My dear Clarence

PGWodehouseWelcome to this wonderful world that you are born in,
Replete with natural beauty, heavens with stars twinkling;
Even though hatred, terror and dark forces too abound,
The innate goodness of human nature keeps us smiling.

You have chosen to be born into an illustrious family,
That too on a day on which your super-grandfather was born;
Many admirers of his continue to rejoice all over the world,
Many of his works do their bookshelves adorn.

You have brought great joy into the lives of your parents,
As you grow, you shall surely return their nurturing ways;
They plan to bring you up with lots of love and care,
Your innocent smiles and hugs shall brighten their days.

May Thos and Edwin never set the standards of your conduct,
May dousing fires with paraffin wax never come to your mind;
May you be humble, caring, never casting a supercilious gaze,
May thoughts of making butter slides you always leave behind.

May your intellect be always one up on that of Jeeves,
Your investigative skills as sharp as those of Baxter the efficient;
In culinary skills, may you surpass Anatole, in smartness, Psmith,
A heart that bleeds for its pals may also be sufficient.

May you never have an Aunt who forces her plans on you,
When settling down to a matrimonial bliss with a loving wife;
Candidature of a Florence or a Madeline you ought to avoid,
May you be the Little Bingo to the Rosie M Banks of your life.

May you acquire literary tastes early on in your life,
Start dishing out Plummy narratives without further delay;
Perhaps replacing telegrams with WhatsApp messages,
Since you may find it challenging to keep technology at bay.

On your slender shoulders you carry a mighty responsibility,
That of spreading cheer amongst the less fortunate ones;
Upholding the Code of the Woosters could be rather exciting,
The roses of your literary works may even silence the guns.

One wishes you a long and healthy life, full of laughter and love,
A sunny disposition to face the harsh slings and arrows of life;
A chin-up attitude, a song in the heart, a prayer on your lips,
Guardian Angels who fuss over you and protect you from many a strife.

(Note: Yours truly was recently given to understand that on the 15th of October, 2016, a baby boy of the next generation was born in the family of P G Wodehouse. The child has been named Clarence. This impromptu composition is addressed to him.)

Some residents of Plumsville might be interested in this news release from the Nordic branch of PBC, the Plum Broadcasting Corporation.


It is a well documented fact that the epidemic of Wodehousitis peaks at two times in a year. One, around the 15th of October, the day on which P G Wodehouse was born. Two, around the 14th of February, the day he decided to start regaling his Guardian Angels instead.

This is not to say that the epidemic is dormant during the rest of the year. It merely subsides a wee bit, popping up here and there, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, sex or ethnicity.

The medical fraternity continues to be clueless as to how to contain the dreaded epidemic. Researchers of all hues continue to be baffled at the unique kind of drug resistance displayed by those who suffer from Wodehousitis – they exhibit no desire to be rid of the affliction.

It is learnt from reliable sources that residents of Plumsville, a euphimistic term deployed to identify those suffering from acute Wodehousitis, could go to any lengths to celebrate their shared suffering from the dreaded affliction. To them, cultural, linguistic and continental barriers do not count. Man-made boundaries do not matter.

Take the case of one Morten Anersen from Norway and one Ashok Bhatia from India. On the 15th of October, 2016, the two decided to put their nose bags together and meet up at the Little England Tea Rooms (LETR) at Vollen in Norway.


It is understood that wide-ranging talks were held between the two on the occasion. The atmosphere was said to have been highly cordial and congenial. The couple running the show at LETR, Henning Edin Lyche and Liv Kjersti Lyche, when forewarned about the specific occasion being celebrated, revived the best of Drones Club traditions. British high tea was served with much enthusiasm and attention to detail.


The talks are said to have covered the following topics:

