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S ummer in India is the time when all mxgazine beings run for cover, as blasts of hot air greedily suck the essence of our beings, desiccating, devastating us completely. Our only thought is that of surviving this merciless season when the sun triumphs, the dust swirls, the earth cracks and foliage droops. Then comes the day the punishment ends; clouds form and darken as they are saturated with water. Soon the pungent, sweet smell of moist earth permeates the senses, as does the pitter-patter of the first monsoon drops jagazine the pleasant embrace of a breeze that had almost faded from memory.

It is time to think of other things apart from just survival, for now the season of longing, repose and abandonment is upon us. Through the beauty of words and images, writers and artists best reflect the shared emotions of all living beings. Much has been written on the magzzine of barren earth becoming maazine and fertile because of rain. A strong thread running through classical painting, dance, music and literature is the personification of human emotions through the ashta nayikasthe eight categories of women undergoing various moods and emotions.

Even the refined and gracious woman, the uttama nayikaexperiences uncontrollable carnal longings.

She gets metamorphosed into the abhisarika nayikathe wanton woman desperately seeking her lover. Usually, she is a normal woman—restrained by societal mayazine, troubled by a thorn in her foot, terrified by snakes, the dark night, thunder and rain—but as the drops fall on her, soaking her clothes and reminding her body of its needs, all inhibitions abandon her, all caution flies away in the wind, as does her odhni.

File:Abhisarika June jpg – Wikimedia Commons

maazine She does not try to retrieve them. Out she steps into the black night which is alive with threads of rain and snakes that have slithered out of holes.


The passion that pulsates in her blood is so powerful that nothing daunts her—least of all the reptiles. This abhisarika nayika brushes them aside as inconveniences while she heads out to find her lover. In her eagerness for sexual gratification she might even mistake another man for him!

This is abhiasrika element that a classical dancer can bring into the performance of the ashta nayika theme, introducing a comic moment in the dance narrative. Abhisarika Nayika Basohli style, perhaps at Mankot, circa Having found her beloved, and now safely cloistered with him, she becomes shy again.

In a verse written on the reverse of a miniature in the collection of the Dogra Art Gallery in Jammu, Krishna says to her:. Abhidarika my slender beauty, You, whom abhisarikaa the snakes Could not frighten on the way, Now tremble at the magazkne touch of my arm. The thunder of the clouds Could not shake you, And yet the sound Of my words of love Makes you turn. What am I to do?

Understanding well the mood of these words, the painter depicts an erect snake in the black outdoor space of this miniature, symbolising not only the danger the nayika has passed through but kagazine the intense passion that is being abhsarika in the intimate, enclosed area within. In Indian aesthetics, shyam has more the connotation maagazine a dusky colour and is less personified by a specific quality, since nature acquires a blackish tinge when night falls. All shades combined with black are therefore variations of shyam.

This shyam colour tortures Radha during the months of rain, especially when she and Krishna quarrel. Radha promises herself that she will never go to meet Krishna again. But during this wet season of balmy breezes that stroke her body and caress her breasts, everything reminds her of him. The blackish-grey clouds hanging heavy with rain make her think of Shyam, as do the deep blue and emerald body of the dancing peacock, lotuses in the inky pond and even her own purple choli!

What is poor Radha to do? Under normal circumstances it would have bothered her tremendously, but these are not normal times. Having run out barefoot to reach the man she loves, being pricked is not a grave matter at all. She needs only to pause, remove the thorn and move on. It is exactly aghisarika a moment in the visual narrative that has fascinated dancers, painters and sculptors alike, as the gesture of removing the thorn becomes the occasion for showing the ahhisarika body at its physical best.


One foot is raised backwards and the head and torso bend towards the foot that is lifted. The dancer enacts the sequence by depicting first agitation and then indifference, while she mimes the pulling maggazine of the spike with two delicate fingers, followed by a sinuous walk as she heads towards the obsession that has her in thrall.


The raised foot and arched body are established motifs in classical convention. She has only just met him and it is too early in the story for her to become the abhisarika nayikaeven though she is forcefully smitten.

The time of lust and longing is upon us. But cloistered as we now are within air-conditioned walls and vehicles, seasons have lost their flavour, acquiring instead a dull sameness.

Our lives are busy and we have no time to connect either with an agrarian environment or a society that is tuned to the seasons. Rupika Chawla is a Delhi-based art conservator. She is the author of Surface and Depth: Painter of Colonial India ; and two books on the artist A Ramachandran. 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.

Season of Desire

This thrum that grows. Click here to cancel reply. Website by Design Concentrate. Season of Desire Rupika Chawla 1. Rupika Chawla considers what the wet months mean to the nayika in love S ummer in India is the time when all living beings run for cover, as blasts of hot air greedily suck the essence of our beings, desiccating, devastating us completely.

Priya Sarukkai Chabria September 1, at Incidentally this fabulous image from the Mittal collection inspired the poem: The night is dark. Leave A Ahbisarika Click here to cancel reply. Name required Email required Website. Secrets On the Stands.

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