Milan Rai and his “White Butterflies”

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When I embarked in the journey, all I really had was a suitcase full of white butterflies. My
handbag where I carried the few pieces of clothes
that were bare necessities was also over-
flowing with the butterflies, wrapped lovingly and protectively. I believed I carried nothing
but love
and emotions and understood that this journey was just the beginning or a dream.
In this journey, I had rendezvous with different people at
different places and situations.

While I was travelling from one place to another, to spread the message of white butterflies,
I noticed how easily some people failed to notice them. They were busy collecting miserable
things in life or these people were shortsighted by their pain, loss and misery, there was
another group of people who were too joyful. They embraced the message I wanted to
convey with open arms. They cherish the butterflies and with it found that joy was already
soaked in their life, it was just the matter of standing still and looking at the world around
them with the eyes of a child. Not only this, but some people I met were very powerful that
they stirred a sense of kinship with my dream.

There are few incidents that I would like to mention here, just because it goes to show how
this simple white butterfly  is able to stir emotions in people. While I was going to the airport
to catch a flight to Paris, I met one man in a train station. He was also waiting for the same
train, I couldn’t help notice that he looked worried and I gave him a white butterfly. This was
the most I could do. It was my silent prayer, my invisible hug. Although I didn’t know what
he was going through at that moment, after I gave him a butterfly he opened up his heart to
me. He thanked me and told me, I am in very difficult situation , and your butterfly touched
me  that he was about to leave his wife to be with a girl he had loved and he said it freely,
very affectionately and painfully with love.

There were many such chance meeting, while installing the white butterflies at various
locations, I would hear different stories of different people. In all these stories, I could see
a common pattern. We as humans think we are free because our government is a democratic
government; we have excellent health care and infrastructure. We have good schools and
universities. But these things dnot make us free. At the end of the day, most of us still live
in cages we built for ourselves. I wanted my butterflies to ignite the long forgotten passions,
burn the desires alight again in hearts, destroy the walls people build around them and in
doing so, I wanted them to free themselves. Just like the butterflies who break out of the
cocoon, I wanted them to break the boundaries they created around themselves and open
their hearts to life and the limitless possibilities it can garner once we decide to so.  I  am
imagining a butterfly world.
                                                                          – Milan Rai

_DSC0113Photograph by Aurelie Dolbeau