No poetry till now, to the year 2003! After this long gap of nearly 40 years I suddenly found myself gripped with the poetical muse! I can’t explain the reasons. Perhaps, I reasoned with in myself that writing my autobiography in Tamil and after the many drafts of my prose autobiography circulated among my friends and writers, there ensued lots of discussions about some of the thoughts and views expressed on various issues, politics, society, literature, philosophy, religion etc., and they might have found a more deeper expression in my new poetry.
I hope I need not dwell here about the many diverse intellectual and cultural influences to which I had been subjected to in the course of my education and life afterwards. Santiniketan can be taken as a symbol of all that is best in Eastern civilization and culture and truly Tagore’s education and cultural ventures shaped my mind and personality.
Likewise, there are my Oxford years. I can say Oxford still represents the best of Western education and intellectual traditions and Oxford had left its imprint on me indelibly. Today I receive conflicting signals from the city of dreaming spires! All talented poets congregate in Oxford for various reasons. There is always a chance you will run into a Nobel Prize winner poet or a novelist there! The timing of my Oxford education also put me at the very centre of perhaps the 20th century’s greatest philosophic revolution. The major players were all concentrated at Oxford at that time.
Personally I became very close to them, some of the great figures. In fact, some of them lived in my very college, namely, New College (estd: 1379). Prof. A.J.Ayer, his own guru, H.H. Price and Gilbert Rhyle were all attached to my college. Bertrand Russell was at his creative best and his son, now Sir Conrad Russell was at Oxford in my time. Oxford was also a centre of poetry. The Oxford Poetry Club was an active literary club of which I became a member as soon as I joined Oxford! Among the poets I had closely seen and listened to were Stephen Spender and W.H.Auden, besides a long list of names I needn’t recount here. Dom Moraes was the then emerging budding Indian poet.
I have read a great deal of English poetry in my Oxford days. I had lived in the Lake District, my English hostess lives near Cockermouth, the birth place of Wordsworth and his Grassmere and Dove cottage were my frequent haunts. I have been of course a great lover of Shakespeare whose town Stratford-on-Avon was my weekend haunt where I used to see his plays in the famous theatre.
All these are very much back in me as I look at the world of poetry today.