Archive for December, 2013

Santa Inc is an undisputed leader in the Happiness Industry, committed to spreadingSanta Elf_ornament cheer and hearty laughter all over the universe. With its headquarters at Island-222 on Kepler-22b, its top-line boasts of zillions of smiles and cheer all over.

With operations slated to increase at an annual compounded growth rate of 30%, it is on the look out for smart and tech-savvy elves who would be:

  • Able to demonstrate hi-tech toys and gizmos like smart phones, i-Pads, apps of all kinds, notebooks and fablets to the current generation of tiny tots.
  • Would assist Santa Claus in motivating kids to exchange their previous years’ gizmos with more conventional toys like dolls, train sets, racing cars, bikes and board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, etc., thereby reviving their interest in traditional means of entertainment.
  • Elves who charm TV and internet-addicted bleary-eyed kids into playing more of outdoor games and can wean them off junk foods can expect faster promotions and better recognition. Those who make it to the top five of this group of elves could enjoy special dinner sessions with the founder Santa Claus himself. 
  • Aspirants should have had value-based education in any discipline from any institute of repute, with a CGPA ranging between 5.01 and 5.99. The company encourages aspirants who score higher on their Emotional and Moral Quotients.
  • Preference will be given to those who have had at least five years’ hands-on experience in any of the following industries: FMCG, Hospitality, IT, Logistics, Packing & Forwarding, Animal Husbandry, Entertainment, Toys and Vehicle/Sleigh Maintenance.
  • Aspirants should be familiar with at least five languages out of the several which are spoken on the planet referred to as Earth. Knowledge of languages spoken on other planets is desirable.
  • Should be willing to travel anywhere in the universe at a short notice. Prior exposure to inter-galactic or inter-planetary travel would help.
  • An ideal elf would be one with a pleasing personality. He/she would be without any family encumbrances, and shall possess the ability to work under high-stress situations.
  • Candidature of those possessing a Good Conduct Certificate from Rev. Aubrey Upjohn, Miss Tomlinson or Miss Mapleton shall be accorded higher priority.
  • Aspirants who have spent time with such Plumsville kids as Thos, Ogden Ford, Seabury, Edwin and Peggy Mainwaring are unlikely to be considered.
  • Prior experience in riding sleighs, sliding down chimneys and taking care of reindeers with care and compassion would be highly desirable.

Those interested in this exciting career opportunity are welcome to log on to hohoho.santaclaus.org and post their brief bios within fifteen Earth-days. Short-listed aspirants would be contacted by our Chief Elf Officer’s staff with further details of our screening process.

To those who are selected and decide to come on board, Santa Inc shall provide a three-month rigorous induction-cum-training program. A personal surety and bond of at least three years will need to be signed by those selected.

Canvassing in any form is strictly discouraged. Those making telephonic inquiries by calling up our Planetary Headquarters on Earth at its North Pole would run the risk of getting disqualified.

Santa Inc is an equal opportunity employer. Its remuneration packages compare favorably with the rest of the Happiness Industry anywhere in the universe.

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Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Santa asked us what he may bring us the next day.

We share with you the list which made him laugh aloud Ho Ho,

You may expand it, but please do not trim it, What ho!


We want to play with Poppet the dachshund who has a dislike for cats,

He would stop in his tracks, draw back his ears and drive away the gnats.

To play with Dog Bartholomew would be no less interesting,

Perhaps just to see the superior expression on his face vanishing.


Cat Augustus will perhaps become friends with us,

He may consent to doze off on our bed with us.

We hope a permission Lord Emsworth surely gives,

To visit the royal sty where the Empress lives.


Grand-uncle Tom we want to definitely meet in his study,

To offer him some advice on his cow creamer’s future safety.

Grand-aunt Dahlia may decide to treat us with Anatole’s meal,

While regaling us with stories of her Quorn and Pytchley zeal.

 Shalini Shankar Nov 2013

Bertie Uncle may tell us about the many cats left behind by a friend,

The prattle of our feet around him might cheer him up no end.

Uncle Jeeves must be ready with a few of his pick-me-ups,

So his master can perk up tomorrow and do some push ups.


All about stars and daisy chains Madeline Aunty will be happy to teach,

We shall hide our hot water bottles before Roberta Wickham Aunty can reach.

We request Santa to ensure the Reverend Aubrey Upjohn we never meet,

If we run into them, Miss Mapleton and Miss Tomlinson we shall definitely greet.


