Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dear Daughter …

Standard
1

Dear Daughter

I am writing to you today for I know, like every other strong, independent woman, you will find a voice of your own. A voice that is a sum total of your experiences, ideas, thoughts and beliefs. A voice that may not necessarily confirm to the usual, accepted conventions. I write to you, for I know, self-doubt and queries shall haunt you sooner or later. That will either make you question and suppress your beliefs or make you irrationally defensive. When this happens, remember two things, first, make sure that your views are not pigeonholes and second, no matter how well read you are, don’t dis others’ opinions.

I say so because; there is never an “absolute” truth. Perspectives, opinions, views are all a reflection of different experiences, diverse knowledge and backgrounds. It’s always good to have an argument, but don’t enter arguments with rigid, pre-conceived biases. It will limit your ability to make your thoughts fluid…and fluidity of thoughts and humility are the characteristics of the learned. Technically, an argument should challenge you to perceive differently. If it is something that you are blatantly opposed to, don’t get defiant and defensive. It’s okay to be emotional about an argument, but ensure that feelings don’t blur out basic logic and common sense. Writers, activists are passionate about their work because they have the ability to empathize. However, be well read, ask questions and make thoughtful remarks basis your understanding and learning.Don’t just blabber because everyone else is blah-ing away to glory, speak more by speaking less.

Be very careful about who you are arguing with. Don’t initiate arguments with those who complacently have their blinders on. Arguments shouldn’t be a wrestling match of egos, and at the end,if all you achieve is two inflated egos, I’d say both the parties have miserably lost. Listen well, observe, ask questions, and think differently. However, never bow down or walk out if you feel cut short or mansplanned. Talk back if required, raise your voice and if need be, be mean! But always choose these wars wisely. Not every argument is worth your effort, time and energy.  Choose wisely, where to invest your words and your thoughts. You are a brand in yourself, choose smartly who your target audience is.

There will always be as many opinions on the table as the number of assholes on the chairs. You must learn to pick the best from the huge lot of criticism that shall be hurled you way. Don’t let it discourage you; don’t let it suppress your voice. Sieve the best, puke out the rest. Overtime, you will figure it all out, after a few tears here and a few shouting matches there. I hope you will continue to speak out, I hope you will acquire endless knowledge and contest your own opinions. Above all, I hope, no matter where you are, your hunger to learn will be greater than your ego. And believe me that will make all the difference someday.

Goddamned growing up

Standard
Goddamned growing up

You know, when you are young, you always think that by the time you are 21-22, you will have your world sorted and you would know what the entire brouhaha about growing up is about. You imagine growing up to be a natural process that would just happen overnight. You hope that as soon as you hit early 20s, responsibility and maturity will just fall on your head from the heaven above and that you will emerge as the next rising star. Sadly, none of that happens and worse, nobody tells you the truth. Maybe because by the time they realize it, they are past that phase and it doesn’t prick as much.

Nobody ever tells you that it’s a conscious effort that would suck in every ounce of the lazy blood in your body. Nobody tells you that it’s like a constant struggle, wherein you are expected to act you age whilst you are still caught up in the complacency of your mental age. Nobody tells you that struggles like waking up on your own, cooking your own meal and shopping for groceries are real!

You fantasize about landing up with your dream job in that big city. Nobody tells you that amount of growing up that comes bundled along. You plan of independence and a life wherein you will be the sole decision maker; nobody tells you that you shall be made to pay the cost for each of those. And, there you go, all alone, fighting your personal insecurities, your fears and pushing comfort zones.

Before you know, you are trotting like that Little Miss Perfect, applying kohl in your eyes, hoping it will make you look, well grown up. All this, while you are still learning to cross the road and walk without skipping. While you wash the reds and whites together in laundry and forget the deposit the cheques. You sit and rue when your entire facebook feed is full of happy couples, families vacationing in exotic locations and couples honeymoon-ing. And there you are, getting all worked up because you are sick and there’s no one to serve you a cup of Tea. There are times when all you really want to do is run to your parents and hug them, for now you realize what all you had taken for granted.

