Dr. Gazala Gayas
Associate Professor in English
How ugly I look! Do you hear me? I am a hapless creature. There is no other creature uglier than me in the order of creation. My ugly-mugly body is just piece of flesh. Every day I tremble with fear lest any small bird may make me its feast. But one thing that I can appreciate of myself is that I can change my colour where ever I sit. I live in a garden full of flowers and birds. We all live in harmony. My day starts in the morning when the dew drops wash my face and I bow my head in front of Almighty. I sit on a rose leaf and fill my belly by eating it slowly. I am a caterpillar and this garden is my home. May be I am upset of my shape and size but I am happy that I am part of this beautiful garden. My neighbour rose scatters its fragrance to hold the garden in mesmerisation.
After bowing my head before that supreme power I listen to the beautiful song of cuckoo. Her melodious voice makes us feel that we all owe our lives to God and every praise is for Him only. Even the bulbul, who sings always a sad song, also reminds us our eternal Garden of Eden, where our ancestors lived happily. Every song or buzz reveals the pang of love and separation. Even the beetle’s buzz would make it clear that it is trying to entrap narcissus, by sucking its nectar. During mid-day the aunts would come out from their holes to have a sun bath.
We all lived a happy life in this garden, they call me a parasite but it the law of nature and no creature sleeps empty stomach. The creator of this world loves all his creation. After taking my breakfast I would like to hear all birds chirping and dancing. The sun injects its energy into all the creatures so that they start their lives. At noon sun reaches its zenith and we all creatures go for siesta. At the sunset the muzin would call Allah-u-Akbar (God is great) and we all creatures would repeat the azaan and bow our heads before Him. The slow wind in the evening would make all creatures dance on its tunes, till the queen of night appears to lull us in a deep slumber.
In my garden I am the ugliest creature cuddling all the day. Men used to visit our garden to pluck the flowers or sit under trees to enjoy lush green shades. Some girls would pluck the rose flower to put it in their hair. Some men would come close to rose tree to absorb its smell in their souls. The rose tree would feel liberated in that ecstatic state of intoxication. It would feel; elated as being a source of life on earth. Blowing sweet air and warmth are manifestations of its process of growth. Even the narcissus feels on top of the world with its flower stuck to its temple. It welcomes every beetle to suck its nectar as a prosperous host receives its guest. But I always experience a pain when someone suddenly screams on seeing me on a leaf. But the gardener of the garden would always make me happy by consoling me in a very humble but artistic way.
Oh! My lovely daughter why are you sad?
Eat whatever you like nobody is going to harm you.
People pluck roses and trample the grasses but they are scared of your shape. So, be happy and enjoy eating.
Sunday being a very disturbing day for us, as people from different places comes to visit us. Boys are girls come to garden to play hide and seek. They pluck flowers and trample weeds and grass under their feet. I also get scared. A boy was watching others playing from the corner of garden. Suddenly he screamed and cried and his mother intervened.
What do you want? Why are you crying?
I need that rose, pluck it for me.
His mother plucked some rose flowers and gave it to him.
I will put it in my flower vase.
He plucked more flowers and it irritated me. Why is man so selfish? He is crown of creation but it doesn’t mean he would trample us and kill us just for fun. Man always intervenes in our life. For satisfying his hegemonic ego he mixes artificial fertilizers and even sprays pesticides to kill small creatures like me. The boy now became a regular visitor of our garden and would pluck the flowers and sometimes trample them under his feet. Sometimes I feel happy of my shape as no one likes to play with me and harm me. While plucking flowers he screamed and yelled. His mother came to his rescue.
What is wrong? Why are you crying?
See mom this small creature. I want this one I don’t need flowers.
Oh God! This tiny creature is a caterpillar, you can’t have it. See how ugly it looks!
No, it is not ugly I like it I will make it my pet.
No dear, caterpillar is not made a pet. See I will buy a rabbit for you to make it your pet.
“No” cried the boy. His mother consoled him and they left the garden. I got flabbergasted. Is it really that people like me too? I slept and woke up when mauzen called for Azan. I washed my face with the beautiful dew drops but suddenly I felt something grave is going to happen. Cuckoo thanked lord for His benevolence, rose scattered its fragrance, and beetle buzzed to meet his beloved narcissus. But I felt as if I am not part of this beautiful world. My lazy being became lazier and I started eating grass. My little heart was beating very fast. People started visiting our garden and suddenly I saw the boy pointing towards me. He had a box in his hand and he picked me up and put me in that box. Shocked I was, could not believe all this. My whole body was dancing and moving randomly. We reached his home and he put me on a table in the box. He got many leaves for me. I was in a trance, know nothing what is happening. Soon I felt asleep without lullaby of moon mother. I dreamt of my garden, my flowers, my birds , the beetle and the cuckoo. In the morning I woke up when a strange sound penetrated through my ears. The boy also got up. He came to me, he smiled and said
“I am your friend, let’s be friends”.
The boy would bring many fresh leaves for me. He would talk to me and sit with me for hours together. But every passing day would lessen my hope of life and joy. It was a cage I am the prisoner. Everyday I wanted to die and every night I felt helpless. My sweet garden I missed it so much. But slowly I came to realise that I too like this boy. Now that if he is late from school I got worried. He was the only hope of my survival. One day he came and went to bed and was groaning with pain. I got worried. Soon his mom came and took him to hospital. I couldn’t eat and sleep. I really missed him. In the morning his mother came to room to fetch me more leaves. She took my box with her. After a great fatigue we reached the hospital. I saw the boy and became very happy. He looked very frail. His mom put me on a window sill. My craving for a fraction of sun would remain smouldering within me. But after a long time I got it, and it vivified me and I experienced some degree of growth. On this window sill I got ray of sun and sometimes wave of cold breeze. I experienced a zenith of being. I could feel the transformation within me, it was a miracle. May be I have dared to ask for it even in my prayers. Something is happening and that very thing happened and the happening itself is a miracle. I slept as if I am conquering dimensions and spaces. In the morning the ray of sun brought warmth and it penetrated deep in my body and soul. For a while or so I don’t know don’t know whether the breeze touched my body, but something happened. Whatever happened happened at once. It is a miracle, and I awakened my future. I had never experienced what I am experiencing now. In a moment I have become what I had not ever imagined to be. The breeze and the warmth of sun has becalmed the varied mixture of the fountain of my being. It has carved out her abode within me, in a manner that God does in the soul of a believer. I am now a butterfly with many beautiful colours. I am able to move my wings. But I am still caged in this box. Now I could feel a spirit in me. I can change my destiny, because God wants it to happen. A nurse came in the room, she saw me inside the box, and felt sorry. She looked at me and then smiled.
“No need to be there in a cage” you know the art of flying now.
She opened the lid and I fluttered my wings and flew up in the sky towards my home my garden.