Perhaps the most lively and exuberant of Kalidasa's extant works, Ritusamharam is a glorious ode to nature's bounty and the enduring emotional response it evokes in mankind as a whole. Recounted as a celebration of the passing seasons, it is a feast for the senses, capturing the myriad facets of love and longing in a kaleidoscope of sumptuous imagery: the mischievous moonlight that, like a pining lover, steals glances at sleeping maidens; the monsoon-bloated rivers that rush to the sea with a lustful urgency; the flame of lovemaking that is kindled anew at the onset of winter; the heady scent of mango blossoms that makes even the most unyielding of hearts quiver. Even animals, big and small, are swept into the playful pattern of the great poet's lyrical homage. A.N.D. Haksar's supple and spirited translation is accompanied by an absorbing introduction and notes that shed further light on this extraordinary work.
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