Who can forget the doting Mirabai whose pious and selfless love towards Krishna has been and continues to be an exemplary for lovers?

My Dark One has gone to an alien land.

He has left me behind, he’s never returned, he’s never sent me a single word.
So I’ve stripped off my ornaments, jewels and adornments, cut my hair from my head.
And put on holy garments, all on his account, seeking him in all four directions.
Mira: unless she meets the Dark One, her Lord, she doesn’t even want to live.

— Mira Bai, Translated by John Stratton Hawley

She studiously looked down at the various adornments littered across dresser. She daren’t look up at the mirror. Not just yet.

The poultices of greasepaint devised to make that dusky skin whiter. A slap of alabaster on the terracotta. She knew the more she camouflaged her skin the more passionate those kisses would be. Maybe she could mimic that face which she knew he yearned for in the darkness. Maybe she could be She. At least for one of his drunken nights.

mirabai Always Mira, Never Radha
After those nights, he often whispered Her name. In his dreams he met Her once again. The One who broke his heart. The One who left him a broken man, the pieces of whom she had to pick up and comfort with her masquerades. Sometimes the tinkling of her bangles woke him up. He was angry then. She must hide those stupid baubles.

Numerous varnishes and rouges mocked her. The cruel colors invited her to her own previous beauty. The once fuchsia cheeks had long lost their color to tears married to the scarlet of her scars. He didn’t like the way her flush betrayed her electric soul beneath that beautiful flesh. Couldn’t extinguish the soul so he flawed the flesh.Wincing to feel her bare neck, she carried on. Once luscious locks adorned her delicate profile. But one night in one of his drunken fits he had chopped them all off. “She had short hair!!!” he had cursed over the din of her tears.meerabai devotee of krishna Always Mira, Never Radha
Now for the clothes. He never allowed her to wear the clothes that she had brought from maternal home. The satin saris, those ornate lehengas. The vestments which her mother had packed so lovingly on her last night. In each of those threads her mother had promised her a new life. But it was always those old English clothes. Her clothes. He often mocked her wide Indian hips unflattering in those western outfits. She starved herself each day. At least her wraith-like body could give him something her wretched soul never could.

It was time for the heels. She had been tall. she never was. He wanted a lover to match his statuesque physique. Not a petite wastrel. Running to him was always difficult in those pretensions. But she would get used to it. Like everything he wanted her to be.

She was ready
He would soon be awake.

He never allowed her to be late.

She must look up. The Illusion was complete. She was finally Her.

Mira was Radha, At least for one night.
By Bhavna Sharma
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