If you go to Google now, you’ll see a doodle of a grandma sitting on the verandah of her cosy home, penning some thoughts with a piping hot filter coffee by her side. That, my friend, is Balamani Amma, famously known as the grandmother of Malayalam poetry. Today marks her 113th birth anniversary. This particular Google Doodle is illustrated by Kerala-based artist Devika Ramachandran.
Balamani Amma is the mother of writer and poet Kamala Das and the niece of poet Nalappat Narayana Menon. At the early age of 19, she got married to VM Nair, the managing director and editor of Mathrubhumi.
She wrote and published her first poem titled Kooppukai in 1930. She has also published over 20 anthologies of poems. Most of her works coupled stories of mythological characters with real-life characters, especially women.
Did you know that the former ruler of the Kingdom of Cochin, Parikshith Thampuran, awarded her with the Sahithya Nipuna Puraskaram? She also received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1965, the Saraswati Samman in 1995, and the Padma Vibhushan in 1987.
In 2004, she passed away. Her work is celebrated and cherished even today. Google’s tribute to Balamani Amma is well-deserved.