Caught in the act

Another neat riposte from vidusaka, the stock comic figure of Sanskrit drama, who bears a strikingly irreverant similarity to court jesters.  Here, in Kalidasa’s in Malavika and Agnimitra,  the queen catches the king wooing a rival and vidusaka provides him a helpful life-line of wit.  As always, he doesn’t take the king’s amorous travails too seriously.  

‘Sir, think of some reply.  Even a burglar caught in the act would say “I’m just practising window repair!”‘

Source: Kalidasa (fl.c. fifth century), Malavika and Agnimitra (Malavikaagnimitra), trans. by Edwin Gerow, in Theater of Memory: The Plays of Kalidasa, ed. by Barbara S. Miller (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1984), p. 285.

Image credit: OpenClipart-Vectors at pixabay


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