Never shall we become scouts, we merely promise doing a good turn to another,

For burning cottages or leaving guests marooned on islands we shall not bother.

Dear Santa, let the whole world enjoy a humorous time the whole of next year,

Basking in the sunlight of Plum Sir’s narratives, which alone we wish to hear.

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90th birthdayA mighty leader of men, creator of institutions smart,

Demanding perfection and results, yet compassionate at heart.


Praising us in public, impeccable results you always demanded,

When we goofed up, in privacy you ensured we were reprimanded.


The inimitable spring in your stride came from the sole,

The sprightly attitude to problem solving emanated from your soul.


Oh, what a transformation you have witnessed in these 90 years,

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


You may miss fountain pens, LP records and telegrams,

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


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

Time to network with the world but not connect with whom we call ours.


You have seen shrinking TV sets and shorter global hauls,

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


Time sits lightly on your mind and has certainly made you more wise,

We can still lean on your strong shoulders, despite challenges that arise.


You continue to be young at heart, in you inspiration we find, 

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


You are just short of ten to hit a century, surely a result of your positivity,

We all salute you, eager to learn more secrets of your longivity.

(In honor of a leading personality of the Indian Footwear Industry who turned 90 recently!)

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When a loved one suddenly falls sick, our first reaction is that of disbelief. Then comes denial.Caring Michelangelo's_Pieta Superior powers get questioned as to why they thought it fit to bestow the loved one with such a challenge. Gradually, acceptance dawns and one moulds the activities of one’s life around the new core of reality. The health challenge could be either an accident or a serious ailment or even a lifestyle disease which behaves like an unbidden guest who refuses to go away.

How does one manage a change of this nature? Well, here are seven habits which can be cultivated to transform a wide-eyed and bewildered soul into an effective Caregiver.

Communicating as per the Psychology of the Patient

There are patients who prefer to show off their illnesses to any and all who express concern. They would prefer to wear their ailments on their sleeves, much like a Chopard watch. Then there are those who would consider an illness a strictly private affair, not to be discussed even within their close circle of friends. Based on the category under which one’s loved one falls, a Caregiver would tailor his/her communication to those around accordingly.

When it comes to communicating with a patient, there could be occasions on which the Caregiver can choose to be a hypocrite. Even if the Caregiver harbors a seething anger and a burning anxiety within his/her bosom, it helps to maintain the sang froid, so to say. A calm exterior and a cheerful disposition on the Caregiver’s part radiates a youthful energy all around, thereby lessening the level of anxiety and the fear of the unknown felt by the loved one.

Expecting the Unexpected

Lifestyle diseases are silent killers. These tend to accelerate the ageing process. Since all organs of the body are interconnected, complications involving other vital organs of the body could start popping up at unexpected times. It surely helps to have a prognosis and a crisis handling plan in place so as to minimize the subsequent setbacks, if any.

Cultivating a Circle of Doctors

The leisurely days of having a single family doctor are no longer with us. Considering the prognosis of the disease, it helps to have a circle of three kinds of medical experts. A specialist who addresses the core sickness, a generalist who can advise on side effects of drugs and can take care of peripheral issues as and when these come up and a group of friendly doctors which can be counted upon to provide a second opinion and whose help can be invaluable in case of an emergency.     

Being Prepared for a Long Haul

Lifestyle diseases creep in on one rather quietly. Once these settle down in the body, it is notPatient Medicines easy to wish these away. Yes, a sustained effort supported by exercise, meditation, medication and a positive mindset do help to keep these under check. One therefore needs to be prepared for a long haul, needing a strong will power and perseverance, especially on the Caregiver’s part.

Mind over Matter

It is critical to ensure that the patient remains relaxed and happy. Thus, it is important to create a stress-free environment with as much fun and frolic thrown in as possible. Knowing what makes the person happy and arranging the same is of crucial importance. A Caregiver needs to be prepared to make sacrifices to give up his/her own beliefs and individual fancies to ensure that the patient remains in a positive frame of mind.

Advising Wisely

The worst thing a Caregiver can do is to compare the condition of the patient with that of another afflicted with the same disease. Each individual is uniquely configured. Even though the broad principle of a treatment may be the same, there could be many variations based on the individual condition and temperament of the patient.