However, like most things in life, over time, it grows on you, this independence and this habit of watching your own back. You become smarter. Simple things like enjoying a cup of coffee while devouring your favourite book. Cooking your own meal and then sinking in your good old bean bag while watching your favorite movie. Nobody to judge you when you sleep through the day, listen to woeful music and croak along like a frog. Soon, you figure out a way to co-exist peacefully with yourself, your mood swings, insecurities and even persistent health issues. It’s like preparing an operative manual on “how to handle self”. It works on just fine, over time. Frankly, it gets better.

With a few mental checks, you discover a pattern exclusive to self. You remind yourself to recheck the regulator to ensure there are no gas leaks. You remember the grocery list by heart, you run back to check locks and switches. Even though you still enjoy retail therapy, you value money a bit more. And before you know it, Voila, you “grow up”.
It’s like learning to swim, when the water is deep; your limbs figure out a way to keep you afloat. Until then, well, just keep bubbling and flapping along …!

Community & Tourism – Mcleodganj, India :EcoTourism voices an International Cause

Standard

McLeodganj has only two parallel streets, so the locals make fun of it and call it Trousers!!

I giggle when I hear that and let the cool, fresh breeze invigorate every cell in my body. This is my first trip to Mcleodganj which is located in the suburbs of Dharamshala in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh which is known as the “The Abode of Gods”.  Nestled in the Himalayas, Mcleodganj is the elixir for the eyes and soul. All that greeted me every day in my hectic Bombay life was just traffic, screeching of horns and pollution. Mcleodganjwas the perfect escape, too small to be called a city and yet too broad-minded to be called a village!

WP_20140622_005

Mcleodganj is named after the former viceroy of Punjab-Sir Donald Mcleod.  It’s a tiny hamlet In Himalayas where majority of people earn their living by either farming or rearing animals for dairy. However, the economy of the state has boomed beyond agriculture since the influx of tourism. Teenagers swarm Mcleodganjas it is the perfect trekking destination, couples for romantic getaway and families for some time away from the conundrums of the city life.

Himachal Pradesh is the hub of tourist activity throughout the year, for its breathtaking beauty, adventure sports, camping, trekking and even religious tourism.  Mcleodganj has emerged as the Mecca of Eco Tourism with its lush green, scenic valleys and roads lined with Coniferous trees.  What adds further to its beauty is the spiritual charm that resides in this laidback hamlet.  It is a popular seat of his holiness Dalai Lama and hence dotted with monasteries like the Namgyal Monastry, The Nechung Monsatry and other tell tale signs of Buddhist cultures. The local handicrafts like Tibetan carpets, garments like Tibet Shawls and many other souvenirs are a rage among tourists as they are exclusive to Buddhist Culture. People come here from world over to learn Yoga, meditation and about Buddhist culture, religion and crafts.

1460056_568668629866708_188630136_n

“Prayer wheels at Tsug la Khang temple, McLeod Ganj”

WP_20140618_001

Other than handicrafts, the cuisine too is dictated by Buddhist platelet.  Mcleodganj offers a string of eateries, open terrace hotels and bars which spoil the tourists for choice and provide the perfect gastronomical treat. From fried momos to authentic thukpas, sushi rolls and other Bhutanese, Italian, Mexican, Tibetan and continental dishes.  The locals earn their decent living by way of restaurant business, micro businesses, as travel guides and even homestays. Many women have become self-employed and financially independent by engaging in trade and the hospitality industry. The ordinary houses double as restaurants offering mouth-watering Buddhist delicacies and as home theaters.

P1030404

ecotourism & Pilgrims have brought economic and social prosperity in the region. The locals are warm hosts; Tibetan monks attired in their graceful saffron robe mingle freely with tourists. Sometimes, a group of youngsters voice their opinion on the issue of “Free Tibet”. It’s probably the first example where Eco Tourism supports an international Political cause.

