ammamma reading               

                                  Artville café, Bangalore 22nd April 2016


1-Two Children (1946)

Two children, who have come to play at a riverbank, are bickering, oblivious to their beautiful surroundings. Then the poet (who is one of the children) urges her companion to stop fighting, and pay heed to the butterflies, the honey-filled flowers and green grass, the beauty of nature that has been beckoning to them all along, to join in the celebration of life. This poem was written in the backdrop of the Bengal partition and the atrocities that the poet saw in those days.


Enough of this futile one-upmanship, enough, my dear friend

Although this new age cloaks us

In fine white silk to cover

Our primeval animal selves

They rise in revolt and

Indulge in their demonic dance


Why do we stone each other with thoughts that wound

Why do we hold up mirrors to each other’s souls

To display the ugliness and inadequacies

And then feel sad, feel ashamed?

The fruit is sweet only in time, when it ripens.

Nature finds nothing unforgivable


The sky glimmers like a mother’s eyes

As she watches her children at play

Before that infinitely gentle gaze,

Who is guilty, who is humiliated?

As the game ends and we depart

Hand in hand,

Let Love come and roost again

Within our interlaced fingers.



Nalapat Sulochana, a medical doctor and a writer herself, author of  10 books in Malayalam and one in English is the daughter of Smt. Balamani Amma.




The insight her writings shed is immensely valuable to the times we live in. There is an in depth understanding of the relationship between man and nature; she was capable of delving deep into the human psyche and answers to many questions man has pondered over the ages, emerge.
She was self educated and never went to school, but she received the Padma Bhushan in 1987 for her lifetime contribution to Malayalam literature. She is the recipient of some 14 state and national awards including ‘Saraswati Samman’. A simple woman dressed in white khadi, she hardly traveled, but her inward journey took her far beyond the stars, the galaxies, and the gods.
Few exist like this extraordinary woman- unambitious, seeking knowledge purely for the sake of knowing. She was known in Kerala as ‘Mathruthwathinte Kavi’, as most of her earlier poems were inspired by motherhood. Very soon her awareness transcended these boundaries to farther realms of nature and ‘Jnana’.
Nalapat Balamani Amma passed away in 2004.