Journal: Serious and Trivial is a glimpse into the mind of a literature student. The mind is a witness to the world around. Random impressions and associations felt, shaped and moulded, watched, recorded in a beginner's mind. It may contain bits of poetry, book reviews, experiences of daily life and the progress of the writing style. Carpe Diem, Seize the Day!

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Grandmother’s House by Kamala das

Do you carry the memory of a ‘home’ to which your heart retreats in times of anguish? Do you feel nostalgic at the thought of happy moments in the past?

Kamala Das, the Indian poetess recalls her ancestral home and her dead grandmother in the poem “My Grandmother’s House”. Kamala Das’ poems as well her imagery is extremely personal and drawn from life. This poem takes the form of a confession comparing her present broken state with that of being unconditionally loved by her grandmother.

Published in 1965 in Summer in Calcutta the poem is a reminiscence of the poetess’ grandmother and their ancestral home in Punnayurkulam in Kerala. Her memory of love she received from her grandmother is associated with the image of her ancestral home. With the death of her grandmother the house withdrew into silence. It became desolate and snakes crawled among books. Her blood became cold like the moon because there was none to love her the way she wanted.

Now, in another city, living another life, she longs to go back. She understands that she cannot reclaim the past but she wants to go back home and bring a handful of darkness to keep as a reminder of her past happiness. Now she is like a beggar going from one door to another asking for love in small change. Her need for love and approval is not satisfied in marriage and she goes after strangers for love at least in small quantity.

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.


yasho said...


Kamala Das is muse herself spending a short interbal on the planet...I share my birthday with her and am damn thrilled about the fact...hope that will rub a single spot of dust from her brilliance on me too..

the lines i loved best were 'I who now beg at stranger's doors for love, at least in small change'....

I shiver at the mere force of that strong image..

I notice that you also read several of my favourite writers, including D.du Maurier..but didnt see Pride and Prejudice... that's curious... because most of myt reader pals who have similar tastes love Austen..


ajay venu said...

the poem contains the feeling which we all have in our mind.we are busy with our life and we dont have time to think about our childhoood days.but some times in flash we feel a missing..oh what days it were........... ajayvenu

KALEIDOSCOPE 2011 said...

Can't figure out who is plagiarizing from who, but every analysis of the poem on the internet seems to be the same. :/