Chinese Nets of Fort Kochi

The road leading to the lake is flanked by buildings that displays the indelible legacy left by the three colonial powers, in Fort Kochi. Better examples can be seen elsewhere, though.

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But this is not a post about architecture.

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Chinese Nets are known as “Cheena Vala” locally…

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There is no dearth for a good read on the Chinese Nets adorning the shores of Vembanadu Lake, in Fort Kochi. Let me refrain from claiming that this one is going to be different. On a Sunday during one of the week-long vacations in India, in which it drizzled till late noon, a walk along the shores of the lake took me to a net-cantilevered net against a cheerful invitation. They shared a glass of hot, freshly brewed tea with no milk but with sugar as they were having a short break. The crew of 5-6 worked hard for a seemingly shameful catch for all the efforts invested. It even seemed like they were entertaining the many tourists, mostly from Europe and also from neighbouring states, on a coach tour.

A camera always gets a warm welcome. The crew was familiar with freelancers visiting the beach as the Chinese Nets were subjects to many great shots. They allowed to capture as many shots as I cared for. Meanwhile, one of them approached and stated that the pollution of nearby chemical plants are fast diminishing their catch, a fact he wanted me to write for their sake.

The rocks hung by strong ropes were for counter-balancing the weight of the cantilever and they touched the ground one by one as the crew pulled up the net for a humble catch. Ropes were strategically placed in the place where the stones would hit as they descend to avoid any damage to the wooden superstructure.

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Rain had ceased by the time I climbed out of the net. While coming home for lunch, with the camera in one hand and a bunch of freshest fish on the other, it was noon. An after-sermon procession, where the believers held ornamented umbrellas, moved on as the sun began to shine.

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