by Mrityunjay
Trafford Publishing

"If I meet you in dreams by chance, to embrace you forever I stretch my arms. Gods and goddesses pity this sight and shed tears on my hapless plight."

Mrityunjay gracefully surmounts two hurdles: publishing for the first time in his non-native English and re-working ancient Sanskrit verse into English. The latter can sound choppier than the lyrically strung Sanksrit; Mrityunjay's verse skillfully flows. Meghdoot succeeds on all fronts, offering an enticing new English-language rendition of a story originally penned more than 1,500 years ago.

Originally written by Sanskrit master Kalidasa around 400 A.D, Meghdoot is about Yaksha, who is banished into the wilderness after neglecting duties assigned by his master, Lord Kuber. Separated from his wife and his body wracked by the elements, Yaksha begins to hallucinate. He asks a dark rain cloud to carry a message to his love. Ultimately, the cloud reaches Yaksha's wife, and the couple is reunited when Lord Kuber's heart softens.

In addition to the writing's fluidity, Mrityunjay stays true to the original tale's rich personification of nature. As the cloud drifts toward Yaksha's wife, it brings relief in the form of rain to the parched Indian countryside, and this complies with Yaksha's desire that it do human-like things while en route, like resting on a mountain top, drinking from a river and sleeping on a palace roof. The story also personifies the sun and various waterways and other natural and manmade elements.

Mrityunjay's writing is beautiful throughout. It particularly shines at times, such as in the deep tenderness that Yaksha shows for his wife as he urges the cloud to approach her gently. Vivid word choices paint a bold, descriptive image of each place the cloud visits on its journey. Vividly-hued illustrations compliment the text. Poetically and illustratively lovely, this is a worthy retelling.

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