The Butterfly With A Third Wing #
Sitting down in the lawn of my father's government residence in Rohru, Himachal Pradesh, I was miles away from worries in the head, thanks to the listlessness that had grappled my senses. The setting sunlight hit my face. As I stood to walk the ennui off, I almost stepped over a butterfly sitting on a blade of golden dry winter grass. I casually sat down and saw a weird thing. It had three wings.
Not trusting my bird's eye view, I squatted comfortably, went closer and brought my hand to touch the third wing gently. It didn't budge. I poked it a little harder. Nothing. As I positioned my knees to crouch down and take a closer look, it flew away. I was happy that it wasn't dead. I was irritated because I couldn't see what that third wing was all about. It went onto mounting the kitchen window sill. I followed.
I closed in on it again, and this time I could see for sure. It HAD a third wing. But the third wing wasn't fluttering, not even mildly swaying under the force of the air. Like it was paralysed.
Cautious, but impatient, I gently squished the third wing between my index finger and thumb and pulled. The butterfly didn't care to squirm or try to pull out. I lifted it up, and it dangled in between my fingers in mid air, motionless. Afraid I might have killed it, I brought my face so close to it that my nose almost touched one of its other wings.
It wasn't a third wing. It was the whole male butterfly, with its wings closed, so much, they appeared as one wing, attached to the female butterfly, mating.
I googled and google threw at me
If the female is interested she may join the male's dance. They will then mate by joining together end to end at their abdomens. During the mating process, when their bodies are joined, the male passes sperm to the female. As the eggs later pass through the female's egg-laying tube, they are fertilized by the sperm.
The Blind / Hypontized / Drunk Pigeon #
A couple of days back a pigeon came inside our 7th floor balcony in Bangalore. I hadn't noticed, when our cook bhaiya called it out as he was just about to enter the kitchen to make dinner.
I ran towards it to shoo it off, it didn't move. Surprised at the audacity of the beings which wander around cooing outside my room's windows all day long, and 💩 to their liking on the shelf outside of bathroom, I flourished a shoo gesture.
It didn't move an inch. I considered the possibility that it might be blind, or hypnotized. Or drunk. Or sad.
I managed to walk it alongside me, and bring it to the balcony from which it had entered. I sat there for about 5 minutes and watched it walk to and fro. Like our physics professor in the first year used to, as he blabbered his lecture out. He looked like a slug. The ice age slug. One day, I struggled to contain my laugh thinking, that this is how I would walk like, if I had been denied access to the toilet for 3 hours at full pressure.
And then, after 5 minutes, as if the pigeon was jolted back to reality, the pigeon fluttered its wings faster than I would relieve my bladder at full pressure and flew off.
Memory Of An Old Friend #
Song by the same name by Angus & Julia Stone for you to listen to, while you read the remaning text.
When I had come back home from Kota, and was prepping in the last months of 12th grade, for engineering entrance exams, my mother would bring me nuts. Walnuts, almonds, pista and such. I'd break small pieces of them and put them outside my first floor room, on the terrace floor. A squirrel had successfully made a routine of coming at one time, and nibbling at the nutties. As it did, I'd take a break, and watch the sun sliding behind the mountains in front of me. After eating, the squirrel would be off to doing its chores, darting about on trees, kukking and twitching, and I'd go back in my room and resume rote learning inorganic chemistry, or fearfully solving maths and physics questions. Not because I didn't like them, but because I had to study under deadline. Now that I think about it, I've never mended relationships with deadlines. Unless self imposed for the tasks self assigned.
That squirrel reminded me of the first tough transition of my life. My father had transferred to Solan from Nahan. I had got selected in St. Lukes, a top notch school in Solan. An introvert, I found it really hard to make friends there. I struggled with my grades as well. It came as a complete shock because I had never got bad grades in my life before.
Father was posted inside Nauni University, an agriculture and horticulture research university, 13 kms away from the main city of Solan, where the school was. Since there were no residential apartments available inside the university, me, father and grandmother lived in a couple of PWD circuit house rooms. One afternoon, after lunching, I brought my hindi literature book out and sat on the common dining table. As the sun's setting rays warmed my face, and made me feel important, special and in limelight, I read a short story about a squirrel. I couldn't remember the name of the story, or who had written it, or its plot until I searched for it again. I just remember feeling awe and expanded after reading the story. The story was called Gillu (गिल्लू) by Mahadevi Verma.
During those tough 3 months — after which father got transferred back to Nahan — that story gave me a home to return to every evening after school. I read the story multiple times. It's probably the only piece of literature I've read over and over again.
There was one person who was my seat mate and eased my anxiety out by just being who she was. Her name's Parul and I see her Instagram pictures, wondering how she'd have grown up after I transferred. I remember learning the word inculcate from her, as she and Rimjhim brain stormed a speech for some upcoming occasion that was to be celebrated in the school.