by Sarojini Naidu
First stanza … The scene is set in a rural household where a marriage ceremony is about to begin. Such ceremonies are generally marked by a lot of mirth and merry-making. The bride is bedecked with beautiful attire and nice ornaments to look her best. The rituals that precede the marriage are the bride’s mother’s responsibility. In this case, the girl, perhaps of her tender age, childlike simplicity, or an abiding love for Nature seems unwilling to be chained to the marital bond.
Quite naturally, the mother is distraught. Her daughter’s indifference appears so distressful to her. She asks her daughter if she is determined to abort the marriage, and disappoint the bridegroom who is soon to arrive. She reminds the nonchalant daughter about the affection she had showered on her in bringing her up. She draws her daughter’s attention to the beautiful jewellery she was wearing for the occasion.
Second stanza … The daughter replies that the woods beckon her. She wants to escape to the forest to be able to enjoy the many sweet sights and sounds there. The champa tree is laden with the beautiful yellow blossoms. The aroma is irresistible. The river flowing by the village has tiny islands that are home to the koil. The lotus and the lilies add to the charm of the surrounding. The fairy folks sing their songs. All these mean far more enjoyable to the girl than the mundane pleasures of a married life.
Third stanza … The mother finds the daughter’s fantasy to be nothing but silly. She reminds her about the many happiness of worldly life. The bridal songs are sweet and joyful. Motherhood brings fulfillment and pleasure. The bliss of marital leisure is something rare and irresistible. The sarees have been woven with meticulous care in silver and saffron colour. Elaborate meals are being made ready. Saying all these, the mother beseeches her daughter to stay back and be at the center stage of the festivities.
Fourth stanza … The bride seems unimpressed. She discerns sorrow and misery that invariably mar the happiness of marriage. Like a saint with profound wisdom, the daughter says that all the joys of life are transitory. They come and go, ceding place to suffering and disappointment.
She feels a life in the lap of Nature gives enduring happiness. The charm of the woods never disappears. The calling of the forest is pristine and pure. The brook in the forest falls relentlessly. They are a treat to the eye. Narrating all these, the daughter says she is leaving the home for the wilderness of the forests.