"...Widow. The bitter spider sits
And sits in the center of her loveless spokes.
Death is the dress she wears, her hat and collar.
The moth-face of her husband, moon white and ill,
Circles her like a prey she'd love to kill..."
Jonathan Yardley, May 31 2014:
"...(Rebecca) West was a feminist before the word had gained wide usage, but as a daughter of late Victorian and Edwardian England, she was a feminist with an asterisk. She “wrote angrily about the necessity of better working conditions for women,” yet “more than once she remarked to friends that there was nothing as sad and lonely as the lot of a woman who did not have a man.”..."
Our family called the late Ms. Kamal Desai: 'Desai-bai'.
On January 13 2013, this is what I wrote on a blog dedicated to Kamal Desai.
"I never commented on the Ms. Desai's art either on my blog or here because I never liked what she wrote. (Not that I have a read a lot written by her but whatever little I did.)
I did not like even her supposedly last essay- on Anil Awchat (अनिल अवचट)- in 'Lalit' Diwali (ललित दिवाळी) 2012.
But I liked her as a person.
She and our family went back a long way. We lived just 100 meters from her house in Miraj (मिरज). She and my father were colleagues at a Bhiwandi (भिवंडी) college and at one point we would have classified her as our good 'family friend'.
She came to our house a few times in Miraj and I still remember a very pleasant evening our family spent on the terrace of Ms. Desai's house at Miraj.
I think her sister and very old mother (?) too were around. As a kid I liked her because she came across as funny.
I know some of the family feuds she had to suffer. Various writers on her have alluded to them on the blog already referred to. In fact, I know a lot of gory details because once she came to our house and met my mother after an 'incident'...Very unpleasant. Almost unbelievable. But I won't recount them here.
I tried to meet her in Pune when Sadhana (साधना) award was bestowed on her. Just after the function, I touched her feet and tried to make small conversation. But she was lost somewhere. I realised I was unable to take the relationship forward.
I lost all the interest in her literature after reading Vilas Sarang's (विलास सारंग) criticism of her work (by the way, my father too never spoke about her writing but often spoke about her witticism), ('मराठी नवकादंबरी', 1983, 'अक्षरांचा श्रम केला', 2000). When you love Sarang's literary-critical writing, as I do, that is the price you pay. Now, there was no motivation to make even an attempt to read her work.
Today, I don't possess a single book written by Desai-bai. But I remember her as a very pleasant, funny personality."
I looked at the following picture in January 2014. Apart from realizing that my own batting stance was better than that, I thought of Desai-bai and wondered if she ever held a cricket bat in her hand.
Or wear an actual hat? I never saw her wearing any.
Pictured: Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa playing cricket
Photo-artist: Not known to me; Year: Unknown to me
courtesy: the Paris Review and Facebook