Beastly Tales from Here and There by Vikram Seth – Part 2

So I’m finally back with the second half of my impressions on Beastly Tales from Here and There by Vikram Seth. Let me get right down to sharing my thoughts about the remaining five stories in this collection of poems by Vikram Seth.

The Hare and the Tortoise: Slow and steady wins the race is the one advise that most of us have heard at some point in our lives, especially when things are not going your way. But in Seth’s Beastly Tales, you get this wrapped up neatly in a cute storyline. And it ends in a way that you definitely will not expect. It’s a stunner of a poem.

The Cat and the Cock: This is the story of two unlikely friends (as most of the stories in this book are), and how one rescues the other from a stupid mistake. It’s a short fun-filled read that will leave you smiling at the end of it.

The Goat and the Ram: What happens when two friends are thrown out into the big bad world to fend for themselves? If they are the goat and the ram from Seth’s Beastly Tales, they will discover their street smarts and learn to survive in a cunning world.

The Frog and the Nightingale: To be honest, this was the least favourite of the poems. It’s a retelling of the story of a jealous frog and ‘perceived’ rival the nightingale.

The Elephant and the Tragopan: Oh, this is a work of genius. Seth has, with impeccable clarity, created a relatively long story in poetic lines. And how he did it, only he knows. Not one line or rhyme is out of sync. Not one thought or story line is out of place. And the theme he has chosen is nothing trivial – it’s about how we’re destroying the earth as we know it. It’s a strong theme, a strong story, and exceptionally strong characters – the elephant and tragopan – who move you, move through you and lead a movement that I found myself cheering on quietly, as the story ended. Beautiful.

Do read about the first five stories in the Beastly Tales from Here and There by Vikram Seth, in the part one of this series of posts that I had put up a few days ago, to get a good idea of this poet’s brilliance. And to experience it, do pick up the book. I promise you, it will take not more than 2 hours of your time, and yet, stay with you long after.


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