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Superstitious Bangaloreans eat Arowana fish

Bangalore, November 10, 2005

Residents of  Bangalore have fallen hook, line and sinker for the exotic Arowana species of fish.

Sworn Feng Shui followers are being increasingly lured to spend exorbitant amounts on the fish to be blessed with good luck.

Asian Arowana comes in many exotic hues from red to gold to purple to green to silver, but the most sought after is the Super Red variety.

An 18-inch long Arowana may cost up to $60,000 . It is even more expensive if its scales are glittering with pinkish gold.

The Chinese believe that they are reincarnations of the mythical dragon and symbolise luck, wealth, prosperity and strength.

"If there is something bad that is going to happen to you and if it is especially life threatening you will be saved in a strange way. If you have an Arowana at home and if you believe in the power of this good luck bestowing fish, only then you will notice that instead of you, the fish dies. You may not know what kind of a problem you got out of but you can be definitely sure that there was some problem in your life that got solved due to this fish," Pramod, a software professional, said.

Businessmen prefer to keep the gold variety in the office for prosperity and the red variety is said to be good for warding off evil spirits.

The fish grows to a length of upto 3 feet and lives as long as 40 to 50 years.

The South East Asian Arowana fish called the Feng Shui fish are imported from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.

Rajaram, an expert on Arowana, claims that the pedigreed Arowana, once an endangered species, is now traded on the Internet from Singapore and costs anything between Rs 500 and Rs 2,00,000.

Arowanas are by far the most coveted fish ever, that are not a delicacy but subject to near reverence. Their owners go to extreme lengths to ensure they are well taken care of and maintained, their care bordering on near obsession.

People who cannot buy the real, read live, Arowana, go for the Golden-scaled Arowana figurine crafted cleverly by artisans after the real one.

One need not worry about tending to its daily needs of food and safety from cats, only a light dusting and a short prayer of thanks will do!

"They are expensive basically in South East Asia because they are believed to bring luck and there have been instances of people having won millions in a lottery after reading certain Chinese characters on the sight of this fish. So, there is a new trend in India where the Feng Shui consultants advise you to keep the Arowana," Rajaram said.

Feng Shui, pronounced "fung schwee", means literally "wind water". It is part of an ancient Chinese philosophy of nature.

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