A Notes on ‘Returning’ by AK Ramanujan

‘Returning’ is a poem written by A.K.Ramanujan- an outstanding Indo-
Anglian poet. He was a folklorist, literary critic, translator, and a cultural
historian. In this poem, like his poetry, he displays a mastery of diction as well
as craftsmanship. His depiction of human sentiments, feelings and emotions
in a direct way without any sophistication are here in this poem. His stress on
the web of family life and the integration of the individual which remains the
prominent characteristic of his poetry.

The poem-Returning presents the pathos of the poet’s returning home
after several years to his home and calling out desperately for his mother who
has ceased to live for forty years but his memories are so strong in him that
he forgets the fact that now the home is not the same any more. His mother
has ceased to be there for fort years but his memories get tangled with the
present and he almost feels like the schoolboy of the once upon a time who
was coming home to have food served by his mother. The haunting memories
are giving a lot pain, sorrow and sadness to the poet in this poem.

The image of the ‘blazing afternoon’ when he came to home and to
search her mother in kitchen in backyard and everywhere ,tells us the strong
emotions towards his mother which have been lost for forty years. The poet’s
manner of looking for his mother creates a kind of pathos in the minds of a
reader. Finally he becomes desperate because he searched his mother under
the beds where he finds only old shoes and dust balls not his mother then he
comes out of the house crying Amma..Mother…here the poet gives us the
picture of motherless child who is crying for his lost mother for forty years.
Here the mother is symbolically presets the mother India. He is far away from
India for forty years.

The most of his poems have been written in America where has stayed
for forty years. Memory is real in the poem-Retuning,but the same memory is
a means of exploring of his self in this poem. Ramanujan has turned most of
his autobiographical elements into a vivid creative art. . While exploring many
facets of love in his poems he tries to establish his concept of man-woman

A famous critic Bergson says, “Memory is there, which conveys
something of the past into the present”. It means the memory and Reality
stand in opposite direction like the past and the Present. whenever
Ramanujan talks of mother, even in his other poems, he means her and no
other ends. The loving image of his mother, who at times rises to a universal in the poem.

Family is a sustained symbol in his creative
consciousness in this poem.. Family and relations are two motifs like two
chips in Ramanujan’s artistical poetic kaleidoscope.
To conclude, through his memories, A.K.Ramanujan finally comes to his
mother or mother India and her culture. This is a kind of ‘returning’. ‘the home
coming’ of the poet who stand between the past –memories and the present-
reality. In the last stanza of the poem his helplessness which is created by his
past slowly disappears because the reality –the presentness which makes
him realize himself that he was sixty one now, not a child anymore. The
nostalgia of the poet is very strong here.the poem is symbolically presents the
poet’s attempts of The east-west encountering and attemps of the memories
and realities encountering and finally the returning for union with mother-
India or indianess.

This post was last modified on May 12, 2021 9:40 am