Advice should be given only when it is sought. Unsolicited inputs end up confusing and demoralizing the patient. Heresy dressed up as wise counsel often comes in from those who come calling on the patient. A Caregiver’s role is that of a filter which ensures that the patient receives a feedback which is balanced and objective.

Taking Care of Oneself

A Caregiver cannot afford the luxury of being sick himself/herself! The primary responsibility Caring Michelangelo_pietà_rondaniniis to take care of oneself, so the support provided to the patient does not get diluted.

Such habits, if inculcated by the Caregiver consciously, can help the patient to recover faster and better.

Overall, an important issue is that of the will and faith of the patient. If the patient believes that all will be well, good health is quite likely to follow. Faith in the doctor, as also in the medicine being taken, can work wonders. The Caregiver’s primary task is to create and sustain this belief in a realistic manner.

Those of you who face a similar challenge in life may like to comment and add a few more habits which they find useful. 

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When a finer member of our species becomes the part of an all-men group, the results are obvious – better focus on the job at hand, a far more effective team, higher levels of decency and a groundswell of chivalrous overtures.

Chamaiporn Uerpairojkit

Chamaiporn Uerpairojkit

Better still, if she happens to be a CEO, we have a boardroom which is painted a deeper shade of pink, thereby driving away the boredom from the drab proceedings. We also have a crackling company which is more result-oriented and has better empathy while dealing with diverse stakeholders. We are also likely to get a greener and cleaner business entity which believes in corporate ethics and good governance.

In the Pink of Health

Several studies done in far-flung countries such as USA, France and Vietnam have shown that companies led by women deliver better financial results. A McKinsey study compared the top-quartile of companies in terms of share of women  in executive committees against companies that have all-male executive committees. It found that the former companies exceeded the latter by 41% in return on equity and by 56% in operating results.

Two studies have shown that companies with significant numbers of top women managers do better when compared to competitors in the same sector. The improved performance is in both in terms of such organizational aspects as innovation and accountability as also in terms of profit.

Wang Feng Ying

Wang Feng Ying

The tipping point is the key: At three members of the board, the benefits of women start to make a real difference. It appears that with that critical mass, female board members are more likely to come up with challenging questions and encourage the entire group to arrive at a more inclusive and better decision.

There are also studies which negate this view. The Credit Suisse Research Institute, acknowledging that it is hard to make sense of the many confusing and contradictory findings, came up with its own analysis. The study suggested that better performance by companies with female board members does not necessarily suggest that the women led to the stronger performance; it could also mean that companies that are financially successful tend to be more inclusive. Nevertheless, the authors concluded that “more balance on the board brings less volatility and more balance through the cycle.”

Eva Chen

Eva Chen

The Global Scenario

A Grant Thornton International Business Report released earlier this year concluded that 49 per cent of CEOs in Thailand are women, which is the highest proportion in the world. The global ratio was reported to be 24 per cent of senior management roles filled by women, up from 21 per cent in 2012 and 20 per cent in 2011.

In general, ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific regions are ahead of the global average with 32 and 29 percent female proportions, respectively. Vietnam and the Philippines are in the top 10, with 37 per cent of senior posts in the Philippines being held by women, down by two percentage points from 2012.

Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita

Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita

The G-7 economies appeared at the bottom of the league table with just 21 per cent of senior roles occupied by women. This compares to 28 per cent in the BRIC economies and a remarkable 40 per cent in the Baltic countries.

Japan was the worst performer with just 7 per cent of senior roles occupied by women. UK (19 per cent) and the USA (20 per cent) were reported to be within the bottom eight countries for women in senior management. In contrast, top of the table for women in senior management – not only CEOs – is China, with 51 per cent.

The report also revealed that proportion of women in senior positions depends on the sector under consideration. More than double the number of positions in the global healthcare sector was occupied by women than in construction or mining. The most popular top management position for women was reported to be chief financial officer, while chief information officer was the least.

If Thailand has Chamaiporn Uerpairojkit as a President of Henkel, Australia has Veronica Johns heading Fiat Chrysler’s operations down under. Di Humphries takes care of Pumpkin Patch in New Zealand, whereas Wang Feng Ying looks after the Great Wall Motor Company in China.

Eva Chen is the CEO of Trend Micro of Japan. Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita oversees the operations of Arcelor Mittal South Africa Limited.

Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala

Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala

Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala fusses over Group Modelo in Mexico.

