Saris and a Single Malt

Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

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3 stars

Thanks to Poetic Book Tours!

There is nothing like sorrow that can fill you up and truly define you. When we experience great loss, it is difficult for us to cope because how do we say what’s on our minds? How do we express how hurt our souls feel? And how do we say the words that declare the final goodbye?

“Was it your heart that betrayed you; or was it the people you sheltered

who broke your heart?”

This is what the poetry collection “Saris and a Single Malt” by Sweta Srivastava Vikram is about, and it is beautifully written. Furthermore, the piece is an autobiographical account of her own loss – losing her mother and flying from New York to India in order to reach her before it is too late. The poems were written during 36 hours of traveling, and what couldn’t be said orally was said through the writing pen.

When I read the poetry collection I was chocked how “easy” it was for the author to write about universal feelings that everyone goes through, when someone dies; the hurt, the pain, the denial, the anger and the “what-if’s”.

I really liked reading the poetry, but due to the theme, there is not much variety. However, there is no doubt that the author truly captures different feelings in relation to loss, sorrow and love. It’s amazing to see how much she manages to write with such deep meaning, when she ironically says that loss cannot be defined entirely.

The language is easy to read and simple, but yet filled with a deep meaning, plus a great use of symbolism and metaphors, which makes the reader reflect – it’s as if I could almost feel her pain my own chest. Death is one peculiar thing and you always think that you will be ready to deal with whatever happens, but sometimes it leaves you numb, like you are a shell of yourself and that your soul has vanished. That is what death does. It makes you wonder about what you could have done, what you should have done, if you should have done things differently or if you need to start with the change right now.

“I scrub the house clean, scrape the insides of many bowls,

make chutney out of mint and cilantro,

run a load of dirty laundry;

but nothing washes away images of you

tied to tubes in the hospital.

I press my palms to my lips:

I don’t want to own this poem.

I don’t want to write this poem.

But loss has a mind of its own.

To survive, I must write”


It is always interesting for me to read poetry because it gives you a great insight of a certain situation in life or an emotional state someone goes through. It is very easy to emphasize with the narrator and it leaves you with a melancholic feeling, so when you leave the last page of the poetry collection, you are not ready to let go – let it last a bit longer. Just a bit.

Like everything has its final say, there are no words can define the feelings of loss, but Sweta Srivastava Vikram has tried and succeeded. Her poems are beautiful, tragic and sad, and touch every reader that lays his or her eyes on it.

“It’s in our silence that you hear goodbye

It’s in our tears that you see the marks your absence left behind”

6 thoughts on “Saris and a Single Malt

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