The Girl in Red Sari…

The Girl in Red Sari... long poem

Heavens descended
Agni, Varuna, Indra & Yama¹ lined up
To witness a Swayamvar²
Of a heart with a soul,
A reunion on earth
& a Meghdutam³
With a cloud as pen
The universe as canvas
Was asked to describe
The girl in red Sari⁴
The scent of Chandan⁵
And splashes of Haldi⁶
A mix of effervescence
With pulse of hope
Glows like the divine Savitur⁷,
The girl in red Sari
Bedecked with filigree
And ornaments
Swinging slowly
Measuring her breaths
To show their pride
Of being her adoration
A diadem crowning her head
Oh! A Devi⁸ in disguise
Sri, Aditi, Surya, Shraddha & Saraswati⁹ in one
The girl in red Sari
Eyes, beautiful as cosmic truths
Braids like a confluence
Of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda¹⁰
Smile like the Margashirsha¹¹ month
A Mishika¹² composed in Anushtubh¹³
The essence of all Vedas¹⁴
The girl in red Sari
She walks and Bhur, Bhuvah, Svah¹⁵ swing
She talks as if Vayu ¹⁶ sings
Her bangles sound like Gayatri¹⁷ hymn
She breathes and Prana¹⁸ gets life
She sighs and Nakshatras¹⁹ plummet
Her gazes makes Rishis²⁰ fall
The aim of every eye
The girl in red Sari
And I Wondered,
Who will be the Nala²¹?
Whom this Damyanti²¹
For him to put Sindoor²²
And circumvent
The auspicious Agni²³
And lo!!!
With a Shankh’s²⁴ sound
The rituals begin
And I, wonderstruck,
Lost my pen
The canvas too, seemed contracted
To describe
What happened then?
I invoked Rik, Saman, and Yajus²⁵
For an eternal bless
And this of course
Is only a Nimesha’s²⁶ glimpse
Of the girl in red Sari.


Sanskrit Glossary:

1. Rigvedic Gods of Fire, Water, War and Death respectively.
2. A form of Hindu marriage in which a girl chooses her husband from amongst the invited aspirants.
3. Cloud Messenger, here used for writer.
4. A traditional dress of India worn by girls on the occasion of marriage; here used as a reference to bride’s dress and her beauty.
5. & 6 A paste put on a girl before her wedding, symbolizing purity.
7. Sun shining in its full resplendence; The God in Rigveda to whom the Gayatri chant is addressed.
8. A Goddess
9. Vedic and Puranic Goddesses. (Sri is generally known as Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity) symbolizing fortune, faith, wisdom & prosperity. Aditi is here used to describe a mother and Surya a daughter & wife to complete the mother-daughter-wife-mother cycle. There are other connotations as well.
10. Himalayan rivers flowing in a zigzag path, their confluence at Dev Prayag (Haridwar) forms one of the holiest rivers in Hindu Mythology, the Ganges.
11. The month of November, This is when the marriage season generally commences in India. In Bhagavad-Gita Krishna says “Amongst the months, I am Margashirsha.” Here used to describe as the end of longing.
12. A gift of love
13. One of the meters in which Rigveda is composed.
14. Holy Books of Hindu Aryans.
15. Earth, Intermediate world and Heavens. Here used in the form that she is the reason for the existence of universe and the planetary movements.
16. The lord of Air (Rigveda)
17. The most celebrated and divine hymn in Rigveda.
18. The essence of life as per Hinduism, here used as if she gives life a life.
19. Constellations
20. Divine sages renowned for their control of senses.
21. Characters from ‘Mahabharata’. Damyanti chooses a mortal Nala for her husband as against the Gods. Their wedding is described in the Vana Parva.
22. Vermillion, a mark of married woman.
23. The Lord of fire. A witness to every human action and invoked on the occasion of a Hindu marriage ceremony.
24. Sound from a Conch shell, symbolizing auspiciousness.
25. The Rigveda, The Samveda and The Yajurveda without their roots.
26. A unit of time in Hinduism equivalent to a blink of an eye (Vishnu Purana)

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3 Comments on "The Girl in Red Sari…"

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Chandrama Deshmukh

@meghdutam I am amazed with the mythological parallels you have drawn with the woman’s beauty. The glossary helped indeed. Each time your poem is published, I am fascinated to history all over again. Salute to how well read you are!
Loved this piece. And the image is an icing on the cake.

Pallavi Mahajan

This by far is the most uniquely beautiful poem i have ever read


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