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My Story – Kamala Das

Today I enjoyed reading Kamala Das’s outspoken and controversial autobiography. Born in 1934 in Kerala, Kamala Das was the author of several novels, collections of poetry and short stories in English as well as Malayalam in which she wrote as Madhavikutty. Nominated in 1984 for the Nobel Prize for literature and winner of several literary prizes in India, she drew admirers and critics in equal measure, especially when it came to the way in which she chose to live her life(arranged married to stragner, brutally raped by husband at a young age, having several affairs, converted herself to islam during old age, started a political party, contested for elections..huh!), with a fearless disregard for mindless convention and sheer courage of conviction. She died in May 2009, she left behind a body of writing that will continue to inspire and move generations of readers in the future. Some of the lines from her book My Story.. 

When I asked for love, not knowing what else to ask…For, he drew a youth of sixteen into the…Bedroom and closed the door. He did not beat me…But my sad woman-body felt so beaten…The weight of my breast and womb crushed me. I shrank…

Wipeout the paints, unmould the clay…Let nothing remain of that yesterday… 

Madness is a country…Just around the corner…Whose shores are never lit…But if you go there…ferried by despair…The sentries would ask you to strip…At first the clothes, then the flesh…And later ofcourse your bones… 

What is the drink but the April sun, squeezed like an orrange in my glass?…I sip the fire, I drink and drink…Again I am drunk…Yes but gold of Suns…What noble Venom now flows through my Veins… 

When I sleep, the outside world crumbles, all contacts broken, So in the longer sleeps Only the World shall die,…and I… Remain, Just bieing and also being a Remaining….

The essence of the writer eludes the non-writer. Finally, when the muscles of the mind have picked up enough power to read people’s secret thoughts, the writer shies away from the invisible hostility…

Perharps I shall die soon. The jewellery I adorn my body with, in order to look like a bird awaiting her lover, shall survive me. The books I have colleced, the bronze idols I have worshipped with flowers and all the trinkets stored in my lifetime shall endure, but not I….

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