On the occasion of Women’s Day, here is some food for thought.
Originally posted on Drifting Through My Open Mind:
On the occasion of Women’s Day, here is some food for thought.
Originally posted on Drifting Through My Open Mind:
In quite a few memoirs of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, we are treated to an exquisite insight into the way the long arm of the law works.
One is not referring here to the stern looking beaks who sit in a Court of Law, eyeing Bertie Wooster or any of his friends censoriously over their well-polished pince-nez while dishing out sentences without the option.
Instead, one alludes here to the humble constabulary which ensures that the laws in force are rigorously implemented without a flaw on their personal reputation and character. While tracking down criminals, they spare no effort. It is their upright and proper conduct which upholds the might of the Law. They are invariably meticulous in their approach. They show due respect to the gentler sex, unless they have direct evidence to the contrary. Even defaulters of the canine kind do not escape their fury.
When it comes to Plumsville, they play pivotal roles in many a narrative. Here are some which readily spring to one’s mind.
In The Mating Season, we get introduced to constable Ernest Dobbs who is a sleepless guardian of the peace of King’s Deverill. His face looks as if it has been carved out of some hard kind of wood by a sculptor who had studied at a correspondence school and had never progressed beyond lesson three.
In the discharge of his duties he does not hesitate to arrest dogs like Sam Goldwyn who lose no opportunity of sniping at him and are a menace to society in general. Just before he can catch Gussie Fink-Nottle who has set Sam free from custody, Jeeves coshes him, making him feel as if he has been struck by a thunderbolt. This somehow changes his spiritual outlook on life.
When he comes calling later at Deverill Hall on an unpleasant errand – to arrest Gussie who is impersonating as Bertie – he first asks Rev. Sidney Pirbright if he can start singing in the village choir. In turn this leads to the romantic rift between him and the maid Queenie getting healed. A kissing scene follows, and the cop is quick to apologize for his naked display of emotion. He then proceeds to decline a sandwich or two, because he believes that when a policeman is on an unpleasant errand, he is expected to lay off the vitamins.
Jeeves gives Gussie an alibi, making Catsmeat take the rap instead in the crime of having abstracted a property of the Crown – to wit, a dog. As luck would have it, Catsmeat happens to be the would-be brother-in-law of Esmond Haddock, the local Justice of Peace. Haddock loses no time in telling Dobbs how slender the evidence against Catsmeat happens to be.
A country policeman surely knows what happens when you get in wrong with Justices of Peace. Also, being in love himself, he is gently persuaded not to throw a spanner in the happiness works of Catsmeat and Gertrude. He allows himself to be dismissed without a stain on his character. Once off duty, he promptly proceeds to the kitchen, so as to resume his romantic parley with Queenie.
Ring for Jeeves brings in an elderly Colonel Aubrey Wyvern, Chief Constable of the County of Southmoltonshire. His daughter Jill is affianced to Bill, the ninth Earl of Rowcester. He is short and stout and is none too happy about the quality of butlers and cooks these days. He is called upon to solve the mystery of the missing pendant of Mrs Spottsworth, a guest at Rowcester.
While conducting his investigation, he declines to listen to the Derby on the radio, lest it interfere with his work. The main suspect happens to be Captain Biggar who happens to have merely ‘borrowed’ it for a day, as security for a gamble but then eventually decided not to do so. The pendant gets duly ‘discovered’, thereby rendering his investigation null and void.
Once Jill is heart-broken, having found Lord Rowcester (Bill) coming out of Mrs Spottsworth’s room at two o’ clock in the morning in mauve pyjamas. The Chief Constable decides to whip Bill for his misdemeanors. Upon finding his own horse whip missing, he decides to walk over to Rowcester Abbey and borrow Bill’s own whip so as to complete his mission! Luckily for Bill, by the time he arrives, Jill realizes her mistake and the lovers have already reunited.
In The Code of the Woosters, we get to meet Eustace Oates. He has his own methods when it comes to solving crimes. First thing, he tries to unravel the motive. He then finds out who had the opportunity of committing the crime under investigation. Once he has a list of suspects, he starts looking for clues.
When it comes to his own helmet getting pinched, suspect number one happens to be Stephanie Byng who believes her dog Bartholomew has been teased by the constable. The helmet eventually gets traced in a flower bed below Bertie Wooster’s window. In order to ensure that he does not escape the premises, the constable is made to keep patrolling below the window.
