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Meghadutam: The Cloud Message

Kalidasa (Author) Srinivas Reddy (Translator)

As punishment for failing in his duty, an unnamed yaksha is cursed by the god Kubera to endure a hard year in exile. Thus separated from his beloved wife, he longs to send her word of his undying love and the pain he suffers over their parting. Unable to do so himself, the lovelorn yaksha implores a passing cloud to act as his messenger. And so entrusted with this impassioned message, the cloud must travel a vast distance to the city of Alaka in the Himalayas, where the yaksha’s wife waits, consumed by thoughts of her beloved.

Filled with lush imagery-from the magnificence of the bountiful earth to the glory of the celestial gods, from the hypnotic lilt of birdsong to the passionate lovemaking of courtesans-The Cloud Message is as moving and resonant today as it was centuries ago. In Srinivas Reddy’s new and ingenious translation, Kalidasa’s celebrated poem comes to life in vivid detail.

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About the authors


Kalidasa is one of the greatest classical Sanskrit poets and dramatists of ancient India, but very little is known about his life and time. The writings of Kalidasa reveal that he was a pious Brahmana of Ujjain, and had acquired a knowledge of the various branches of Brahmanical learning. His versatile genius, his acquaintance with court etiquette, his shrewdness, his modesty, not without a due sense of self-respect, and his poetic talent are very well reflected in all his works, which are: Malavikagnimitra, Vikramorvasiya, Abhijnana-Sakuntala (dramas) and poems like Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava and Meghaduta. Both in drama and poetry, Kalidasa stands not only unsurpassed but even unrivalled.

Srinivas Reddy

Srinivas Reddy graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in South Asian Studies. He is a professional concert sitarist and has given numerous recitals in the US and India; he is also a teacher and educator and has taught several classes on Indian literature and music.

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Bibliographic information

Title Meghadutam: The Cloud Message
Format Hardcover
Date published: 04.04.2017
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Penguin Classics
Language: English
isbn 9780670087983
length 176p.