This was what I wrote and presented as a Speak Up to the cohort at Learning Seminar 1 on November 21st, 2019.
I am going to tell you about the butterfly in my room. Some of you already know a little bit about this.
Last Tuesday, the one we all had a day off from school, Chrissy and I sat in Waari Book Cafe (one of my favorites that I go to often) and pondered what to write our speak ups about. Naturally, I pretty much took over the conversation and turned it into a vent about my current identity crisis, debated whether or not that was my topic, and decided against it. Chrissy listened intently and thoughtfully, as she always does. When we returned home, we were greeted by my host-cat, Layla (but we called her Mao), with a large fluttering insect in her mouth: A butterfly. Immediately, we teamed up to save the butterfly’s life and even made a small sanctuary for it in my room. We named her Parsley.
Parsley lived with me for the five days following. We listened to music together, she flew around, we ate clementines, and once while I was laying down reading, she landed on my pillow next to my head and stayed there until I eventually had to leave. It was like I gained a new friend. On that Saturday morning, I was about to leave for a weekend trip to Mangaon with my host family and knew that immediately following my return, I would leave again for Panchgani for five days for Learning Seminar 1. This butterfly couldn’t be trapped in my room for an entire week, and Mao would probably end up finding her again. But, as Parsley’s wings were completely tattered, I was worried she wouldn’t be able to sustain herself. I had grown to care for my friend. In that exact moment, another butterfly, the same kind as Parsley, flew onto my terrace. I had her on the tip of my finger, I looked up at the other butterfly, and when I looked back down at Parsley she was gone. I glanced up to see them flying away together.
My time with Parsley was fleeting, as our time in India will feel once we return home. I’ve believed since I was a child that butterflies were a sign of something good. There’s an infamous photo of me in preschool wearing a purple and blue sparkly shirt with a butterfly on it, holding a monarch butterfly out on my hand. I was around four years old and since then my mother’s favorite nickname for me has been in fact “butterfly”. I’ve never forgotten what that day meant to me as a four year old and so, the philosophy stuck. The universe works in mysterious ways as they say and I find it hard to find faith in anything at times, but in this my faith never wavers. Parsley reminded me of what brought me here. She was an affirmation that this is exactly where I am meant to be. My sister wrote to me in a letter enclosed in the book “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac, “The universe is ready to hold you, you just have to let it.” And so, the universe is ready to hold each of us, and sometimes we just need something as small as a butterfly to remind us of that.