The Frog and the Nightingale

Dear Class IX

Here is a new something for you. First, just so you get an idea of the man, here’s Vikram Seth reading other poems:

Second, here’s the sound made by a frog. I know it’s a familiar sound, but I wanted you to hear both the nightingale and the frog for an instant comparison. I don’t particularly dislike it, do you? Actually, a chorus of frogs croaking in the monsoon is one of my favourite night sounds. In this poem, however, the poet is using each animal as a symbol. Of what, would you say?

Third, here are two good renderings of the nightingale’s song. Don’t miss the versatility and range of the sound produced by this little grey bird. Quite a contrast with poor bull-froggy above!

Just think, in a popularity or music contest with these two entrants only – who would be the obvious winner? Next, can the frog make up for its obvious lack of melody by being particularly obnoxious? Is that the way of the big bad world – where talent and innocence is defeated by greed and jealousy? Does it make you think of any industry in particular?
Now, you should silently read the poem yourself. While reading, note down your thoughts, ideas and questions that arise. This is the most important part of the lesson. If you have any doubts about word-meanings, you may consult this Pictorial Dictionary I’ve made specially for you.

Sanjukta Sivakumar

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