The Forest On My Flesh

This series arose from readings on decolonization by Walter Mignolo, who emphasizes on the
rediscovery of epistemic systems of cultures prior to colonization and from the simultaneous
readings of English translations of classical Sanskrit erotic poetry which dawned upon me the
realization of the substantial elimination of the genre of erotica from the erstwhile colonies of
Britain. If I were to decolonize my practice, what form could I offer to contemporary erotic poetry?
The current global pandemic which has affected our understanding of microorganisms and the
dissemination of popular science on social media culminate to my hypothesis that we will soon be
speaking a very precise lingo of heightened scientific awareness in the near future. Employing the
concept of Baramasa (Song of the Seasons) which studies the holistic interactions between nature,
seasons, human activities and the corresponding human emotions, this anthology aims to explore
the notions of Shringar Rasa (the classical Indian aesthetic of beauty and love) framed through
research in Neuroscience and Microbiology. These text and image based works seek to mingle the
aesthetics of classical Indian miniature paintings (from the Baramasa, Ragamala and Nayak-Nayika
series) and medical illustrations.

The month of Jyestha. May/June. 1675-1700 (circa), Bundi District, Rajasthan, India.
Image courtesy: The British Museum
A folio from a ‘Baramasa’ set or ‘Songs of the seasons’ providing visual imagery for Baramasa poetry
(Baramasa meaning the 12 months). The main theme is that of nayakas’ and nayikas’ (lovers) love in
union and in separation and their relationship with the months of the year. In each folio the heroine
implores the hero not to leave her alone in that month with its typical activities, festivities and
seasonal bounties which create a unique atmosphere for passionate love. This romantic love
constitutes an important aspect of Indian aesthetics also known as Shringar Rasa. Poet
Keshavadas’s words describing the season are inscribed on top of the page.





The following images are from the series The Forest on my Flesh:


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