Short stories

Emerge as a butterfly

Magic, I have seen it happen

Pushpa has two daughters and has been married ten years. Her parents got her married off, while in her teens to the first person they could find-never bothering about her choices, or the character of the man they were giving her away to. She had had to leave her education midway while her future husband was even less literate than her. Her husband was a drunkard and beat her every night in front of the kids. Ten years had numbed her deepest senses and she was almost immune to this torture.

Pushpa works as a maid at Amina madam’s house. She enjoys her work as it takes her away, albeit for some part of the day, from her harsh reality. Her husband, apart from beating her without reason, takes away her earnings to splurge on his daily drinking and gambling. She still manages to save some for her children, for she has no needs of her own. Pushpa thinks whether it would be better to leave but is held back by her children and the pain of survival in society without a man. She believes in magic and is hoping for a miracle to relieve her of this situation.

Tears rolled down

Amina lives in a joint family with her in-laws, husband, her two year old daughter and husband’s younger unmarried brother. She had been expected to bear a child in the first year of her marriage. On failing to do so, she had been severely castigated. After many rounds to the doctors, she had finally become pregnant and delivered a girl. But her in-laws were not happy as they wanted only sons for their sons. The question that who would carry forward the family name had become a huge cross that Amina had to constantly carry.

Her daughter was growing up to be adorable but did not get any love from her paternal grandparents- something her innocent mind could never comprehend. Amina had spoken to her husband about this but he had advised her not to confront anyone at home lest the peace of the house be disturbed. She had recently started working part-time in a job her friend Sushma had arranged. But she was spending sleepless nights thinking about how her child would be treated at home, in her absence. Tears rolled down her eyes as she shuddered at this thought.

Sibling rivalry, how far can it go?

Priti was Amina’s boss. Amina admired Priti’s life. She had a complete family with a son and daughter. The few times she had interacted with Priti’s husband when he came to drop her, he had come across as very supportive and loving towards his wife and children. But in reality, Priti’s life was far less perfect. A few weeks back when Priti accidently checked her husband’s phone she realized that he was having an affair with her close friend. She is in a dilemma whether to confront him or let things be the way they are. Wasn’t it easier to pretend everything was ok than walk out and face life? She envied Sushma, her sister who got married into a rich business family recently.

Living in a Golden cage

Sushma is married into a prominent business family. Her greatest wish was to have a child but doctors have told her there is a remote chance that she will ever conceive. This has torn apart her relationship with her husband and the larger family. She had suggested adoption but was rebuffed summarily. She overheard talks in the house about a divorce and remarriage and could not believe her ears. Lost in this thought, she noticed Pushpa cleaning the house and wondered whether she would trade lives with her- the love of a child against money that couldn’t buy this simple joy.

And that’s just the beginning

Sushma, Priti and Amina have met for tea today. Pushpa is serving them in the garden. On the face of it, all four of them have a façade of happiness. Yet as the evening shadows fall, their hearts are fighting demons no one outside can know. Their thoughts are interrupted by the sight of a caterpillar trying to break free from its cocoon. As it struggles to liberate itself, all four ladies sigh visibly reflecting upon their own lives. Seen in one perspective, nature has given the caterpillar no tools to fight the layer around it. But the caterpillar does not give up still. It continues persevering until it emerges as a radiant butterfly soaring strongly into the wind.

At that moment, Sushma, Priti, Amina and Pushpa realize giving up without a fight can never change status quo. Metamorphosis into a butterfly requires struggle just as the finest steel is tempered in the hottest fire. They disperse, each one knowing the choice they have to make tonight.

This post is written for Storytellers BlogHop FEB 2021 hosted by talented writers – Ujjwal & MeenalSonal.

My short story incorporates 5 of the given prompts.



70 thoughts on “Emerge as a butterfly

  1. Prerna, how beautifully and metaphorically you explained the lives of Amina, Sushma, Priti and Pushpa. Loved the way you mentioned about caterpillar. All these stories might be different but they we intertwined. The concluding paragraph was bang on….

  2. Wow, how wonderful.. It’s so amazing you could bring 4 stories in one. I was struggling to have one and that to complete it I was lost. You not only included stories but comprehended it so nicely to end. So much to learn from you..

  3. Wow Prerna! You have beautifully portrayed the chain of characters of four women, had their own struggles yet interconnected. Brilliant! Also I am amazed with the perfect use of four prompts! Every story is so real and touching! Kudos girl!

  4. Love your writeup!! We all have these same feeling by seeing others. A fact that, everyone’s life is perfect outside. But on the inside, its always the battle they deal and we don’t know a things about it.

  5. This amazing life cycle of a butterfly of which you have given an example of is really a great lesson for everyone to learn and it is not only a lesson that is restricted to an ever-changing butterfly, but it is applicable to ourselves as well.

  6. Wow, what a beautifully weaved story with all the prompts. You have connected the characters so well and I as a reader can see the characters coming alive and blending together with a strong will.
    The title emerge as a butterfly is so apt, when we have determination in us to turn things around.

  7. So wonderfully and seamlessly you have showcased these young lives and the challenges they face, Prerna.
    Great use of the prompts.
    Life is tough. Great lesson at the end. Positive happy ending.
    I remembered the movie- ‘Life in a Metro’- not that there is any story similarity. A feel-good and coming-to-terms story.

  8. I like how you included multiple prompts and connected them with each other. This story had a Lipstick Under my Burkha kind of vibe and sends out a strong message. A caterpillar is a fighter and will turn into a butterfly without any external help.

  9. Woah Prerna?You’ve impressed me thoroughly with this empowering writeup!! This is a winning entry for me, a tale of struggling women… struggling in their cocoon for an identity, freedom from dogmas and patriarchy. Struggling for a space to call their own and a mouthful of sky to raise their wings!! That last line was the icing on the cake ? I almost picturized it in my mind like a web series ?

  10. What a wonderful take on all the prompts. You have woven the stories so beautifully keeping them interrelated. Loved the ending of how all the women are together at the same place and decide to take a step towards changing their fate…

  11. Wow! A beautiful lesson conveyed in a beautiful way, Prerna. No matter how hard the fight get’s, giving up can only increase the misery.

    Also, Loved your take on the prompt. The way you conveyed different stories with different themes and connected them all together in the end is commendable.

  12. Each story made me think of a person I knew or have heard off. This is true and we all think the grass is greener on the other side and are willing to trade our lives during a weak moment, but nothing like fighting it out and reinventing oneself.

  13. Connecting stories together is really tough and the way you have done is really commendable. These stories remind us of the society we live in!!

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