Idyll (noun) a poem or prose composition, usually describing pastoral scenes or events or any charmingly simple episode, appealing incident, or the like. Humans have long imagined places where everything is ‘perfect’; where nothing bad exists and only good exists. Updated: 2 April 2023; added a Tamizh version of the Malayālam song.
Idylls are ‘good’, ‘happy’ places we can retreat to from the challenges and difficulties of our current worlds. Of course, idyllic (adjectival form of idyll) places … geographies … are imaginary geographies. Some might think of them as ‘escapist fantasies’.
Ayodhyā, Brndāvana (Vrndāvana), Paradise … these are all different kinds of idylls.
Idyllic geographies are powerful.
At an individual level, they can give us psychological comfort. At a group level, they can help us imagine what we can set right in the ‘real geographies’ that we inhabit.
Alas, the idyllic geography of one person might be the nightmare geography of another.
It’s all very subjective.
It is a double-edged sword. It can cut either way.
One thing about these idyllic geographies of the heart is they can give rise to beautiful visual and performance art.
Most anthems depict idylls of valour, justice, cooperation, and so on. The geographies that they evoke in our minds can be quite awesome. In reality, however, there is no purely ‘good’ or purely ‘bad’ place — life, as with places, is a mixture of many qualities that we may like (‘good’) or dislike (‘bad’).
I want to share two songs of idyll with you today.
panta chéla gatla mīda nadavāli
This is a Telugu song that paints the poet’s village (not named) as an idyllic place. Here, of course the people are good, the land is fertile, the environment is inspirational … All is Good!
(Author: Palugummi Viswanatham)
(Translation: T K Ramkumar)
This is a Malayālam song that evokes an idyll of the past.
(Author: Muhaad Vembayam)
(Translation: Aruna Venkatachalam)
Updated: 2 April 2023.
Here is a Tamizh version of the Malayālam song above. Thanks to Smt. Geeta Naresh for sharing this with me.
- Find songs (or other forms of performance art) that speak of idylls in your own language(s). If possible find recordings of these on YouTube or other video sites. Email the link to us and we will post them on this site with your name.
- At the beginning of this essay, two idylls are mentioned: Brndāvana and Ayodhyā. How are they similar, or different? Answering this question will get you to practice geographic descriptions. It will also help you improve your language skills.
- Do you have your own idyll that you sometimes go to? If yes,
- Is this a “real” place or an “imaginary” place?
- What are its features?
- How do you go to this place?
- What does it give you?
- Why is it important for you?
- Do you share this place with anyone?
- Share your responses with us in the comment box below. Be sure to also tell us:
- Your name,
- Your school name, and
- The standard (grade) you are in.
Featured image: Indian Village Life, courtesy, WikiMedia.
Beautifully written! Malgudi days by Shri. R. K. Narayan is one such example. Can fantasies be called idyllic too?
Certainly. Idylls *are* fantasies. They are a mix of conveniently selected parts of a landscape … real or imaginary.