A Companion for the Night: K Saraswathi Amma

Translated by J Devika

Begging in those areas to collect a sum of fifteen rupees for her daughter’s dowry, the woman came to us too. We were sitting in the porch chatting and laughing away. She put the tray filled with betel-leaves and areca-nuts in front of us, folded her hands in salutation, and said, “This is for a poor girl’s de-flowe’ing – please help. I’m the sist’r of ‘anuman ‘mpandaram who comes here.”

Continue reading “A Companion for the Night: K Saraswathi Amma”

‘“Don’t We Need Variety?”’: K Saraswathi Amma

Translated by J Devika

Surrounded by all those medicine-bottles, seated on the chair with the book open on her lap, shielding her eyes from the light with her right hand and sniffing the inhaler held in her left, Susheela looked the very archetype of the Sick Woman. She lifted her head and looked at the clock. Nearly two o’clock.  Her husband was still not home. She put the book on the table, got up and took the feeding bottle. Raising the mosquito-net, she fed the baby with it.

Continue reading “‘“Don’t We Need Variety?”’: K Saraswathi Amma”

Life, In My View: K Saraswathi Amma

Translated by J Devika

[from Saraswathi Ammayude Sampoorna Krithikal, Kottayam: DC Books, 1995, pp. 979-982. Reading this beautiful little essay, I cannot help imagining as a bridge of loving words across generations . This woman surely struggled all her life with depression and mental issues; the immensity of her intelligence was such that she scared mediocrities who lashed back with insults. This woman who was so amazingly ahead of her time was nicknamed Vattu Saraswathi — Crazy Saraswathi — by her peers (many became scholars but surely could not even hold a candle to her). I see the same among young people today — the talented ones — and they slip, like her into sadness and loneliness. This essay is for them.]

Continue reading “Life, In My View: K Saraswathi Amma”

An Organization of Our Own: Kumari Saraswathi on Women Organizing

Translated by J Devika

[From the style it seems that this was probably written by K Saraswathi Amma, and ‘Kumari Saraswathi’ was probably one of her pseudonyms. In this amazing essay, the authors offers a feminist analysis of women’s mass organizations of political parties. It is impossible to disagree with the opening parts of the argument, just as it probably impossible to agree with the last, concluding argument. The latter marks the difference between the first generation of feminists and the present one.] Continue reading “An Organization of Our Own: Kumari Saraswathi on Women Organizing”

“Don’t We Need Variety?”: K Saraswathi Amma

 

Surrounded by all those medicine-bottles, seated on the chair with the book open on her lap, shielding her eyes from the light with her right hand and sniffing the inhaler held in her left, Susheela looked the very archetype of the Sick Woman. She lifted her head and looked at the clock. Nearly two o’clock.  Her husband was still not home. She put the book on the table, got up and took the feeding bottle. Raising the mosquito-net, she fed the baby with it. Continue reading ““Don’t We Need Variety?”: K Saraswathi Amma”

Family Eminence: K Saraswathi Amma

 

 

The clouds of dusk had already turned the fine sand in the front of the house to gold.  As soon as she reached home from the printers’, Kamalamma pulled off the neryathu, brooch and all, and threw it on the clothesline before she ran to her mother. “Wretchedly tired from composing,” she said, “lots of material had to be printed urgently today – can I have gruel and whatever’s for dinner right now, Amma?” Continue reading “Family Eminence: K Saraswathi Amma”

The Womanly Birth: K Saraswathi Amma

 

Malathy was furious. “Indeed! You have all possible tricks in this world up your sleeve! Total loose cannon – in word and deed! But will you let anyone pick a fight with you or get angry? No, no, you take out the charm, the cooing! Hug, put arms around their neck, hold up their chin, and what all other sorts of darling –y antics? Look, Santhy, stop this clowning now!” Continue reading “The Womanly Birth: K Saraswathi Amma”

The Woman Subordinate: K Saraswathi Amma

Paru Amma sat still, forgetting her surroundings, not even noticing that the rice had boiled over and extinguished the hearth. On her right side hung a large coconut-palm fronds-mat. She had to barely turn her head; through a gaping hole in the mat, everything next door could be seen. The other side of the road was elevated. The number of rooms in that house, the exact spot where the kitchen stood, the bathroom – Paru Amma knew it all. Her memories would fly back to her maidenhood when someone came occasionally to stay there. Once she reached that time, her mind would  dwell upon the house and it alone. Continue reading “The Woman Subordinate: K Saraswathi Amma”