The happy butterfly

The happy butterfly

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“Look mama what a strange butterfly,” said the little girl staring in awe. This is no place for a butterfly, thought her mother, mopping her brow.

Their’s was a dreary home, stuck between scores of others, between open drains and garbage, soot and filth, not a flower in sight. Yet the butterfly hovered.

The little girl reached out and it landed gently, right on her palm. There she sat opening and closing her delicate wings glowing with an ethereal light. 

The mother watched her girl’s face lit up with a smile and found it reflected on her own, wiping out the tired sad lines even if for a moment. 

As they smiled the tiny creature seemed to get stronger, to glow even brighter and two new colours shimmered on its wings.

Off she flew, off towards the school, to the sobbing boy clutching his mum’s hand. “I don’t want to go,” said he with a wail. She floated close by calling out to him. He listened, he stared, tears forgotten, a smile appeared. And then he let go, following her with his teacher, uncomplaining.
And another colour appeared on her wings.
On she flew to the busy marketplace. “What’s that!” wondered the old vegetable vendor distracted for a moment from the thought of that blanket he needed to buy. She fluttered around waiting. The smile appeared soon and so did the colour.
And off she flew. This time to the busy executive cradling a phone in the crick of his neck. Oh this was tough but she didn’t give up. She lingered between his files alighting for a moment right on his laptop, catching his attention, finally. She drifted gently by the drooping bouquet, made with love by his daughter but carelessly discarded. The thought of his daughter brought him a smile, a trifle regretful, but a smile nonetheless. 
The butterfly got her colour and off she flew.
The crusty landlady, the lonely student, the unhappy socialite, the overworked maid – she flew by each one. Some were easy, some so tough. But a smile she drew from each one of them. Innocent, happy, joyful smiles, smiles without malice, smiles of love. She gathered them all upon her wings. And with each one of those she grew more beautiful, ever more strong and ever more determined.
Yeah she’d do it, she’d change the world. She’d make it happier a smile at a time.
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34 Replies to “The happy butterfly”

  1. We need lots and lots of such butterflies around. That non-malicious smile is almost invisible. The innocence almost lost. Beautiful story that brought me a few smiles too. 🙂

  2. When I was a little girl (yeah yeah, a long time ago!) my Mom would say the funniest things. While walking outside if a leaf fell on my head, she'd say it was God blessing me. And I would carefully pick it up and press it in my book.

    So, no wonder happiness is a butterfly.

    So beautifully written Tulika. Love your heart!

    1. Vidya I have to admit I thought of you while writing this piece – your philosophy of 'collecting smiles'. That butterfly could well be you.

  3. Spreading smiles and gaining colours. Isn't that a lovely metaphor? I am sure Vidya will love this post 🙂 Touching and evocative piece, Tulika. I love the character sketches here 🙂

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