Sunday, 22 April 2012

Of Butterflies, Humans and Gravity

‘Why did the boy throw butter outside the window?’ Zainab asks.

Because it was stale? I hazard a guess

‘No, to see the butter fly!’ Zainab giggles and then hunches on the Sunday newspaper to find more nuggets of wisdom which defy all adult commonsense.

Omar thinks for a while, his eyes light up with some inner sense of discovery and creativity.

Newton following the free fall of the apple couldn’t have been happier. Apples really have a way of making history. First our very own Eve craves for it, and lo and behold: we all end up on earth. Then somewhere down the line, a couple of centuries later, Newton sits under an apple tree. Suddenly an apple comes tumbling down and Newton startles, as if a mango was suppose to fall from an apple tree. Thanks to Newton’s bewilderment now we all know why we don’t hang in the air like gas balloons!

Back to Omar.

‘I have made up a riddle, can you guess?’ He looks at me as if he doesn’t have much trust in my mental powers. After all I just failed to figure out Zainab’s riddle.

‘Okay, I can try.’ I muster up all my intellectual energies.

‘I eat human beings, I am big. And I have heeeeeeeat. Who am I?’ Omar stretches the word ‘heat’, as if stretching it would generate enough heat to support the riddle.

‘I give up.’ I say after a while.

Omar looks at me pityingly. How else would you look at an adult who can’t answer a riddle of a four year old!

‘It is so simple. DRAGON! I said heeeeeeat. Dragons breathe out fire so they have heat.’  Omar tries to re-wire my neurons.

‘Oh! I see.’ Now I feel embarrassed. It was really an easy one.

Zainab’s butterfly of five minutes ago manages to land on Omar’s mind.

 Omar’s face suddenly takes on a serious look and he asks, ‘When caterpillar grows up it becomes a butterfly. Why do we remain humans? Why don’t we grow into something better and colourful?’

Why indeed!

I have no answers. Maybe the answer lies in Newton’s gravity. It’s gravity that keeps us from flying or turning into butterflies...??