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Wild fish comes everyday to greet poor Sangli farmer who saved its life (video)

A poor farmer in rural Maharashtra has built an unlikely friendship with a wild cat fish whose life he saved a year ago.  Prakash Patil, 54, visits a local pond in his village Yede Machindra in Sangli district everyday and calls out for the fish. Amazingly, the fish surfaces, swims close, even lets him pull it out of water.   Patil calls the fish ‘Narayana,’ another name for popular Hindu deity Lord Vishnu.   He recalls that the unlikely friendship started on 14 July, 2016, on the eve of ‘Ashada Ekadashi,’

Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch

A poor farmer in rural Maharashtra has built an unlikely friendship with a wild cat fish whose life he saved a year ago. 

Prakash Patil, 54, visits a local pond in his village Yede Machindra in Sangli district everyday and calls out for the fish. Amazingly, the fish surfaces, swims close, even lets him pull it out of water. 

Patil calls the fish ‘Narayana,’ another name for popular Hindu deity Lord Vishnu. 

He recalls that the unlikely friendship started on 14 July, 2016, on the eve of ‘Ashada Ekadashi,’ an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar. 

A neighbouring farmer in his village told Patil that a fish had washed up into his farm  along with the water released from a canal, and asked him to take it away. The neighbour, a vegetarian, thought Patil would take the fish home and eat it. 

Patil found the fish, which was stranded in a puddle of water, alive but inert. He carried it home in a plastic container with water and was amazed to see it reviving. He then shifted it to a water tank and fed it for over a month. 

As the fish grew in size and turned very active, he released it in the local pond. 

A few days later, he started noticing the fish again in the pond. It would draw close to the bank whenever he approached and once even jumped into a bucket he was using to draw water. 

The fish and the man started spending more time with each other and it gradually grew confident enough to allow him to touch it and even lift it out of water. 

Patil, a devout Hindu, thinks that fish represents a form of Lord Vishnu. 

According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Vishnu took 10 mortal forms to battle evil on earth and one of them was as a giant fish. 

Patil said, “This fish is divine and it is a blessing that it comes to me everyday.” 

Over the last months, he has visiting the pond everyday, calling out for ‘Narayana,’ holding it with his hands, uttering a sacred chant and releasing it back in water.

His village Yede Machindra has a strong tradition of worshipping fish. 

According to a local legend, a Hindu saint, Mrichendranath, who was a devotee of the fish-form of Lord Vishnu, had lived in the village in the distant past. There is a temple named after him in the village where Vishnu is worshipped in the fish form. 

There are a few sceptics in the village who think that the fish comes to Patil as he feeds it biscuits daily. 
He refutes them saying the fish does not eat anything he offers. 

But everyone in the village acknowledges that Patil and the fish share a bond and say the fish even waits for him near the surface.

“If he fails to turn up at the pond any day, the next time he approaches the fish, it tries to bite him,” a villager said.   

The bond between Patil and the cat fish, while rare, may not be all that improbable. 

In June 2016, the journal "Scientific Reports" had published a study which had found that fish had the ability to distinguish between human faces. 

It has also been reported that a Japanese scuba diver Hiroyuki Arakawa has built a 25-year-long relationship with an Asian sheepshead wrasse, which lets him kiss her.

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