About half a year ago, I wanted to introduce my daughter to gardening. We did a wonderful seed germination project with mustard and fenugreek seeds. My daughter observed the seeds sprout tiny shoots, and then little tiny green leaves popped up and then a tiny little plant of sorts sprung up.
My daughter wanted to see more. So we started gardening. In our Mumbai apartments, we don't have the luxury of a yard, where we can maintain a vegetable garden, but we can grow herbs and other small plants in pots. I germinated various seeds. I soon found out that, I don't have a green thumb. Knowing very little about gardening, most of my first few plants died from either too little mud, or too much artificial fertilizer, or too little water. But two plants that were planted at the later stages, after I had gathered some experience, were doing very well. One was a lemon plant, and the other was a chilli plant.
One day however, I found that the lemon leaves were being eaten. I did not know what was eating the leaves. In hindsight, I think, I did see a caterpillar but, at that time, I did not recognize it for one. The caterpillars looked quite different from their cartoon versions. They are nowhere nearly as cute. Actually they look quite blob-like and gross. I mistook them for pigeon droppings.
After three quarters of my lemon plant was demolished, and me dismayed that I could not figure out what was happening, one day I noticed a cocoon. Well sure I did lose a lemon plant, but now I could show my daughter the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. Wow that is quite awesome!
We checked the cocoon everyday. And after about a dozen days, we saw a large black butterfly with orange spots sitting next to a freshly burst open cocoon.
Unfortunately we had not taken any pictures. I was repenting that as I took a picture of the dry open cocoon which also looked interesting.
But just then I noticed another cocoon on our chilli plant. This time I took pictures. Cocoons look very different from what I had expected from books, but they were recognizable from what I knew about them.
Here are some pictures I have. If you look carefully, you can even see the antennae of the little guy. Awesome eh? Here is another picture in case you find it clearer:
It got me thinking. We started out wanting to grow lemons. But the lemon plant was destroyed by a caterpillar and we ended up growing a butterfly instead. Just like life! We may start out with one goal in mind, and then unexpected events may appear to be destroying all our hard work. But if we are patient and remain positive, we may see a new and worthy goal within reach. Then it is up to us to decide weather to mope around about what is lost, or make the most of new opportunities.
This event had special meaning to me because, I started out as a physicist and now I am a SAHM/writer. What can I say? Life is full of surprises.