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Updated on April 20, 2013
Krishna, me (Chota Sahib) and Khansama
Krishna, me (Chota Sahib) and Khansama

I tiny glossary of Urdu and Hindi words:

Mali - gardener

Sahib - Sir

Chota - little

Chota Sahib - Little Sir

Khansama - cook

Chrome

When I was just a child in India…

How many times has that prefaced a tale?

Our Mali fashioned for me with two sticks and net, a toy.

A net for butterflies. And I went out and gathered

Scooped the air and brought within our bungalow

Plucked from out the ether, tiny souls;

Chrome yellow butterflies, no bigger than a spot of light

They’d fluttered in the morning air, bright drops of light.

 

We found a box, a compact wooden box, of wood and glass.

To hold my hostages, my minute captives.

And placed the box so that I could see it as I ate.

And gazed at them with awe; bright jewelled drops of light

Sunlight I had brought within our room.

They fluttered back and forth, and filled my little box

With movement… unrelenting movement … continual.

Beat tiny wings against the glass,

The wooden walls arrested frantic flight…

 

Yet within the confines of that little box

Their luminescence somehow paled.

I’d fed them sugar water in a tiny shallow cup

Or meant to feed, for never did they seem to stop to rest or sup

And, thinking now, perhaps they fluttered all the night.

 

Till on the third day, in the morning,

Krishna came and took my hand.

“Sahib!  Chota Sahib, It is not kind.

Sahib, Chota Sahib, please let them go”.

 

Took me with him to the verandah, my little hand in his;

His most loved hand … and in his other, the little box.

He held the box so I could see my little butterflies, and then

Released them in the sparkling air,

And yet, released they did not fly, as formerly;

They still described the confines of their earlier cage.

Fluttered round as if they measured still their confined space

Five wooden sides; and one of glass.

 

In tight knit group, they fluttered round;

Suspended in the morning air above me

Half beneath the sky. Half above the ground.

And then as if to punish me, their former gaoler,

But I had thought, their former host,

Each, one by one, fell away;

Broke away from their formation,

Fluttered limply to the dust… their chrome now gone…

The underside of upturned wings a less dramatic cream

They lay there.  Fluttered.  Then were still.

 

I had detained them for three long days…

And doing so, curtailed their tiny lives…

Their tiny lifespan by a half or even more.

 

Silently I walked back to the bungalow.

Krishna held my hand

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    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Well, good for you, Ian, good for you.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I have one or two constants, Svetlana, and Krishna is one of them.

      I often consider myself one of the luckiest people in this world. I have never had any real tragedy... well, nothing that most of my fellow men/women have experienced, and i was born with, not particularly a silver spoon in my mouth, but a very acceptable bit of EPNS, Or some jolly good silver plate.

      Ha, ha and a hearty but fairly privileged ha ha!

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      At least you had a character in your life who you could call almost perfect...

      When I am trying to think... But thinking is difficult for me now and my opinions often change together with my moods. I am so tired of this kaleidoscope of perception.

      It is as if you looked at an object yesterday and it was shiny and square and you woke up today and the very same thing became round and gloomy...

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Lovely comment, Svetlana. You understood completely what happened.

      And still at my advanced age, I sometimes think of those poor little fluttering souls, going round and round, and dear, lovely Krishna persuading me to end their misery.

      That man was the nearest I have ever known to a perfect, kind, beautiful soul.

      I loved him so.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Dear Ian:

      this poem is as beautiful as it is sad. I think we all as children want to capture the wonder of a fluttering magic yet by doing so we don't realize that we bring this delicate amazement to its untimely demise.

      I was never kept butterflies in captivity, yet I am guilty of catching them and holding their wings, only then to be told that I am removing the film on their wings that allows them to fly.

      Very very vivid and so sad. One thing does not surprise me in the least - your mastery of writing.

      I was just reading about Norse Gods (they were mostly killing each other needlessly, cruelly ...), but one line caught my attention...

      "he suffocated in his own intelligence".

      Another demise, an intellectual one. In fact, he was killed, too. Over some mead...

      There was also "a mead of poetry", so the God(s) were known to speak in verse only...

      So, you see, the ability to speak in verse is a Godly quality. I happen to agree.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      But the saga goes on and deserves mention. Cheers

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Keith, you would not believe how many incidents and memories are flooding in, right now, about those couple of years of my life. I know that both my regular readers are going to be devastated when I reach the end of this little saga.

      Thanks for liking the guy... who could help but love him?

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      What a sad but beautifully expressed personal experience. It's nearly midnight now so the appropriate words are hard to find. But that was another magical glimpse from your childhood that demonstrates the bond between your Krishna and mother nature. You must write more. Cheers, or goodnight.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      SilverGenes, I loved that man more than words can express. He adored me also.

      I am glad that you like the poem; it means a lot to me.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 6 years ago

      I, too, am glad you shared this story. Thank you. For me, the poetry seems to hold the memory in a way that reminds me of your description, "two sticks and net, a toy". Beautiful!

      What a wise friend was Krishna!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Beautiful memory. Your descriptions are so vivid, they really are a treat to read. Another one for me to bookmark :)

      Your poetry would work in your book ;)

      Linda.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I was, wasn't I. Thanks for the suggestion, Sunnie. I just had the Lemon and Ginger Tea and I feel better already... but there's still no voice.

      I have never seen fireflies... ever. I would so love to.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      You also was one cute little fella! :) Mine was fireflys..

      Sunnie

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Sunnie, you have no idea how happy I am that someone has found this and liked it. It is one of my most precious memories... This is an absolutely true incident, and Krishna was the most wonderful person to have around. I adored him, and what he said meant so much to me.

      I'm glad you liked the poem.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Beautiful Twilight.I think as children, we all have tried to capture nature in a jar.Wanting to look at it, admire it. As a child, not always knowing the outcome. Thank you...Just awesome!

      Sunnie

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you. In this case, it was a matter of sharing. This is a part of my own personal history; that's why I feel so deeply about it, especially the character, Krishna.

    • tonzofkids profile image

      tonzofkids 6 years ago

      Lovely story, thoughtful..Thank you for sharing.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 7 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you for taking the time to read it. It means a lot to me.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 7 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you Shil. The poem means a lot to me and I really thought deeply before sharing it. Now I'm glad. Thanks again.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Twilight, it is not often that I get to read something as beautiful and profound as this. Lovely piece of writing! Thanks for sharing - glad I found you :)

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 7 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Don't doubt your own abilities, my friend; there are no doubts about those. Your capabilities are more rounded than mine, and anyone would agree.

      Published? I'm happy with this right now.

      Thank you for your support and kind words.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      My friend. Once again you leave me impressed (and rather doubting my own abilities.) Your skill in telling a touching story with stunning poetry is very impressive, an accomplishment to be sure. You should really be published, or at least enter some of your stuff in some contests. I get notice of them in the UK all the time. I'm going to start forwarding them to you.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image
      Author

      Twilight Lawns 7 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you Debby. I can only remember some Nursery Rhymes my Ayah taught me (Before my parents took me away from her, because they thought I might "Go Native")

      The poem is true... how can it be other? It still brings tears to my eyes when I read the last line. But I must edit the spacing... HP is not s respecter of double line spaces. There! It's done.

      Mini Glossary: Ayah - native Nursemaid in charge of baby, child.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 7 years ago

      Dear Chota Sahib ~ You will fly on butterfly wings here at hubpages with your story-telling poetry. Many will enjoy your words. Please teach us more Hindi and Urdu. Regards, Debby ?.•**·.¸