Celebrating Kamala Das – “I speak three languages, write in two, dream in one.”
Today we celebrate poet and author Kamala Das on the the publication date of her autobiography, “My Story,” released in 1976. Das’ life and work had a boldness and shapeshifting quality, whether it was the many genres she wrote in or the various languages in which she expressed herself. She was determined to live life on her own terms, resisting labels such as “feminist” and choosing different names for herself over the course of her life. When she began publishing, she used the pseudonym Madhavikutty; Ami was her pet name; and Suraiyya, the name she gave herself upon her conversion to Islam.
Das originally wrote her autobiography in English, but translated it to Malayalam along the way. The story captures her life from childhood to marriage and beyond, describing the rich inner world of a creative soul. While some found the book to be controversial, including relatives who tried to block it from being published, many readers were enchanted by the lyricism and honesty of her writing.
Through all her transitions and personal reinventions, Das continued to write poetry and prose that was unflinching and passionate. Today’s Doodle by artist Manjit Thapp celebrates the work she left behind, which provides a window into the world of an engrossing woman.
Early drafts of the Doodle below:
You can find more about Celebrating Kamala Das on the official Google Doodle Page