in this poem kamala das deals with a fear that everyone comes across in their life, the fear of losing dear ones. this fear is deeper when its about tme mother. in this poem the poet visits her ancestral home and is presently in car with her mother heading towards the airport to board the plane for cochin.
in the car she takes a glance of her mother who is dozing open-mouthed. her face is pale and ashen like a dead body. this makes the poet realize that her mother is growing old and is nearing to death. this evokes the old fear of losing her mother which agonizes her.
to divert her mind from these painful thoughts, she looks ot of the window where she sees trees moving backwards and children running out of their homes happily. the trees moving back ,here, represents that life is progressive and it moves on leaving everything back and the children represent youth which is in stark contrast to the poet's situation who is thinking of her mother's old age.
meanwhile they reach the airport where after security check she again looks at her mother. she finds her mother's face as a late winter's moon. this means that her mother's face is pale' decoloured and deprived of the brightness of youth which the poet could see on her face earlier. this arouses the fear old familiar fear of losing her mother in the poet's heart.
the poet knows that it is destiny and cannt do anything with that but to hide her pain she smiles at her mother. the poet has used repetition of the word smile to emphasize the fact that she couldnt do anything else.
the parting words of the poet "see you soon,amma" show that the poet is hopeful and she hopes to see her mother again. there is a wish or prayer for her mother's long life in her parting words.
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