich man's exotic game, specially when all the instruments are imported. But, the expense is worth the pleasure it gives you, which is purely natural. "Believe me, the high on fishing is much more than the high that pubs and discos give you," sums up Lolly.

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