The power and magic of literature lies in the far-reaching effect it has on generations. Long after the author is gone, his works continue to inspire and touch human hearts. Give me time. I will give you back nothing. But words, words and words- these lines from a poem by Raghuram R embody the spirit of ‘Victim Of A Dream’ a compilation of his works, published posthumously. The book is an anthology of poems and short stories by the young writer written during his student days at Sree Sankara College in Kalady. It also includes two memoir notes written by his friends who remember the young man as a great friend, mentor, critic and literature aficionado. This talented young man’s journey was cut short by fate on April 14, 2012. He was 22.
“He was a great dreamer and had it in him to reach out for those dreams. When we planned to bring out this book, the lines from his poem ‘Victim Of A Dream’ really struck our hearts and that’s why we decided to name the book so,” says Dr Preethi Nair, Associate Professor, Department of English, Sree Sankara College, Kalady.
And here falls the victim of a dream.
From the undiluted silences of nature,
To the solace of madness. are lines that invariably strike a chord, and become synonymous with the spirit of the author. Raghuram’s writings have an inherent power to break palpable barriers of imagination and take the reader on a whirlwind ride through myriad emotions, ranging from fear, rebellion, innocence and emptiness to love and deep passion. The writings reveal the dreamer in him, while at the same time, shine a light on his realistic approach to life. Death being a theme that lurks behind most of his literary creations, the reader traverses through alleys of thought and often ends up in a virtual rendezvous with this finality.
“Death lingers in most of his writings. It was as if he was in love with death,” says Preethi. His poem ‘Fumes’ can almost set you thinking if the poet foresaw his untimely end:
For one day, I will live and die by the night.
My heat will create fumesover the shallow river.
The fumes will fade in the evening light.
And I will die by the night.
Undoubtedly solemn, but at the same time, eerily true to life. The picture that we have from the compilation is of a talented youngster who could bind together the profundity of life and death with uncanny simplicity.
Raghuram’s writings are marked by close observations and a personal connect with elements of nature. Imagine the depth behind coinages like bleeding moon, the seductress wind or the tyrant sun.
In a piece titled 'Nothing Changes the Old River’, Raghuram gives a picturesque description of his hometown Chalakudy and the faces he sees there, claiming that nothing has changed in the six months he was away in Bangalore to pursue journalism. The invalid by the drain, the beedi-smoking drunkard by the shopping complex, his younger brother who shouts out secrets- all register in the mind like images from a postcard. “He was a keen observer and looked into intricate details. His works and his understanding of life was way mature for his years,” recalls Preethi.
He was clearly in love with the rains. “Monsoon, My Muse” and “ The Monsoon’s Offspring” are full of colourful, fragrant references to the magic of the showers. With her braided hair, sensual smells on her waist, silver anklets and kohl eyes exuding power, monsoon arrives to draw the poet into the vortex of love. Arundhathi Roy, who spoke about the small things in Aymanam village was close to his heart and the poet pours it out on paper in his work ‘Talking about Small Things’. A footnote to the poem claims it is a side effect of a journey to the setting of the novel God of Small Things- Aymanam village.
The book also includes screenplays written by Raghuram. Not to be missed is a speech he delivered to students at his school CKMNSS, Chalakudy, after he achieved his dream of becoming a journalist. He calls for students to keep their minds open to books and movies, for it is through these that one grows and develops a social and political outlook about the world.
Raghuram had wished to see his works published and had handed over his manuscripts to Preethi earlier. After his death, Preethi, other teachers, family and friends got together to make his dream come true. The Renaissance, a Centre for Research, Extension, and Studies in Literature and Arts at the Sree Sankara College worked towards publishing this book, for they considered this as means to immortalise Raghuram, one of the stalwarts of this group. The book was launched by veteran journalist and writer Leela Menon at the college on Tuesday. “I have not read a book that’s so haunting,” she said at the launch.