Upadhyay’s underlying message is that love brings not just joy but pain. Most times her lovers are far apart, arms outstretched in aching separation, longing towards each other. She also uses tortoises as symbols of patience, the fortitude needed to wait for love when it is far away. Even pairs of hearts are far apart, bound only by fragile red threads.
But even more than the pain of longing, Upadhyay depicts the pain of suffering that women go through. “Creation is an act of love, but after that, women suffer alone to give birth and complete the act of creation,” she says. “Women are like the earth mother, which withstand floods, earthquakes and all kinds of disasters and still endure. I have tried to show what women are and what women can do.”