A K Ramanujan has written many poems and most of them never follow the traditional rules of writing a poem. ‘Extended Family’ is one of his poems of this category.

Extended Family’ is a poem written in couplets except one stanza. This poem like ‘Self Portrait’ deals with ‘loss of self-identity’ among generations, the absurdity of the poet’s life and his struggle to choose between himself and generations.

However the poem is neither tragic nor nostalgic, but humorous. He seeks to build a bridge between two spheres i.e., the dead and the unborn of his future generation. His intellect to use tender and simple words to create deliberate impact is evident in this poem too.


The poet would take bath everyday in chlorinated water, he says ‘dry chlorine water’ like (unlike) his grandfather who would take bath in River Ganges, a sacred river in India, and worshiped God. Here ‘dry chlorine water’ is a wordplay, as there is no water can be dry.

The poet compares ‘the naked Chicago bulb’, which he might see while bathing, to a ‘Vedic Sun’. He wipes out his wet body using an unwashed Turkish towel. Then he listens to ‘faint morning song’ like his mother.

He coyly plays some instrument like his daughter, holds peepee in hand like his son, plays with garden water pipes like his grandson and much more.

Eventually he feels he is born yet like his great grandson. His whole life seems not his and his future depends on the generations to come.

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