A law student turned poet, Ajay Ram is a man of many talents. He is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in Psychology and Philosophy. He is not just a poet, but a songwriter too. His inspirations include the likes of Alex Turner, Lou Reed, Kurt Cobain, Julian Casablanca, Jim Morrison and others. Currently, he is working in a Bengaluru-based start-up after acquiring a degree of BBALLB from Christ University.
His book, ‘An Assortment of Sorts’ is a collection of 109 poems which he has written and compiled so far. It is more personal in nature as they reflect his personal experiences during various periods of his life. They predominantly deal with life, love, rejection, joys and anecdotes etc.
Thanks to Ajay for sparing time from his schedule to respond to this interview. Read along to know about him and his debut book.
A quote that you believe in–
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” – William Shakespeare
Tell us something about Ajay as a person.
Well, I am 24 years old. I hold a law degree. When I’m free, I enjoy reading and listening to music. I’m a non- fiction person for the most part as far as my reading habits go. I’m all around the place when it comes to musical taste. So..what else? Oh yeah, I write as well!
An Assortment of Sorts sounds interesting. What is it all about?
It is a book of 109 poems. I’d like to describe An Assortment of Sorts as an amalgamation of many different flavors. Most of these poems deal with themes that are realistic in nature.
Were you always passionate about poetry? Do you like a particular style?
Uh no not really to be honest. I’ve always been inclined towards music and so witty lyricism has always captivated me. The last time I ever really read poetry was in Class 10. I began writing lyrics for fun when I was around 16. You see my friends and I had just started a band. Unfortunately, that dream died and along with it my hobby. Fast forward to 2017 and I had just graduated from college. Even though I was entering a new phase of life, there was still a lot of baggage that needed to be shed. So in my case, the writing was therapeutic. One rant was followed by another and two became three and now here we are.
I don’t really know much about poetry to pick a style, to be honest. Truth be told, I’m kind of a pleb when it comes to poetry. That said, if I have to pick one, then I’d probably say – free verse.
Whom or what did you get inspiration from? You have mentioned that it deals with different flavors of life. Are these based on real-life experiences?
My inspirations have always been lyricists. For example, I admire Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys for his wit. I pay attention to lyrics from some of their [ Arctic Monkeys] songs and be like wow that’s quite a clever line. I enjoy lyrics that are laced with a bit of humor/ sarcasm. Take someone like Lou Reed for that matter. His delivery style is matter -of -fact while being thought-provoking at the same time. I’ve never really been a fan of lyrics that are overly emotional or melancholic in nature.
As far as An Assortment of Sorts is concerned, yes it does deal with the different flavors of life ranging from sweet to the not-so-sweet ones. A majority of An Assortment of Sorts is based on real-life experiences. However, there are a number of poems that are purely idea or concept based and is not necessarily drawn from personal experience.
What is the USP of your book, An Assortment of Sorts?
An Assortment of Sorts is an amalgamation of different flavors that any reader could relate to and enjoy regardless of his/ her background.
Which is your favorite poem from your book and Why?
It would be quite difficult to pick one poem as they’re all special to me. However, if I had to pick one, then I would probably go with ‘ Swipe Right, Sweet Night’ because it was quite a challenging topic for me. I feel like I pushed the boundaries of what I thought I could write about. All in all, I must admit that I’m pretty pleased with the end result. ‘Shiva’ wasn’t too bad either. I hope the readers enjoy it too.
What are your expectations after the launch of the book?
Let me just say right off the bat that I’m pleased that the book is finally out into the market! A big thank you to my publisher Half Baked Beans for giving me this vehicle.
As far as expectations go, becoming a ‘best selling author’ wouldn’t be too bad now, would it?
Do you feel poetry appeals to the young Indian readers as much as fiction or thrillers do?
Truth be told, I’m not too sure. Like I’ve said earlier, I’m not much of a poetry buff. However, from what I’ve seen, I can say that there is certainly an audience for poetry in India. I believe that there would always be a market for good content. As far as I know, the reader demographic in India is pretty substantial. So, if Goodreads is any indication, then absolutely!
Do you follow or write for any writing platforms? Do you think these are a good platform for budding poets to showcase and nurture their talent?
Yup, I post on Medium from time to time. I haven’t put up anything in a while though. As far as poetry goes, it would be criminal to not recommend Allpoetry.com. I think I’m a much better poet than what I might have turned into because of Allpoetry.com. As artists, we often confine ourselves to our own echo chambers. I think it is imperative that you receive objective guidance/ criticism from another person.
The all poetry community was instrumental in helping me become a better writer. You will find terrific writers on platforms like Allpoetry.com that would help you improve. Truth be told, I would probably be half as good as I am now if not for Allpoetry.com.
Are you planning to write more books in the future? If yes, what genres do you want to explore?
Hopefully! To be frank, I just want to enjoy this moment as I’ve waited a long time for it. As far as the future is concerned, I’ve got a lot of ideas. Writing a non-fiction book would be nice. Another poetry book maybe. Let’s see how it goes.
A message or advice for the budding authors in the country.
Okay, this may sound generic, but I think it still holds true. Just enjoy yourselves! The process of authoring a book can be long and frustrating. So it could get quite tedious if you don’t like what you’re doing I’d imagine. Also, I think you’ve got to be honest with yourselves with regard to content you’re writing. To conclude, I wish you all the very best!
You can buy “An Assortment of Sorts’ on Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/ASSORTMENT-SORTS-Ajay-Ramanathan/dp/B07DHS5QX4
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