‘Small fry’ and ‘ Big gun’ are the two phrases that we all have come across being used in different contexts . In fact both mean the opposite of each other and are antonyms of sorts. A big gun may be a top boss of a company or a high ranking Government functionary wielding enormous influence or a political bigwig calling the shots and enjoying enormous clout. In short , both are perceived notions we have looking up to or looking down upon others . A big gun , most of the times may be after a small fry , to exercise authority , to satisfy ego ,to vent out frustration, or simply to derive sadistic pleasure by putting it in straits. An unusually harsh treatment by a boss or a superior has most of the times given rise to the thought ‘ Zaroor aaj biwi se lad kar aya hai …’ and the like.
I have recently gone through a short story ‘Small Fry ‘ by Anton Chekhov . The protagonist Nevyrazimov, described in the story as a petty clerk, sets out to write an Easter congratulatory letter, but is distracted in turns by the sound of chimes in a Church , distant or nearby and a cockroach moving to and fro across the top of a table and his own frustration . His frustration stems from the compulsion of slogging it out due to poverty even during Easter festivities, when others are enjoying, and also from his low self esteem as he is not capable of making it big in life partly due to lack of education and partly due to thoughts of morality and conscience tugging at him. This far he comes across as a small fry . Sooner than later , his wayward thoughts and frustration get the better of him and in a fit of anger he smashes the poor cockroach and as if this is not enough , holding it by the leg drops it on the flame of the nearly giving out lamp and feels relieved. The small fry thus finds a smaller fry to vent out his anger and frustration on.
A nice interesting story with complex psychological undercurrent and thought !