Sanjana Saksena is a poet, a novelist and also a full-time employee in a reputed…
Ramachandran Rajasekharan – Poet
Ramachandran Rajasekharan is a poet who started writing poetry late in his life. However, he brings into play his vast experience that lurks from his lines, words, imagery and the pursuit of poetry in general. In his debut poetry collection, Dewdrop and Banyan Tree, the poet has written beautifully about everything that he observes in the world around him. He composes poems based on his experience, intellect, emotions and reaction to the things he finds around him. In the following interview, the poet discusses various facets of his writings and the pursuit of poetry with Alok Mishra, the founder of the Author Interviews platform.
Alok Mishra: What inspired you to write poetry for the first time?
Ramachandran Rajasekharan: Before sixty years of age, I did not write even one poem. Poetry came to me on a fine day. My first poem was inspired by seeing one lady praying in a small roadside church. I was going in the car to attend a meeting and was engrossed in its notes. As typical, some traffic block had stopped the vehicle. It was pretty noisy on our roads after the slowing down and block. The time was around 3.30in the afternoon. I could see the lady praying in a small roadside church when I looked out. The sun was hot, and the church did not have much protective shade. Since the car was not moving, I watched this lady. She was deaf to the noise from the road. Her head touched the platform with the crucifix. Before this crucifix, she had lighted a candle. I could see that she was praying to God from her heart. There must have been some genuine cause for her to pray at that abnormal time. I wondered whether her prayers would solve her worries. Observing this sight touched a nerve within. I took my mobile notepad and penned “Candle Melts Off”. This poem is in my book, “Dewdrop and Banyan Tree”.
Alok Mishra: Your debut poetry collection has received a good response from readers and contemporary critics. How did you like it, Mr Rajasekharan?
Ramachandran Rajasekharan: I am happy, of course. My sincere thanks to all the readers who read the book and offered their comments and suggestions. I also thank my reviewers for pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the book. Critical reading always gives an insightful analysis which helps a lot.
AM: There is a poem in your debut book “Dewdrop and Banyan Tree” of the same title. How did you choose this title for your debut collection, Mr Rajasekharan? What is the story behind it?
RR: As I had written in the book, this poem is an adaptation of one of my Mother’s poems in Malayalam. There is a philosophical perspective behind the poem- the quality and longevity of life. In life, longevity has no meaning if it is at the cost of compromising the quality of life.
AM: Coming to the most vital question now, what do you think poetry is? What is the role of a poet in today’s society?
RR: Poet could influence the reader positively. I believe positive poetry could influence readers and society. The poet is writing based on inspiration. The source may be a flower or a global issue like a destructive war. Our young generation could be made aware of the need for taking care of nature, matters related to unnecessary disturbing the fragile nature.
AM: Do you see the role of poetry as a genre of literature shrinking? It is not a hidden truth that contemporary readers read novels more than poems. What’s your thought on this, Mr Rajasekharan?
RR: I read all genres of books. I do not think that poetry as a genre of literature is shrinking. It may be a fact that the readers of poetry are lower than in other genres. But the number of poetry readers is, if not increasing, maintained.
AM: Who are the English poets from the past that you admire? Also, please elaborate on your choices so that our readers can get more.
RR: There are many great poets from the past I admire. Wordsworth, Lord Tennyson, Emily Dickinson, and Thomas Hardy. Non-English poets like Khalil Jiban have also influenced me a lot. There are many Indian poets, including Gurudeva Tagore are great poets.
AM: Your debut work has many elements of spirituality, philosophy, and Indian religious ethos. Have you read the works by Aurobindo or any other Indian English poets? I request you to discuss your themes, Mr Rajasekharan.
RR: I do not think Aurobindo has influenced me spiritually, though not a poet Swami Vivekananda has influenced my spiritually and philosophically thoughts. Our epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana are outstanding works.
I am also in awe of Kabir and Tulsidas. Among the modern poets, my favourites are Kalama Das, Nissim Ezekiel, A. K. Ramanujan, Dom Moraes, and many others.
AM: You have started late. Did you find any difficulty? The world has changed, and technology has the upper hand today. How do you see poetry and technology complement each other?
RR: I have started writing on a fine day. Probably it is there in my genes. I do not think technology can inspire poetry. But devices like Kindle have certainly helped bring out books quickly and at reasonable levels. Also, many devices allow it.
AM: Do you have more books coming soon? What can readers expect from you, Mr Rajasekharan? Only poetry or novels too?
RR: I plan to bring out my second book of poetry this year itself. I love to be a poet alone. Poetry also allows me to be active in my profession.
AM: Many thanks for taking the time and answering the questions, Mr Rajasekharan! Wishing you the best for Dewdrops and Banyan Tree and anything else that’s coming!
RR: Thank you for reading my book and asking all these questions.
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