Amidst the hustle and bustle of the gargantuan metropolis of Delhi, fishermen at the Kalindi Kunj banks of the Yamuna prepare to reel in the day’s catch. In the monsoons, when the Yamuna is in full spate, unique opportunities present themselves to these hardy fishermen. This is the one time in the year when they get a full net of fish, which includes rohu, milan kar, mangoor, birgat, singhi, bhata, hilsa, pangas, jhenga and jalmas. Some of these are exotic enough to attract bids at the wholesale fish market that sprouts up on the riverbank every afternoon, and where trucks carrying several quintals of fish drive in from Haryana’s Mewat region, giving stiff competition to the local fishermen. The fishermen’s day starts early, around five in the morning, when they go in for the first catch of the day. They emerge some four hours later, to cook their first meal of the day. Their river-based livelihood is reflected in what they eat – fish that they have caught themselves, cooked in different styles, and eaten twice a day. During the monsoons, they tend to construct makeshift tents on the banks of the swollen river, from where they launch their boats every morning, and where they spend their days and nights keeping a constant vigil on the river that gives them their livelihood.

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