Soni Somarajan’s first anthology of poems named First Contact is a memoire jotted down in poetry and prose. For the 47-year-old author who was diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disorder during his twelfth grade at Sainik School in Kazhakoottam, jotting down his thoughts has been an extensive adventure by itself.
Here, Soni has broken away from his limitations, donning the roles of a copywriter, editor and content consultant. Though he has been part of the literary field for three decades, First Contact is his debut poetry collection.
As a student, Soni dreamt of having a career in the Armed Forces. But when his world came tumbling down in the form of his progressive ailment, he was stuck without a Plan B. Living through an overwhelming period in his life, Soni realised that his weighing emotions found an outlet in the form of poetry.
“I love cooking. But sadly, over the last two decades I haven’t done much of it. I’m more like an observer in the kitchen, watching my friends and family cook, and initiating great and fulfilling conversations,” he says. The autobiographical imagery ranges from his birth, childhood in a military family, his tryst with learning his mother tongue, a cycle trip to Veli, trials and tribulations on a wheelchair and more. Soni’s ever-bright spirit is visible throughout the book.
“My friends and family made me feel normal. First Contact is about them”, added Soni. He follows a plethora of poets like Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney and Welsh poet Gillian Clarke. The latter addressed Soni’s poetry as one ‘with the grace of word-music and a poet’s way of seeing’.