~ Sea lexicon ~

Mosa – Title for the Story
Language: Jeseri
Location: Lakshadweep
Contributor: Lakshmi Pradeep

Tide or mosa is an everyday term on the island. In some islands, it is called moja. A movie that was made about Lakshadweep was titled Mosayile Kuthirameenuka which translates as the ‘swordfishes of the tide’. Women and men hunt for octopuses. These hunts happen within the intertidal regions, when the water recedes during the low tide. Most of the small fishing boats are left in the shallow waters of the lagoon, dancing in the tides. Amidst these paths, small brown coloured crabs play with the ocean, and its waxing and waning tide. Jha writes that whales are not hunted as arrival of whales are considered as auspicious (Jha, 25). During the low tide, stupefying or poisoning of fishes with a nangie is practiced. Later, the fishes are collected by diving near the reef area. These days the use of poison is banned. It is replaced by newer fishing techniques and objects that are used to imitate live bait. Cowries from Lakshadweep known as money cowrie were used in the African coasts. Cowrie collection continues to be a popular social activity where women walk on the reefs collecting them during low tides. Unlike the outer sea, the islands are somewhat protected by cyclones due to the presence of the reef. The intensity of the tides is reduced due to the presence of coral rocks. While I was walking on the reef on a low tide, Rubayya said, “the fish knows the environment better than the humans”. He listens to the myth about the big fish who is responsible for low and high tides!  There will be more blood during high tide (veliyettam) and low tide is called phatam. Sunnath is conducted during low tide. Low tide was considered to be auspicious for the circumcision ceremony of the boys. To be completed.

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