Nepali Life: A fishing trip to Begnas Tal

It was a beautiful, peaceful evening over Begnas Tal as we putt-putted our way down to the lakeshore on DB Sir’s scooter. The peace being shattered momentarily as creaks emanated from the scooter and DB Sir asked me how much I weighed… The Nepalese are not shy.

DB Sir (named for his profession as a teacher) and I were on our way to catch fish for dinner. Although, as I am an incapable foreigner, DB Sir was doing the catching. This was made clear to me.

We found our patch along the northern shore of the lake and I was ushered to a spot to relax and take in the environment while DB Sir did the work. I made myself comfortable listening to the tweeting of the birds and the chirruping of the insects alongside the strain of lorry engines as they made their way up the hillside on the opposite side of the lake. Occasionally the engine sounds were accompanied by the rattle of tractor beds on the uneven surface and the circus-like honking of their horns as they cornered on the blind bends.

I listened to the plop of clumps of fish food hitting the lake surface as DB Sir tried to encourage our dinner to come a little closer, followed by the splashing of the fishing net hitting the water. The net is circular and tied to the wrist. It is carefully thrown in by hand. A ring of clinking metal beads around the edge of the net brings the sides of it together enclosing any unfortunate lake life. It is then slowly pulled up to the surface and back to the shore.

Now and again we were in luck and there was the sight of a small, silver fish slipping into the basket. After an hour or so we had five little fish. Enough to accompany our dhal bhat at least.

We weren’t the only people there catching dinner. There were some people up to their waists splasging around using a doko, a large, conical basket, to catch all manner of fish and eels. We also heard the low murmuring of a group of chatting fishermen nearby who had caught around 10kg of fish by rod, but, to be fair, they had been there all day.

We got back on the scooter with our spoils and creaked and groaned our way back up to the house ready for our fish curry.

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