He has already given us the The Suitable Boy, and now everyone’s waiting for author Vikram Seth’s to define The Suitable Girl for us. But first he wants to dig into Delhi’s quintessential ‘chhole bhature’.
On a visit to the capital to launch his latest book The Rivered Earth, the celebrated 59-year-old author couldn’t wait to dig into the deep fried delicacy. “I simply love chhole bhature in Delhi. As a kid, I stayed in Rajaji Marg with my family and I have really fond memories of the city,” he says.
We caught up with him at the Penguin Spring Fever festival in the capital and he had lots to say about everything under the sun, including the budget. “I haven’t yet taken full stock of the Union budget but I did follow the rail budget closely and it turned out to be really funny with such drama involved,” he says.
The Rivered Earth is a series of libretti that he has written to be set into music by Alec Roth. He says that it has been a unique experience as “being a writer I am used to doing my own thing and I don’t usually work in cooperation. But I had enough time and it did work out perfectly.” The 120-pager took four years to be completed. The Suitable Girl, he reveals, is “slotted for a 2013 release.
“The Suitable Girl is set in the present so that readers can associate with it, especially women who have an important role to play in decision making policies and other crucial issues. In those days when my mother was a lawyer, women mostly took up teaching as a profession and some ventured into medicine. But I can’t imagine a woman today restricting herself from doing something because of gender,” he explains.
Seth has been an inspiration for many and has also played an important role in author Amitav Ghosh’s life. Ghosh who was his junior in Doon school had shown him his poems announcing that he wanted to be a poet. But Seth asked him to stick to prose and the rest is history. But ask Seth about it and he humbly says, “You never know because of me the world may have lost a good poet.”
Delving into gender issues, Seth appreciates the existence of an exclusive entertainment hub for LGBTs in the city. “It’s good that they have some space for themselves. But that shouldn’t make them feel excluded from the society of which they are an integral part,” he adds.