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The Caterpillar
by Yastika Guru

Mr. Catllar wobbled down the branch of a Jojoba tree knowing that someday he would become a soprano. He had practiced his singing again and again. His neighbours would wake up every morning to Mr. Catllar’s absurd vocal exercises. And was the day, the day! The auditorium was beckoning him; the theatre was calling his name. He could feel it tingling in every leg of his.

If you happen to be wondering, Mr. Catllar was a young, plump and what one might call cute and cuddly caterpillar. His colleagues and his neighbours considered him to be eccentric, whiz pop, and bamboozled in the brain.  However, nothing could stop him from being an absolute darling. He was polite, kind, and very gentlemanly. But what the poor chap didn’t know was that he was never made to become a soprano... this species of his specialized in parading their bodies, that is, modelling and sashaying. They just could not sing! Every caterpillar would hope, yearn and wait for the day when he would finally turn into a butterfly and be able to strut around and show off his wings.

Mr. Catllar was abandoned as an egg and thus was never brought up in the glam way his butterfly parents would have. He was brought up by a hardworking lady bird in a small but luxurious French community and eventually came the day when he decided to leave and explore the world....Today were the auditions for the annual play (this year a musical) at the Jojoba tree. He, Mr. Catllar, had decided that no one but him would star the musical this year. As he continued to wobble down, heads were popping out of the windows of the houses he passed... everyone was curious...what as Mr. Catllar up to now?

As he was walking, he bumped into a snobby but beautiful butterfly called Amelia Buttery.

She sniggered,”Oh my! Look who’s here! Are you busy?...of course not! You don’t have anything to do....”, and she turned to look down at him (she was awfully tall and our Mr. Catllar was not exactly a giant beanstalk) expecting him to burst into tears and start howling and sniffling. After all, he had been snubbed by the one and only Amelia.  But Mr. Catllar made his eyes small, scrunched up his mouth (this was his serious-old-grump look, it made him look very formidable indeed) and looked up at tall Ms. Amelia. “I, my dear, have a future”. Saying so he continued wobbling towards his fate, his destiny, his heavenly abode, the theatre!

Next! Mr. Catllar!”, announced the judges. Mr. Catllar walked up confidently and beamed at them.” Good morning, Mr. Catllar.      Would you like to start singing?”


The results from the auditions had been sent in a stiff paper kept in a little envelope. It was lying on Mr. Catllar’s table beside and empty bowl, once holding caramel flavoured cereal.
It read-

Cast Role
Mr. Catllar Joe Cox
Mr. Hoggal Harry Cox
Chang Lee Sarah Totter
Prabhu Hari President of the USA
Catrina Coll Lead gangster

"And so on...

Yours truly was not at home but at the theatre for rehearsals. He knew it! All his dreams coming true!

2 weeks and 3 days later

“Where is Mr. Catllar, WHERE is he?”, said the director of the ‘Life We Lead’ being staged for the annual play (this year a musical) He went around the theatre poking people with his walking stick. “Do you know where he is? No? Then what, WHAT are you doing? Find him! Hmmm? FIND HIM!” Saying so, he stomped off. But a while later he came out looking calm (to everyone’s shock) He said,” I trust him. Mr. Catllar. Not you. Idiot. Why should I trust you? He has had 2 weeks of rehearsals, but if he doesn’t show up on show day...”, he plonked himself in a chair hard at thought. A voice piped up," Sir... you could... ummm perhaps...keep uh... ke-keep an understudy? SORRY! Forg-get I ever said that. Ummm... sir.”

“NO! ", roared the director. “Excellent idea... Jack! “

“Sir, Johnny.”  

“Whatever!”, said the director cheerfully. “You, Jack, shall be the understudy!”
What the director didn’t know was that 2 branches away Mr. Catllar was sleeping soundly and what Mr. Catllar didn’t know was that he was slowly going to engulf himself in a cocoon. It takes 2 weeks till a butterfly emerges from its cocoon. It was two weeks till the show.

Show day

Everyone was panicking. And annoyed. Yes, everyone was definitely annoyed. Mr. Catllar hadn’t turned up in the last 2 weeks but the director was confident he would show up for the musical. Of course they had a plan B, Johnny the understudy, just in case the director was proven wrong. Mr. Catllar meanwhile had emerged from his cocoon a day before the show as a beee-autiful butterfly, but the shock had managed to knock him out. If anyone had cared for him a missing case would have been filed and the cops would have found him by now, the show would have been postponed and all would be well However, no one did care did they? There was only the director who had complete blind (and slightly stupid) faith in him. There were 4 hours left for show time and Mr. Catllar was nowhere to be seen...

Hour before Showtime

“Mr. Catllar IS NOT coming sir!”, chorused every envious actor. “Oh he will can count on that, my dears.” said the loyal (and slightly stupid) director, in a very sober tone (I am starting to be very fond of him... it’s rare when one meets someone as moody as this.)

Mr Catllar meanwhile had woken up, realized what was happening and after a course of slow breathing and yoga positions that were supposed to help him with his nerves (what d’you expect, how d’you feel if you woke up with a ENTIRELY different body, even if it was a rather handsome one?)was adjusting to his new body completely, blissfully, ignorant of the fact that he had a show to put on. He had positioned himself in front of the mirror, flexing his muscles and admiring his new, beautiful wings... when his eyes fell on a calendar pinned on the wall. And it dawned over him. Today was the show! And he had to go! (The rhyming is completely unintentional) He started fluttering his wings and after a few clumsy moments in the air he was zipping towards the theatre.

Minutes before show starts

Behind the stage people were shouting, kicking, scrambling and scurrying all over. One could hear someone say,” Where is Johnny? The understudy? Has anyone seen him? Anyone? WHAT? You don’t know? “.Then there was a thud like something had fallen on someone’s foot, which was followed with a lot of cursing. Suddenly a butterfly no one had ever seen entered the green room and every one fell silent and looked up.

“Is that you Catllar?”

“Yes sir! Forgive me for my timing! I am ready for the show. Sir.”

The director came up to him looked at him up and down and said -
“You are definitely NOT ready.”

“Sorry sir, I don’t follow you. Why am I not ready?”

“You moron. Butterflies can’t sing.”

“I can.”


“Yes sir. Definitely.”

“It’s not possible.”

“It is!”

Finally they found out Johnny the understudy was voiceless (watch out, its throat infection!)

It had to be Mr. Catllar sing or no sing. Everyone knew it was physically impossible for a butterfly to sing. Scientifically proven by the scientific scientists of the Jojoba tree. The musical was all about singing and Mr. Catllar couldn’t sing so it was obviously going to be the worst musical ever staged. They couldn’t call it off; the chief guest was already seated!
Show Time

Gasps filled the air as people realized a butterfly was going to be playing the lead role. They all knew a butterfly simply can’t sing. But the second Mr. Catllar’s clear voice filled the theatre everyone was in shock... a butterfly was singing, not only singing, singing terrific! The audience were convinced they were witnessing a miracle. And as Mr. Catllar looked at the cheering crowd, he knew, a star was born

Image (c)

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