Vikram Seth Quotes
“But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they're bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they're good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch.”
“You can't blame her,' said Amit. 'After a life so full of tragedy anyone would become hard.'
'What tragedy?' asked Mrs. Chatterji.
'Well, when she was four,' said Amit, 'her mother slapped her--it was quite traumatic--and then things went on in that vein. When she was twelve she came in second in an exam...It hardens you.”
“She was quite pretty too in those days; indeed, perhaps she still was. But for some reason none of her boyfriends remained boyfriends for long. She had a very decided personality and fairly soon took to telling them what they should do with their lives and studies and work. She began to mother them or perhaps brother them (since she was something of a tomboy) - and this sooner or later took the edge off their romantic excitement. They even began to find her vivacity over-powering, and sooner or later edged away from her - with guilt on their side and pain on hers. This was a great pity, for Kalpana Gaur was a lively, affectionate, and intelligent woman, and deserved some recompense for the help and happiness she gave others”
“The Fever Bird
The fever bird sand out last night.
I could not sleep, try as I might.
My brain was split, my spirit raw.
I looked into the garden, saw
The shadow of the amaltas
Shake slightly on the moonlit grass
Unseen, the bird cried out its grief,
Its lunacy, without relief:
Three notes repeated closer, higher,
Soaring, then sinking down like fire
Only to breathe the night and soar,
As crazed, as desperate, as before.
I shivered in the midnight heat
And smelt the sweat that soaked my sheet.
And now tonight I hear again
The call that skewers though my brain,
The call, the brain-sick triple note--
A cone of pain stuck inits throat.
I am so tired I could weep.
Mad bird, for God's sake let me sleep
Why do you cry like one possessed?
When will you rest? When will you rest?
Why wait each night till all but I
Lie sleeping in the house, then cry?
Why do you scream into my ear
What no one else but I can hear?”
“She had dispersed. She was the garden at Prem Nivas (soon to be entered into the annual Flower Show), she was Veena's love of music, Pran's asthma, Maan's generosity, the survival of some refugees four years ago, the neem leaves that would preserve quilts stored in the great zinc trunks of Prem Nivas, the moulting feather of some pond-heron, a small unrung brass bell, the memory of decency in an indecent time, the temperament of Bhaskar's great-grandchildren. Indeed, for all the Minsisster of Revenue's impatience with her, she was his regret.
And it was right that she should continue to be so, for he should have treated her better while she lived, the poor, ignorant, grieving fool.”
“But I was her first love, as she was mine. Nor have I ever been in love since. But then I have never fallen out of love with her – with her, I suppose, as she then was, or as I grew afterwards to realize or imagine she had been. What is she now, who is she now? Am I with such inane fidelity fixated on someone who could have utterly changed (but could she have? could she really have changed so much?), who could have grown to hate me for leaving her, who could have forgotten me or learned deliberately to expunge me from her mind. How many seconds or weeks after seeing me…did I survive her thoughts?”
“A Word Of Thanks
To these I know a debt past telling:
My several muses, harsh and kind;
My folks, who stood my sulks and yelling,
And (in the long run) did not mind;
Dead legislators, whose orations
I've filched to mix my own potations;
Indeed, all those whose brains I've pressed,
Unmerciful, because obsessed;
My own dumb soul, which on a pittance
Survived to weave this fictive spell;
And, gentle reader, you as well,
The fountainhead of all remittance.
Buy me before good sense insists
You'll strain your purse and sprain your wrists.”
- Date of birth: June 20, 1952
- Born: in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, India.
- Description: Vikram Seth is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, children's writer, biographer and memoirist.
During the course of his doctorate studies at Stanford, he did his field work in China and translated Hindi and Chinese poetry into English. He returned to Delhi via Xinjiang and Tibet which led to a travel narrative From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983) which won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.
The Golden Gate: A Novel in Verse (1986) was his first novel describing the experiences of a group of friends who live in California. A Suitable Boy (1993), an epic of Indian life set in the 1950s, got him the WH Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize.
His poetry includes The Humble Administrator's Garden (1985) and All You Who Sleep Tonight (1990). His Beastly Tales from Here and There (1992) is children's book consisting of ten stories in verse about animals.
In 2005, he published Two Lives, a family memoir written at the suggestion of his mother, which focuses on the lives of his great-uncle (Shanti Behari Seth) and German-Jewish great aunt (Henny Caro) who met in Berlin in the early 1930s while Shanti was a student there and with whom Seth stayed extensively on going to England at age 17 for school. As with From Heaven Lake, Two Lives contains much autobiography.
An unusually forthcoming writer whose published material is replete with un- or thinly-disguised details as to the personal lives of himself and his intimates related in a highly engaging narrative voice, Seth has said that he is somewhat perplexed that his readers often in consequence presume to an unwelcome degree of personal familiarity with him.