Eventually, thanks to the magic of the word ‘Eulalie’, Jeeves persuades Roderick Spode to take the rap instead. Even though Bertie is off the hook, Sir Watkyn Bassett forgets to ask Oates to stop his vigil. Thus, the poor constable continues to prowl in the rain, providing Bertie with a curiously mellowing sense of happiness.
Joy in the Morning has Stilton Cheesewright playing the vigilant guardian of the peace. He is not one of our eight-hour slumberers. He is always up and doing, working while others sleep. He believes that Bertie is out to outmaneuver him when it comes to winning the affections of the star male-reformer Florence Craye.
Bertie is accused of pinching his uniform so as to be able to participate in a fancy dress ball. Uncle Percy, the Justice of Peace, needs Bertie’s support in standing up to his formidable spouse (Aunt Agatha, who else!) to provide an alibi for him to have spent a night away from his living quarters at Steeple Bumpleigh. Jeeves lays the blame instead at the doorstep of Master Edwin who has a motive in Bertie in taking the rap.
Uncle Percy refuses to sign the warrant against Bertie. In fact, he goes a step further in ticking off the cop. He laments a deplorable spirit creeping into the Force – that of forgetting their sacred obligations and bringing up wild and irresponsible accusations in a selfish desire to secure promotion.
This revolting exhibition of fraud and skullduggery makes Stilton decide to resign from the Force, thereby restoring the romantic relations between him and Florence. As a result, Bertie yet again escapes the prospect of a saunter down the aisle and returns to the metropolis a free bird.
Jeeves and the Kid Clementina (Very Good, Jeeves) introduces us to a cop who creeps behind Bertie Wooster just when he is perched on a tree and is planning to drop a flower plot through the roof of the green-house of a convent presided over by Miss Mapleton, the female lion-tamer. Roberta Wickham had suggested this diversionary tactic so that her cousin Clementina, who was A.W.O.L. from her school, could ooze back unnoticed into the premises.
Thanks to Jeeves, the constable is ticked off by Miss Mapleton for having bungled the courageous attempts of Bertie to ward off some imaginary miscreants by climbing onto the tree. When the flower-pot does fall through, he is promptly dismissed and packed off on his errand of duty so he has another opportunity to justify his existence. This way, the rates and taxes paid by the common public do not get squandered.
In Plumsville, the cops are not expected to resolve the kind of crimes which might make the Scotland Yard interested in their investigative skills. When pitted against the inimitable Jeeves, the hapless rozzers have a slim chance of cracking a case. Even if they happen to do so, their paths are strewn with Justices of Peace who have ideas of their own.
Nevertheless, they continue to regale us with their exploits. Their integrity is indeed praiseworthy. Come rain or sunshine, they perform their duties with utmost dedication. Romance might sway them somewhat at times but never does it detract them from their duties. Nor do ham sandwiches. Derby is not of much interest to them. Even if an offence has been committed by a canine of an unfavorable disposition towards the men of the Force, they do not hesitate to work with exemplary diligence.
Generally, what they lack in height is more than compensated by their rotundity. A stern gaze and an authoritative demeanor is their hallmark. Their ‘Ho!’s, ‘Ha!’s and snorts often carry a sinister ring, making an ordinary citizen shuffle his feet and feel diffident. To the bold and the beautiful amongst the citizenry, their shining helmets provide an allure which is often irresistible.
The thoroughness with which the gendarme get portrayed is typical of the manner in which P G Wodehouse etches out his characters from diverse fields of life. Through the conduct of the Justices of Peace, he brings out the eccentricities of the upper echelons of the social order of his times.
Originally posted on Thought Catalog:
2. Begin your meditation habit. Today. Just five minutes of observing what kind of thoughts shoot through your brain all day. They always leave their mark…
3. Journal your experience. You may find you are being surprisingly hard on yourself. Most people are.
4. Practice mindfulness. Keep coming back to now. Remember that worrying about the future and ruminating about the past make you more miserable than you already may be and do nothing to support you. This habit may take a lifetime to break but every step in the right direction will be worthwhile. Here is a Ted talk about the basics of meditation and mindfulness.
As you read this, possibly with a steaming cup of coffee by your side and soothing music playing in the background, little do you realize the kind of miracle you and I represent.
One, we both are uniquely configured. As a physical body, we stand alone. As mental beings, we carry a unique set of beliefs and value systems which define our thoughts, actions and words. As psychic beings, we carry the baggage of all our habits and prejudices acquired during all our previous births, as also the ones freshly added from this one. Unknown to us, these determine the frame of reference we have in this life time. This in turn determines the perspective we have on whatever we encounter in life.
