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Prandial Plaint - Vikram Seth

Happy Birthday Vikram Seth! I found this highly relatable little “prandial plaint” in a beautiful collection of Indian love poetry edited by Jerry Pinto and Arundhati Subramaniam called “Confronting Love”. Nestled between high romance and metaphors of broken hearts and jaded love, this trite table-talk that is at once witty, sarcastic and familiar made me laugh out loud. I love Vikram Seth. I remember reading “A suitable Boy” as a child, lugging it around everywhere, and being besotted by the characters and the way he used satire and description to comment on the politics and socio-cultural mileu of a changing India. I learnt so much from that novel. I remember being in awe of Seth for doing what I, in my childish fascination with the form of the sonnet, wanted to do myself - writing a narrative in verse, in sonnets, particularly (The Golden Gate).

He has the unique ability to address reality with intensity and sombreness, and at the same time, embrace frivolity and sarcasm, without being dismissive or callous. Seth plays with form, and has a knack for rhythmic flourishes and short, musical bursts of insight. His poem “All you who sleep tonight” has been shared on Poetly before, and has given solace to me during trying times, when I have felt alone and weak in the face of human suffering. Once again, it is an honour to share this world with you Mr. Seth, Poetly wishes you a birthday filled with love and creative fervour!

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