The Penguin Book of Classical Indian Love Stories and Lyrics
A compilation of love stories and poems from the classical literature and folklore of India Set in regions of great natural beauty where Kamadeva, the god of love, picks his victims with consummate ease, these stories and lyrics celebrate the myriad aspects of love. In addition to relatively well-known works like Kalidasa's Meghadutam and Prince Ilango Adigal's Shilappadikaram, the collection features lesser-known writers of ancient India like Damodaragupta (eighth century AD), whose 'Loves of Haralata and Dundarasena' is about a high-born man's doomed affair with a courtesan; Janna (twelfth century), whose Tale of the Glory-Bearer is extracted here for the story of a queen who betrays her handsome husband for a mahout, reputed to be the ugliest man in the kingdom; and the Sanskrit poets Amaru and Mayaru (seventh century), whose lyrics display an astonishing perspective on the tenderness, the fierce passion and the playful savagery of physical love. Also featured are charming stories of Hindu gods and goddesses in love, and nineteenth-century retellings of folk tales from different regions of the country like Kashmir, Punjab, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Both passionate and sensuous in its content, this book is sure to appeal to the romantic in all of us.
Born in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) in 1934, Ruskin Bond grew up in Jamnagar (Gujarat), Dehradun, New Delhi and Simla. His first novel, The Room on the Roof, written when he was seventeen, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written over 500 short stories, essays and novellas (including Vagrants in the Valley and A Flight of Pigeons) and more than forty books for children. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999, and the Delhi government's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
He lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his extended family.