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POETIC BEND: Sreedharanunni's new collection of poems, `Aduppu,' will be shortly released. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

Sreedharanunni's poems radiate a charm that is difficult to define, like the fragrance of a flower, remarked poet Vishnunarayanan Namboodiri.

Sreedharanunni, who had made his reputation as a poet long before the Kerala Sahithya Akademi honoured him with its Award for poetry this year, says it was by sheer chance that he came to recognise his poetic talent.

"I was in the sixth standard. It was my duty to water a banana plant in the courtyard daily. I saw it grow day by day and finally it bore a bunch of bananas. I was overjoyed. And one day it disappeared. I was heartbroken. I did not know it would have to go one day... like everything else.. I thought writing down what I felt would ease my distress. It came to just four lines. Through my lines, I tried to convey that expectations and aspirations also bring disappointment and distress," reminisces Sreedharanunni.

Craft of writing

Soon, he realised that he had a firm grip over the craft of writing poetry. His Headmaster, who came to know of his interest in versification, asked him to write a poem for the Independence Day function at his school.

Later, he was asked to write and read a poem on the Indian national flag.

"These assignments strengthened myy confidence," recalls Sreedharanunni.

His big break came when his poem was published in the children's section of the Mathrubhumi weekly. And on a Children's Day, All India Radio invited him to read a poem at the poetry reading session on the campus of Zamorin's High School.

"It was my first public performance. Suvarna Nalappat and Mankamppu Gopalakrishnan also read their poems at the function," recalls Sreedharanunni. He was then in Class Nine.

He took pains to hone his poetic skills. "Particularly helpful were the training programmes conducted by Kerala Sahithya Samiti those days. [Joseph] Mundasserry master, Vayalar Rama Varma, G. Sankara Kurup, N.V. Krishna Varier and Kuttipuzha were among the eminent poets who spoke to the participants."