Fish tank & delayed designs…

I was lucky in starting my career in a very off-beat office. It was hardly an office, we worked from a spare room in my boss’s house.

Almost fresh out of college (I chucked a trainee job in a regular office after getting shouted at by the big boss every time he lost his house keys or some domestic squabble!), I really enjoyed working in a place where there was a great sense of camaraderie. The boss was just a few years older than us & didn’t give a damn what we called him!

Anyway this post is about a fish tank.

A colleague once brought a small fish tank for the office. Another girl (who joined us straight after she finished her college) and me were thrilled to bits! We placed it on the window sill between our desks. We spoke about how calming it was just to look at the colorful fish… We took turns feeding the fish and cleaned the tank together every week…

One fine day, when most of the others were away at a meeting, my friend noticed that one of the fish was dead. . Feeling very depressed and sad, both of us mopped around for the rest of the day.

The boss walks in to check our progress on some designs. We haven’t done it. “Why?,” he demands furiously. “But the fish died” we say in unison, staring at the unfeeling maniac.

“So what?!” he thunders. I cannot go and tell a waiting client his work is not ready because two of my designers were crying over a dead fish! I want the work done in half an hour. Now get your act together. Your time starts now!”

He storms out, fishing his asthma inhaler from his shirt pocket. Soon we hear the tinkling of a spoon from the kitchen. He’s mixing his skimmed milk, to soothe his ulcers.

What a moron! We mouth to each other before plunging into work.

Half an hour later the boss is gone with his precious design.

Not even a word of appreciation for the record time it took both of us to save his face with a client.

The colleague who gifted the fish tank walks in.

“Hi!” We say nervously. All along, we were worried how he ‘d take the bad news. Will he be upset? Or will he get angry? Will he blame us for not taking proper care of the fish?

He walks straight to the fish tank. ” Hey!” He says. “This one out here has popped it”. He takes the tea strainer we use to transfer the fish to a bucket while cleaning the tank.

He fishes the fish, takes it to the toilet. Drops it in the bowl and flushes it while both of us watch in horror.

“So,” he asks after he helps himself to a cup of tea. ” Coming to the pet shop round the corner? We’ll get a new one… “



  1. maami said,

    December 5, 2007 at 9:11 am

    Uh-huh. The last time I bought a fish home in a bowl, I loved mouthing kisses at it. In a week, it died. I vowed never to keep pets at home. A money plant adorns the fish bowl today.

  2. krishashok said,

    December 10, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Fishes in tanks always remind me of “Finding Nemo”. I always wonder if they are thittufying us in the choicest Madras bashai insults as they swim around in what must seem like a prison to them.

  3. Lakshmi said,

    December 10, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I bought a fish bowl once for my son’s (then 5 or 6) birthday- a goldfish and a fighter fish. Spent hours staring at the fishes..
    I couldn’t stand the smell of fish food flakes. A part of me felt sorry to feed the fish something I wouldn’t eat (I know..) A friend suggested boiling peas.. The fish were overfed and the water got murky within 2 days. One cold night, we were out of bottled spring water and I used tap water left out overnight to refill the bowl. The temperature difference was too much or maybe the fish could not take the additives in the tap water and they both died. I was devastated. In also vowed that this would be my last pet.

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