A Monsoon Diary
September 15th: Reread Kalidas's Meghadutta. The greatest poem ever written in praise of a cloud, Period! The English translation is pretty wooden. So I spend the afternoon making my own potted version, with apologies to Khalidas.
"A little local god neglected his job. So as penance, his Boss - the God of Gods - ordered him to be separated from his wife for a whole year. And there he pined away. Until, one auspicious day,what did he see but a cloud in the shape of an elephant emerging over the crest of the hill where he was doing his pining. Now the sight of rain clouds makes even the happiest heart long to hold in one's arms the lover who is far, far away.... And our little Yaksha was particularly anxious to let his Beloved know shewas in his thoughts. So, he gathered fresh blossoms of wild jasmine, and offered them to the cloud.
of Rain! You alone can help the lovelorn.
Please take a message to my Beloved in the north.
Wherever you pass, women separated from their husbands, feel a bit better.
Because they know that no husband who really loves
his wife would leave her alone when you appear.
Your thunder is the sweetest of sounds to human ears.
And it brings hope to the earth and to the animals.
Now, let me tell you how and where to find my Beloved.
And some of the many things you'll find on your way that will
let you know you're on the right road.
Peasant women will drink you in with their eyes,
moist with happiness because they know their harvest depends on you.
Antelope will guide your path as you pass overhead, shedding fresh rain drops on them.
Now, I know you're going to try and go as fast as possible, for my sake.
But there are going to be a lot of distractions:
The scent of fresh wild jasmine on mountain tops will do a number on you.
Peacocks, overjoyed to see you, will call out to you.
But don't stop! You'll come to the city of Vidisa, and to the Vetravatti river.. I envy you!
Your booming thunder will roll along the banks of the river,
quickening her heart, causing goose bumps on her skin.
You and the river will taste each other's lips.
What you do next is your affair. You're both adults.
Anyway, after that, take a rest on Nicai hill, then set out again please.
Sprinkle the jasmine buds in the woods with some of your freshest little rain drops.
Use your shadow to caress the bare shoulders of young girls out collecting flowers.
Oh, and please make a detour and go to Ujjayini.
The women there are famous for their beauty.
Flirt with them. Excite, fright them with your lightning.
Enjoy them and let they enjoy you, my friend.
If you didn't give in to their attractions you
couldn't really say you'd lived, now, could you, my friend?
The dawn breeze there is scented with the fragrance of lotus blossoms.
You'd be amazed how it refreshes the weary limbs of women
utterly exhausted by the previous night's passions.
That breeze is very, very skilled in foreplay.
Look how it reawakens desire in the beloved in the most subtle and suggestive of ways;
caressing a lock of hair; tightening clothe over breast to awaken fresh desires; making sport with a summer dress to reveal a shapely leg or unblemished thigh..
Your rain drops will also rejuvenate the tinkling ankles of temple dancers.
And your lightning can help young women who set
out in the black of night to meet their lovers.
But please, no thunder and no rain!
They're so nervous you'll ruin their night if you show off!
Some women will remove their clothes for you, and bathe in your pools.
If you can't resist and they won't let you go, then scare them with some of your thunder!
But eventually, you will find my wife, slim-wasted, with deep-navel,
and the tremulous eyes of a startled doe, moving languidly,
her body bowed a little by the weight of her gorgeous breasts.
Her eyes will be swollen from weeping.
Her face will be hidden by her tresses,
like the moon is made miserable when you cast your shadow over it.
She will see you and ask if you remember me.
Shed some gentle tears upon her,
cool her with your soft breeze and give her your message:
"O unwidowed lady! I am your husband's dear friend.
A rain cloud come to tender you his message that
I have kept close to my heart all this long journey.
For it is my lot to bring good tidings to all those
who are separated at this time from their lovers,
and to speed them safely home, so that they can be reunited"
And when you've delivered this love note, then wander wherever you decide, give joy and
happiness wherever you shed your gentle rains.
And may you never be separated from the lightning for even an instant."