1453296_568669619866609_1526581274_n

 

Bombay diary chapter 2

Standard

Tender Coconut Image

Bombay they say is what you make of it. However, I think Bombay itself has a fairly humungous role to play in the making of its residents. Like one day, It takes you for a surprise with its monsoon downpour, the very next instant, leaves you suspended over salty seas to dry and drench with sweat. It takes you to the 23rd floor of the biggest corporate agency in India; it makes you walk as a part of the crowd while travelling in the locals. It’s the city where the elite cherish, the poor subsist and the rest are merely lost in the crowd.

It’s overwhelming. You can’t be in Bombay and not think about it in one way or other. Existence itself in Bombay engulfs you. You can’t be mentally present elsewhere while crossing the road in the insane traffic or while securing a seat in the overflooded locals. Nowhere else in the world can you find such a peacefully chaotic coexistence of the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. Neither any city has such faded lines of distinction between the two. The shack like  seemingly wobbly brick and mortar structure by the side of the road is equipped with a LCD T.V, the penthouse owner of that majestic society down the posh Worli seaface lane is debt ridden down to his throat.

Despite this disarray, despite the grim realities of struggle in the city and the mad rush for the pursuit of power, money and endurance, there is humanity and compassion. Even in the hustle of the traffic and the mob of people, someone will come up to you and ask you if you’re lost and need help. Randomly some car driver would screech his car to a halt so that you can cross the road comfortably.  Another stranger will put a protective arm around your fractured hand in the Local train and yet another will help you figure out the bus route for your destination.

I often wonder what makes Bombay dissimilar to the capital. No, you thought it wrong if you think it is the sea. It’s not even the sweat and the local trains which scuttle as the veins of the living immortal called Bombay. It’s the fortitude of its residents, the never say die attitude of its masses that splashes colour into its pale, mundanely rigorous black and white urban life. It’s undeniably legendary how Bombay bounced back after the terrorist attacks in 2011 in less than an hour as people scurried to work like any other day. Ramesh reminisces that the bomb blast happened a few metres away from his tender coconut stall. It’s been three years now, he hasn’t shifted a centimetre from his usual spot. The coconut that he sells me for an initially -overstated and persistently -bargained -now -decent  price has its crust dried and stiff from outside, but the water inside is surprisingly  sweet and thankfully refreshing  in the scorching heat. Like Mumbaikars. Like this city. 

Bombay Diary : Chapter 1

Image

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits : Shanu  Babar

Photo Credits : Shanu Babar

 

The pigeons of Bombay are so fearless…..

The pandemonium of Mumbai pigeons

The pigeons of Bombay are fearless; they won’t flutter a single feather if you pass by. They are conditioned to this city, to people scurrying around, sometimes aimlessly, sometimes with an urgent purpose. As a lone woman traveller, it’s not easy to manoeuvre your way on the streets of one of the most crowded Metropolitan cities in India. The pulse of the city can be felt by travelling by the local trains in rush hour or steering your way through the densely inhabited streets which paint the ironic juxtaposition of the tallest corporate skyscrapers and impoverished, old cramped buildings or “Chawls” as my taxi driver would call them.

The Lower Parel area houses eminent corporate buildings, chaotic yet colourful “chawls” and provides sustenance to street side peddlers who sell everything from snacks to daily household items and peculiar garlands of green chillies and lemons to ward off evil.  After a long excursion on foot, I board the famous honeybee coloured Bombay cabs and we steer our way towards Bandra, Bandstand, the elite residential area which is famous for its party culture and is home to many Bollywood stars like the indisputable “King Khan”.  The taxi glides on the Bandra worli Sea link that bypasses 23 traffic signals in merely 8 minutes and when I gaze out the taxi window, the pleasant sea breeze plays with my raven coloured hair as the gigantic pylons frame the most mesmerizing sight any eyes can fathom. The waves crash loudly against the gigantic pillars and the sea gleams and reflects traffic headlights in the night merging into the breathtaking skyline of zenith smooching high rises twinkling in the dark. I get goosebumps and the awe inspiring beauty that flaunts the skyscrapers silently shoves the “Chawls” and the roadside peddlers, the lifelines of the city, the very memory of their existence in Mumbai to a dark underbelly.

