Courtesy Kamala and Jadish Mittal Museum

The image is of an abhisarika nayika, done in the Basholi style. In Sanskrit poetics, this nayika or ‘heroine’ bravely ventured out of the home to meet her lover. I was struck by the depiction of the rain – as a curtain – that the woman parted. Surely there was more she was parting, and passing through. The poem:*1

*Dialogue and Other Poems, Sahitya Akademi, 2005


The nayika says:

I know it is now time to part.
To part the wind, the clouds,
to part the rain and walk through
on my desire, clear as lightning, forked.

And yet, wrapped in cloud, gripping
the rain, I hesitate.
It’s the rain in my veins that rises red,
steadily, in my throat.
This thrum that grows.

The night is dark.
The lightning so fierce.

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