Mamta Kalia is an Indian poet, teacher, and activist. Her writings depict the typical middle-class woman and her problems. She narrates the real-life issues of women with simple language.
Her poems are a journey through the women’s emotional shifts. She portrays various roles played by a woman to make her family happy. Mamta is concerned about the identical crisis faced by women to make others comfortable.
In most of her works, she points out the fake Indian culture where women have to be moderate in everything. She worries about the unwritten laws implemented upon a girl from childhood.
After eight years of marriage is a poem that picturizes the inner conflict of a married Indian woman living in a joint family. The poem is presented with simplicity. The character in the poem was married for eight years. Mamta presents various joyful and sorrowful experiences the character had in her husband’s house.
The poem begins by stating that it is her first visit to her parents after eight years of marriage. The author writes about how marriage shifts the relationships and freedom of a woman. The character in the poem symbolizes the large category of Indian women who has to undertake her husband’s family and their interests.
When she heard the question ” are you happy, tell us” from her ow parents, she felt it was an absurd question. She couldn’t control her tears. Her emotions were hurt so bad that she couldn’t steer her emotional outburst.
She never had the freedom to express her actual feelings to anyone. It made her nod as yes, even though she was crying.
The next lines of the poem outline how easily mood swings influence women’s emotions. The poet says “ I was happy one day at 8 o’clock, I was most unhappy by 8.15.”
The speaker narrates the times she decided to commit suicide. We can find a similar theme in Sylvia Plath’s Mirror also.
She openly says how hard it is to include every member of the joint family.
The speaker says she decided to cope with the tensions believing that the future would be better for her. She is proud of the care her sons receive in the family. Poet says she “swallowed everything and smiled a smile of great content.”
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After Eight Years of Marriage
After eight years of marriage The first time I visited my parents, They asked, ‘Are you happy, tell us. ‘After eight years of marriage It was an absurd question And I should have laughed at it Instead, I cried, And in between sobs, nodded yes.
I wanted to tell them That I was happy on Tuesday I was unhappy on Wednesday. I was happy one day at 8 o’clock I was most unhappy by 8.15. I wanted to tell them how one day We all ate a watermelon and laughed. I wanted to tell them how I wept in bed all night once And struggled hard from hurting myself.
That it wasn’t easy to be happy in a family of twelve. But they were looking at my two sons, Hopping around like young goats. Their wrinkled hands, beaten faces and grey eyelashes Were all too much too real. So I swallowed everything, And smiled a smile of great content