  • BREXIT: Whether Wodehouse, had he been around these days, would have approved of Brexit. The conjecture of the duo was in the negative.
  • The Technological Twist: Would he have continued churning out juicy narratives, with his trademark old world charm, replete with eccentric lords, super-intelligent butlers, domineering aunts, goofy females, woolly-headed bachelors, romantic cops and kids who could motivate even vicars to aspire to higher levels of spiritual upliftment? Especially, in this age of technology and the Internet of Things? The guess was in the affirmative. Probably, at best, telegrams might have got replaced by WhatsApp messages and phone calls by Skype or Viber calls.
  • Of dyspepsia, class distinctions and scarabs: Some ever fresh lessons from ‘Something Fresh‘ came up for discussion. Larsen Exercises, brisk walks and cold baths and the need to have a digestive system which keeps firing at all twelve cylinders, were mentioned with much enthusiasm. The socio-economic divide between Aline Peters and Joan Valentine, inter alia, came under the duo’s lens. The correlation between being a millionaire and being a collector of scarabs was discussed.
  • Real People and Real Books: Many facets of Wodehouse’s personality were discussed. The fact that he modelled his characters based on real life people was mentioned. So was the fact that books like ‘Types of Ethical Theory‘, once used by Florence Craye to attempt to uplift the intellectual leanings of Bertie Wooster, really did exist.
  • The Nietzsche Taboo: Surprise was expressed at the fact that Friedrich Nietzsche, held to be basically unsound by a person no less than Jeeves, was also born on the 15th of October, though the year of his birth was 1844. There were mutual confessions that Jeeves’ world was taken rather seriously. Hence, no attempts were likely to be made to read up any of Nietzsche’s works.
  • No darts, please: Out of respect for the excellent interior design of LETR, as well as for several other customers present, plans to throw some darts were deferred.
  • Potential members: It was noted with much regret that such eminent members as Geir Hasnes, Jo Ingebrigt Spalder, Jens Magne Andreassen, Oystein Moe and others could not join in the festivities.
  • Of 2017: It was hoped that a meeting planned some time in either April or May 2017 would attract better attention of Plum fans based in various parts of Norway. A strong need was felt for a local Jeeves who would be able to spare some time and coordinate the affair.


It is reliably learnt that Liv Kjersti Lyche, the delicately nurtured better-half of the owner of the place, a charming lady in the mould of Mrs Spottsworth, had spent some time during her teens in India, learning the art of dishing out piping hot samosas and chicken tikka sandwiches.

She also turned out to be a Plum fan, thereby adding some more sparkle and warmth to the proceedings. Another round of animated discussion is said to have followed, wherein ‘Laughing Gas‘ was merely one of the several works of Wodehouse which had popped up.


The meeting is said to have generated much laughter and camaraderie and reconfirmed the presence of Wodehousitis in the Nordic country which already boasts of more than 40 works of Plum translated into Norwegian. It also set a precedent of sorts in terms of achieving Gender Diversity for the Drones Club.


Vikings are believed to have had a stiff-upper-lip approach to life in the distant past. Gallows Humour is said to be a typical Scandinavian offering.

Folklore has it that the sense of humour of Indians also leaves much to be desired. If it has been there, perhaps it has been more of the loud and overt kind.

But goofy gatherings of the kind reported herein above indicate that those inhabiting Nordic and Asian regions of the world these days perhaps relish not only a chuckle or two but also a loud guffaw once in a while. Subtle humour of the Wodehousean kind appears to have gained currency in these regions.

One wonders if the Humour Quotient of Homo Sapiens tends to improve in tandem with their gradual evolution over a period of time. If so, sunnier days are ahead. Further research by anthropologists and historians is strongly recommended to validate this hypothesis.

The global per capita density of the epidemic of Wodehousitis also needs to be studied further.

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What ho! What ho!!

P G Wodehouse was born on the 15th of October, 1881. Every year, his fans celebrate his birth anniversary with traditional fervour and gaiety. This year was no exception.

Some went out and rummaged through book stores, virtual or otherwise, to buy yet another book of his. The idea was to try to fill in the gaping holes in their priceless collections. In keeping with the current trends, shelfies got clicked and shared over social media. Others simply curled up in bed and re-read for the n-th time a work of his, a tissue restorative on their side.

Some burrowed deep into his works and came up with some lesser known compositions of his. Some paid rich tributes by sharing other details about the author and his life. Yet others came up with juicy posts on the occasion.

Here are some of the posts the residents of Plumsville may relish, arranged in an alphabetic manner, as per their names.

Arunabha Sengupta

Honoria Glossop

Morten Arnesen

Ragini Sgh

Ancestors,forefathers, the whole clan
Woven into an exquisite web with élan,

Romantic exploits or schemes absurd
Beautifully penned, enriched by each word,

Mundane chatter or complicated plots
Skillfully tied in bouquets of forget me nots,

Whether it’s Gussie or Lord Emsworth
Their anecdotes bring warmth like a crackling hearth,

Aunt Dahlia’s exuberance or Uncle Tom’s generosity
Can be matched by Gally’s wit or Jeeves’s spontaneity,

The maudlin soppy Madeline often a pain
Her tear drops beautifully knitted in God’s Daisy chain,

Bertie’s simplicity and sheer goofiness
Always landing him in an inextricable mess,

But the master wields his pen with panache and ease
Sailing along like a will O wisp in the breeze,

A belated Happy Birthday to the inimitable P.G.W !

Shiva Kumar

I got a book, it came as a gift,
It picked me up, gave me a lift.

I’ll immerse myself in every page,
Go back in time, to a happier age.

I find myself a cosy nook,
Sit back, open my book.

Page one produces a broad smile,
I move on to two, and ponder awhile;

Page three draws from me a snort,
Someone’s already plotting a plot!

