Archive for April, 2014

Here is the concluding part from a thoroughly delightful co-blogger!


Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing the  favourite authors of Wodehouse lovers in the ‘Fans of P G Wodehouse’ Facebook community. This final instalment lists the 50 most popular writers listed during our discussion of the topic. Many of these writers were equally popular, and the order in which they are listed here should not be considered proof of their relative popularity.  I share them, imperfectly ranked as they are, in the interests of helping like-minded readers who may be looking for ‘new’ authors to try.

Happy reading!

1Agatha Christie
2Douglas Adams
3Jane Austen
4Terry Pratchett
5Jerome K Jerome
6Charles Dickens
7John Mortimer
9Richmal Crompton
10RK Narayan
11G K Chesterton
12Gerald Durrell
13Rex Stout
14J.R.R Tolkien
15Enid Blyton
16Bill Bryson
17Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle
18J K Rowling

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Here is yet another post which would be of interest to those who survive on their daily dose of quality reading. ‘The Guide’ and ‘Malgudi Days’ of R K Narayan happen to be my favorites!


In my last piece, I revealed the top top five authors Wodehouse lovers in the ‘Fans of P G Wodehouse’ Facebook community named as their favourites (when not reading Wodehouse). No doubt you’re itching to know who else our Plum chums love to read, so I’m here to share the next five most popular authors named. As these five were almost equally popular, I’ve listed them chronologically.

Pickwickclub_serialCharles Dickens (b. 1812)

‘She dotes on poetry, sir. She adores it; I may say that her whole soul and mind are wound up, and entwined with it. She has produced some delightful pieces, herself, sir. You may have met with her ‘Ode to an Expiring Frog,’ sir.” ‘

Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Dickens has both fans and detractors among our Wodehouse loving fraternity. As someone who reads for escapist pleasure, I sympathise with those who avoid Dickens. It seems Wodehouse was…

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Born in a family of wanderers and adventurists,
I am surrounded by a family of intellectuals and pragmatists;
It is challenging to learn so much and being a boy,
Overcoming my natural shyness for females, feeling wonder and joy.

As I develop and decipher my own dreams,
Exploring life’s unknown hills and streams;
My mind formulates plans of a future life,
Living the high family values, love, but no strife.

‘Wheels of the bus go round and round’ does not interest me anymore,
The toy helicopter is no longer charming but a bore.
Cycling happens to be a current favorite of mine,
If denied ice creams, burgers and chocolates, I whine.

Scientist IsaacNewton-1689

Newton’s Laws always catch my attention,
To take apart anything that moves is the intention;
I love to use screw drivers to solve all puzzles,
Friendly dogs simply love my touching their muzzles.

shankar marcus_aurelius

In 121 AD, 16th Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was born the same day,
As a philosopher, he wrote about meditation and showed us the way;
Born 1761, Johann Gottlieb Karl Spazier became a composer of music fine,
I could grow to be a pianist, starting formal classes when I turn nine.

shankar jamescook

Same day, 1770 AD, Captain Cook arrived in New South Wales Down Under,
Can exploring uncharted waters become my passion, I often wonder;
20th of April 1808 saw Napoleon III being born in a family royal,
Like him, to my duties I shall always remain loyal.

shankar napoleon_iii

1902, Madam Curie discovered Radium as a pure metal on the same day,
My scientific temperament can surely be explained the same way;
I pray for global harmony, humanity not to face harsh trials and tribulations,
On 20th of April, 1946, UN took over the powers of the League of Nations.

shankar league of nations

Apollo 16 reached the Moon in 1972 on the same day,
Gazing at stars and galaxies always makes me happy and gay;
My fondness for cars is more than my love of cheese, jam and toast,
On the same day in 2009, Rolls Royce announced the launch of Ghost.

2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Same day in 1953 was born the famous author Sebastian Faulks,
I shall hone writing skills and think up short story plots on my long walks;
I can quote many more artists and great people born on this day,
But I am busy gorging on hot cross buns and special eggs today.

shankar easter egg

20th day of April in 2014 also happens to be Easter – a day of rebirth,
I shall grow up and do something to protect the assets of Mother Earth;
The rays of a setting sun caress my face with a kiss,
I express my gratitude to Him for making me enjoy this unalloyed bliss.

Nevertheless, Birthdays are mere goal posts in the life’s continuity,
Life to next life, the soul continues to add to its ingenuity;
Our scriptures contain the eternal truth absolute and whole,
My soul also marches on, a union with Him being the main goal.

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Here is an excellent post on authors who can be linked to P G Wodehouse by virtue of a common bond, the fans!


“You are evidently fond of mystery plays.”

“I love them.”

“So do I. And mystery novels?”

“Oh, yes!”

“Have you read Blood on the Banisters?”

“Oh, yes! I thought it was much better than Severed Throats.”

“So did I,” said Cyril. “Much better. Brighter murders, subtler detectives, crisper clues … better in every way.”

