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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Vikram Seth's book on fables for children in new illustration

PTI  New Delhi, March 25, 2013
First Published: 13:35 IST(25/3/2013) | Last Updated: 13:39 IST(25/3/2013)

Animal fables, like the greedy crocodile who was outwitted by a monkey or the steady tortoise who out-ran the hare, in verse form, penned by Vikram Seth has now acquired a new form through a new illustrated version.

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First published in 1991, the book "Beastly Tales from Here and There," has been refashioned with new illustrations by Prabha Mallya.

"I never thought I'd write a novel in verse. It was the inspiration from Pushkin that led me to writing verses. I took as a template, his meter and writing structure" said Seth who was here to participate at the Spring Fever Festival.

The illustrator, Prabha said, "It was the most amazing experience of my life as I got to get into the mind of these animals... but at the same time, I don't want them to lose their general animal qualities so they walk around (in the book) and have the kind of emotion in their eyes which I have tried to put across".

"I have tried to illustrate things that are about to happen, like, key moments when the hare is not about to win the race or things that show the character of these animals. We all were looking for something like a watercolour approach and thin lines and something which is not too bold, basically a gentle Zen kind of treatment," said the young illustrator.

The book of fables in poetry form according to Seth have been gathered from India, China, Greece, Ukraine as well as the "The Land of Gup", a magical country in Seth's imagination where ambitious frogs, wise elephants and other such creatures live.

Explaining his entry into writing, Seth said, "My mother who was a Judge had a government accommodation in central Delhi and there it used to be very hot especially during summers. So while trying to cool off myself from the scorching heat, the idea of writing came into my mind and led to the 'The Crocodile and the Monkey' followed by others."


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