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Recognized as one of India's foremost poets, Kamala Das was born on March 31, 1934 in Malabar in Kerala (Dwivedi 297). Her love of poetry began at an early age through the influence of her great uncle, Nalapat Narayan Menon, a prominent writer. Das remembers watching him "work from morning till night" and thinking that he had "a blissful life" (Warrior interview). Das was also deeply affected by the poetry of her mother, Nalapat Balamani Amma, and the sacred writings kept by the matriarchal community of Nayars (IndiaWorld). She was privately educated until the age of 15 when she was married to K. Madhava Das (IndiaWorld). She was 16 when her first son was born and says that she "was mature enough to be a mother only when my third child was born" (Warrior interview). Her husband often played a fatherly role for both Das and her sons. Because of the great age difference between Kamala and her husband, he often encouraged her to associate with people of her own age. Das says that he was always "very understanding" (Warrior interview).
When Das wished to begin writing, her husband supported her decision to augment the family's income. Because Das was a woman, however, she could not use the morning-till-night schedule enjoyed by her great uncle. She would wait until nightfall after her family had gone to sleep and would write until morning: "There was only the kitchen table where I would cut vegetables, and after all the plates and things were cleared, I would sit there and start typing" (Warrior interview). This rigorous schedule took its toll upon Das' health, but she views her illness optimistically. It gave her more time at home, and thus, more time to write.