#9. Sedation

I am punishing myself for what I have once done. Punishing myself for writing poetry and living like a poet. I brought disgrace to my family. Brought unhappiness and misery.

When my father lay dying, I was afraid that he would tell me for the first time how unhappy I had made him. He was a powerful and a very influential man. How often he must have heard some unsavory remark about me and flinched Once I heard from someone that Father had blamed the sleeping pills that I took for the kind of writing that I did.

“She is sedated, she doesn’t know what she is writing,” he had said. He was wrong. I was out of sedation when I began to write. I rose like the sun and all heads turned east to look at me. That was being awake. This is sedation. The smell of cooking sedates me. The chatter of  my neighbors. The grocer’s voice on the phone. The crackle of mustard seed in a frying pan. I am wearing someone else’s skin. I am buried within this body. if only my husband would realize my predicament, he would let me come back to life again. There would then be laughter. And lovely books, filled with my happiness, coming out of the printing press every year.

– Kamla Das (Sedation, translated by the author from Malayalam)

(Featured Image- Women in hat and color, Pablo Picasso)


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