Very few translators can actually capture the essence while translating which has been a major concern for translation work but Mani Rao has done a tremendous job. The book could not have more aptly framed, Kalidasa for the 21st century Reader has been a delightful read. It was like a savouring a cup of rich coffee, I read it in bits and pieces savouring page by page.
Meghdutam is a supernatural being who requests a cloud to carry his message of love to his lover who is far away. The protagonist serves the god of wealth, Kubera, however he failed in his task and was cursed to live for a year in Rāmagiri. The year proves too long to endure and during this tenure, Meghdutam writes this poem to convince the cloud to convey his message to his lover. This poem acts like a travelogue, documenting Meghdutams journey from the Vindhyās to the Himālayas. Meghadūtam went on to become a model for the genre of ‘messenger-poem’ which was adopted in several other vernacular poems.
Pick this book up for the love of beautiful translation of one of Sanskrit’s finest poems.
This review is for Rupa Publications, views are personal.