Skip to content Skip to navigation

Tale of Fishes

On a Saturday afternoon I rushed to watch a much-awaited film called Emuthi Puthi in Guwahati. The best part was that it was running in the nearest movie theatre for a reasonable price of Rs. 100. I had already met the whole team of actors and directors at Tezpur University council hall when they came for their promotions. The film had hilarious moments of fun and entertainment throughout. It was a journey of salvation through fish for one generation, while it was a way of getting out of the country to fetch an American dream for another generation. Women are the protagonists whose trials and tribulations compel them to move into this journey of life and death. The travels around the trajectory of Assam from the borders of Srirampur to Majuli in the heart of the Brahmaputra was indeed a fascinating one. The fishy punches made by the older woman were refreshing and humorous. The role of the responsible policewoman as the mother and the daughter also depicts the life of a middle-class working woman whose life revolves around her family's birth and choice. The diversity of Assamese accents through various characters in the film also plays a significant role in reflecting the linguistic diversity of Assam. The women and the age specific differences are key ingredients in this fishy tale of substance. Fish are indeed a staple in the Assamese homes especially for women, as they can be easily cooked with almost no spices at all.

The role of women as healers in the forests of Assam also gets reflected in one of the scenes when the family of grandmother and granddaughter takes refuge in a forest hut. The magical healing practises of the sacred groves of Assam are depicted well in this way. Women’s ecology of healthcare lies within the deep forests which have magical powers of hope and health. The livelihoods of women as thieves and as a piggery owner shows the survival strategies of people in this part of the world. But all said and done, the goodwill, community strength and collective support from each section of society has been well reflected throughout this film. Emuthi Puthi is indeed a fantasy churned out of the love for fish by the granny who was ready to die for her love for fish. This film also shakes the conscience of intergenerational differences which compels the older persons to move away from their home which at times confines their free will for their safety and sanity. In the same light the working women in Assam are sandwiched between their job needs and family needs which they fail to balance many times and land up in difficult conditions like that of the mother in the film. Some of the crucial issues of single motherhood, teenage pregnancy, women’s aspirations are skilfully depicted within the characters of Emuthi Puti.

Puthi fish are rich in minerals, iron, and vitamin fish on the verge of becoming endangered in the river, pond, and wetland ecosystem of Assam. People going for other foods which are not locally available are also leading to such dearth of puthi fish. More importantly, the puthi fish are losing their habitats as well due to rapid shift in the ecosystem diversity. Hence the blessings of the magical powers of Matsyakarma of the God of Fishes got depicted in the film. Fish diets in different forms are extremely crucial for cure of terminal diseases like cancer which were shared by the grandmother during the entire journey of searching for her most precious puthi fish. Fishing has been a sport for many communities in the Northeast India mostly for subsistence and survival but it’s a seasonal activity. But in today’s context fishes are mostly imported from outside Assam, especially from southern India. Only the imported or challan fishes are affordable for common people as the local fishes are exorbitant. Hence the film promotes the local fish abundance through the mythological twist in the end. The film is shot in an iPhone which is another milestone for the Assamese film industry. The film also has age diversity in terms of the characters and their prominence in the film. Guest appearances and star actors make the film interesting. In my own wishful spirit, I would have liked Aita to be healed and living back with her daughter and grand daughter as far as the ending goes. Overall, it was a hilarious tale of fish from the beginning to the end. 

Author info

Samhita Barooah's picture

Foodie and Travel Writer.

Add new comment

Random Stories

After carnage its blame game: Anjali ups ante against Himanta

14 Oct 2008 - 4:21pm | editor
Its Himanta Biswa Sarma vs Anjali Daimary. The former is a powerful minister in the Tarun Gogoi cabinet while the latter is no less popular in the state.The Bodo Women Justice Forum president Anjali...

Alumini meet at Tangla College

24 Sep 2016 - 9:27pm | Shajid Khan
Tangla College which is a reputed institution of higher education in Udalguri  district and BTC as a whole, organized a meet of its past pupils on Saturday providing an opportunity to alumnae to...

Choudhury takes over as Kokrajhar DC

9 Sep 2016 - 7:08am | AT Kokrajhar Bureau
Bibekananda Choudhury on Thursday took over as Kokrajhar DC office after he was welcomed by many officals and organizations. Choudhury succeeded Madhav Prasad Sarma, who was shifted to the department...

Pappilion brand of apparel and accessories launched in Guwahati

20 Jun 2010 - 3:31am | editor
Designer Karabi Medhi launched her new apparel and accessories brand 'Papilion' at Silver Square, Guwahati on Friday evening, June 18. The event showcased a range of fresh, well matched and creative...

