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Meghadootam 2016 - Art of Loving
CHENNAI, September 29: “Meghadootam 2016, The Cloud Messenger of Kalidasa, was a fund-raiser for the children with learning disability and autism spectrum disorder. It was hosted by Sankalp Trust at Mutha Venkata Subarao Auditorium in Lady Andal School here on September 24. Sankalp, a registered non-profit trust, supports these children.

Sankalp was founded in 1999 by Lakshmi Krishnakumar, Sulata Ajit and Subhahini Rao. Their dream of helping children with special needs in the past had motivated them to form the Sankalp Trust. This trust has now grown with more than 200 children and as many as 70 trained teachers and staff.

The music for “Meghadootam” was composed by Bombay Jayashri. The dance performance was spearheaded by the husband-wife duo, Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon. The melody of the music was matched brilliantly by the fineness of the dancers on show. Their skill was amply in display, and the dancers showed a sense of elegance as they merged beautifully into their roles.

There was grace in their portrayal, and they have done it with remarkable ease. And, their management of the stage was perfect.

The felicity in their presentation managed to communicate the essence of this classical work of Kalidasa to a cross-section of the audience. Kalidasa composed the Meghaduta around 5th century A.D in the Mandakranta meter. Kalidasas’s poem stood far above all poems except the Adikavya Ramayana of Valmiki and Srimad Bhagavata Purana of Veda Vysaya, to name a few which dates back to many centuries. Kalidasa’s poem formed the role model and proved an inspiration for many poets such as Jayadeva in subsequent years. Vedanta Desika also composed “Hamsa Sandesha” in later years where Rama sends a messenger (Swan) to Sita. Similarly, the Mandakranta meter had been applied to this Sandesha kavya. Sanskrit is said to be a Devabasha. The combination of lyrics, music and dance - all put together in one place - adds beauty to the presentation. Late (Professor) Revathy of the Sanskrit Department of the Madras University played a vital role in explaining the beautiful lyrics to the musicians and dancers. It would not have been possible to get a proper translation for this poem without her guidance. There is no proper translation for either Meghaduta or Jayadeva’s Astapadi. That is why, these poets' kavyas (poems) stand far apart and emerged as among top-ranking ones.

Meghaduta lyrics such as “Tvamarudam Pavana Padavim” sung by Sathya Prakash,” "Utsange Va Malinavasane Somya NikshipyaVinam”, rendered by Bombay Jayashri, and others of the team consisting of Keerthana Vaidyanathan, Chaitrra Sairam, Swetha Sriram, Abhinaya Shenbagaraj and others were mesmerizing. Dancers headed by Parvathy Menon and Shijith Nambiar, and their group of young dancers and three children were impeccable. Matangi Prasan, Amrutha Suresh, Sanjit Lal, Sreenath KR, Preeti Bharadwaj, Shruti Suresh, Ganga Sree and Niyanthri Muthuramalingam did a remarkable job.

Meghaduta is a Sandesha kavya where a cloud or the Megha is sent as a messenger to the beloved Yakshi by the Yaksha of Alakapuri. The Yaksha is banished from Alakapuri to Ramagiri hills away from his wife Yakshi for dereliction of duty. Yaksha feels lonely and his pining for the Yakshi as he sees it “Dumajyothir Sallilamarutham” made the cloud sympathize with him and take a message to the Yakshi. Kalidasa’s imagination and his insight made him compose the beautiful poem describing the beauty of the nature while the cloud travels through forests, mountains and places of worship of Shiva, so well enacted by the dancers. The beautiful flow of river Mandakini, the chirping of birds and the singing of cuckoo were so very well articulated by a group of female dancers. Finally, the cloud reaches the Yakshi and Yaksha is united with his wife Yakshi.