When I first took “The Palace of Illusions” into my hands, it was love at first sight. And when I began to read it, to truly get lost in the story, I knew that I had indeed found the love of my life – the way we think, in our heady excitement, when we fall in love for the first time.

Eight years later, I still cannot pass it by without picking it up, looking through it with a happy sigh, and perhaps going through a few lines, even chapters. I’ve decided many a time to do a re-read and still found myself as enriched and elated as I was when I first finished it.

I truly hope I love someone the way I love this book – or that someone loves me that way I love this book.

Somehow, it teaches me something new every time I read it and leaves me not with the sort of exuberance that dies down within seconds, but with a calm sense of meaning that stretches on like an ocean of great depth.

How is it that I never wrote a review for this book?

I don’t know either. I suppose I never found the right words.

I could say that it gave a different perspective of one of the greatest stories told in my country – the Mahabharata. I could say that it traces the life of a fiery female protagonist – Panchaali, the woman with the unique distinction of having five husbands. Or perhaps I could say that it deals with politics, with human emotion, with hopes and dreams.

But all of that could never quite communicate the blissful peace I used to feel just by reading a page of that book – especially if that page dealt with the friendship between Panchaali and Krishna.

Which is why for my second amateur attempt at drawing, I thought of bringing to life – in my own capacity – that stirring emotion I often felt when I read of a love that wasn’t love in it’s widely understood sense. It was the love that had no labels – not of a parent, not of a husband, not a brother.

This love is the one that – as I understand it – moved Rumi in his search for the divine.

“Love is the soul’s light.”

And as I built upon that feeling, I hoped it would reflect in my final expression of it. If not the full measure of it, then at least a shadow.

The drawing shows Panchaali – quietly reflective in this world of dreamy realities, with Krishna – ever-present, but not smothering in his affections.

Through this, I wanted to show the relationship between our mortal souls and what we call divine – usually demarcating them along lines of virtue, faith or rigidity when in fact, they are both integral to each other.

All that we call mortal is but a joyous expression of the divine, and in everything that lives, there is an essence of divinity that never dies.

Here is to love, to learning, and to living in this Palace of Illusions until we find our way back Home.

10 thoughts on “Communications in colours

  1. Beautiful artwork! Have you reach The Forest of Enchantments? I love that book even more than Palace of Illusions. Sita’s story is really moving especially since we’ve grown up hearing Ram’s version of Ramayana! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      And yes, I did read The Forest of Enchantments – but for some reason, I felt it lacked the effortless flow of Palace. Though I did enjoy reading it – Sita is often regarded as a weak, voiceless woman, but this book reminds us that the lesson she had to teach was just ‘a quieter one, but as important.’
      Isn’t she a magnificent writer? ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for turning me on to a new book. I’ll have to check it out. 🙂

    And your drawing, which is lovely, and bright, and beautiful, got me thinking, why are Krishna and the gods depicted as having blue skin?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad I could convey that happiness, I hope you find the same joy as I did, when you do.
      Thank you for your kind words – and yes, many of them are depicted as blue.
      In mythology we often have some story behind it – for instance, Krishna in his childhood drinks some poison, which is said to have given him blue skin. The same is said of Neelkanth – Shiva – who drank the poison that rose out of the sea and turned his neck blue.
      But there’s also a different reason as to why they are depicted so. Blue symbolizes infinity (like blue skies, for instance) – something beyond comprehension and measure. And that’s said to be another reason why they’re shown as blue – as divinity is often hard for the human mind to grasp.
      That’s what I know, I hope that helps! 🙂
      In this drawing – I used it because the author mentions Panchaali thinking that hers and Krishna’s skin was “so dark it was almost blue.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much for the thorough answer. I thought the answer was going to be lame like, oh, it’s just always been this way, etc. Interesting! I like it.

        Liked by 1 person

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