When I asked for love… and closed the door. This is a statement which reflects the speaker’s first shocking encounter with male sexuality which shatters her dreams of pure love.
LL.31-34: An illustration of the speaker’s non-conformist attitude to social norms and the courage with which she breaks them. It is these aspects of her character which have made Kamala Das a subject of controversy.
LL.39-43: One hears in these lines the voice of a liberated woman who is striving to arrive at self-definition not in terms of personal relationships, but as an individual human being. LL.43-48: I met a man, loved him… the ocean’s tireless waiting. This is a recurrent theme in Kamala Das’s poetry, namely woman’s quest for love encountering man’s loveless lust. While this may be explained in terms of her own personal experience resulting in an utter disillusionment with the male of the species, one cannot miss the way in which the speaker relates the woman’s experience of infinite ‘waiting’ to larger questions, questions of identity and the problems of ‘ego’ and self-definition.
LL.49-59: Note the heavy recurrence of ‘I’ in these lines. A careful study of these lines will show that there is much more than the mere self-exposure of a liberated woman. Speaking intensely and with a deep sense of betrayal and disillusionment, the poet moves on to a speculation of much larger questions which have been at the centre of Indian philosophical thought.