|My Mother at Sixty-six
|An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
|A Thing of Beauty
|A Roadside Stand
|Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers
|About the Poet|
|Kamala Das (1934 – 2009), the renowned Indian writer, wrote poetry and prose both in her mother tongue, Malayalam, and in English. While writing in Malayalam, she used the pen name Madhavikutty. She was born in Malabar, Kerala into a fairly privileged family. She is a sensitive and tactful writer who captured the complex subtleties of human relationships in lyrical idiom. Kamala Das is famous for capturing the complications and confusions of relationships between human beings.
|About the Poem|
|My Mother at Sixty-six is one of the best emotional and heart-touching poems of Kamala Das which highlights the special bonding between a mother and a daughter. The poem is one of the exceptional examples of the human attachment, between a mother and daughter.
The speaker of the poem is a daughter who is worrying about the future of her mother. The speaker is absolutely dismayed regarding the fear of losing her own mother who is sixty-six years old. The speaker is quite aware of the fact that ‘death’ is the harsh reality which is faced by every human who lives. She fears of losing her mother due to this harsh reality of life.
The entire poem is written in a single sentence, punctuated by commas. This writing style reveals the fact that a single thread of thought is interwoven with considerations and observations of the real world around and the way these are associated to the main idea.
|Driving from my parent’s home
to Cochin last Friday morning,
I saw my mother, beside me, doze,
open mouthed, her face ashen
like that of a corpse and realized with pain
that she was as old as she looked
but soon put that thought away,
and looked out at Young Trees sprinting,
the merry children spilling out of their homes,
but after the airport’s security check,
standing a few yards away,
I looked again at her, wan, pale
as a late winter’s moon
and felt that old familiar ache,
my childhood’s fear,
but all I said was, see you soon, Amma,
all I did was smile and smile and smile….
|In the opening part of the poem we find speaker’s realization of her mother’s aging. The speaker is on her way to airport at Cochin with her mother. During this journey she observes the old appearance of her mother and perceives her aging and tiredness. The mother is sleeping with her mouth open and her face appears ashen and grey. This dull complexion of her mother is similar to that of a dead body. Obviously, this thought forces the speaker to think of her mother’s shorter lifespan. All these facts make the speaker rather emotional.
By putting away all the thoughts of her mother’s aging, the speaker looks out through the window of the car. She observes the passing green trees and looks eagerly at the young children coming out of their homes to play happily. Whatever the speaker sees outside, not only disturbs her but also forms a contrast and disparity to the state of her mother.
The reality of her mother’s aging and her physical condition definitely haunts the speaker. She tries to divert herself from the circumstances around her. But her mother’s condition forces her back again at the time of airport’s security check. When the mother is standing few yards away, the speaker looks at her again. Her mother looks wan, pale and ashen. The speaker compares her to a winter moon, which symbolizes the condition of dullness and sadness. The speaker is once again reawakened of her mother’s imminent death. This thought brings back the speaker’s childhood fears, because the speaker would never leave her mother’s side at any moment. Today the speaker is well grown-up to bear and to control any kind of miseries.
Finally, the speaker simply smiles at her mother and bids farewell as she moves towards her flight. She says, “See you soon Amma,” and leaves with a smile and satisfaction. The poem finishes by indicating the optimistic behavior people exhibit towards their loved ones.
Remaining parts will be added soon
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