All is Fish That Comes to Net
In my childhood, there were 3 brothers in our neighbourhood who did a good business of ornamental fishes and that was a motivation for a few others in our locality. I and my brother Hari built our own tanks using brick and cement. There was one big tank and two smaller tanks to separate the pregnant ones and secure the newborns from being swallowed by the predatory ones. It was a delight to see the tadpole shaped newborns gliding slowly and see them grow.
On holidays we spent so much time cleaning tanks, feeding and simply watching them hide behind plants and shrubs. We also took delight in visiting our neighbours to exchange ideas or learn about new fish varieties. Our parents refused to give money for feed and we had to collect worms or algae along with slushy mud from the open canals escaping their watchful eyes.
We had the attractive gold fishes, swiftly moving black mollies, fighter fish, platy and a few other varieties. Male black mollies were comparatively more handsome and one of them was nicknamed the 'helicopter'. I was happy to share such stories with my school friends and they wanted to buy from us. What a joy it was to make the first sale! Such small earnings enabled us to buy a cricketball or shuttle cocks.
We had more than a dozen high yielding coconut trees and when coconut prices fell sharply, we used to turn it into copra. It involved de-husking, breaking the coconut shell and keeping it in the sun for a few weeks for drying. The dried kernel was taken to a nearby mill for crushing them into ‘healthy’ coconut oil. My mother sparingly sold the oil despite good demand and found ways to preserve it longer!
In hindsight such childhood ‘entrepreneurial learning events’ outside of School were joyful and stress free endowing us with skills and wisdom that last a life time.