P.K.Sasidharan Nair's feelings are often expressed in verses. Happiness, sorrow and any subject turns poetic for him
For P. K. Sasidharan Nair poetry is one way of journeying into his personal and collective memory. In turn, it often becomes an extended reflection on social, cultural, political dimensions. For this ‘self-confessed non-poet,' as he calls himself, his poems are what ‘were lying around,' and he simply gathered them.
Sasidharan is not one of those poets, we have heard of, whose mind is always in the clouds waiting for the miracle of inspiration to happen. Rather his is a natural, spontaneous, non-attitudinal response to an event, action, tradition or even an important moment in Sasidharan's memory. And he keeps on jotting them down to be sewn up into a collection later.
Spurned for his efforts in writing while he was a child Sasidharan put this talent on hold till he joined the Indian Air Force. “I remember the lines I wrote, a sort of kirtan based on all the Malayalam alphabets, in their regular order. I could create parody songs in a jiffy for which I was promptly beaten by my father. I was a loner in my childhood. My only solace was listening to songs and writing down my innermost thoughts in the form of poems,” says Sasidharan, who after a long innings in the Air Force and at Delhi Public School, has returned to his native state.
While in service Sasidharan wrote Malayalam songs for their in-house plays staged during Onam and other occasions. “Transfers, the 1971 War, marriage, children, it was one, long active life.”
After completion of 15 regular years of service Sasidharan opted to leave. “My wife found a job in Delhi, my children were growing up. That was when I took up an assignment of a stores officer in Iraq. For three years I was there. It was relatively quiet, but the threat of war was always in the air. Away from my loved ones, that was the time when I must have written the bulk of my poems. This was a way to beat loneliness.”
Sasidharan's two anthology of English poems ‘Resonance' and ‘Lady of the Night and Other Poems,' were published when he was at Delhi Public School. “I was at the Vasant Kunj School. When the school magazine was being planned the teacher concerned asked every department to contribute some material for it. When I told her that no one in our department had that flair she actually made fun of us. That spurred me into writing a poem ‘Epitome of Love.' It won wide appreciation and many teachers asked me to continue writing.”
The subjects of his poems are broad: nature, conflict, fantasy, love, death, his school, a memory, the people he met, his wife who died of cancer. They are singular and powerful; especially when he breaks the barriers between great and small concerns.
“I don't think I would have been able to publish these two anthologies without the sincere help of so many people. Oxbridge and British Council scholar, Prof. Sidney Rebeiro, my mentor, who went through my poems, suggested changes and also wrote the foreword for my first work. Then Padmashri Dr. Shayama Chona, principal of DPS, who introduced my second work, my children, my wife who knew all my poems by heart and so many people who encouraged me.”
Recently Sasidharan wrote the lyrics for a Malayalam love album ‘Anuraga Maalika.' The album has some haunting songs, where love is coloured by happiness, loneliness, sorrow. An album of devotional songs is on the anvil.
In between all this Sasidharan continues forming poems from anything that he sees around him, even a memory or sheer imagination. Anything can become profound and powerful; anything with understanding.