Sweet Nothings…..

Standard

1426627_661787293872149_1141960331_n

I was sitting in the college mess, morbidly going through the mess food sans excitement or even hunger, my mind brooding endlessly over assignments and class test marks, typical reasons for headaches in student life. The constant chit-chat in the mess seemed distant and uninteresting until a single loud laugh echoed in the room, like the laughter of Ravana after abducting Rama’s beloved Sita. Unable to place the source of this hilarity that suddenly caught attention of every single person in the mess, heads turned around with curiosity until we spotted that gleeful face.

Meet, Luv Kumar. Our batchmate in SIMC. Before we know, there are involuntary smiles and giggles all over the table. Laughter soon catches up with everyone like common cold and we all break into grins, chuckles and guffaws with absolutely no reason. Simple, unadulterated and quintessential happiness. Inexpensive , yet so priceless.

Happiness is a matter of attitude. We spend a major chunk of our lives thinking that happiness is a function of circumstances, peers and success in terms of relationships and careers. However, when an involuntary smile hits you unexpected, one realizes that it’s those insignificant sweet nothings of life , that are non materialistic and yet priceless. So, Imperfect I ( or so I’d like to believe) along with Lovely Luv,  Crazy Shruti Fruti and another happiness freak from SIBM  decided to pen down a few of our favourite happy moments and form a happiness brigade.

Read through, relate to it and then let us know yours.

1) Happiness is the smell of rain and the sight of freshly bathed greenery.

2) Sipping tea in tiny plastic cups or kullads while watching the sun go down.

3) Happiness is meeting new people, travelling to new places and new countries. Happiness is when the travel is sponsored 😀

4) A whole day lazing with a good book at Crosswords is happiness.

5) Crazy Dancing with a friend who doesn’t give a hoot to who’s watching.

6) Happiness is when drunk friends walks over to utter the three magical words.

7) Happiness is comfort hug from your best friend when you are homesick.

8) Happiness is topping in the course without even opening the book !!

9) Running downhill while listening to good music is happiness.

10) Staring at the star studded sky from amphi theatre.

11) The feeling of true love  or something even remotely close to it.

12) an innocent, genuine smile is happiness

13) my best friend giving “champi” ( head massage) when i have a headache is happiness

14) I’m -here-for you smile, a thank-u hug and a go-nail-it pat.

15) riding a two wheeler with your hair flying all over is happiness

16) pretty feet with anklets

17)sharing tote-udd-gaye smile with classmates

18) Failing in a subject with the entire class

19)Doodling/ Painting is happiness

20) a hot cuppa coffee, a good book inside a warm fur blanket in winter is happiness

21) cuddling next to your beloved is happiness

22) playing candy crush during lectures

23) spending time with your pet dog

24) Fighting with siblings

25) the glint of pride in mummy papa’s eyes is happiness

26) Friends , long drives at 3 AM is happiness

27) Guitar, empty terrace and jamming session is happiness

28) Meeting someone new who makes you feel like the connect is ages old is happiness

29) Beach side shack with a nice sleep and the sea breeze singing lullaby is happiness

30) Meeting old friends after a long time

31) drunk dancing is happiness

32)  double seat cycle ride with Chuddy-buddy is happiness

33) Happiness is when your best friend sends you more I-love-yous than your boyfriend 😀

34) Happiness is an aimless conversation

35) Happiness is a full body spa (Ahaaaaaaaa)

36) Feel of a new dress , especially if its gifted is happiness

37) running around with a sense of purpose is happiness

38) meeting a person with the same opinion about a song/ movie/ book. Sometimes winning an argument if it isn’t so is even more happiness 😛

39) two people sharing a smile across a distance

40) eating and laughing with your favourite teacher is happiness

41) a movie that makes you cry is happiness.

42) Happiness is you loving my writing, happiness is me enjoying the process :*

Beti….

