KOCHI: "I liked to travel through villages and tribal areas," 'Chintha' Ravi once said in an interview. Perhaps it was his desire to experience first hand the varied struggles of the ordinary citizen that made K Ravindran, one of the most influential figures in Kerala's cultural and intellectual landscape, in the last few decades. Be it travelogues, criticism, filmmaking, journalism and writing, he cut his own distinct path in each field rooted firmly in an ethical philosophy."I never felt like writing about cities. Cities have a common nature. They are not the origins of a society or lifestyle. They are the places of immigrants and 'nomads'," he had noted once.
Born into a literally emancipated family in rustic Kannadikkal, Kozhikode, he had in fact begun his travels into the lives of distant people long before he could think of writing a travelogue.
"Books, and the friendships related thereof" had moulded his thoughts that culminated in reams of writing. Although he was not too politically active during his school and college days,
Ravindran's association with reading rooms and libraries with Leftist leanings led him to the path of discussion and thought.
Starting his sojourn into literature with 'Athiranippookkal' a children's bookpublished by National Book Stall as a predegree student, he rose to be the guiding light of popular publications of such as 'Searchlight', 'Chintha' and 'Kalakaumudi'.While he began his professional writing career with 'Searchlight' where cinema was a specific subject of his words, his tryst with 'Chintha' publications took him closer to Marxian philosophy while working on EMS
Nampoothiripad's 'Marxism: Oru Padapusthakam'.
Moving on to 'Chintha', he was instrumental in giving a makeover to the CPM organ. In his own words, after his interventions, it became 'readable'.
His association with 'Kalakaumudi' led him to the world of travelogues with "Ente Yathrakal".
During his formative years, involvement in literary movements brought about by the formation of the 'Sahitya Samithi' and the organisation of the 'Sarga Samvadam' series in Calicut University were highly influential in his evolution as a thinker.
The definitive turning point in his life came during his life in Mumbai as a journalism student when the waves of student movement the world over influenced Ravindran to shift from fiction to serious and political literature.