A ‘fly-catching’ art

A far-off relative of mine is an expert at,you guessed it, fly-catching. Swatting mosquitoes is way too common, but as far as my knowledge goes, fly-catching is an unique art. Years and years ago, when the world was ignorant about animal rights (or more precisely insect rights in this case. Sure Maneka Gandhi wouldn’t mind even now???) and people were too naive to care about the poor fly, this man’s talent was a huge hit with us kids. He would be just sitting there as laid back and as relaxed as …George Bush speaking to an audience of chimps (???) . We would be waiting with a heart-in-the-mouth tension for that blink-and-you-miss move(literally!). Zap!There it comes! …Dead silence…. Of course, you missed it (Not to bother, he always showed us the slow motion later) We would all hear the buzzing and wriggling sound of the fly inside his lightly closed fist. Then with a momentary smile he would open his fist and then the fly is free to fly! Applause all around… Mind you, this is a zillion quadrillion times non-violent than mosquito swatting. As you already know by now, the fly is alive and its a happy ending, but of course…

Curious how he mastered the art ? Quoting the man himself, what we are seeing now is the fruit-bearing of years and years of drudgery. ‘An art like ’tis don’t come easy’ he says with a solemn look on his face as the kid-me listened to him,awestruck. ‘I ain’t going to school,’ he would yell simultaneously howling in pain when his father smacked his hind side with a smooth cane non-stop ‘until I catch a 100 flies today ‘. It was his passion. Its no surprise today there’s no better goddamn fly-catcher in the whole wide world (He’s the only one as of now,but that a totally irrelevant point and out of context). I can as far as go and say I drew inspiration from him, I mean not in fly-catching (he advised me not to get into it as I never had the fire-in-the-belly passion to catch flies), but in everything else I did. I cannot with all my heart say I haven’t tried my hand at the trick a couple of times or more, but as I found out, I was not meant to be.

Well,coming back to that far-relative of mine, the truth is that the guy never got any tangible gains from his unique talent. Nobody called him to their house to perform his feat, nobody at weddings cared for him (except we kids that is) when he caught multiple flies at a single flick of his arm, nobody even acknowledged the greatness of the art. Even Tusshar Kapoor will envy his no-success story. But then, what was so evident and palpable on his face was his contentment, his happiness. I met him after many years recently at a wedding, ( and while we were trying to make conversation, (zap!) he lazily flicks his arm. Then I remember, and ask him curiously,”Innu siktava (Do they still get caught) ???”. In slow motion, he raises his fist to eye-level, opens it, and as I watch with open-mouthed wonder, a fly bursts out and flies off into the air, gradually bringing wrinkled face back into focus, smiling proudly at me. He wistfully adds, ‘Ain’t no enough flies to catch these days. Maybe they should file for extinction’ . I couldn’t bring myself to tell him he ought to stop this now….


11 thoughts on “A ‘fly-catching’ art

  1. I dont know why but I feel like saying. This is the best explanatory blogs I have ever read. Mind you that I read very very few blogs, but this one tops the list. Well done Pavan you have really come of age.

  2. Hey..nice blog :) Simple, Sweet n Short!!! Well written and explained also..shocked to c a blog with almost no sarcasm :PGood job buddy!!

  3. Hey Pavan, nice blog it is… never thought i’ll read anything abt fly-catching r something like thought… the narration is superb. sure u do a lotta reading…

  4. @Karthik,That comment made my day! Thanks :)@Suma,Yeah,realized there is no sarcasm only after you mentioned! I should try this more often :D@Naveen,Bachcha, you surely know the real-life inspiration for this right? ;) ;)@Seshu,Wow! Thanks for that buddy :)@Sasi,Mr.Kota,Pleasant surprise there ;). I’ve been reading ‘Short stories by Mark Twain’. This post is inspired from that :)

  5. hey really cute narration. I guess your blogs are getting better exponentially! Whenz the book release of Short stories by Pavan Kumar?? :)

  6. @Div,Your ‘cute’ fixation just doesn’t leave u,right? :DThere,my first customer. Shell out $40 as advance payment for the book(special discount for ya, buddy :D)@Neergund,Ella nim aashirvada ‘tande’ :D@Ash,Your comment is ‘simple and sustaining’ too this time, and no ‘:P’ ..Thanks ;)

  7. Loved this one too.. I could visualize everything as i read.. Its as if a silent movie is running in my mind :) It definitely is an indication to the fact that the writer is good at his work :) keep going :))

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