“I feel a woman is most attractive when she surrenders to her man. She is incomplete without man,” averred Kamala Das shortly before her death in May, 2009. One of the most controversial and celebrated Indian authors, she combined in her writings rare honestly and sensitivity, provocation and poignancy. The Kept Woman and Other Stories explores the man-woman relationship[ in all its dimensions. Deprived, depraved, mysterious, mystical and exalted, each character, culled from expensive and observation, is an incisive study of love, lust and longing.
The last collection of writings that Kamala Das compiled herself before her death, The Kept Woman and Other Stories is a moving and compelling read.
Hers was one of the first and arguably amongst the foremost female voices in Indian English letters, and her contribution was not only in literary creativity and originally but in the liberation she provided so many young woman readers who felt freed and empowered by her words.
Kamala is as unpredictable as the wind and cares not two hoots for kerala’s favourite hobby: worshipping blind tradition.
Renowned Indian poet, novelist, short-story writer, essayist and memoirist, Kamala Das, alias madhavikutty, was bornin1934 into a literary family. Her father, VM Nair was the former Managing Editor of the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi; her mother, Nalapatt Balamani Amma, was a well-known Malayalam poet and her great-uncle, Nalapatt Narayana Menon, was a writer and translator. Schooled mainly at home, she was a voracious reader, and spent her childhood between Punnayurkulam, her ancestral village in Kerala and Calcutta.
Married at the age of 15 to Madhava Das, she started writing while still in her teens. A prolific write, she wrote several taboo-breaking collections of short stories and poems, six novel and three memoirs, in which she explored a woman’s quest for freedom form sexual and domestic oppression and examined the paradoxes of like and relationships with great emotional depth. She is best known for her controversial and provocative ‘
Autobiography’ My Story.
In 1999, she converted to Islam and assumed the name of Kamla Suraiya. In her later years, she also dabbled in painting and politics and wrote a syndicated newspaper column on a wide range of topics including religion and politics.
Kamala Das passed away in May 2009.
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