Standard

The blanket usually was warm enough for the kind of winters Calcutta had but today, it sent a chill down Savita’s spine. She took another sip of the green tea Mahesh had prepared for her, folded the newspaper she had been reading like a morbid performance of a daily ritual and flung it aside on the couch next to her.

 Her hair was open, her skin pale yellow devoid of the wheatish glow and her hazelnut eyes were swollen despite a good sleep. Maybe it was morning sickness. Maybe it was a psychological, her hormones being in state of a constant frenzy. Her white colored satin gown that Mahesh had bought her during their honeymoon was now hugging her bodice, unsuccessfully trying to hide the seven month old baby bump.

 She rested her head back on the vertical bed cushion and closed her eyes. Her thoughts raced back to the day before. “Savita, wouldn’t it be lovely if we have a daughter?? She would be as loving as you and will carry our family values forward” Mahesh had told her, his eyes gleaming with paternal love. “Daughters and fathers pally well, you will be isolated jaan.” he would pull her leg whenever he would spot a father daughter duo jogging together during their morning walks.

Savita knew Mahesh desired for a baby girl. He was almost convinced that it were girls who stood by their families in need. His own family was matriarchal and he comprehended well the role of a female in the society. During Durga puja, he would often mention, “Savita, it’s only a female who can assume nine different roles, she can be the Annapoorna: the caretaker, Laxmi: the provider and if need be, Durga: The destroyer.” He  prayed to be blessed with an embodiment of the goddess for whom he fasted nine days during Navratras and went on to decorate their living room with soft toys, flowers and lots of baby posters in anticipation of his wish getting fulfilled.

 She however, felt a gamut of emotions choking her whenever she thought of bearing a daughter. As a mother, Savita’s heart felt dark and dreary in the winter blues. She would close her eyes  and a black and white documentary of

everyday struggles a girl has to face- Rapes, dowry, eve-teasing, suppression and then work harassment would play in her head making her feel pukish. She would for hours, stare outside the window in her living room and look at the girls passing by on the road, conscious, suppressed and sometimes playfully rebellious. She would play a mental game as to how her daughter would be a voice of empowerment and a strong female by imagining random incidents.

As every single day the newspaper screamed crime of another flower crushed, another soul trampled, another dream of a daughter shattered, her faith flickered like the unsteady candle flame on a stormy night. She slowly realized she might soon be reliving her mother’s nightmares. Her maternal instinct fought with her rationality of the current scenario. 

 Her heart raced like insane horses as the worry began to eat her peace of mind like a mite on wood. How safe will her daughter be in the world of heartless monsters? How safe will she be? 

 She shivered at the thought of her daughter’s life beyond her womb. In that state of mental altercation, she slipped into a deep slumber, unaware of the gust of air that blew into the room and flapped the page open to the news that was sarcastically juxtaposed and read… 

# 18 year old raped in a moving train.

# Pratibha Patil is the first women president of India.

HERE WITHOUT YOU ….

Standard

Image

 

Here without you …

So I came all the way from Chandigarh to Pune because I had this entire process of “Growing up” to do. Fresh out of college, I jumped into an MBA college, wore crisp formals every day, applied kajal to camouflage my sleepy eyes and walked around the campus pretending I knew business. Growing up seems to be such a cool thing to do! Rewind the timeline to a few months back and you will see how determined I was to leave my hometown. Never did it once occur to me to me that once this coolness quotient of mine evaporates like nail polish remover, I will miss u…and I missed you the very moment you left me behind.

 I stood there watching you go, my heart melting and wailing like that of that little kid Eshaan in TZP. But here I was taking baby steps into the world of adults and I didn’t really want to behave like a toddler on the first day of school.  So, like a weary soldier I braved the tears and made it to my room. Days dragged by and if the bathroom could, it would have been flooded with my outbursts by now. I missed you every time you didn’t wake me up and I bunked classes sleeping. I missed u every time I hated the mess food and had to gulp down a banana because there was nothing better to eat. I missed you when I badly needed a hug and nobody smelled as warm as you. When I was sick and nobody caressed my hair so that I could sleep. When nobody could read what I had left unsaid, when nobody scolded me for wearing shorts in cold evenings, when there was none to tell me whether I should buy the red or the orange dress. I miss arguing with you only to apologize and sway your anger with my puppy dog looks. So u guessed it right, I messed up things royally. Blissfully slept in my room through lectures, skipped breakfast, forgot to boil the milk until it turned sour, washed the black clothes with whites, splurged on clothes I will never wear, wore white slacks in muddled rains and ended up with a blocked ATM card. I realized how hopelessly clueless I’m without you. How no amount of time with you will ever be enough.

