Ram Sudama

Creative Arts

My Background

This is the story of my creative life.

I was born in California just after World War II. My father was a US Naval officer, a decorated war veteran who survived the Battle of the Coral Sea and the sinking of the USS Yorktown at the Battle of Midway. My mother was from a family in Annapolis, MD, with a long line of relatives going back to the settlement of the Jamestown Colony. They met when my father was a midshipman at the Naval Academy. Much of my early life circled around the Navy, the Academy, and Annapolis, as well as my parents' extended families. Fundamentally, I was brought up on the water, since we always lived either directly on the waterfront or within a short distance of it. I spent my life exploring, swimming, boating, sailing, water skiing, fishing, crabbing, skating and all the other crazy things little boys do around the oceans, bays, rivers and creek that made up my playgrounds.

I was the youngest child with an older sister and brother. My sister (who now lives in San Francisco, has a doctorate in theology, and is a published author) was four years older than me, and she had gone off to do other things by the time I was through my early childhood. My brother (who still lives in Annapolis, and spent his career as an electrical engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory) was both my mentor and my nemesis. He was always concocting dangerous "experiments" that put us both in harm's way. Fortunately for me, he was usually the one who came to the most harm.

During my adolescence I was pretty shy and introverted, but my salvation was getting into music. I started out playing percussion (drums, timpani, marimba, etc.) in the Annapolis Junior High School Band, and through high school I continued in the concert band, the orchestra, the jazz band, the marching band, pit orchestras for numerous musicals, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and eventually my own professional groups. I went to competitions, won scholarships, studied at Peabody Conservatory, and basically laid the groundwork for a life-long interest in music of many sorts.

I also had a strong interest in literature and philosphy. I was accused by one of my English teachers of stealing existential ideas from Nietzsche, whom I had never heard of at the time. I started writing poetry, which I've continued off and on throughout my life as well. I went off to the Johns Hopkins University as a philosophy major, but I dropped philosophy after taking a course called "The Philosophy of Suicide", which just made me both bored and depressed. I discovered eastern religious philosophy on my own, however, and began reading numerous works on Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen. My senior thesis was on "The Influence of Zen Philosophy on American Literature". In my oral exam, my professor asked me, "What is the influence of Zen on American literature?" I said, "Nothing." Fortunately for me he had a good sense of humor (and perhaps a bit of the Bhodi Mind himself).

After graduating I went through a series of jobs including: road construction worker, ditch digger, social worker, carpenter, truck driver, machinist, furniture maker, teacher and counselor. All the while I was trying to make my way as a professional musican. I had taught myself the guitar by that time and was playing electric bass in a rock group when I moved to Boston. When that eventually fell apart I started building a recording studio, which I operated for some time, and then worked as a recording engineer for another (much more successful) studio on the outskirts of Boston.

My dreams of going deeper into eastern philosphy were answered when I came into contact with a Yoga master from India, and I spent the next 11 years living and learning in his company. We were instructed in all of the Yogic disciplines, most particularly in the philosphy of Patanjali and the other great Yogic traditions. I taught Yoga classes myself for many years, and studied both Sanskrit and Indian classical music. Yoga continues to be the basis for my life, although I recognize that very few people actually understand the depths of Yoga philosophy, or even that there is such a thing (other than bending and stretching).

And then I returned to the "real" world. I got married, divorced and re-married. I had three children, and now numerous delightful grand-children. I got into computer software design and development and discovered I had a real knack for doing things that other people valued. It led to a long career in product planning, software architecture, technology management, and many other things that took me all over the world and introduced me to many people. Along the way I designed and contributed to the developed of many, many dozens of software products, some of which you're probably using right now. It took me far from the path that I would have expected to take, but contributed in many ways to my personal development.

Now I am in a position to look more within. My wife and I have moved to a beautiful, natural environment on a small island off the coast of British Columbia. I have more time now to play music, build boats, design and carve, and generally explore various forms of self-expression. And I am looking to share some of what I am with others - which is why I have developed this site.