Mr. Caterpillar.

“Mr. Funny caterpillar where are you going…

Mr. Funny caterpillar what are you doing…”

Sang my daughter as she got ready for school and the thought flashed in my mind like it did a hundred times in loop. “Had I placed the caterpillar elsewhere it would not have been alive”, I thought again.

IMG_20161207_094228A few days back after dropping off my daughter at school, I went for my walk. The pavement surrounding the apartment complex is good 500 meters, an excellent walkway. While walking I saw something moving on the pavement beside the parking lot. It was a big beautiful caterpillar wriggling towards the road from the pavement. I have never seen such a big caterpillar. I was amazed at the different ways in which the Almighty brings out life. So beautiful, so unique! I wondered how the butterfly or moth that was inside would look like. I clicked a picture of it on my phone and continued to walk. As I passed the little voice inside me said “help it reach the garden on the other side of the road”. “May be during the next round, the busy hours of traffic are over, so no worries” I replied to myself and left. As I came closer to the corner, where I found the caterpillar during the second round, I started searching for it. There it was smashed on the road. My heart broke into a million pieces. It was not far away from where I found it. Some car smashed it right after I left. I wish I had listened to the little voice. I stood there for some time as all these thoughts passed. Feeling guilty I walked towards my apartment.

While dropping my daughter off to school today, I saw another caterpillar. A cute little colourful one wriggling on the pavement going in the direction of nearby bushes. I started to search frantically for a twig or something to pick it up and place in the bushes. My daughter’s and her grandpa’s chorus stopped and the duo gave me a what-is-wrong-with-her look. I told I want to help the caterpillar. “Not needed” said grandpa, “I will tell you why, after we drop her off” he added.

On the way back, my heart was in my mouth as I neared the bushes. I searched for the caterpillar, there was no trace of it. I was worried and told my dad why I was trying to save the caterpillar. After hearing the whole episode, dad said “You do not have to feel guilty of not saving the caterpillar. The energy that kept the caterpillar alive must have gone into some other body to keep that alive. That caterpillar’s time on earth had to end, to take some other form. If it had to live, you would have just picked it up without even a thought. It was meant to die, as another form was waiting for its life energy. It is alive in some or the other form. Why worry? Lord Krishna says that in Bhagavad Gita. I think you need to read Gita again”. We both went silent thereafter. The song my daughter sang played with a very different meaning in my mind since then.

“Mr. Funny caterpillar where are you going…

Mr. Funny caterpillar what are you doing…”

Book Binding Blessings

IMG-20170608-WA0000With the start of the academic year, starts a rat race. A race to get Albert Einstein and Marie Curie out of children. Little do some parents realize that if children are left to pursue what they like, and nurture them, they may grow into Leonardo da Vinci or may be Pele in later years. Let us give our childrenĀ a childhood full of memories to go back to at later point of their lives. Like I am doing now, as I sit with my daughter’s books and some brown paper to bind. I was cupping my hands and feeling the edge of the book underneath the sheet, and the time line in my mind scrolled a lot back to 90’s when my mother used to sit with me and my brother during the book binding sessions. While she bound my books, I used to always wonder what new I might be learning. And yes I loved the smell of new books. I still do. Slowly my mother taught me how to bind. In a few years I will teach my daughter how to do it. Thank you mom.

Meanwhile, my daughter woke up and came to me. She looked at the books and asked “My books?”, “yes” I replied. “You’ve to go to school today” I said. I noticed her eye brows where pulled together in a Do-I-Have-To-Go manner. “Don’t you want to go?” I asked. “Yes” came the reply. Then I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude towards the teachers at the pre-school who toiled to settle her down and make her feel school is a secure place. Initial days at the pre-school were equally stressful to me and her. She was never willing to part with me. Then after a couple of months the stress levels gradually came down. Towards the end of the pre-school days she used to pick four to five fallen flowers, at the apartment pavement check for its freshness and bundle them with her little fingers while going to the school. Later I learnt she used to give them to her teacher. I was speechless. A little human being, who is two and something was practicing gratitude.

I thank those teachers who wiped her tears and held her closely, during stressful times. A million thanks to you for protecting her from falls and many more for teaching her all good things. May their blessings protect the children they taught like a brown binding sheet to a book, a book in which they will write their destiny!