I try harder each day to learn and unlearn a few things. And everytime I pull off a small chore correctly, I miss that encouraging pat on my back. I guess even if I’m half as perfect as you, I’d be someone someday you will be proud of. But I solemnly swear I’m upto no good if you are not around to hold my hand.

I miss u mumma…

 

 

Albatross

Standard

Image

 

 

Albatross

Something was chewing the insides of her heart like a canker. Smriti looked out of the window of the bus, trying hard to bring the wild horses of her thoughts to a standstill. The flashback of the last one hour weighed against her chest like a huge iron rod on an unfortunate earthquake victim.

    Sid had tried nudging her out of the cocoon. Not only was she numb, the obstinate poker faced expression on her face refused to fade. He couldn’t believe sitting next to him was the same free spirited, lively girl he had been hopelessly smitten with. Everything about her, right from her characteristic childish laughter, her unadulterated innocence, her blunt replies, her gorgeously beautiful face and her underlying simplicity clad in humble sophistication had simply bowled him over.  

No wonder that inspite of the odd difference in their ages, they had grown together. She was in her early 20’s, a nascent age, baby steps into adulthood. He was a ripe 30, experience sculpting every shade of his life and behavior. If she was the relentless brook, he was the serene shores of stillness. If he was the impatience of masculinity, she was the coyness of a tender bud.

She had met him during her job orientation at Infosys Bangalore. He remembered the petite, lovely girl wearing a stark white lucknowi chikan salwaar kameez. She looked like a rose blossom accidently dropped in a garland of stale marigolds, the youngest, the most naive in the corporate grind. It didn’t take him long to befriend her and soon he became her anchor, her guide into the world where she had just taken her baby steps.

The symbiotic relation between a creeper and the stalk can’t function until they intertwine into each other inseparably. It wasn’t long before his heart throbbed at her name, a shy glance from her deep brown eyes and a fleeting touch of her hand. She had a fiancé back home, something she had made point blank clear in the very start of their relationship. But somehow, to him it didn’t matter. Without the need for gratification, he showered love on her. Her very sight made him want to encapsulate her in his arms. He wanted to see her smile, protect her and love her without the need of a single thread of reciprocation from her.

It was Smriti’s decision. She had agreed to go on a movie with him. She knew he had developed feelings for her. She knew she had stepped into his world. She adored him and their moments together. In this dark, dreary world, she woke up every day to find solace in the calm sea of his support and reassurances. Her vulnerability was an excuse for  welcoming his emotions.

  

She knew Anirudh back home was counting days and hours to meet her. She accepted the fact that her bond with Anirudh was pristine beyond duplication. But yet, today she stood at crossroads, her mind dancing in dilemma. To a third eye, she was characterless, toying with two hearts. To herself, she was confused and lost in maze of unintentional circumstances.

Sid clasped her hand. Smriti trembled at his touch, the very way she had trembled when he had kissed her after the movie. She remembered the warmth, the chill that trembled down her spine. The current that flowed from his body to hers and united them as a singular entity for moments unknown.

“My hostel is near the road. I think I will get down here” she breathed, without meeting his eyes, staring at the dirty floor of the bus scattered with groundnut shells.

“I can drop u, its late” he said, still holding her hand, persuading her to stay with his touch.

“Sid people who have different destinations cant travel the entire journey together”

And she looked into his eyes

She saw his eyes cloud with pain.

Maybe she saw tears.

She felt her heart sink. She prayed the pain would stay , construct enough barriers between them to keep them detached.

