I was six or younger, may be even older, i don’t remember my age as much my memories. We were living in Chennai, the place i grew up. There used to be an annual trade fair that happened at the YMCA palace grounds. One particular year my brother, Its funny how i associate this brother as the root cause of my non-understanding of relationships and the fear of butterflies. This brother isn’t my real brother. He is a family friend. Anyway. He put up a stall at the trade fair. He sold paper butterflies. It had a sort of mechanism, made of rubber band. If you wind the rubber band and let it go the big huge butterfly would fly so far away with a rattling plastic paper noise. I was his assistant for this project. My job was to go pick up the butterflies and bring it back to the stall, every time he wound it to demonstrate.
This is my first memory that i associate with the fear of butterflies.
My question is, if i was scared of butterflies before this incident then there was no way i agreed to work with him on this project. I don’t remember exactly since when i’ve been scared of it, because if i knew then i would know what the reason is. This fear isn’t small or simple or as many people have told me, Irrational. I understand that it is an irrational fear, but nevertheless it is true, to me. I can tell you what scares me in a butterfly. You may try to make some sense out if it and it might help me understand this so called, irrational fear.
I don’t remember who told me this, but i think its my mom. We were younger and we were discussing something in our old house, when someone, i’m not sure if its my mom or my uncle because she says that she doesn’t remember saying this, so.. someone told me that the butterfly’s wings are so fragile that if you touched it, you will leave behind a hole on its wing and the colour will stick on you. For some reason this is a very scary idea for me. If you need to know why, let me tell you, it makes extreme sense to me. How do i elaborate, if i did it would reveal my true nature. I will feel naked, to myself if i told you what sense it makes to me. Nevertheless, i assure you, sense keeps changing, and so there is no reason why i should believe the sense it just made to me.
This is something i feel ashamed to say, i don’t think butterflies are beautiful. I’ll tell you why i feel ashamed. I am a photographer, the only reason i started doing photography is because i believe in beauty. I believe in harmony, i believe that when everything is in harmony, it is beautiful. The problem with the butterfly is that its colours or patterns on its wings are not even. I mean its like a fractal art rip-off. Its too uncoordinated, its harsh and the dark spots. God, those are eyes, i used to think that that was the eye of a butterfly. But, later i found out that the actual creature is somewhere in between these giant scary wings.
I have a lot of stories to tell about how embarrassed i’ve felt at the sight of a butterfly. I don’t want to run through it, but in short they are all extremely embarrassing situations. If you need to know, i wouldn’t care what i have to do, in order to escape a butterfly. Be it jumping of a building or running on thorns. In that immediate position, my brain will quickly calculate the easiest way out and i will run for my life. Even if i were sitting in a coffee shop or relaxing and if i notice a butterfly far away in my sight. I will not be able to look at anything else, except be aware of which direction the next wind would take it. For some reason, when i care so much about it, and when i pray to god, asking him to take it away, it will always come closer to me.
Its like, i feel negative. I feel that my mind always wishes for what i don’t want. Does that make sense?