“I often wonder where glamorous people go when they are wing-tired, as birds go at dusk to roost. Which treetop gives them rest and tranquility of age?” The words of Kamala Suraiya still echoes in my ears again and again. I heard those words years back when I met her in Kochi which is near to my District, Kozhikode. Her words were smeared in the footsteps of death, mortality, values of the society, boasting of culture and so on. Once again I realized the meaning of her words when she was leaving her residence in Kochi on a Wednesday for Pune: “I cannot manage on my own now. My sons are there and let them take care of me now”, she said. There was a small gathering at her residence to see her off. That was the last time I saw her alive, India’s best known poet in English and one of the most famous writers of short stories in Malayalam. She was short listed for the Noble Prize in literature in 1984. She was born on March 31st 1934 at Punnayurkulam to the reputed Malayalam poet Balamaniyamma and V M Nair. Summer in Calcutta, The Descendants, Old Play House and Other Poems, Alphabet of Lust, Collected Poems, Best of Kamala Das, Only the soul knows how to Sing, My Story are some of the remarkable works of Kamala Suraiya which I have gone through. In simple language she depicts the realities of life with tearful dreams and deep insights that is her contribution to the world literature .In her writing she is free as a falcon which a good writer needs to be. Once again I remember her words: “goodbye editors, goodbye fans, goodbye critics, here I go slipping out of your world into mine to be free, to be free as a falcon flying over the rocky mountains”, she passed away leaving behind beautiful literary petals with artistic grace and elegance for many generations to come.
But alas, as all greater writers, she was born ahead of time ! So much so that the mainstream folks were too disturbed to be in a mood to appreciate the beauty of her works. And on top of it, she was was dangerously sincere and uncompromising. But for the few who have resonated with here wavelength.. she remains a painfully sweet remembrance !
She is a writer of rare quality, that’s her daring honesty. She cannot be compared with anyone, yet the peeling honesty to the topic reminds me of Henry Miller. In no way these writers shares anything than in the absolute submission to the topic. She may have been born ahead of time. If so she will certainly spawn generation of writers, and through one of them she would be credited. But someone should be born ahead of time, thats what writers are here for, though there is a rarity. She was certainly one who could peel the hypocrisy with such interogations that the shockwaves tampered the conventions and highbrows.