They are scheming like the dickens;
As I turn the pages, the plot thickens.

This devious planning is making me laugh,
I shake in my chair and almost fall off.

There’s a chap and there’s his butler,
There’s a planner and a plan scuttler.

Aunts pop in, here and there
Embellishing the story, as it were.

Telegrams fly, to and fro, thick and fast
I am thinking this is too good, will it last?

Page fifty, and I’m wiping the tears,
I haven’t laughed so much in years.

Is it me, rumbling with mirth,
Or just a tremor in the earth?

The book’s a riot, too funny to handle,
It’s become dark, I will need a candle

Night has fallen; I too fell, many times
Picked myself up, ignored the chimes

I’ll finish the book, come what may
I’ll try not to fall off again, I’ll stay.

I’m chuckling away into the night
When I finish the book it’s first light

Ah! I can happily get back to the old grind
After all I had a Plum to elevate the mind!

As a part of the global celebrations, two Wodehousean fans, hailing from two different continents, decided to meet up for a cosy chat over high tea in a British style quaint little restaurant in Norway. But more about that later.

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How fortunate we happen to be! If Plum had abandoned dishing out humorous escapades of all sizes and shapes, and instead turned to crime fiction, the universe we live in would have become so very listless and mirthless.

Here is yet another delectable post from Honoria Glossop.


Strand pagetPGW quoted this famous character from his third book up to his ninety-third and had a tremendous admiration for Arthur Conan Doyle.

N.T.P. Murphy, A Wodehouse Handbook

On the 15th of October, 1881, P.G. Wodehouse was born in Guildford , England.

Coincidentally, 1881 was also the year in which Dr. John Watson first met Sherlock Holmes. Their meeting was recounted by Arthur Conan Doyle in the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet (1887).

Some years later, the young Wodehouse became an avid reader of these stories, and his early work is littered with Holmesian references.  In The Adventure of the Split Infinitive , a 1902 short story published in ‘Public School Magazine’, Wodehouse sends Mr. Burdock Rose and his companion Dr. Wotsing to investigate a murder at St. Asterisk’s school.

“Anyone suspected?” I asked.

“I was coming to that. One of the Form, Vanderpoop by name, under…

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The gang of twenty-five wannabe managers, when it entered the not-so-hallowed precincts of the University Business School of Panjab University, Chandigarh in the year 1974, was clueless as to the effective use to which the power of music could be put to practice the art of managing people.

Much later in their careers, some members of the gang might have woken up to the immense potential of healthy musical practices when it came to surviving in the corporate jungle. Some would have soared higher whistling the tune that their bosses wanted to hear from them. Others would have become great leaders based on the results their teams produced, much like an orchestra gets led by a conductor to produce mellifluous symphonies.HIS MASTER’S VOICE

Some might have perfected the art of phasing out dissent from their team members by the sheer power of their vocal chords, not alike the way even soulful lyrics get drowned by loud music in some of our best movies these days. Others might have formed a Mutual Appreciation Team by bonding with like-minded colleagues, much like a group of star artistes who transcend man-made borders to come up with their own brand of fusion music.

When faced with a challenging task, an informal chat, especially when conducted in the presence of appropriate tissue restoratives, duly backed by some soothing music playing in the background, often helps.

Discovering the Music Society

Two members of the gang, however, stood out. Having spent much of their previous years in understanding and memorizing basic principles of Physics and Chemical Engineering, a course in business administration gave their grey cells some well-deserved breathing time. Soon, they discovered the presence of a Music Society on the campus. Prompted by another musical soul from the 1973-75 batch, they joined the music classes on offer.Chandigarh Music Society 7

One aspired to learn playing the sarangi, while another, yours truly, weakly attempted to master the art of playing a guitar. Friends and critics obviously had their doubts on the efficacy of our musical endeavours. Luckily, they are too busy with their own lives to continue to watch our progress with any interest whatsoever.Chandigarh Music Society 2

On a personal note

Allow me to digress a wee bit and divulge that since childhood, my parents had repeatedly failed in their attempts to get me trained in classical vocal music. Subsequently, a banjo was gifted, in the fond hope that I might make something out of it. Alas, that too was not to be. Since there was no Wodehousean kid character like Edwin around, using paraffin sprays to douse fires, the instrument never went up in flames. It merely got lost in the rapids of time.

Eventually, my parents gave up and resigned to my limited capability of belting out some movie songs at birthday parties and some social events.

The original singers of most of these compositions were such stalwarts as Hemant Kumar, Talat Mehmood, Rafi sahib and Kishore Kumar. Luckily enough, none of my attempts to copy them ever reached their ears. Had a calamity of that nature come about, they would still be found shuddering in their graves.

