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Lalwant Singh, in all his glory

Lalwant Singh, in all his glory

Those who have read my blog before, know I had a betta fish, Lalwant Singh.

Lalwant Singh died last week. At night he came to me for his food, nipped at my finger and all was well. Morning, he was curled up on a leaf, all dead. I guess I can take consolation in the fact that he did not suffer.

But then, what do I know of suffering, and how do I know whether a short suffering is any less hard to bear than a prolonged one? Does a small fish suffer? Does it suffer as much as a human? Is the suffering of the human more evident to me because a human is bigger than a small fish, and the fact that I am a human myself? Each time a fish dies I go through similar hand-wringing and attempts at philosophical acceptance.

I’ve tried not to think of Lalwant Singh the last few days, been sucked into A to Z Challenge, which I’m co-hosting this year, and for which I’m writing fiction like this one.

But even in the fiction, I can’t stop wondering about death, about what one feels when one dies, about suffering in death, about the act of dying. And all this because of a fish.

Writers are crazy. No, let me amend that, I’m crazy. Always have been.

I’ve washed the aquarium clean, run the water again, and am waiting for the water to settle down, so I can bring home a ‘replacement’.

Dead is dead, I know. But then, there is also life, for both fish and human, and the embracing of it– with a complete and acute awareness that death is, and always will be, if not the only, but definitely the most inevitable consequence.


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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  • I’m sorry you lost your pet.

  • Sorry to hear Lalwant Singh died. You had such awesome posts on him.

  • Poor Lalwant Singh… what a stunning fish he was!
    Pets are family, no matter if they walk, swim or slither…
    I am so very sorry for your loss…

  • Andy says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. We become very attached to our pets and when they die, we feel pain because we love them. This is why I no longer have pets, it’s too hard on my heart.Hope doing the A-Z Challenge helps to ease your pain somewhat. Thanks for sharing & visiting.

    Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn…

  • Marian Allen says:

    Oh, poor Lalwant Singh! I’m so sorry to hear of his loss! I remember when you got him and named him. 🙁

    And, as someone who has been so nearly dead they couldn’t find my pulse, I counsel you to not be afraid. There are certainly terrible deaths and painful deaths, but death itself is not scary. It wasn’t to me, anyway, but then my nickname is MomGoth.

  • Sorry about Singh. I think any living creature feels pain. And the only way we’ll know what death feels like is to go through it.

  • Any kind of suffering is painful, irrespective of its duration. Death is the final answer to all our questions throughout life. I would like to meet her and come back to tell you all about it. RIP Lalwant singh

    I am at

  • indigobunting says:

    I’ve been dealing with these issues myself this week. RIP, Lalwant Singh!

  • Sorry for your loss…a pet is a pet…I’m so attached to my dog…it’s scary…

  • mel says:

    Oh I am so sorry D. He sounded like such a great muse. Will muse about the life and death bit some other day (a little heavy going for me, and I have to write a fluffy article in a moment). Take care dear.