Two, we have been singularly lucky. All our ancestors were successful in finding a soul mate and ended up furthering the process of procreation. Whether it was a random outcome of Cupid’s arrows or a decision which was governed by social norms prevailing then, we may not know. We ourselves are the veritable proof that we have appeared after a long drawn out series of successful reproductive endeavors of our ancestors.
Three, a million years back, even the most prescient of magicians could not have forecast that we would eventually evolve into a species known as Homo Sapiens. When it came to evolution, we have repeatedly enjoyed biological benevolence and good fortune. In the process, what an amazing transformation we have gone through! We were possibly the first organism to have been bombarded on earth by a meteoric shower originating from Mars. From a single cell structure, we have today become a highly sophisticated machinery which willy-nilly is aware of its own existence.
In the interim, we have undergone repeated transformations. We have never been attached to a particular type, shape, color or size for too long. We first developed a liking for oxygen. We then frolicked about in the deep oceans, before trying to rule land in various forms. We bore our way underground and climbed on trees. We took wings and enjoyed the freedom of mobility, often backed by a highly effective GPS.
We became as big as a zebra or an elephant and as small as a lizard or a rat. We attempted several hissing and slithering forms and showed exemplary flexibility in adapting to newer challenges from the environment. From bonobos and apes to Homo Sapiens has been a logical jump for us, and we know that we have indeed arrived.
We now roam about all corners of the universe. We keep messing up the fragile environment we have been gifted with. We have possibly come to believe that the journey of evolution is over. We think we can now rest on our laurels and remain content with inventing newer and better means to destroy ourselves.
Well, past experience does not support this line of thought. We are apparently on a journey the destination of which is still far away. The forces of nature are inexorably leading us towards further evolution, possibly into a kind of species which would be far more sophisticated and intelligent than we can presently imagine.
Sure enough, the seeds of our appearance and growth had been present amongst bonobos and other primates. Likewise, the seeds of the species to come must already be within us. More significantly, we do not have a choice but to ascend to higher planes of consciousness and physical perfection. The life force which has propelled us so far shall continue to do so in the times to come.
Let us consider this hypothesis further. What would be the salient characteristics of the next level of our species?
We might take a leap beyond logic. Intuitive powers may dominate our day-to-day living. We might become more aware of our souls and simply enjoy the bliss of pure and benign thoughts, leading to that elusive glow of inner happiness and an all-pervading joy. Our dependence on outer sources and gadgets for our happiness may see a disruptive reduction, thereby freeing us from the incessant flow of our desires, as at present.
Our capacity to absorb knowledge may multiply manifold. The physical body might become much stronger and also capable of healing itself. A specialist may be able to ‘treat’ us in a distance mode and maintain our well-being. Visits to health centers may become less frequent, except in cases where organ replacements become essential.
Changes in our biological systems may come about. Our psychic powers may get more refined. May be, we shall become so evolved as to be less dependent on our sensory perceptions. We might be able to converse with each other without having to speak. We might be able to intuitively know how the other person is feeling and tailor our response and behavior accordingly. In other words, languages may start becoming extinct.
In evolving further, we are bound to face challenges. But the incessant process of evolution itself might present the solutions we shall need – not only to survive but to do even better. The struggle of the good ones amongst us to out-survive the bad ones shall continue forever. As we evolve further, the need for a spiritual outlook shall only grow.
As the miracle unfolds in the centuries to follow, our heads shall bow in reverence to the mighty and inexorable forces of nature and nurture which continue propelling us on the highway of evolution. On our part, a focus on spiritual practices might hasten the process.
(Grateful acknowledgements are due to a spiritually evolved guide, friend and philosopher; paintings courtesy M F Hussain and Huta.)
Here is a treasure trove of movies we need to catch up on!
Originally posted on Flavorwire:
If you are a Plum fan and wish to delve deeper into the psychology of the individual, Plumtopia is the site to head to!
Originally posted on Plumtopia: The world of P.G. Wodehouse:
Psmith and Eve Halliday in ‘Leave it to Psmith’
Rupert (or Ronald) Psmith was one of P. G. Wodehouse’s earliest heroes. He made his memorable first appearance in 1908 in a school story serialised in The Captain as ‘The Lost Lambs’, better known to many readers under the 1953 title ‘Mike and Psmith’. Alongside his bosom school chum Mike Jackson, Psmith (the P is silent as in pshrimp) made a successful transition from school stories to adult fiction in two further novels – ‘Psmith in the City’ (1910) and ‘Psmith Journalist’ (1915), before his final appearance in ‘Leave it to Psmith’ (1923).
