Monday, January 21, 2008

Kamala : In Search of Love

Getting a man to love you is easy
Only be honest about your wants as
Woman, Stand nude before the glass with him

So that he sees himself the stronger one
And believes it so, and you so much more

Softer, younger, lovelier. Admit your
Admiration. Notice the perfection

Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under

The shower, the shy walk across the bathroom floor,

Dropping towels, and the jerky way he

Urinates. All the fond details that make
Him male and your only man। Gift him all,

Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of

Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts,

The warm shock of menstrual blood, and all your

Endless female hungers. Oh yes, getting
A man to love is easy, but living
Without him afterwards may have to be

Faced. A living without life when you move

Around, meeting strangers, with your eyes that

Gave up their search, with ears that hear only

His last voice calling out your name and your

Body which once under his touch had gleamed
Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute .

(The Looking Glass : Kamla Das )

(Kamala Das was short listed for Nobel Prize for literature in 1984 along with Marguerite Yourcenar, Doris Lessing, and Nadine Gordimer. Apart from that she received many awards for her literary contributions like Asian Poetry Prize, Kent Award for English Writing from Asian Countries, Asian World Prize, Sahitya Academy Award and Kerala Sahitya Academy Award etc.
In 1984 in an interview with Shobha Wariyar for Eve's Weekly, she made the following statement: "Yes, I know, yesterday I might have been against liberation, today I am for it. Tomorrow I do not know what I would say, and how I feel".
In her autobiography -- My Story -- she told the story of her sexual life, her relationship with men and her views on the world. My Story gave her the image of being an amoral woman. But it was a huge success and has been published in more than 15 languages. It is now a school textbook in Japan and Canada.
She released her first nude painting in the 1980s, she proclaimed: "I find the nude female body the most beautiful in the world."
She makes no attempt to hide the sensuality of the human form; her work seems to celebrate its joyous potential while acknowledging its concurrent dangers.
She once said, "I always wanted love, and if you don't get it within your home, you stray a little"(Warrior interview). Some might label her as "a feminist" for her candor in dealing with women's needs and desires.
At the age of 67 , she converted her self to Muslim to marry a young man. After converting herself to Islam ,she argued that Purdah in Islam is the most wonderful dress for women in the world. And she had always loved to wear the purdah.and it gives women a sense of security. Only Islam gives protection to women.About her conversion to Islam she told that she had been lonely all through her life. At nights, she used to sleep by embracing a pillow. But she was no longer a loner. Islam was her company. According to her Islam is the only religion in the world that gives love and protection to women.
She shifted all the Hindu idols in her home, including her intimate ''friend and love'' Lord Krishna to the guestroom , saying namaz five times a day has become a regular feature. Her formal initiation into Islam took place in front of the Muslim clergy at Palayam mosque in Thiruvananthapuram .
But in 2006 , she has issued a statement at a book releasing ceremony organized by Kairali Books in Kochi that she deeply regrets converting to Islam and is disillusioned with the treacherous behavior of her Muslim friends. She claims that all her wealth amounting to several lakhs, gold ornaments, books and other valuables have been looted by Muslims.)


Anonymous said...

Wat a poem!!!!!!!!!!

hiranmayee said...

No doubt Kamala Das will be fondly remembered as one of the first feminist writers of our country. I am shocked when I heard that she passed away..but then that's a personal wish to meet her one day and ask her why? why? much of insecurity in her..and so much inconsistency as a person...I only wish I could..I wish I could have touched her fingers...kissed her hand...and asked her the queries which had always disturbed me...but then it never can happen now..this is one her best poems..and she deserves well the praises which she achieved for her writings...may her soul rest in peace..may her search be fulfilled in that life.

डा.राष्ट्रप्रेमी said...

thank you very much
to give a so good poem
to read
no doubt
Kamala Das will be fondly remembered as one of the best eriter

gopa said...

wonderful write up thnks for the lovely poem

lucky said...

Thanks for providing space to remember Kamala Das. I stand naked before a metaphoric mirror after reading her poem, self-critiquing my wicked male self. How men allure a woman and then keep weaving a proverbial chakkraviooh of sorts around her the rest of their lives! A bliss called marriage, union and love, this.