Kamala Das (1934-2009) was born in Malabar, Kerala. She is recognised as one of India’s foremost poets. Her work contain originality, versatility and the indigenous flavour of the soil. She has published many novels and short stories. She wrote under the pen name “Madhavi Kutty”. My mother at sixty-six is written by Kamala Das who is famous for capturing complexities of human relationships. Her bold and frank expression is what made her famous. The prominent features of her poetry are an acute obsession with love and the use of confession. The main theme of her poetry is based upon freedom, love and protection.

Kamala Das

Summary of My Mother At Sixty-Six

In “My Mother at Sixty-Six,” Das explores the irony in mother-daughter relationship, and includes the themes of aging, growing-up, separation and love. 

The poem my mother at sixty six is one of the finest examples of the human bonding, especially that of a mother and daughter. It describes the pain and fear of the poet. The fear is of losing her mother due to harsh reality of life which is death.

My Mother at Sixty-Six
My Mother at Sixty-Six

She has written several Malayalam short stories as well as poems in English. Kamala Das was also a syndicated columnist. She once claimed that “poetry does not sell in this country [India]”, but her forthright columns, which sounded off on everything from women’s issues and child care to politics, were popular. Kamala Das’ first book of poetry, Summer in Calcutta was a breath of fresh air in Indian English poetry. She wrote chiefly of love, betrayal, and the consequent anguish. 

My Mother at Sixty-Six 2
My Mother at Sixty-Six
My Mother at Sixty-Six 3

Poem

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 realised 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……

~Kamala Das
NCERT poem

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