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Wages of Love (Uncollected Writings of Kamala Das )

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My vocabulary Is limited My thoughts limitless. How shall I pass them on To you and you and you Waiting in the wings?

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Item Code: AZB514
Author: Suresh Kohli
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers India
Language: English
Edition: 2013
ISBN: 9789350297230
Pages: 176
Other Details 8.5 x 5.5 inches
Weight 160 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

My vocabulary Is limited My thoughts limitless. How shall I pass them on To you and you and you Waiting in the wings?

To the Indian reader of fiction and poetry, Kamala Das (1934–2009) needs no introduction. Her novels, collections of poetry and short stories in English and Malayalam - and indeed her life itself – have both challenged and redefined the boundaries of middle-class morality. Her sensational autobiography, first published in Malayalam and later in English as My Story, created a storm in literary circles and established her as the iconoclast of her generation. Her conversion to Islam in 1999 at the age of sixty-five sent social and literary circles into another tizzy.

Wages of Love: Uncollected Writings of Kamala Das brings together stories, plays, poems and non-fiction writing that have previously not been anthologized. While “The Fair-Skinned Babu' is the sardonic tale of an author who has become a Muslim searching for a contract killer to commission her own killing, 'Neipayasam' is the poignant story of a father feeding his children the delicious dessert prepared by their mother whose death that morning the children are too young to comprehend. In one of her essays, Kamala Das writes about contesting the parliamentary elections in 1984 and, in another, about Khushwant Singh's allegation that she had manipulated her nomination for the Nobel. She also takes a playful dig at the Sahitya Akademi for waiting to give awards to authors only after their fecundity is exhausted'. The poems speak of the joys of a grandmother, the sense of loneliness towards the end of life, as well as about death.

Expertly compiled by Suresh Kohli, and including a heartfelt introduction by him, Wages of Love revives the free soul and literary genius that was Kamala Das.

Abou the Author

KAMALA DAS (1934-2009) was recognized as one of India's foremost poets. She was the author of several novels, collections of poetry and short stories in English as well as in Malayalam, in which she wrote as Madhavikutty. Some of her works in English include the novel Alphabet of Lust (1977), a collection of short stories, Padmavati the Harlot and Other Stories (1992), the poetry collections Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse and Other Poems (1973), Only the Soul Knows How to Sing (1996) and Closure (2009). First published in 1973 in Malayalam, her autobiography was published in English as My Story (1988, 2004, 2009). She received several awards including the PEN Poetry Prize and the Sahitya Akademi Award. She was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984. Her works have been translated into a number of languages including French, Spanish, Russian, German and Japanese.

SURESH KOHLI is a poet, writer, translator, editor, literary critic and film historian with more than twenty-five published works. He is also a maker of short and documentary films, with over a hundred films to his credit. His documentaries have been screened at the Segovia Hay Literature Festival (Spain), the Frankfurt Book Fair (Germany), the Jaipur Literary Festival (India), and at different fora in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Paris and Berlin. He lives in Delhi.


KAMALA WAS AN ENIGMA EVEN to herself. She liked to dramatize, imagining narratives on the spur of the moment. People were often shocked by her actions and movements without realizing that such acts served the intended purpose. The same applied to her writings. She wrote things she did not herself believe in, but the consummate actor that she was, she negated the aura of disbelief.

We had been distinctly and distantly close from the time I first visited her, if memory serves me right, way back in 1968 in her Bank House, Backbay Reclamation apartment in Bombay. I happened to have reviewed her first collection of verse, Summer in Calcutta. Needless to say, the book inculcated in me a strong desire to meet the woman who dared to indulge in confessionals. Do I need to say it was love at first sight, an infatuation that lasted till her death on 31 May 2009, exactly two months after her seventyfifth birthday that I had the privilege to attend on her specific invitation?

She had shifted to Pune by then, looked after and cared for by her youngest of three sons and his small family living two floors below her apartment. The bond between us had become thicker, not necessarily because I made a reasonably satisfactory documentary on her in English, but because of the somewhat frequent visits to Pune to research at the National Film Archives. Indulging in Kamala Das a with about 1,500 collected and trai absorbing writin demanding resur that she passed on Jai couriered sub many other tatter unpublished vers

nostalgia replete with references to friends and foes, she talked about some new poems and, realizing that she hadn't published a new book of verse in a while, suggested we do a book jointly, threatening to write a new poem for the collection every day. And she did precisely that, though not necessarily one a day since she would be on sedatives. She left the selection to me. Her son Jaisurya provided me access to a bundle of her unpublished poems as well. It was a lot of verse, much more indulgent and death-infested than ever before.

When I searched for my own publishable verse from my files I could not pick up more than forty. So there had to be an equal number from her treasure as well. Once the decision had been made I also decided to engage her in a long recorded conversation encompassing our years of infatuation. Unfortunately, when I started transcribing it there appeared gaps in the recording which was due to a faulty tape, but, mercifully, there had still been enough of it to include—filling up the blanks with the help of video recordings during the filming of the documentary-in Closure, our joint collection which was published by HarperCollins India and has had two more reprints in quick succession.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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