Other Contents by Author

Elections have become the T-20 matches these days. Everyone is busy with balancing equations with religious, class, regional, ethnic, traditional lineages. Today our household voting practice started with the staff seeking leave from work to vote for the 1st time in life. One is 18 and the other 22. Rushing home to cast their 1st votes. One friend went to his hometown in the 1st phase of voting. His ailing mother, caregiver wife and young daughters could not vote. Only one vote was registered. Another neighbour went home in Darrang to cast her vote. Voter information is defined by the symbols that they would cast their vote on. Whom to vote is a big question for Assam assembly elections....
New manifesto shared by women's groups in Assam is significant. Political assertion through women's collective efforts needs to be incorporated across diverse leadership agendas of social, cultural and political leadership in Assam. When women are discussed as sex objects on stage, pitied as battered persons in news, projected as mere cultural symbols of tradition and heritage during events and defeated as useless leaders in crucial decision making institutions and organisations, women need to assert their presence, participation and perspectives. Sometimes one realises when March 8 is celebrated across the world to endorse vaginal solidarity. With the pandemic times, such solidarity...
We have been residents of Guwahati a city in the making. Its a city of rivers, drains and hilly streams all woven together in a fascinating ecology of hill and valley. Our locality receives annual flash floods during the monsoon months of May till September and remains dry during the other months of the year. We live with respected elite citizens with academic, business, bureaucratic, political, social and cultural affiliations. Our house happens to be a centre of many things like trees, flowers, birds, cats, snails, earthworms, vegetables, grasses of diverse varieties and also water supply lines, floods and three electricity lines which connects the neighbours electricity supply too. We...
Age is celebrated in Assam. People live their life fully through their ageism. Patriarchal ageism goes beyond gender. Any gender might practice ageism. People like to be ageing genders. Owning, patronising, controlling, oppressing and bullying are some of the consequences of ageism. If you are adulting, ageing and male you can earn maximum previlege as an ageist. Some of the classic ageist remarks,"Bura baapekor uporot kotha nokobi." 'Do not talk on top of an old father.' "Ami bohut thair pani khaisu nohoi amatke besi jano niki?" 'We have drunk water from many places, do you know more than us?' "Ajikalir deka tezor bor dom ami nu kun kuta." 'Nowadays young blood has too much power we are...
Covid 19 pandemic has opened up many truths around us. One such truth about our city is the growth of vendors and hawkers who visit our homes, byelanes or localities even during covid times. Only voices sometimes one could hear during home quarentine and lockdown periods were that of vegetable, fish, chicken vendors. Earlier we used to hear 'Dorupay wala' vendors from Bihar and UP with all kinds of utility products in dirt cheap prices and mekhela sador selling vendors during the flood season mostly from flood affected districts of Dhemaji and Lakhimpur. But these days we hear about spice sale, food item sale, delivery staff from various companies like swiggy, zomato and all food joints...
Journey of women through the heart of Assam across the banks of Brahmaputra is indeed an interesting one. It is a journey of knowing the length and breadth of the nooks and corners of the country at one go. Baatein Aman Ki or Peace Conversations is such a process which engages people, institutions and organisations to explore ways of understanding each other. It involves communities, people, women, activists, academicians and students to uphold the values of peace, co existence, harmony and democracy. This journey begins on Sept 22 and extends till October 13. It will be starting from Jorhat then go to Kaziranga, Tezpur, Nagaon, Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Gossaigaon and Kokrajhar before moving...
I am 71 years old now since I felt free from being a colony. I have travelled through waves of troubled existence and silent deaths in the last 71 years. Today at the threshold of being free and fair I have many thoughtful reflections. Do I celebrate the freedom of 71 long years or do I believe in the mirage of being free? I am a country with millions to be precise more than a billion odd persons in diverse contexts. My progress lies with the progress of these people and all others around me. My ecological existence is getting very diverse with changing moments in the history, politics and social relationships around my borders. I have survived a million mutinies which are both violent and...
Last month I travelled to Wakru in Arunachal Pradesh through Tinsukia district of Assam with a bunch of young professors. It was a self-driven ride of about 4 hours from Dibrugarh the second city in Assam. The journey was fascinating as my friends stopped at various points on the way spotting orchids, big trees, abandoned shrines and beautiful rivers. Suddenly my friend would look away from the steering wheel and say, “Look look, look at the pride of those orchids hiding behind the tree branches.” Orchids of different varieties bloom along the roadside in Arunachal Pradesh. There are yellow orchids, white and purple ones called ‘Kopou’ in Assam. There were trees along the highway which had...
My wilderness treks have taken me into some of the most memorable forests in India and abroad. Whether it was the sacred grooves of Mawphlang or the Rhododendron forests of North Sikkim, wild treks through community forests in Nagaland or elephant rides through the rhino, elephant and tiger parks in Assam. I was fascinated by the wilderness of Pench wildlife sanctuary in the border of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Bharatpur and Sariska in Rajasthan and Bandipur in Karnataka. I was lucky to explore the teak forests in Narmada valley in Madhya Pradesh, hornbill habitats in Sejusa in Arunachal Pradesh, thick forests in Ranikhet, Nainital, Dehradun and Mussouri during the 90s and early 2000s...
In a recent incident of writing my name, a receptionist at the hospital asked for my name in full. After haggling with the convoluted spelling of my name, she reconfirmed Miss or Mrs? I said just write ‘Ms’. She seemed very confused. Her male colleague beside her smirked with a side glance while changing the spelling of my name on the file he was preparing. All other people in the queue who were male looked at me and the receptionist with many questions in their minds. I clarified to the receptionist who seemed like a newly trained hospital staff, about the ‘Ms’ part. Since marital status is not revealed in Mr, why should women reveal their marital status through Miss or Mrs. Then she said...