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Homeless Kartar Singh and the Memory of a Fish

Kartar Singh the betta fish is homeless again.

I’m the culprit, of course. Lured him into an old jam bottle and poured him into a flower vase.

I needed his home as a quarantine tank, you see. My Zebra Angel fish was getting picked apart by his black cousins, and needed rescue.

So Kartar Singh and his temporary home are on my study desk as I type. And yes, you guessed it. So is the mirror.

Mr Singh is shimmying, sashaying, flashing away at his alter-ego, no sign of missing his pebbled home decorated with plants. He rises up every once in a while to the surface to breathe, comes over to my side, as if to say, isn’t life Fun? and dives right back into his silent squabble.

Oh for the memory of a fish.

If only I could be as much in the moment as Kartar Singh— forget the things I’ve left behind, not carry a trace of past grudges or worries for the future, be happy wherever I’m put, find my obsessions, and enjoy them.

Wouldn’t mind meeting my alter ego in person either.

I meet her often enough when I write, but never more than a glimpse, a shadow of understanding and then I’m back to myself, leaving her far behind.

The Zebra Angel is going back to the shop where I’m hoping he will recover and find another home.ย Mr. Singh will go back to his fancy home by evening, and would have no memory of his trip to my desk.

Kartar Singh, the orange betta fish

Kartar Singh, Homeless and under Alien Attack!

There he is, one very confused Kartar Singh, swimming about amidst the reflection of bookshelves, trying to figure out how on earth could an alien Betta fish be swimming down at him from his roof.

Yes, I’ve covered the vase with the mirror now.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

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