The fisherman

My name is Shah. I am a Sindhi.

My people have lived on these shores for centuries, thousands of years maybe.

Caravans have come from Baluchistan to the Sindh, to Punjab, to Rajasthan, to Gujarat and back since the beginning of Time.

Me? I’m just a fisherman.

My father taught me my trade when I was a little boy. Now I fish every morning to feed my family. We live in the village up the cliff. The Bara Sahib took my picture the other day. When he and the Memsahib will be gone, I shall keep on fishing. Every morning. And so will my son. And then his son. Forever in Time.

“The old fisherman.” Hawkes bay, Karachi, Pakistan, 1949. The source of this sketch is a Black and White photograph my father (the Bara or burra Sahib) took of an old fisherman in Pakistan 2 years after the Partition. My parents had just arrived in Karachi. They stayed for 8 years, until my little sister and I were born, completing the 2 centuries cycle of my Family in India.

Shukriya, thank you, for flying Equinoxio Airways’ Time-Space shuttle. Phir milenge, be seeing you.

65 thoughts on “The fisherman

    • Coming from you I am honoured… πŸ™πŸ» I don’t draw every day. (I should maybe). I have my moments. Won’t draw for a few weeks, then start 3 or more drawings at the same time. And switch from one to the other. This is the second of a series of three.
      I need to practice movement. I feel my drawings are too… stiff.
      How have you been Mel? All well?

      • Ah yes, practice is key. I am still trying to force myself into the habit to start with warm up sketches first before drawing what I want to draw. Once you are warmed up it gets easier. I have actually been quite busy. Was on holiday and came back with a ton of ideas of what do draw and do and started another book project πŸ™‚

      • Warm up sketches? Hmmm. I might try it though I seem to have so little time to draw I’d rather draw directly. Now since I “split” my drawing, it helps. I generally spend 10-15 minutes drawing, then leave it then come back. But I think I already told you that.
        Where was your holiday?
        Greetings from Paris… πŸ™πŸ»

    • Very true. I hadn’t thought about it exactly this way. I actually only recently understood the fact that my family had lived in India for 2 centuries. My ancestor Pierre-RΓ©my OnraΓ«t arrived in India in 1794. Married a French girl who was born in INdia already. She came form a family of Indigo planters and French officers. Long time ago.

    • Thank you. I’d been wanting to draw the old fisherman for a while. Mixed a few subjects and photos. Made for a nice composition. I took my first steps on that beach… A little while back. πŸ˜‰

  1. I enjoyed the fisherman’s life story and seeing how the drawing took shape. I like how the final drawing turned out. Is the color done in watercolor? Of the drawings, I like the first sketch the best, how Shah appears to be emerging from the paper.

    • Thank you Liz. It is watercolour. It’s what I was taught by my mother. She didn’t teach me oil which I now regret. Maybe I’ll have a try some day. Or acrylics… The first sketch? Yes, as you can see the expression changes in all my drawings. The eyes are always the most difficult.
      All well?

  2. Had no idea you were an artist Brian! Love the progression of your sketch to the final full colour frame. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to return to Karachi to re-connect with the descendants of the people in your father’s photographs?

    • Thank you Madhu. Though I wouldn’t say “artist” I just dabble with pencil, ink and water colours. My mother was a much better “artist” than I ever will be, though I’m grateful for her teachings.
      I hadn’t thought of going “back” to meet them. I do think about the cook who taught me Urdu and good manners. But how do I find descendants of an “Ahmed Shah”? It would be like looking for a John Smith in the UK.

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