In old American gangster movies, a successful hit is often referred to euphemistically as one in which the intended party now sleeps with fish.
For people in Tripura, India, art may truly imitate life, as some have learned that the hilsa fish purchased in the market place may well have spent the night with a human corpse.
The national fish of Bangladesh is very oily and can be prepared in more than 50 different ways, but no one ever expected to learn that that it was stored in cooling boxes in the morgue of a local hospital together with human corpses before being transported to the marketplace.
Fish traders admit that the reason for this is that the charge is much cheaper than that of conventional, private storage (about $020 per kilogram per night). It worked very well for a while as the hands behind it were just as oily as the fish, and corrupt employees made a lot of money simply by looking the other “fishy” way.
Alas, the fish is out of the bag, (or something like that). A local reporter who went undercover as a fish trader uncovered the smelly scheme. Hospital employees, completely unaware that they were being caught in an illegal act, showed the reporter how they stored the popular fish in morgue boxes containing human corpses.
The Indian health minister ordered an inquiry and suspended one of the employees.
Something may have always been “smelly in Denmark,” as the old saying goes, but now the smell has reached India.
It looks like the noble hilsa has been keeping questionable company that cannot boast of being so versatile that it can be smoked, fried, steamed or baked and prepared with mustard seed paste, curd, begun (eggplant) and other different condiments.
What’s a poor, unsuspecting dead fish to do?
Check out this recipe for hilsa fish but remember where it might have been before reaching your house.