My crude attempts at singing were carefully planned at such locations where donkeys could not have ready access. This way, I avoided the risk of a bunch of them joining me in unison, overjoyed at having finally found a brother-in-notes amongst the Homo Sapiens.MBA 1976

Treks to Kasauli and nocturnal visits to Morni hills nearby provided several other opportunities for me to display my singular lack of vocal skills. I still admire the tenacity and politeness of some of my hapless batch mates who not only tolerated but also applauded such renderings.

The sound of musicChandigarh Music Society 5

The association with Music Society added some colour and spice to the otherwise staid life on the campus. The members were drawn from different departments of the University. During 1975-76, the group even decided to confer on yours truly the title of Chairman, though I still wonder what I had done to deserve the honour.Chandigarh Music Society 4

Two events readily spring to my memory. One was a grand cultural show, where Mrs. Bimla Paul, wife of the then Vice Chancellor of the University, accepted our invitation to be the Chief Guest. The show was named ‘Swar Gunjan’. It was held at the University Auditorium.Chandigarh Music Society 3

Some members performed a Tibetan Yak dance. My batch mate and I, more busy coordinating the back-stage gaffes and on-stage slip-ups, were part of a group which presented an instrumental version of an old song ‘Aayega aane wala…..’ from the movie ‘Mahal’.Chandigarh Music Society 1

Yet another highlight was a bloomer in the shape of a post-card handwritten invitation sent to the inimitable Amjad Ali Khan sahib, requesting him to play at the University. After some time, surely despite our invitation, he did come over to the city and performed at the auditorium of PGI, right opposite the University Campus. Needless to say, that was a veritable treat.Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

A tool for enriching our lives

Looking back, the key lesson was the importance of indulging in extra-curricular escapades in that unique phase of life. It broke the monotonous tyranny of a class room instruction. It came across as an instructive experience which broadened one’s mental horizons and provided one with a diverse group of people to interact with. One learnt the art of event management, a term which was not in vogue in those internet-less and smart-phone-less times.

One might not have learnt what exactly what one set out to learn, but the spin-offs have surely been a reward in themselves. Above all, a connection with music, howsoever tenuous, got reinforced.

Music is not only a food for the soul. It also nourishes our mind, cleansing it of all the negative toxins which dampen our performance. It enriches our lives in more ways than one. It helps us to have better interpersonal relations. It even helps budding managers and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals more efficiently!

(Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/the-class-of-1976-how-it-managed-to-get-suspended-for-a-week)

What ho!



Just a week to go for the birthday celebrations,

Some of you must be concluding your Plummy deliberations;

Whipping up some juicy anecdotes and posts,

Which can be read with much glee by the party hosts.

With doors shut, the brain firing on all twelve cylinders,

Time perhaps to pen down the life’s goofy blunders;

Creative juices sloshing about, a tissue restorative by your side,

Between us bosom pals, there is never a thing to hide.

There are no contests to be entered into, nor any prizes to be won,

Either with your brain or with your heart, just pen down a juicy one;

The soft inner glow of happiness is all that you would require,

A rainbow of adulation around your shoulders you will surely acquire.

(Relates post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/an-invitation-for-the-residents-of-plumsville)

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Oh, what a change I have witnessed in these seventy-one years,

Wars, acts of terror and news of genocides has reached my ears.


Sure enough, I miss fountain pens, LP records and telegrams,

Not to forget a cell-and-internet-free peaceful life, noisy cars and trams.


I have witnessed a man landing on the moon, a space mission to Mars,

Our country gaining independence, gaining control of the land we call ours.


I have contributed to building the nation in my own little way,

Drawing power channels which feed water to the fields with grains and hay.


I have seen shrinking TV sets and shorter global hauls,

Several generations passing by, sprouting glitzy malls and highway tolls.


Time sits lightly on my mind, has certainly made me smart and wise,

You can still lean on my strong shoulders, despite challenges that arise.


I continue to be young at heart, in me some inspiration you can find,

As always, my advice is practical, objective, frank and kind.


All of you are born in our humble and common family,

So you need not take this as an old man’s homily.


As you grow, the world will try and define boundaries on you,

Soar above these you must, sticking to your own convictions and view.


Boys, treat all the women you come across with the respect they deserve,

Once home, let go of your trousers and wear skirts once in a while and serve.


Girls, don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement, make your own track,

Use your own wisdom, balance your duties, break the glass ceilings that hold you back.


You are the only one who will face the consequences of your actions,

Be bold, be wise, follow the path of righteousness, never become part of sinister factions.


The family has evolved from religion to spirituality, given you rich values to live by,

Carry forward this legacy, let your material and spiritual growth touch the sky.


A day may come when you may get to live on a comet or on the Mars or the Moon,

Values and Dharma shall always support you, come a dark night or a blistering noon.

(Image courtesy http://www.freeimages.com)