My story – an Autobiography by Kamala Das. Audio presentation by Preeti Kumari, Divya Goyal, Astha Arora, Jasleen Kaur, Maitraiee Malhotra, Rohini Malhotra, Aarushi,Palak and Divya Sharma .
When I was a little child growing up in Calcutta, the British still ruled India. But in good society they behaved like our equals. It was normal for a British family to have one or two close friends among the Indians with whom they were on visiting terms. My father’s superior at that time was a balding, redfaced gentle man named Ross who called my father “my good friend Nair” whenever he came to our house, thrilling all of us to our very bones. When we went once to Malabar for a month’s stay with my grand mother, we lent our cook to Mrs. Ross so that she might teach him the
rudiments of European cookery. With every vacation that we took, our cook advanced more and more in the culinary arts until our eating habits had to be altered to suit his sophistication. Instead of the rice and curry, he served us soups, cutlets and a stew. For my mother he cooked a plate of rice and lentils because he felt that it was too late to change her tastes. My father ate with a fork and knife. The children, my elder brother and I, eating early and unsupervised, ate Western meals with our little brown fingers, licking our hands, en joying all that was served on our plates while the cook stood by, frowning. He thought us savages. My father was always busy with his work at the automobile firm where he was employed, selling Rolls Royces, Humbers and Bentleys to the Indian princes and their relatives. My mother, vague and indifferent, spent her time lying on her belly on a large four-post bed, composing poems in Malayalam. We had no full-time maid at that time. The cook took us to the European school a furlong away and brought us back in the afternoon.