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In which Kartar Singh Fights Himself

Kartar Singh, the Betta Fish

Kartar Singh, the Betta Fish

Uncle Kartar Singh fought with everyone. And no, he is not a character out of fiction.

He was our neighbor, and as a five-year-old I remember how his kids could never go out and play on the street with other children their age, because their father had had words (and blows) with almost every male in the neighborhood.

I have a beautiful pale orange Betta fish which reminds me of Uncle Kartar Singh. He hated all the algae-eaters when he was put in my 4-ft aquarium, and wasn’t shy about expressing himself.

And now the quarrelsome fish, all of 2 inches, has a home of his own, a tiny 1ft aquarium, to himself.

He moped throughout yesterday when I put him in, finding no one Β to pick a quarrel with.

But today, he is busy fighting with another orange Betta fish. He flares and flashes, feints, rushes up and down, threatens and head-butts the glass wall.

Of course Kartar Singh’s enemy copies him, because I have put a mirror right outside his aquarium.

I’m so tempted to put a Kartar Singh in my book, only I already have a flash piece featuring a Betta fish.

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.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • pythoroshan says:

    Oh boy… I could tell stories about how badly we misjudged the relationship between algae eaters and bettas… It ended tragically for the betta, which we didn’t expect!

    Presently, we have one who adjusts well with neon tetras and rummy noses. Touchwood…

  • bronxboy55 says:

    Was your neighbor really your uncle? He sounds as though he needed to be put into his own aquarium, too.

    • Damyanti says:

      Nope, he wasn’t. But back where we lived, it was impolite to not address folks older than you with a title, and everyone was an uncle or auntie.

  • Joy says:

    He sounds like quite a character and obviously has fighting in his blood.

  • PencilGirl says:

    Hahahaha!! That was hilarious! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
    Reminds me of a certain Ruskin Bond tale where a python falls in love with his own reflection.. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  • That is too funny!

    • Damyanti says:

      Kartar Singh is the essence of funniness. He’s becoming a regular at my blog…features in the next post as well πŸ™‚

  • Dafeenah says:

    So true. I use to have beta fish. I loved them. Mine also always fought the “other” fish in the mirror too.

  • We had betta fish, along with scores of other exotic fish growing up. Bettas sure are fun to have and look at. beautiful fish. Hope Kartar Singh wins his battle against his evil alter ego.

  • Marian Allen says:

    Oh, I think Kartar Singh needs his own place in your book, in the dedication or in a story of his own. He’s BEAUTIFUL! The Betta at the vet’s office wasn’t this beautiful. (He passed on a couple of years ago, by the way, and I was the one who found the body–a traumatic experience.) They didn’t name him. I called him Tyler Durden.

    I’m so glad you found a way to make Kartar Singh happy! An adversary worthy of his powers, too. πŸ˜‰

    • Damyanti says:

      That is not Kartar Singh, btw, just a pic of a similar betta I lifted off the internet. He looks quite a bit like this pic though, very gorgeous.

      Yes, Kartar Singh is a happy camper now :), Thank you so much for stopping by to comment!

  • This should be your dedication page, or author’s notes…culling the work, fighting on, etc..there are numerous applications. πŸ™‚

  • I guess it is like giving a mirror to caged birds.
    The story made me smile. Indeed, how like some people (I’m sure we all know such characters) who are never happy unless they have someone to spar with.
    I don’t see why you can’t add it to your others.
    Your fish are wonderful – colourful in every sense.

    • Damyanti says:

      My fish Are wonderful, I agree. I might find a way of adding this story to the others. Thanks for commenting, Gladys πŸ™‚

  • DarcKnyt says:

    Ha! How hysterical! I love it! Great stuff, Damyanti!

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