My Grandmothers House by Kamla Das Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:25:15
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Category: Poetry

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Kamala Das is one of the best poets in contemporary Indo-Anglian literature. Kamala Das, born in Kerala in 1934, is a bilingual writer. She writes in Malayalam, her mother tongue, under the pseudonym Madhavikkutty. Her poetry is an exploration of the geography of her own mind, and the lyric is an instance of such self-exploration. Through images of repulsion and horror, she brings out the emotional emptiness and sterility of her married life, and the intensity of her misery as a wife who had to submit to her husband whom she found repulsive, and with whom she had no emotional contact at all.

She has won many prizes for her work . some of them being the P. E. N. Asian Poetry Prize, Kerala Sahitya Academy Award for fiction, Asian World Prize for literature, Kendra Sahitya Academy Award etc. She was short listed for the Nobel Prize along with Marguerite Yourcenar, Doris Lessing and Nadine Gordimer. On 31 May 2009, aged 75, she died at a hospital in Pune, but has earned considerable respect in recent years. Themes in the Poetry of Kamala Das:

The poetry of Kamala Das is a search for the essential woman, and hence the woman persona of her poems plays the various roles of unhappy woman, unhappy wife, mistress to lusty men, reluctant nymphomaniac {A woman with abnormal sexual desires}, silent Devdasi and love-lord Radha. Kamala Das has also been called a poet in the confessional mode. The confessional poets deal with emotional experiences which are generally taboo.

There is a ruthless self-analysis and a tone of utter sincerity. E. V. Ramakrishnan rightly says, In her poetry, Kamala has always dealt with private humiliations and sufferings which are the stock themes of confessional poetry. Reminiscent of the Poets Ancestral Home: The poem is a reminiscence {a mental understanding of the poem by people} of the poetess grandmother and their ancestral home at Malabar in Kerala. Her memory of love she received from her grandmother is attached with the image of her ancestral home, where she had passed some of the happiest days of her life, and where her old grandmother had showered her love and affection. With the death of her grandmother the house withdrew into silence.

When her grandmother died, even the house seemed to share her grief, which is expressed in a very touching manner in the phrase the House withdrew. The house soon was crushed by grief and snakes crawled among books. Her blood became cold like the moon because there was none to love her the way she wanted. She understands that she cannot reclaim the past but she wants to go back home, look once again through its windows and bring back a handful of darkness sad and painful memories, which she would have made her constant companion, to keep as a reminder of her past happiness.

The poet is unable to proceed with her thoughts for sometime as is indicated by the ellipses dots. The poet is now strangled with the intensity of grief. She craves for love like a beggar going from one door to another asking for love in small change. Her need for love and acceptance is not satisfied in marriage and she goes after strangers for love at least in small quantity. But she does not get it even in small change or coins. Her love-hunger remains unsatisfied, and there is a big void, a blank within her, she seeks to fill up with love but to no advantages .

The image of the window is a link between the past and the present. It signifies the desire of the poet for a nostalgic peep into her past and resurrects her dreams and desires. The moon is being an emblem of love. The worms on the books seem like snakes at that moment, in comparison to the size of the little girl. The poet also implies that the deserted house is like a desert with reptiles crawling over. The poet now longs to peer at a house that was once her own. She has to peek through the blind eyes of the windows as the windows are permanently closed.

The air is frozen now, as compared to when the grandmother was alive-the surroundings were filled with the warmth of empathy. Kamala Das pleads with us to listen to the frozen air. Neither is the air a visual medium, nor can air cause any displacement because it is frozen. In wild despair, she longs to bring in an armful of darkness. Firstly, that it is not a Handful but an armful. Secondly, darkness that generally has negative shades to it, has positive effect here of a protective shadow. It also reflects the coziness inside the house. This armful of darkness is her essence of craving for her past.

Kamala Das was very proud about her grandmother and the love she received. The Ellipsis after the word loved shows how much she grieves at the loss of the person who unconditionally loved her and satisfied her to the core. She was so convinced by the environment, in which she lived, that the loss of it was indigestible, and un-compromisable. She feels so proud of her grandmother and the house in such a way that she wants all the others know how promising and satisfying was the atmosphere at her grandmothers home. The pronoun I here is very emphatic and also melancholic.

Sudden and strong in order to tell the world that no one would or could have come across such an admiring part of life the poet had lived and melancholic to let the readers know that she is a great loser and there can be no loser like her in the world. It also echoes her inner reverberations that when her grandmother was alive she was rich with love and after her demise she became bankrupt and started begging at strangers door. She dint expect the equal amount of love that she received from her grandmother from the society she was in but only little. Even that little love she was deprived of.

This makes it clear that Kamalas grandmother was a shape of unconditional love. Conclusion: The poem springs from her own disillusionment with her expectation of unconditional love from the one she loves. In the poem, the image of the ancestral home stands for the strong support and unconditional love she received from her grandmother. The imagery is personal and beautifully articulates her plight in a loveless marriage. Thus, the old house was for her a place of symbolic retreat to a world of innocence, purity and simplicity, a place of complete bliss and delight and peace world where love and happiness are still possible.

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