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18 Oct

My Grandmother’s House by Kamala Das

My Grandmother’s House (Pearls from the Deep)

Kamala Das


There is a house now far away where once

I received love ... That woman died,

The house withdrew into silence, snakes moved

Among books, I was then too young

To read, and my blood turned cold like the moon

How often I think of going

There, to peer through blind eyes of windows or

Just listen to the frozen air,

Or in wild despair, pick an armful of

Darkness to bring it here to lie

Behind my bedroom door like a brooding

Dog …you cannot believe, darling,

Can you, that I lived in such a house and

Was proud, and loved ... I who have lost

My way and beg now at strangers' doors to

Receive love, at least in small change?


Comprehension Questions

Section A

A1.Why does the poet want to go back to her Grandmother’s house?

Kamala Das wants to go back to her grandmother’s house because she received love from that house in the past. She believes that by going back she can revive and relive those happy memories.

A2. What has happened to the love the poet received in the past?

The love that the poet received in the past is no longer available in the present because her grandmother has died. Since her death, the house has withdrawn into silence and snakes move among books.

A3. How do snakes come to move among books?

Snakes move among books in the grandmother’s house because the grandmother passed away and the house withdrew into silence. The poet was then too young to read books or drive the snakes away.

A4. What happens to Grandmother’s house after her death?

After grandmother’s death, the house withdraws into silence. Snakes move among books. The eyes of windows turn blind; the air freezes. Darkness pervades everywhere.

A5. Who do the windows have ‘blind eyes’?

The poet describes the eyes of windows as blind because the inside of the house is not visible through them. Also, once these eyes of windows used to see the grandmother. After her death they have turned blind since they can no longer see the grandmother inside the house. It could also mean simply that the windows are shut.


Copyright © Manu Mangattu, Assistant Professor, Department of English, St Goege's College Aruvithura

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