The Parrots of desire by Amrita Narayanan

This book by Amrita Narayanan is an anthology of erotic writing spanning 3000 years, which the author dedicates to ‘modern romantic readers who identify with the joys and problems of the erotic and are passionate about keeping their lives erotic- whether by sex, literature, art or music’.
I was amused to read that Kamasutra had a chapter titled, ‘The means of getting rid of a lover’.
I was surprised to read what Andal ,(whose Thiruppavai my mom reads) wrote in agony, ‘ I shall pluck by their roots, these useless breasts, I shall fling them at his chest’ and could address her God as a ‘looting thief’ and ‘plunderer’.

I was angry with myself for being ignorant about Lihaaf (The Quilt), the most famous short story by Ismat Chughtai, an eminent Urdu writer, who was known for her revolutionary approach to feminine sexuality.

Chaptinamas by Urdu poet Ju’rat, prompted me to read more about Urdu poetry. I was fascinated to read about Rekthi, a form of feminist Urdu poetry and its proponents and how it was systematically eliminated from Urdu in the 20th century.

For a modern romantic reader like me, this book opened a new door, allowing newer insights on how erotica and sensuality were depicted in our literature. I feel thankful to the author for this compilation making a reader’s life much easier.

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