Women on Top

Globally, women have made it to the top in diverse sectors of businesses, ranging from IT, FMCG, chemicals, social media and banking. According to a Deloitte study, women comprise 12.5 percent of board directors on ASX 200 companies in Australia. Fortune lists an impressive array of powerful women, globally as also in USA. Think Ginni Rometty of IBM, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Ellen Kullman of DuPont, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo and you get a part of the picture in USA alone.

The European Commission proposed new rules last year to require companies listed in EU countries with more than 250 workers to have 40 percent of women on their boards by 2020. But Germany and other EU countries resisted, arguing that rules should be set at the national level.

Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty

According to German media reports, women currently hold about 12 percent of corporate board seats. Among the 30 largest DAX companies, women have 101 of the 488 board seats, or 22 percent, according to the DSW, Germany’s largest association of private investors. Coalition compulsions have now made the Angela Merkel government to introduce a legislation that will require German firms to allot 30 per cent of their non-executive board seats to women from 2016.

Norway, which is not an EU member, imposed a 40 per cent quota in 2003, a target reached in 2009. Norwegian companies can be liquidated if they fail to reach the target. However, a recent study by two University of Michigan professors shows that a government mandated quota led to younger and less experienced boards, thereby putting the businesses to higher risk.

In UK, the Cranfield report came up with the assertion that women hold more than one in five (21.8%) of non-executive FTSE 100 posts but still only account for little over one in 17 (5.8%) executive roles. That means there are just 18 women executive directors in Britain’s top boardrooms, against 292 men. Perhaps more alarming still, the Cranfield study found, among the broader top management tier at FTSE 100 firms – the key decision-making groups, known as executive committee members – the representation of women had fallen dramatically, down from 18.1% in 2009 to 15.3% today.

Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi

Susan Vinnicombe, co-author of the Cranfield report, suggested this shrinking pool of top-flight women managers made it harder for progress to be made with chief executive and finance director appointments. “Despite women dominating the fields of human resources, law and marketing … [executive positions in the boardroom] are still going to men, who are being promoted internally over experienced female candidates.”

Annika Falkengren heads SEB, a Swedeish Bank. Angela Ahrendts takes care of Burberry in UK, while Jonella Ligresti oversees the operations of Fondiaria-SAI of Italy.

Wanted: Women Directors in India

In India, men make up 94.7 per cent of the boardroom. A survey conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) earlier this year, across Commonwealth countries, found that India has one of the lowest percentiles of women in senior management positions, second only to Pakistan among the countries surveyed. In many cases, even when women are present in the board, they usually tend to be “sleeping partners”.

Kalpana Morparia

Kalpana Morparia

With the new Companies Act coming in force in India, mandating women’s representation on boards, companies are searching far and wide for good candidates. Naina Lal Kidwai of HSBC, Kalpana Morparia of JP Morgan and  Renuka Ramnath of Multiples Alternate Asset Management are all busy running their own companies. It does not help that top women bankers like Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma cannot be tapped because RBI rules do not allow bank CEOs to be on the boards of other companies except by rare special permission.

The first woman to head the SBI in its 206 year old history, Arundhati Bhattacharya, recently made headlines by joining the elite group of women who control banks and financial outfits in India.

Mallika Srinivasan is a well-known thought leader and strategist, heading TAFE. Vinita Bali heads Britannia, whereas Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw steers Biocon. Roshni Nadar takes care of HCL Corporation. Debjani Ghosh heads Intel’s operations in South Asia.

Chanda Kochhar

Chanda Kochhar

One of the highly respected business groups from India, Tatas, is already on a gender-diversity overdrive. Falugni Nayar, Vishakha Mulye and Ireena Vittal have recently joined select companies of the group.

A case in point is that of ICICI Bank where winds of a subtle change are blowing. Chanda Kochhar is making the company transform its work culture from a stress-ridden one to a more relaxed one. She has drawn an internal road-map to make the bank a service-led and not a distribution-led organization. One of the key challenges the bank is handling is to tone down aggression without losing its USP of being a dynamic and result-oriented organization.

According to information available in the public domain, out of India’s top 100 listed companies, 34 do not have any women directors. Demand for proven, independent women who are well experienced in board service, possess the required domain or functional skill experience and fit the culture of a company far outstrips supply.

