SynopsisPreparations for King George the Third's fiftieth birthday gala are in full swing in Lucknow. As poets and performers vie to be part of the show, Chapla Bai, a dazzling courtesan from Kashi, briefly enters this competitive world, and sweeps the poet Nafis Bai off her feet. An irresistible passion takes root, expanding and contracting like a wave of light. Over two summers, aided by Nafis's friends, the poets Insha and Rangin, and Sharad-himself in love with a man-exchange letters and verses, feeding each other the heady fruit of desire. Can their relationship survive the distances between cities and households? Remembering, dreaming, conversing and singing, Nafis tries to fathom the mystery of another's being.
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About the author
Ruth Vanita, raised and educated in Delhi, taught at Delhi University for 20 years and now teaches at the University of Montana. Founding co-editor of Manushi, India?s first nationwide feminist magazine, she is the author of several books, most recently Gender, Sex and the City: Urdu Rekhti Poetry 1780-1870, and co-editor of Same-Sex Love in India: A Literary History. She has translated many works of fiction and poetry from Hindi to English, most recently Alone Together: Selected Stories of Mannu Bhandari, Rajee Seth and Archana Varma.