Come Valentine’s Day and the air is fragrant with thoughts of love, caring and compassion. The movie buffs amongst us are literally spoiled for choice. For example, we can catch up on one of the breezy romcoms, like 50 First Dates (2004, Peter Segal), Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008, A Match Made by God, Aditya Chopra), No Strings Attached (2011, Ivan Reitman) or Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013, Crazy Youth, Ayan Mukerji).
Or, we can delve into our personal collections and rediscover classics such as Gone With the Wind (1939, Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood), Mughal-e-Aazam (1960, K Asif, The Emporer of the Mughals), The Sound of Music (1965, Robert Wise) or Guide (1965, Vijay Anand).
We also have the choice of curling up on a love couch and savoring romantic escapades of the mature and ripe kind. Here are some movies which are some of my personal favorites in this category.
The romance between Dr Yuri Zhivago and Lara Antipov has an ageless quality about it. The underlying message appears to be that true love does not amount to a bondage; on the contrary, it means letting go. (1965, David Lean)
Anubhav and Avishkaar
Basu Bhattacharya gave us a unique insight into life of couples who are married for about seven years. The relationship has turned stale, devoid of any spark and zing.
Anubhav saw the arrival of a college time friend of the heroine leading to the romantic flame getting reignited. The care the heroine took of the hero when he falls sick and is confined to bed for some time also helps. (1971, Experience)
Avishkaar had the couple reminiscing about their college romance, when they would meet – all decked up to impress each other – for limited hours. They realize that a 24 by 7 exposure in married life has resulted into their taking each other for granted. Romance gets rekindled. (1974, Invention)
When political ambitions of a wife need to be reconciled with the need for togetherness and love, a way forward is eventually found, reuniting the couple in a rather unconventional way. (1975, Storm, Gulzar)
The rehabilitation of a victim of rape with loads of love and affection provided by a caring husband make this one unique in more ways than one. (1978, Home, Manik Chatterjee)
The versatile Ashok Kumar and the effervescent Pearl Padamsee come together in old age, complimenting each other’s needs. How their grown up children get reconciled to each other and eventually get united in face of adversity forms the rest of the plot. (1978, Basu Chatterjee)
The couple’s yearning for each other’s company, when separated due to family obligations, could not have been essayed more poignantly. When children turn out to be unreasonable and insensitive, the couple chooses to live together independently. (2003, The Gardener, Ravi Chopra)
Pyaar Mein Twist
Invoking the on-screen chemistry of the lead pair in their younger days in the hugely successful Bobby (1973, Raj Kapoor), this movie saw them battling opposition from within their respective families to live together. (2005, Karan Kapoor)
Her upcoming marriage prompts a daughter to identify her father out of the three former lovers of her mother. Misunderstandings get clarified and a new beginning is made by the mother. Great music and lots of fun and frolic. (2008, Phyllida Lloyd)
The movie is all about deception, crime, suspense and passion. The senior pair epitomizes love on a platonic plane, backed by soulful poetry and intense gazes overflowing with mute passion. The junior pair is more intimate on the physical plane. However, it turns out that the women have other plans in mind. (2014, Lover Boys, Abhishek Chaubey)
A normal romantic flick usually ends up on a happy note. In Hollywood, either a natural disaster has just been faced or a misunderstanding between the couple has just got resolved. As the sun sets, the simpering beloved runs into the arms of the hero.
In Bollywood, the dashing hero has just clobbered a dozen or so goons who had evil ideas of their own. The police arrive, but only after the hero has had the chance to demonstrate his martial skills. The kingpin of the villains is promptly handcuffed and driven off to some unknown destination. As credits start rolling, we give up our willing suspension of disbelief and saunter off to some mundane task of life, happy in the firm belief that the couple would live happily thereafter.
The movies I have listed above are scripted differently. Some capture the post-matrimonial phase of a couple’s life. Some speak of the raw chemistry between men and women who discover each other in the mature phase of their lives. The trial and tribulations they go through, the compromises and adjustments they make and the manner in which they rediscover each other when at close quarters – these aspects have been etched out in some detail. Such movies do not fall in the candy floss variety of romance. Instead, these depict a genre of romance which is mature, ripe and deep.
This Valentine’s Day, take your pick.