Catfish and Childhood Distraction

Nostalgia for a place where we caught a catfish.

Tjahaja
The New Outdoors

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The place where we caught a catfish. I took the photo in 2021. Photo by the author.

I’m quite organized when it comes to archiving photos. I arranged them by years, and I was grateful for that decision. With such an arrangement, jumping from one year to another felt like time travel.

I stopped at certain photos sometimes to let my brain fetch fading memories back to the surface. One photo, depicting scenery from a village next to my home in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, took me longer to stare at. A nostalgic feeling poured in.

Catfish and other fish

My mind flashed back to when I was about eight years old. My friends and I used to like to roam rice fields around my village. There were ponds, creeks, and rivers out there to fish.

We used to rank fish based on their meat. Céthul (guppy) was the low rank. It was a small fish that was everywhere and easy to find. Adults treated guppies as pets. But our children’s minds thought only about food. We didn’t value guppies because they didn’t have much to eat.

Bigger than guppies, the mid-rank was sepat (trichopodus) and wader (rasbora). They are not big—a bit smaller than your credit card. Adults also hunted for those fish. They often sold their catches by the road. People like their bitesize.

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Tjahaja
The New Outdoors

Indonesian translator. Translating from: English, Indonesian, Javanese, Dutch, and Greek. Translating to: Indonesian, Javanese, and English.