The Cloud Messenger’s full journey, from Madagascar to India

Poet-Diplomat Abhay K. expands ‘Meghaduta’ beyond borders

GN Bureau | June 2, 2022


#Monsoon   #Abhay K.   #literature   #Poetry  


Monsoon: A Poem of Love & Longing
By Abhay K.
Sahitya Akademi, 54 pages, Rs 110

Monsoon, the biggest annual event in India, has arrived. To be precise, the southwest monsoon has entered Kerala a couple of days ahead of the schedule. You may believe the southern state is the starting point of its journey; but it is not. It originates in Madagascar, the Indian Ocean island.

Abhay K., an Indian Foreign Service officer, was posted in Brazil when he came to know this unusual fact, and as luck would have it, he was then posted as India’s Ambassador to Madagascar. Since then, in another coincidence, he produced a translation – an excellent one – of Mahakavi Kalidasa’s ‘Meghaduta’, the Cloud Messenger (as also one of ‘Ritusamhara’).

It would have been surprising if one thing did not lead to another, and now Abhay K. has come out with an original, book-length poem which follows the path of the southwest monsoon, right from Madagascar to the Himalayas. The poet urges the Cloud to carry his message to his beloved who is in Srinagar, who in turn is expected to assign the messenger a reply on its return journey to the island.

In describing the journey, the poet evokes the beauty of Madagascar as well as several other islands along the way in the Indian Ocean, including finally Sri Lanka. After entering India, its path is bifurcated –one from Andaman and Nicobar to Kolkata, then Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and finally Delhi; the other taking the west coast, but both meeting in the capital to move northwards then.

Following Kalidasa’s template, the journey is a pretext to description of nature. Abhay adds new themes to it, for example, the Cloud will also get a glimpse of architectural marvels inspired by monsoon – lakes and palaces [Badal Mahal built in your honour/at Kumbhalgarh will be ecstatic host to you,…] – and revel in festivals based on the theme of rains [women will sway on tree-swings singing folk songs/ and celebrate Teej to mark goddess Parvati’s union/ with Lord Shiva after a hundred years of penance,…].

Nature as well as culture, in other words.

As the modern-day poet describes the itinerary to the Cloud, here is what he has to say about the capital:

ecstatic peacocks at Jawaharlal Nehru University
will spread their plumes and dance, amorous couples
will kiss, cuddle and make love under your rains
at the Parthasarathy rocks in the Aravali hills

The Cloud will also get a chance to look at similar and other scenes in Lodhi Gardens, Nehru Park, Khan Market, Rose Garden of Delhi University and elsewhere, while

homes will be filled with the tantalizing aroma
of bhajiya, samosa, jalebi and masala chai,…

 
In other words, here is a 40-page poem you can read while waiting for rains and know what to expect. It will make “forgotten Raga Gaund” play again in Delhi’s old havelis, “evoking deep longings …”

Also read:

Reading ‘Meghaduta’ in the times of climate change

Reading Kalidasa in the time of climate change

 

Comments

 

Other News

How the Great War of Mahabharata was actually a world war

Mahabharata: A World War By Gaurang Damani Sanganak Prakashan, 317 pages, Rs 300 Gaurang Damani, a Mumbai-based el

Budget expectations, from job creation to tax reforms…

With the return of the NDA to power in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, all eyes are now on finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s full budget for the FY 2024-25. The interim budget presented in February was a typical vote-on-accounts, allowing the outgoing government to manage expenses in

How to transform rural landscapes, design 5G intelligent villages

Futuristic technologies such as 5G are already here. While urban users are reaping their benefits, these technologies also have a potential to transform rural areas. How to unleash that potential is the question. That was the focus of a workshop – “Transforming Rural Landscape:

PM Modi visits Rosatom Pavilion at VDNKh in Moscow

Prime minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by president Vladimir Putin, visited the All Russian Exhibition Centre, VDNKh, in Moscow Tuesday. The two leaders toured the Rosatom Pavilion at VDNKh. The Rosatom pavilion, inaugurated in November 2023, is one of the largest exhibitions on the histo

Let us pledge to do what we can for environment: President

President Droupadi Murmu on Monday morning spent some time at the sea beach of the holy city of Puri, a day after participating in the annual Rath Yatra. Later she penned her thoughts about the experience of being in close commune with nature. In a message posted on X, she said:

PM leaves for Russia, Austria

All eyes are on the Narendra Modi-Vladimir Putin meeting, as the prime minister left Monday for an official visit of Russia as also of Austria. In the ‘departure statement, the PM said, “I am embarking on an official visit to the Russian Federation for the 22nd Annual Summit and

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter