Friday, August 12, 2011

Cost of freedom

Since I was a young boy, My dad used to take us to the aquariums in Balgandharva Rang Mandir in Pune. I recall that I used to always feel quite bad to see fish in an aquarium. I believe it was a cage for them and that they would be better off in the open waters. I felt the same way about any animal which was harnessed in any way. I never wanted to really keep any kind of such pets. At a very subtle level I also believe that our dogs (I have several of those at home :-)), even though they are not tied up at home, are still caged. That they would be freer outside on the road or a farm house at least. This is evident from the behaviour they exhibit when we take them for a walk. Its like they haven't been out in ages, smelling and picking at almost every thing. They are so repressed. Whereas their stray friends, who are always outside, don't pay much attention to the same elements (they are not repressed)

One can always argue that we are providing them food and shelter. Out in the open, they would need to fend for themselves. But I believe that by protecting them, we are actually stunting their growth (same for human kid as well...parents are you listening?) and making them dependent. Once they are dependent, obviously they will find it a challenge to fend for themselves in the open.

A couple of years back, I was gifted a small aquarium with fish. For some reason, I didn't resist it and accepted it and enjoyed it too. I enjoyed caring for the fish, watching them, cleaning the tank etc. So much so that I went and bought a big aquarium, and added more fish. One thing led to another and I kept adding elements to this (external filters, TDS meters etc). I found myself spending a lot of time and money on the aquarium and also observed that I wasn't really enjoying this as much. Maybe there was a nagging thought at the back of my mind about their captivity. Whenever I looked at them, I felt bad.

Sravanthi, actually planted the seed in my head of releasing the fish into their natural environment. I connected with this advice and did this for the fish in my small aquarium. I felt a great relief to watch them swim and play in the natural waters. Recently, I felt motivated to do the same for the bigger fish in the large aquarium. I felt they were really boxed in and also were not growing. It was as if for our little viewing pleasure, we have captured these live beings in a box. I took help of Rajesh, took them in a box and released them into Pashan lake. It was a pleasure seeing them swim.

of course in both cases I couldn't really go back to check on them, since it would be impossible to spot them. But I believe they are much better off, happier and free. They will have to work for their food no doubt, but isn't that what life is all about. Growth.

I did a rough calculation to note that in 2 years this hobby cost me about Rs. 50,000/-.

This is the cost of the freedom for the fish.

Or is this the cost of my freedom :-)

Some learnings/observations
- If you are about to start something new (whatever)
- Sleep over it
- Feel your gut for doubts (ignore fears)
- Sleep over it again
- If still feeling good, go for it.
- If you are into something and its not feeling good
- feel your gut for doubts
- If not feeling good, not your calling
- Drop it fast

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