“In the Mid 2000s, I bought a shop which became what is today the first and only aquarium shop in Thimphu. I have seen the fish in the aquarium bring special joy to the people. As I sit on my counter, customers of all ages pour in. Their eyes scan through the fish in the multiple tanks, their faces glow and fingers unconsciously reach for the fishes through the glass. Although, one can always buy an aquarium easily, such experience of profound joy are simply priceless. The younger kids especially love fish and the desire in their eyes to have one at home is immense.

Aquariums are known to have a lot of health benefits like helping with regulation of blood pressure to helping those who suffer from depression and anxiety. It can also calm your mind after a busy and stressful day at work. In the west, hospitals have aquariums to help patients recover faster.

My business is truly a dream come true for me but business has declined over the years. In the initial days, business was very good as I sold aquariums that I made myself along with the fishes and equipment. These days all these things are being sold online.

The biggest damage though is from the pandemic. To be very honest, I have almost zero income now and very little fish in the shop. In the usual days, my fish come from India, and I make sure they reach here in just one day. The fish are supplied with medicine, food and oxygen to last for 72 hours while being transported in a package, and after that they could die if not removed immediately. Then, I would quarantine the new fish in a separate tank to avoid any sick ones infecting the others, just like with us humans these days due to COVID.

However, right now the fish may never make it here on time and might die while passing through different processes of importing them or when kept in quarantine for covid in phuntsholing. It would be great, if our government could also make it possible for businesses like mine to operate in this pandemic.

When the first lockdown was announced, I became so frantic and worried about the goldfish that I had in my shop with no one to turn on the oxygen and feed them. Luckily, after a few days I could acquire a movement pass, and I immediately rescued them.

As a young boy, I would go fishing with my friends and I loved how the fishes were so colourful and amusing to our eyes. Since then my love for fish and aquariums has taken a strong root and this has made me a person who wants to share this joy with others.”

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