With that, she got up with a sigh to leave his world her heart heavy like a rock and yet bleeding

Without looking back….

 

 

 

BUTTERFLY FLY AWAY…….

Standard

Image

 

Butterfly fly away…

She could feel the cold summer wind raging mercilessly over the slope of the hilltop and sending a chill into the gaping hole in her chest. She clutched her blue colored stole nearer to her breasts, like a mother hugging her new born. In the early evening light, she walked slowly, trying hard to mingle with the unknown crowd around her. She peered into the eyes of all those smiling faces and wondered if it was only she who couldn’t fit in this atmosphere of gaiety and frolic. She fastened her pace and moved ahead of the swarm of happy faces.  It had been a week now since her arrival at Lavale and she was still homesick and still trying hard to untie her wings towards a life where her mother wouldn’t be there to hold her tiny finger and guide her.

 Lavale, Pune is one of the most serene places, a quiet hill top housing the Symbiosis campus. It rains ceaselessly from June to September and the placid sun is a moody guest. The lavish, self sustaining campus is situated literally in the lap of lush, green hills and one can find the peacocks dancing on hostel windows. The campus is around half an hour from the rush of the peppy Pune city. Coming from Chandigarh, the first planned city of India, to Shuili, Lavale was mystical.  Right from the orchestra of the insects that crooned after rains to the weather that could manage showers in Sun, to her it was like a dreamland. She had always been an ardent lover of nature, an admirer of wilderness and a lover of solitude which was a byproduct of her introspective personality. She had prayed and hoped that her college be in the most exquisite location, away from the buzz and chaos of city. And this life, you would say, was tailor made for her, like every shred of her dreams was woven into a beautiful reality.  

She walked in quick steps towards the amphitheatre, a winding road lined with trees and overlooking the expanse of subtle hills. Her thoughts were drawn to her mother, her father and every minute a silent flashback like a mute black and white film would agonize her heart and well up her eyes .. She glanced towards her left and her eyes fell upon a clearing on the side of the road. It was a beautifully manicured garden, with a helipad at the centre, circumscribed by greens and flowers splashing a plethora of colours. Something magnetic about the sight made her go through the opening even though it was covered by a barricade.

The view from the rear end of the garden was a spectacle. It was guarded by a railing as the land perched over the breathtaking panorama of the entire city, the blossoming green hills peppered with tiny matchbox like houses and city lights twinkling and dancing as if on a cue.  She stood there transfixed, unable to snatch her eyes away from the beauty that sprawled below her feet. It was then; her eyes fell on it….

It was the delicate movement in the leaves of a nearby bush that caught her eyes and they fell on a minuscule, green coloured cocoon. There was a sluggish movement, and the tip of the cocoon swayed. And as she stood there, her eyes glued to the tiny cocoon, an infinitesimal head emerged, struggled and fought with patience and persistence .Shuili could feel the creature’s struggle and its endless perseverance as the hour passed.  Her heart ached to free the being from cage as it was resisting so fanatically. But as the time passed, quietly, without a trace of haste, emerged a limp butterfly, slowly clearing its way to exit the cocoon, its wings painted in a multihued pattern, folded to its bodice, the colours yet dim, yet to bloom.

And as time passed, the butterfly kept meditating on the cocoon, as if the metamorphosis was a fight within, an effort to strengthen the soul from the core with its wings hanging down motionless, not a movement to hint at the tremendous revolution taking place within. It fluttered it’s wings, preparing them for its impending life and finally after an hour of rehearsal, spread them royally and managed a little hop, it’s first attempt to conquer the sky.

The moment imprinted on Shuili a lesson that no preaching could have imparted. She got up and her heart felt lighter. And as she watched the butterfly take wings towards the grey sky, the cocoon inside her broke, for after a long time  she had acknowledged the vibrant colours of life  and  accepted the struggle behind them. She made her way back to the hostel, leaving her qualms  behind in the broken cocoon , with a faint smile and a little  hop in her step.

And when she turned to look back at the butterfly, the butterfly merrily flew away ……