May 5, 2011


The caterpillar crawled on his three pairs of legs attached to his thorax and three more pairs on his abdomen. And anyone would have thought that with that amount of legs, he could have moved faster. A lot faster. Apparently he could not. After all, he was only a caterpillar and not a cheetah or a leopard. He was devastated with his slow pace. He thought he looked like a leaf. He did not have any general knowledge either. He knew this fact about himself. And his survival skills only made other creepy crawlers claw at him. He thought this made him look even more like a leaf. Bigger caterpillars knew about metamorphosis; that it was only a role to play, and tombs were its stage. But he did not. He lacked general knowledge.

One morning, the caterpillar had the strangest feeling. He felt he had transformed into a wise caterpillar. He had gone to socialize, had read books, and had worn glasses. He flew off on two pairs of new wings so that the elderly butterflies would notice that he had just three pairs of legs instead of the six pairs he had initially came in with. And that he could fly. Fly, but not very high. The elderly didn’t seem to notice, he thought to himself. He was a just a leaf. From his studies, he knew that being transformed to a butterfly was no fairy tale. Dark tales he heard was that his wings might tear, and his emotions might get caught in a net. He knew that things would change once he transformed to a butterfly. He would be beautiful and loved. And he would be free to roam the world.

But of course, beauty is pain. He almost died in his tomb of the pupa. He was all alone in the dark. He was trapped in a time cell. It was torture. The physical and emotional agony he felt was too hurtful to compare to a surgeon’s scissors without anaesthetic. He goes into the pupa with a body consisting of 13 segments, six simple eyes on each side of its head, and a short antennae. It would only be a matter of time to break out from the tomb he thought. But the wait was a contretemps with his emotions. It took more than ten years. Ten years is equivalent to forever after for caterpillars.

The day finally came. The caterpillar flew off with a new body of 10 segments, one pair of luscious blue eyes, longer more graceful antennae, organs for sex and reproduction, and a pair of stunning fine-looking wings. It was the best feeling in the world. It was like hearing the song at the right moment. Or like the smell of new crispy sheets. Everything is perfect thought the caterpillar. “Wait, I’m not a caterpillar anymore”. He was a butterfly! He was in extremely high spirits. He tried new things beyond caterpillar life. He flew high, sat low, played games, and ate out. But he couldn’t do one thing. The one thing he wanted the most. He couldn’t roam the world. Because he only had one pair of wings. He needed twenty-one. Three for each continent. The butterfly knew that although he had paved his path to success, and although he had sacrificed himself, things didn’t always turn out as expected. He looked down at the young caterpillars. They looked like leaves.

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