MATHRUBHUMI.COM | Wheelchair-bound man rewrites life through poetry; publishes first book

Soni Somarajan’s life has been confined to a wheelchair for the past 30 years. He was affected with progressive neuromuscular disorder at the age of 18.

However, Soni proved that nothing can beat his determination and immersed himself in the world of literature. Now his poems have been published as a book titled ‘First Contact’. There are many autobiographies written in prose. But this could be the first poetical autobiographical work.

Soni is the eldest son of Somarajan, a former Air Force official, and Radhamani. The disease affected him when he was studying in class 12 in Sainik School in Kazhakkoottam. Thus his dreams of joining the military shattered. Though he joined for BA English literature in MSM College in Kayamkulam, he had to quit in the first year itself.

“Once my father took me to Azhikkal beach in Karunagappalli. I don’t know what happened to me when I was sitting on the wheel chair at the beach on that day. After we reached back, I wrote everything I saw in the form of poetry. That’s all I know,” Soni said when asked about how he became a poet .

Gradually, he learned to deal with the disease that has no proper treatment. He left his native place in Kayamkulam and is currently living in Ambalamukku in Thiruvananthapuram. Though he could not complete graduation in literature, he did not give up writing. He later graduated in hotel management and started working in the industry.

Later, he had to quit the job due to physical challenges. Then he initiated a content writing consultancy and works as a copywriter too. His stories and poems were published in various English publications. He also took part in a poetry seminar of Iowa University in America in 2013. He also pursued his passion for photography.

The photographs are included in his first book. Soni said that the confidence he gained from the Sainik School made him fight any adverse condition. He had stopped writing but came back to the world of literature after the Hay Festival held in Kovalam in 2010. Noted English poet Gillian Clark read Soni’s poem ‘Bidding Farewell’ on stage and this motivated him a lot. So, he decided to continue with writing.

—C Sreekanth

Read the article in Mathrubhumi

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