A 16-year-old poet, Arav Rajesh pens heart-touching poetry in his debut book Melodies of Society

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At an age when people read youthful stories of mystery and romance, this young poet has written about political suppression, substance abuse, drug addiction and many more

New Delhi: A class twelve student at The Shri Ram School, New Delhi, Arav Rajesh started writing poetry in the spring of 2019. What began as a creative vocation at the early age of twelve, resulted in the publication of ‘Melodies of Society’, the debut poetry collection with fourteen poems that reflect various truths about contemporary society. At an age when people read youthful stories of mystery and romance, this young poet has written about political suppression, substance abuse, drug addiction, social anxiety, child labour and psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arav’s poems contain keen observations of issues around him; conditions that make people worry and suffer, situations that overpower people to take wrong decisions, and calamities that are beyond control. 

In the poem titled ‘Slain Dreams’, Arav has painted a heart-wrenching scene of a poor father selling his son. In the poem titled ‘Spirited Oppression’, the poet has vividly discussed how politics has seldom raised its standards above shallow promises and rare fulfilment. Poems ‘No More’, ‘Why Me’, and ‘Broken’ represent voices of those who suffer from social anxiety. Poems about the COVID-19 phase and the horrors that it brought are moving, appealing and emotional. The poem ‘Locked Behind Walls of Glass’ offers a relatable scenario of feelings during the anxious months of lockdown in the country (and the world). Poems in the section ‘Substance Abuse’ may deceive anyone into believing that the author must have spent four or five decades in the world! Arav Rajesh has written those poems with gravity of thought, empathy, social awareness and poetic maturity. 

Many noted authors and poets have appreciated Arav’s debut poetry collection. Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan commended Arav ‘for putting together, with meticulous details and keen observation, serious subjects that require consideration and reflection’. Noted filmmaker, poet and voice artist Vineet KKN Panchhi praises Arav because he ‘has touched upon the challenges of that section of society with whom he may be interacting frailly, yet his observations speak highly of his levels of empathy and sensitivity’. Management consultant and former member of the Planning Commission of India, Arun Maira, was impressed by Arav’s poems because ‘his words truly challenge the status quo and his deep observation on our societal challenges and issues are commendable’. Author, motivational speaker and thought leader Aparna Piramal Raje finds Arav Rajesh’s poetry ‘evocative and memorable’. 

Leading literary platforms and book review websites in India have also appreciated Arav for his emotionally appealing style and seriousness of the chosen themes. A critic writing about ‘Melodies of Society’ for Indian Book Critics opined that readers of Indian English poetry would appreciate ‘realistic, communicative, and expressive poems by Arav Rajesh’. Individual readers who have liked the poems have left their opinions on platforms like Goodreads and Amazon. The poetry collection is available on online shopping websites.

Stylistically, all the poems in the collection present a first-person point of view. The poet has tried to advocate for those who cannot voice their concerns. About writing his poems in first-person narrative, Arav says: 

“I often try to integrate an omniscient point of view with a first-person narrative.” 

While discussing his style of writing, ways of expressing his views, and choosing subjects, Arav believes that poetry is a continuous process. To further his understanding of poetry, he regularly reads works by other poets. In his own words: 

“Connecting with poetry is a continuous process of exploration, experimentation and reflection. As I learn, in a classroom or from reading others’ works of poetry, I find myself incorporating new techniques in my writing. Depending on the topic and overall narrative ideas, I see if a particular literary experiment satisfies my goals. This process continues with every subsequent poem, allowing me to keep expanding my poetic repertoire.” 

With the publication of ‘Melodies of Society’, Arav’s poetic exploration has just begun. He wishes to continue his journey. The young author believes poetry serves a multi-dimensional social purpose allowing us to reflect on current situations and related perspectives. Arav also concurs that critics and literary commentators play a vital role in the growth of any poet or author. He has welcomed the opinions, feedback and comments of literary critics on his work.

Besides writing poems, Arav likes analysing and discussing international relations and geo-political situations. He has participated actively in Model UN Conferences, winning many awards nationally. Presently, he serves as Secretary-General of the Model UN Club at his school. In future, Arav wishes to pursue Economics & English Literature in college.  

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