Google has chosen Malayalam writer-poet Madhavikkutty aka Kamala Das for its doodle on Thursday. The doodle named ‘Celebrate Kalama Das’ is having a bio and her picture drawn by Majit Thapp.
In the Author’s bio, along with the doodle, Madhavikkutty’s famous quote has been given: “I speak three languages, write in two, dream in one.”
Google has booked this date, February 1, for Madhavikkutty, in order to celebrate her boldness. As a writer her most controversial work ‘My Story’, an autobiographical work, was published on February 1 in 1976. This is a rare recognition for Malayalam and Indian literature as Google picks only the rarest writers for their Doodle.
Manjit Thapp, an artist famous for drawing female subjects, has captured the persona of the writer in the illustration drawing.
Her unflinching and passionate approach touched many lives even after her death in 2009.
Today's Doodle by artist Manjit Thapp celebrates the work Kamala Das left behind, which provides a window into the world of an engrossing woman.
When she lived, she was a cult figure. As a writer, Madhavikkutty’s writings are being rediscovered by the readers across the world. It is nice to watch that some writers get more relevance after death than when they live. Very few writers handle the life with such a boldness in Malayalam.
The Google doodle’s brief sketch of Madhavikkutty goes like this: “Today we celebrate poet and author Kamala Das on 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.”
Kamala Surayya was born in Punnayurkulam, Thrissur District in Kerala, on 31 March 1934, to the former managing editor of Mathrubhoomi VM Nair and Nalapat Balamani Amma, a renowned Malayali poet. She spent her childhood in Calcutta, where her father was employed with Walford Transport Company, and at the Nalapat ancestral home in Punnayurkulam.
Kamala Das took to writing like her mother. Her great-uncle Nalapat Narayana Menon, also a prominent writer, was a big influence in her life. She fell in love with poetry from an early age.
At the age of 15, she was married to Madhava Das, a banker by profession. He encouraged her to write, and she started publishing her works both in English and Malayalam.
She was honoured with Sahitya Academy Award in 1984, one of the many awards she received in her lifetime.
Kamala Das was one of the many voices that began featuring in cult anthologies in the 1960s when art in Calcutta was undergoing a tumultuous time.