Soni Somarajan, whose autobiography in poetry ‘First Contact’ was critically acclaimed was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. But a disability has not stopped this 47-year-old from following his heart. An ardent writer, Soni talks about his life journey in ‘My Take’.
Though I originally hail from Puthupally in Kayamkulam, I currently reside in Trivandrum. During childhood, I had travelled across India and changed schools since my father worked with the Air Force before settling down in Puthupally.
A disability diagnosis
I joined Sainik School in Trivandrum, run by central and state governments together. At school, I was active in sports, especially hockey. I was also the student editor for our school magazine. Being active in many activities, new doors of opportunities were opened to me.
During those years, I had difficulties in running and at times walking too. It started becoming too obvious so I decided to consult a neurologist. I was diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disorder called Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy.
“At Sainik school, you are trained in such way that you want to be part of the Indian defence forces. That was my primary objective too. So when my body suddenly showed a physical ailment, I was shocked beyond words. I felt that the opportunity was taken away from me. I realized nothing is going back to normal and that there is no cure for my condition. I was stunned for a long time. What to do next? I took time to come out of it. Since I couldn’t join armed forces, I decided to pursue my love for English literature”.
My diagnosis happened in the nineties when there were no awareness about disabilities. After school, I joined for a degree course in English literature. The nineties were a turbulent time in Kerala politics and it reflected inside our college also. We hardly had classes due to constant student union strikes. So I decided to quit college, wrote entrance exams for a government hotel management course and got through it.
Love for literature
I always had a lot of support in pursuing my love for literature from teachers at school. It did help me to bloom. They kept telling me to enhance and polish my skills in English literature. I still believe that was one of the best advice I have received till date.
So once I happened to be on a casual visit to the beach along with my father. It was during sunset. The calmness that encompassed my surroundings offered a special kind of peace. It felt great. That moment triggered some kind of spark in me. I came back home and penned down whatever I felt. Thus began my tryst with writing.
“I realized that I was able to express myself better through writing. ‘First Contact’ is my first set of poems. It has a collection of 64 poems. Towards the end of writing it, I found out that the book had started to look like a story about me. So I published it as an autobiography”.
Thanks to my supportive parents and sister, I could pursue my love for literature. Working in one of my friend’s company helped me to polish my writing skills because I received a lot of freedom there.
Currently, I’am a copy writer, editor and content creator.