A few selections from Smt. Madhavi Mudgal's Odissi workshop in Boston in late September when she was demonstrating "Yahi Madhava", an exerpt from Geetha Govinda, composed by the 12th century poet Jayadeva - a scandalous string of accusations by Radha when Krishna gets back after wild night of partying. A comparable twenty first century exchange might probably go something this like "Get out of my apartment you jerk", but Jayadeva spins it differently
A sleepless night of passion, your bloodshot eyes express the mood of awakened love. Go away Madhava , oh! Go away Krishna, don’t you lie to me. Go to her Krishna, she will ease your despair; she will cool your burning passion- why come to me? Your bright lips darkened by kissing her kohl-blacked eyes-Oh! Krishna, at dawn they match the colour of your body. The scratches on your body tell of the battle of love, they tell of the triumph of passion like gold writing on sapphire. Oh Krishna, your heart must be blacker than your skin, how can you deceive me, so faithful in our love? Look at the bed of love-the flowers are no more fresh, the sandalwood paste has dried, the oil in the lamp has dried. Oh Krishna oh Madhav, go away, leave me-don’t lie to me. ( translation: www.srjan.com, Guru Keluchanran Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa)
Its the same piece that inspired me to start the documentary project on Dance Gurus when I photographed Sri. C.V. Chandrasekhar in early 2011. Juxtaposing two veteran artists expressing the same poetry in two different stylistic languages is perhaps something I should explore in a future post.
With thanks to Vanita Shastri from Meru Educational Foundation for organizing the event and for arranging the permissions.