Fascinating and illuminating. These are words that come to mind as I go through Journeys: A Poet’s Diary by A.K. Ramanujan, and edited by Krishna Ramanujan and Guillermo Rodriguez. Fascinating, because reading this book is almost like watching a live-stream from within a creative, brilliant mind, seeing thoughts as they form and evolve or dissipate. Illuminating, because it offers tantalising glimpses of the author's inner world while also reinforcing, as it were, that our humanity is shared; that genius or not, labourer or scholar, the things we worry about, obsess over and obtain joy from are largely the same.
Pioneering poet, translator, folklorist, essayist and scholar. For the past five-odd decades Ramanujan has been all these, but also a beacon for India’s literary community. Growing up in Mysore, he taught English literature in colleges across southern India before travelling to the US in his early 30s as a Fulbright scholar, going on to pursue a career as an academic at the University of Chicago.