Mallika Srinivasan

Mallika Srinivasan

In India, gender diversity is more pronounced in the banking sector. By nature, men and women are not better bankers. The conditioning by society perhaps plays a more important role in shaping up women’s skills in money management. One, they carry the burden of balancing the household budget. Two, they tend to be thrifty because they have to manage the household affairs within the resources provided by the bread-winner of the family.

The Glass Ceiling of Corporate Frauds

A study reported in one of the recent issues of the American Sociological Review found that only 9 percent of people involved in high-level financial  corporate conspiracies are women. The study also shows that female criminals stole less than their male counterparts. The study proposes that this could be happening because men see women as less criminally competent.

However, according to a survey of nearly 1400 global fraud cases from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, at the lower levels, women

Roshni Nadar Malhotra

Roshni Nadar Malhotra

made up 45 percent of the culprits. But at all levels, women steal less than their men counterparts. The difference lay in that women do it for a specific reason or purpose, whereas men tend to do it for longer periods, more as a habit of sorts. Women are brought up with an ‘ethic of care’ which means they are less likely to behave in a manner which hurts others.

Have Daughter, Be Gentler

In another study covering more than 10,000 Danish companies, a study done by Michael Dahl, Cristian Dezso and David Gaddis Ross found that CEOs paid lesser salaries to their staff after having had a son. But there was no reduction when they had a daughter! The hypothesis appears to be that daughters tend to make fathers more gentle and caring.

Studies led by Alice Eagly demonstrate that women tend to give more than their male counterparts in close relationships than men.

The Pink Shades of Philanthropy

Bill Gates believes that his mother Mary and wife Melinda are behind his philanthropic initiatives. At a wedding in 1993, Mary read out a letter she had written to Melinda: ‘From those to whom much is given, much is expected.’

It is quite likely that with more women at the helm of affairs, organizations may take their environmental and social responsibilities more seriously.

The Gender Bender 

Women tend to be more balanced and meticulous in their approach. Giving care and offering empathy comes naturally to them. Look across various companies and one would notice that most HR departments are wo-manned.

Annika Falkengren

Annika Falkengren

When it comes to the impact of women heading organizations, the jury is perhaps still out. Recently, professors at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and the University of Edinburgh examined two thousand firms and found that larger companies with bigger boards were more likely to add women. In other words, better performance was not necessarily due to women power in the top echelons.

In India, the challenge is to keep up a continuous supply of leadership talent of the delicately nurtured. This can be met only by progressive HR policies of organizations which proactively offer a level playing field to women enabling them to break the corporate glass ceilings.

Just as the Norway example has shown, it is debatable whether introduction of a government mandated quota is a good move. Yes, it does force

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

companies to do some soul-searching and ensure better succession planning while placing greater emphasis on gender parity. A positive beginning gets made. Over the long run, such steps would surely improve corporate governance levels and possibly check the cancer of graft and corruption nibbling away at the roots of India’s vibrant democracy.

Gender bias is deep-rooted in our psyche. Cultural bias and stereotyping restrains women from realizing their full potential. With her book ‘Lean In: Women, Work and Will to Lead’, Sheryl Sandberg has recently brought back the agenda of gender inequality on the global conversation map.

From Capitalism to Idea-ism

We are rapidly moving from capitalism to ‘idea-ism’ where the definition of capital is getting enlarged with each passing decade. The term capital covers not only the material and financial resources but also its softer and gentler variety – intellectual resources. In a world of this nature, gender parity can bring in a hitherto latent capital. A more efficient use of the same would be a key driver of competitiveness in the days to come.

The moves to paint our ‘bored-rooms’ a deeper shade of pink are endeavors in the right direction. Howsoever long it takes to achieve gender parity in business circles, the journey has begun.

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In quite a few escapades of Bertie Wooster and his bosom pals, we come across headmistresses and headmasters who remind us of our own days at school. Many of us might not have ever won a prize for Scripture Knowledge, but the mere mention of a brightly authoritative gaze touches the darker realms of our individual scholastic experiences. Invariably, it is not only about the stern look and the stiff upper lip. It is also about our dread of public speaking – and of juicy canes in the soft spots.

The tyranny of these strict disciplinarians does not remain confined to childhood days alone. It often pops up years later when their understudies have grown into adulthood. Even a chance encounter leaves Bertie shaking like an aspen and fearing yet another admonition at the hands of the lion-tamers.

