Have you ever wished to take the shining sliver of a delicate new moon, a radiant jewel from the heavens, and dangle it off your ear, as only a woman might?
Shower some stardust onto your anchal, and drape the sea's waves into a sari?
It is perhaps no wonder then that the stalwarts of Bengali literature, the poets that speak to us all in the language of the heart, have thought of that too, for the women they loved- and those who were their muse.
Often drawing on their deep rooted connection and love for nature, poets have long made comparisons of their adored ladies with whatever amazed them in nature, and yet found nature to be left wanting in comparison. The very same poets have also found only nature to be worthy enough of beautifying the beloved.
The tiaras of many a girl's childhood fancy, resplendent in perhaps a handful of glittering gems, will pale to what Nazrul envisioned in Mor Priya Hobe Esho Rani, when he beckons his beloved to let him adorn her into what he describes as a queen's regalia. An earring carved out of a three-quarter moon, to hang as a mere jewel beside his cherished one's face, and perhaps a tad bit less pretty. A sprinkle of stars in her hair, and with a silver ribbon of thunder -knitted into her braid, as dark as the rain cloud. He goes on, not yet content with his adoration, to offer her the purest red from a rainbow as alta for her feet, and a dash of moonlight with chandan to beautify her skin. And then perhaps, he says he will sing to her in a world of their own, and let his poems be birdsong around her, in one of the most romantic avatars of the poet more known for his rebellious vigour.
The ever romantic Tagore, in his well known love for nature, and the serenity it offers, speaks in the same tones, when he brings alive his lady love for us to imagine in the poem O Go Bodhu Shundori- she who is like the soft fresh bloom, dipped in honey and love. Could you deny yourself a necklace of the fresh half-blossoms of the mollika flower on a spring night? Perhaps his lady could not either.
He entices her with more gifts then, all for her, all from the bounties of nature — a handful of the fragrances of spring, kumkum made of the crimson petals of the palash, chandan made of moonlight, the enthusiasm of the parul flower, and the gentle swaying of the shirish, and a bangle made of a charming and delicate vine. Is that all? Not yet, as he then offers her the melody of rustling new leaves as they dance with the gentle breeze, high on a bunch of bamboo shoots standing together intimately. And finally, he asks her to adorn her eyes with kajal in the soft blue hue of the early morning sky.
It might be hard to even imagine the depths of passion that led these poets to envision their ladies in such avatars. But it is no secret that scarce is a reader who does not want to be someday adored in the manner the poets have professed admiration. We can also take a look back, at what they might have looked like then, and then may be imitate them into our now, of course with a twist uniquely our own.
By Sania Aiman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Ishrat Jahan
Styling: Ishrat Jahan and Sonia Yeasmin Isha