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Kartar Singh woke up this morning, did  his usual happy dance, broke his fast of the last 3 days, and made me very happy.

Then in the afternoon, I found him tail up, his head stuck in the pebbles, dead.

I know Kartar Singh was only a betta fish, but I feel his loss.

Time to resort to the lesson I learned the hard way : Sadness at death is proportional to the level of attachment.

Another one, a corollary, one I had forgotten: Never name a fish.

RIP, Kartar Singh. I’ll miss you.

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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  • Marian Allen says:

    Oh, Damyanti, I’m so sorry! I know how it hurts to lose a fish, especially since so few people understand how you can become so attached to something that isn’t furry.

    I have written him a poem:
    Kartar Singh, thou warrior bold,
    In armor of bright orange-gold,
    May we all fight our fights so true
    Because we learned to fight from you.


    • Damyanti says:

      Marian, Thank you.

      I’ve been thinking of Kartar Singh, and this is exactly what I would have said at his funeral, if I had one. Only I may not have managed to say it as beautifully as you have done in this poem.

      Thank you once again, and hugs,

  • Sara says:

    It’s hard not to name them, though, especially Betta fish. Mine, named Shark, lived five years before I found him fin-up after coming home from work. It’s just sad to see such vibrant creatures leave, and especially because they’re a fixture in your house.
    RIP Kartar

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks everyone, for your comments. I’m sure Kartar SIngh would have loved to hear you say such kind things about him!

    He certainly was an interesting little warrior. We all fight ourselves some time or the other. But few take it quite as seriously and personally as he did.

  • Thank you so much for your comment on Skydiaries…which, in turn, helped me find you! You are a wonderful writer–and I look forward to coming back here for a visit. Best, LynnB.

  • DarcKnyt says:

    AW, I’m so sorry Damyanti! He was certainly unique, wasn’t he? He’ll be missed.

  • Sorry he didn’t make it, especially after showing such signs of life!

  • K.C. Woolf says:

    Oh no! At least he’ll go down in history as a fish with one of the best names ever.

    I want to second bornstoryteller’s suggestion to give Kartar a warriors funeral. It seems only fitting.

  • Awww, that has bummed me out. You had such fun tales about him. He will be missed.

  • PencilGirl says:

    I don’t think you’re the only one who’ll miss him.. 🙁
    I’ll miss you too Kartar Singh..

  • Joy says:

    You’ll miss him for he was quite the character, and yes, naming him gave him that much more personality.

  • Please give him a warriors funeral, at least. Float him out on a burning raft while you pound your chest and sing songs of his fierceness!

    Farewell, Kartar. Your name goes into the annuls of Valhalla.