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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Madame Butterfly

“Byculla!! Huh? I don’t even have a visa to go there!”

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2018 01:39 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
(illustration: Sudhir Shetty)

Ever since yesterday’s newspapers reported that a new butterfly park was being created at Mumbai’s Rani Bagh Zoo, there has been a fair amount of consternation noticed amongst the city’s breed of well… social butterflies.

“Byculla!! Huh? I don’t even have a visa to go there!” one of SoBo’s prominent social butterflies was reported to have sniffed, on hearing the news. “Besides, I don’t even think there’s a decent colour salon in the neighbourhood, how will I maintain my radiant highlights?” she huffed.

Her cousin, residing across the sea link, was equally dismissive: “Where the hell is this place? Can’t they have just transformed our favourite Bandra hangout into a butterfly park? We’d spend all our time there then, no?” Of course, this might have been a constructive suggestion, except for the fact that everyone knew her favourite hangout was the ‘Otter’s Club’, and its membership had been specifically open only to otters so far.

“Spending time in Byculla will also be problematic for mothers of Kangaroo Kids,” chimed in one of her more thoughtful butterfly friends.

Besides losing much beauty sleep over its location, Mumbai’s butterflies were also dejected about the fact that authorities had deemed it necessary to delegate a separate park for them alone. Many thought it was a plot to curb them and contain their activities. And thus, the air was rife with conspiracy theories.

“I knew this was going to happen ever since I did not invite the wife of our local MLA to my ladies’ lunch, last week,” said an old-world Swallowtail. “I’ve heard there’s a new bureaucrat making all the decisions at Mantralaya, and he has it in for all of us,” shuddered a Clouded Yellow. “His aim is to ultimately eradicate our species by making us disappear first.”

“I think we will have to organise a candlelight march to the Taj hotel to protest this,” said a feisty butterfly known as Green Hairstreak.

But, since none of the butterflies could agree on a date, leave alone a dress code, for the candlelight march (after all, which self-respecting butterfly would agree to wear all white), this plan was quickly abandoned, and they thought it best to make their feelings public by voicing their concerns.

“How will I carry out my concerted efforts to improve the quality of life for my lesser brothers and sisters, usher in world peace and save the planet if I am only consigned to the park?” wailed a butterfly from the species known as Painted Lady.

“How will I carry out my underground efforts at overthrowing the powers that be and ushering in a revolution, if my activities and movements can be monitored in the park?” demanded a butterfly known as Mourning Cloak, for her subdued colours and solemn appearance.

“What about my museum lectures and art show openings?” wailed a butterfly known as Silver Washed Fritillary, her stylish spectacles balanced on her head.

“It’s ridiculous!! Everyone knows there’s not a single decent restaurant in Byculla,” said a butterfly known as Large Skipper, who had built a formidable career from eating out.

“Forget restaurants — there are no decent clubs, pubs, lounges or restobars there,” squeaked her younger butterfly friend, known as the Ringlet.

Meanwhile, her sister, Wood White, known for her more saintly demeanour and spiritual leanings, was equally distraught: “No one will come for my weekly chanting and meditation sessions there,” she whispered.

The butterflies were clearly not happy with the idea of being consigned to a park, and that too in Byculla, and there was much shaking of heads and batting of wings all day yesterday. However, this morning, reports came in that the matter had been settled by a timely memo from the zoo authorities that had cleared the air and allayed all fears the butterflies might have had. A butterfly known as White Admiral conveyed the news to her tribe, in a firm steady voice.

“Sisters, come to order,” she cried. “I have just received a note from the zoo authorities explaining just how the butterfly park is going to benefit our community beyond doubt.”

“How so?” demanded a butterfly, called Common Buckeye, sceptically.

“Well, think about it, guess what the Zoo’s proposed butterfly park is being created right next to?” she said, exclaiming brightly. “The party ANIMALS’ enclosure of course!”

At which, the city’s butterflies clapped their wings and flitted from flower to flower to celebrate the good news.

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 01:39 IST

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