Literary Shelf

Relationship by Kamala Das

This love older than I by myriad
Saddened centuries was once a prayer
In his bones that made them grow in years of
Adolescence to this favored height; yes,
It was my desire that made him male
And beautiful, so that when at last we
Met, to believe that once I knew not his
Form, his quiet touch, or the blind kindness
Of his lips was hard indeed. Betray me?
Yes, he can, but never physically
Only with words that curl their limbs at
Touch of air and die with metallic sighs.
Why care I for their quick sterile sting, while
My body's wisdom tells and tells again
That I shall find my rest, my sleep, my peace
And even death nowhere else but here in
My betrayer's arms...

How the magic is it doing the rounds, how the hallucination of hers! Is she doing Salman Rushdie’s nazar and gozar? Is she a sexually dissatisfied character of Lawrence? A neurotic persona of Sylvia Plath? Who she is! We do not know it! How to suppress sexual urge? The case is one of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Kamala Das here speaks of a dissatisfied soul in love.

The body is the talk of hers, not the soul and the soul dwells in the body. Kamala is hallucinatory and illusory. Hallucinations and illusions tend to be as norm in her poems. Sometimes she complains against and sometimes she mythicizes it. This is but her technique.

A lovelorn heart, how to quell it through holy prayers if the fire keeps burning it within? A thirsty soul, how to quench it? If food is not in the stomach, how to give moral lessons, how to impart them? A spiritual discourse cannot take is for long. A meat-seller, is he not a man? If his work is not good, how shall we do?

This love, age-old love older than herself was a prayer into the bones of his partner that made them grow to reach the pinnacle of meeting, but why did it get saddened is he thing. The matter is, love is love, it is ever romantic, ever gay, ever fresh, ever young. The body may shrink but love and spirit dies not. When was it satisfied? Where can it be? Love is but hunger, physical hunger in which is its spiritual wandering of the soul, as, if the body is satisfied then the soul is satisfied and if the body is not, the soul is never, it is left to in vain wandering as does it the summer wind playing with dust and dry leaves at some nook and corner, making them fly and flutter around. Dissatisfaction in love sucks up the blood just like the loo, the hot blowing wind and the heat wave.

The body is the talk of hers and she can go nowhere barring it, the body in which is the soul lodged in.

What it disturbs us is her coquettish nature, her freaks and pranks in love. How does she keep on changing metaphors so easily? It was her desire which made him a male and they met with each other, fell in love and as thus the story of love started it, the story of life and she started writing her autobiography, the autobiography of a woman. But he seemed to be hard upon on the lips. But the body has the counsel of its own.

There are layers of meanings and meaning to be peeled off. The case is one of Radha. The case is one of Kabira. The case is one of Padmavati. The  case is one of Kunti. The case is one of Sita and Draupadi. But who is who of it? We cannot say it.

What is it that makes a woman womanly? Her dress, attire, fashion, beauty stuffs, make-ups and dressing? The making of a feminist we can read it from this poem. What is it that makes a man ‘man’? Was it the desire which made him? How had it been the whiff?

Love first comes as holy prayer, sacred and sacrosanct feeling and then it changes into temptation and fall and when it fails to satisfy, it turns derogatory and seems dissatisfied looking for sideways. Hunger turns into a perennial thirst, the thirst of the soul.

The Vaishnava saints, many of them are no doubt wanderers, but they keep sevadasis.

Who the betrayer and the betrayed? Is love sham and  fraudulent? Is love physical and possessive? When will the woman be liberated from this obsession? How strange was it the meeting? How planned was it! She tried to know before being acquainted with, she tried to talk to be with. How the tryst with love? How is it love and loving? Was it to kiss to get it deceived and betrayed? Now after giving heart to, now after loving him, where to go to even if deceives he, betrays he or is a very bad person? Where to go it now? And where can a woman?

Man as a lover is but a betrayer. But to be a woman is to die into the arms of the betrayer. He is a betrayer as he has failed to give love expected from. It may be that he is older than his young love. This is but one layer of understanding while the other speaks of it that the love is ever young, ever new, but the soul keeps groveling into the dust of maya.

Is Kamala Das a yogan of Osho, Achraya Rajneesh or Lady Chatterley of Lawrence? Man-woman relationship is the main point of her discussion. We do not know if she has written poems on seeing the terracotta plates embossed on the temple walls and entrances decorating them as motifs and myths.

Man-woman relationship, the body is the talk of her, the frescoes and figurines in love, erotic replicas telling of the way of the world, form the crux of her poetry. What is love if without satisfaction? The red rose, can it be viewed all the time with the same intensity of sacred love? Mystical and mythical love turns into the fireball of lust. The rose too dries, drops and droops it here. Summer heat scorches it. The heart is after the body is the thing too. The soul quivers for a mystical communion. The myth of love, how to describe, how the kisses and imprints of it? Love is sacred no doubt, but infidelity and betrayal stain it with distrust, suspense, doubt and suspicion. We do not know who is Samson, who Delilah. How the story of Adam and Eve? How our sin and sinning? How the lust of the body and the treacherous stories of it? How our society and its double moral standards? Mahaptra’s relationship is his relationship with Odisha and the Odishan places, but  Kamala’s relationship is her relationship with the body.


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

Top | Literary Shelf

Views: 3415      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.