The Female Lion-tamer

Take the case of Miss Mapleton in Jeeves and the Kid Clementina. She lords over the affairs of St VeryGoodJeevesMonica’s, a girls’ school at Bingley-on-Sea. She wears steel-rimmed spectacles which glitter rather nastily. She is short in inches but makes up for it by possessing the quiet air of being unwilling to brook any nonsense. She exudes the air of a female lion-tamer. Unfortunately, she also happens to be a friend of Aunt Agatha.

In Very Good, Jeeves, despite being in town, Bertie attempts to avoid meeting her so as to escape the trauma of being asked to address the school girls. Well, fate and Roberta Wickham will it otherwise and he ends up facing Miss Mapleton. However, thanks to Jeeves, matters get arranged in such a way that Bertie does not earn a reprimand. Instead, he is shown in a favorable light, thereby ensuring Miss Mapleton’s transformation into a rather chummy lion-tamer. The outcome is a highly favorable letter getting posted by her to Aunt Agatha, praising the gallant and courteous conduct of Bertie.

An Outstanding Menace

Then we have the popular ex-headmaster Rev. Aubrey Upjohn who used to terrorise Bertie while in his study at Malvern House, Bramley-on-Sea, the preparatory school. He often used to flex his shoulder muscles by swinging his cane with burning eyes, foam-flecked lips and flame coming out of both nostrils. Bertie used to sneak down to his study at dead of night looking for biscuits he kept there. On one occasion, he found him seated there, relishing the biscuits himself. Next morning, six of the juiciest from his sinister cane on the old spot followed. On another occasion, Bertie faced a trial for having broken the drawing-room window with a cricket ball.

This is how Reginald (‘Kipper’) Herring cheers up Bertie:

‘You know, Bertie, we have much to be thankful for in this life of ours, you and I. However rough the going, there is one sustaining thought to which we can hold. The storm clouds may lower and the horizon grow dark, we may get a nail in our shoe and be caught in the rain without an umbrella, we may come down to breakfast and find that someone else has taken the brown egg, but at least we have the consolation of knowing that we shall never see Aubrey Gawd-help-us Upjohn again. Always remember this in times of despondency.’

Fifteen years later, he is back in circulation, though mellowed down somewhat. The wide, bare upper lipPGW JeevesInTheOffing now sports a moustache, thereby reducing the severity of his appearance. In Jeeves in the Offing, he is aspiring to run as a Conservative candidate in the Market Snodsbury division at the next by-election. To create a good impression, he must deliver a flawless speech to the young scholars of Market Snodsbury Grammar School. To do so, he must get back the neatly typed out speech which, thanks to Jeeves, has come into the possession of Roberta Wickham.

The love of Roberta’s life, Kipper, has made uncharitable remarks about Aubrey Upjohn’s book on preparatory schools in Thursday Review. Thus, a libel suit is getting instituted by the Reverend against the magazine, and Kipper is sure to get a sack. The mantle of striking a bargain – that in return for the manuscript, Aubrey Upjohn would withdraw the libel suit – falls on Bertie. Predictably, his spirit fails him. Roberta promptly takes the lead and clinches the deal.

Aubrey Upjohn also pops up in Bertie’s reminscinces in The Mating Season. While checking the script of a play, he recalls how his English essays used to get blue-pencilled by the outstanding menace. At the end of a series of announcements, he would often conclude with a curt crack directing Wooster to see him in his study after the evening prayers.

No Nonsense

And who can forget Miss Tomlinson? She makes a brief appearance in Bertie Changes his Mind. She isPGW CarryOnJeeves the strong-minded headmistress of a girls’ school near Brighton. According to Jeeves, she is just like Bertie’s Aunt Agatha – with the same penetrating and brightly authoritative gaze. She has the indefinable air of being reluctant to stand any nonsense and has real grip over the young girls in her charge. When Bertie ends up fumbling with his speech to the assembly of girls, she brings the proceedings to a brisk end. When she starts investigating the fact of her students smoking in the shrubbery, enjoying the cigarettes provided by Bertie, the only option left for him is to hide beneath the rear seat carpet of the car and urge Jeeves to drive out of the school premises without further delay.  (Carry on, Jeeves).

Like many other characters from diverse walks of life which keep waltzing in and out of Bertie Wooster’s and Jeeves’ lives, the headmistresses and headmasters leave us with a feeling of dread. Under the inimitable spell of P G Wodehouse, we wilt and we shiver. We just love to hate them. Nevertheless, imagination boggles as to how drab the proceedings would have been otherwise!

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