Thursday, June 08, 2006

Parable of the butterfly.

When she was about 12, it turned out she could catch butterflies well. That, in her all-girls convent, made her a temporary icon.

While the rest of the girls could admire butterflies from a distance, she was the only one that could stealthily creep up on a rhodendron bush and grab the butterfly by his silver-scaly wings. To the other girls, she seemed like a professional, like the tiger they watched on Discovery Channel, crouching to leap.

It seemed to come naturally to her. Of course she had a natural female aversion to creepy crawlies, but butterflies were different. She'd hold them by their wings, notice their sudden surprise, feel the throbbing body between her forefinger and thumb and then let them go. Then she'd look at the silver dust on her thumb and rub it against her cheek before washing her hands.

Sometimes, to amuse herself, she would pick up the butterflies, run up and wave it in front of the faces of the girls standing a mile away. And watch with a laugh as they went scattering away, screaming. She enjoyed it yes. And she thought the butterflies enjoyed it too.

She would also hunt for pupas on the bushes, young caterpillars getting ready for adulthood.That involved much patience and much turning up of leaves.

And then, one day, she found a pupa, under a leaf. Golden from the caterpillar's fresh secretion, shining as the sun's rays hit it at a slant. She found an old matchbox in the janitor's room and put the pupa in it. That evening, in school, she was so excited, the nuns were forced to punish her. She held the matchbox cocooned in her sweaty palms, outside the class, with a grin on her face.

At home, she found an old shoe box, filled it with leaves from the neighbour's badam tree and placed the pupa gently on the green bed. For good measure, she threw some leaves on top of it, punched some holes on the lid of the box and put it on her side of the shelf she shared with her sister.

Every morning she would open the box, look inside, just to see if the caterpillar had become the beautiful butterfly it was meant to be. She wondered if the worm would have to eat to do so and just in case it had to, she saved some apple peel and put it inside the box.

After some time, she forgot about the box. Until a faint smell began to leak out from her side of the shelf and her sister complained.

She opened the lid eagerly, it was time for a butterfly, anyway. Turning up the mess of the leaves inside the box, she saw the cocoon, split open, a red-black-yellow butterfly, its wings broken lying on his side on the leaves, legs sticking out awkward, stiff with death.

She never caught a single butterfly again.

I guess you could say she had 'turned a new leaf.' :)



Blogger Inder said...

That was a good one!
Good that your experience is limited to butterflies. I remember myself running behind frogs. Yes... those slimy frogs. Well, I had to. Zoology master demanded every one of us to bring our own frog...

6:10 pm

Blogger RefleXtion said...

My room was a mortuary! I had dead bees, lizards, crabs and skeletons of unidentifiable critters!. My mom threw them all out one day when I wasn’t home....*sniff*

1:13 pm

Blogger None said...


FROGS are o.k. i used to ask my sis to smuggle them from dissection class so i could cut them up at home. i was in the commerce group, you see, but wanted the best of both worlds!


the crabs and lizards! that must've STUNK up the place,eh! poor mom!


4:46 pm

Blogger Inder said...

Frogs are okay? Dissection at home?? Good God. You must have become a surgeon.
I ran behind frogs for the sake of dissection. Couldn't manage to catch one on the date my Zoology master gave. He then gave us (4 more losers like me couldn't catch frogs) another week's time. This time we got help from other classmates. I did the dissection. Yuck. Realized that I am happier handling machines than creatures.

5:30 pm

Blogger hari said...

Hi Ramya,

What more can I say.....only one person can write this story better if at all there is any scope and that is you. Its just grreatt.

7:36 pm

Anonymous shyam said...

Me likey :)

7:40 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

just saw this!
"She'd hold them by their wings, notice their sudden surprise, feel the throbbing body between her forefinger and thumb and then let them go"

12:21 am

Blogger RefleXtion said...

NO! I had the perfect little small glass coffins for all of them made from jewellery cases and ballpen cases and blah blah blah blah.....

PS I assure you...I AM this wierd!

11:54 am

Blogger aj said...

You killed a Butterfly!! Thats just evil.

4:54 pm

Blogger None said...


ah! i knew it, i've missed my true calling. i've felt often, 10 years too late, that i must've been a surgeon.


you constantly flatter me and i'm not complaining! don;t tell me we are not going to have anymore potatobondaatwoodlandsdrivein because ravi is not here anymore. you see, even he will object! :)


me likey thy caravan! it's AWESOME! pete must be pleased as punch,eh?


pardon my cheapness, but have you found the sugarfree chocolates yet!? i;ve begun cravng already! :P


o.k. o.k. I believe you. but u sure are meticulous,eh, even if a bit weird?! :)


who? ME?!!!! Y don't people believe me when i say it is a mere parable! sigh.


6:40 pm

Blogger mucastic said...

Now that was one highly resourceful young'un. I was hoping the blithe spirit became a sericulture expert working with mulberry or something to that effect!!!

10:45 pm

Blogger Harish said...

hehe! naan solla vandhadha shyam soleetaanga..
Me likey!

and me's back! allo :)

9:30 am

Blogger None said...


sericulture? remember the kid would not touch a butterfly after that! :)
btw, nice name, huh!


vango, vango!



4:33 pm

Blogger Mahadevan said...

Nature provides the habitat to its creatures. If the human tries to take over this reponsibility, the creature refuses to grow and die. The young one of the butterfly has to break open its cocoon and gradually come out so that its wings would develop and it can fly. If we forcibly try to take them out of the cocoon, we cripple them in the process.

3:19 pm

Blogger Max Babi said...

Lovely tale. Sounds like the little girl must have been you...
do take a peek at my blog, Ramya.


2:35 pm


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