The two twin souls gazed into each other’s eyes. There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

P G Wodehouse (‘Strychnine in the Soup’ in Mulliner Nights)

I recently asked the ‘Fans of P G Wodehouse’ Facebook community about their favourite authors – who they like to read when not curled up with Plum’s latest. The response was a staggering 370 comments (and counting) listing over 250 different authors. I’ve collated the replies and can now reveal the top 50 authors these Wodehouse lovers named as…

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The delicately nurtured amongst us occasionally bemoan the way they have been treated by the Master Wordsmith of our times – P GPGW JeevesInTheOffing Wodehouse. Admittedly, his narratives are replete with somewhat jaundiced references to the fairer sex. We could readily jump to the conclusion that his works have been written only for an exclusive boys’ club.

Consider these samples from ‘Jeeves in the Offing’:

Sample 1:

‘It just shows you what women are like. A frightful sex, Bertie. There ought to be a law. I hope to live to see the day when women are no longer allowed.’
‘That would rather put a stopper on keeping the human race going, wouldn’t it?’
‘Well, who wants to keep the human race going?’
‘I see what you mean. Yes, something in that, of course.’

Sample 2:

‘Why? You were crazy about the girl once.’
‘But no longer. The fever has passed, the scales have fallen from my eyes, and we’re just good friends. The snag in this business of falling in love, aged relative, is that the parties of the first part so often get mixed up with the wrong parties of the second part, robbed of their cooler judgment by the parties of the second part’s glamour. Put it like this. The male sex is divided into rabbits and non-rabbits and the female sex into dashers and dormice, and the trouble is that the male rabbit has a way of getting attracted by a female dasher (who would be fine for the male non-rabbit) and realizing too late that he ought to have been concentrating on some mild, gentle dormouse with whom he could settle down peacefully and nibble lettuce.’

Sample 3:

‘Well, let me tell you, Jeeves, and you can paste this in your hat, shapeliness isn’t everything in this world. In fact, it sometimes seems to me that the more curved and lissome the members of the opposite sex, the more likely they are to set Hell’s foundations quivering.’

Sample 4:

Of course, there are several others, liberally embedded in most of his works. Consider this one from the story, ‘Jeeves and the Kid Clementina.’

‘I was suffering from a considerable strain of the old nerves at the moment, of course, and, looking back, it may be that I was too harsh; but the way I felt in that dark, roosting hour was that you can say what you like, but the more a thoughtful man has to do with women, the more extraordinary it seems to him that such a sex should be allowed to clutter up the earth.’

Going through stuff such as this, any self-respecting woman is likely to get offended. Hate at first sight would ensue. The inevitable conclusion would be that the author does not treat women characters with the respect they deserve.

The Soft Power

My proposition is that this is a rather superficial view. Scratch below the surface of any weird happening in Plumsville and we are bound to find that women rule the roost. They exercise tremendous power of a soft kind on the hapless men who happen to be either the victims of Cupid’s machinations, or just aspire to be preux chevaliers.

We run into dominating aunts and overbearing sisters and secretaries. We meet goofy spinsters and intellectually ambitious amazons. WeCodeOfTheWoosters come across assertive authors and meek scullery maids. In Plumsville, women invariably hold all the aces. They simple deserve to be there, because, compared to their men counterparts, they are smarter.

On the other hand, men happen to be rather docile. They remain contented with being a putty in the hands of those they are trying to woo. They happen to be chivalrous and would go to any length to retain the women’s affections and deepen their romantic bonds. The women merely need to snap their fingers and the men would simply rush into the battlefield, much like knights in shining armors would have done in the days of yore. They need to win the approval of their love interest at any cost.

In most of the narratives, the menfolk in Plumsville do not hesitate to fulfill even the most weird – and sometimes patently goofy – wishes of the loves of their lives. They also have their codes to follow. Standing up to their genial but scheming aunts and sisters does not come easy to them.

Here is a quick recap of the diverse kinds of women we get introduced to.

The Stiff-Upper-Lip Aunts and Sisters

Much against his better judgement, Bertie Wooster is prodded by Aunt Dahlia to purloin a silver cow creamer (‘The Code of the Woosters’). In another narrative (‘Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen’), he is hounded by the aged relative to first steal and then restore a cat whose absence would ensure that the local races are lost by the rival party’s horse.

Elsewhere, Lord Marshmoreton has to muster all his courage to stand up to his sister, Lady Caroline Byng, and declare a matrimonial AuntsArentGentlemenalliance with his newly appointed secretary (‘A Damsel in Distress’).

The Reformers

We get to meet Vanessa Cook in ‘Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen’. She announces her marriage to Bertie, leaving him thoroughly shaken in limb and spirit. Post-marriage, no Drones Club, no alcohol and no smoking. The last one is thanks to Tolstoy, who has apparently held that twirling one’s fingers gives as much joy as smoking!

The Overbearing Ones

A desperate lover in Gussie Fink-Nottle, enamoured by Madeline Bassett, has to lay off all the vitamins of animal origin. The poor guy has to skip Anatole’s lavish spreads and survive only on spinach, sprouts, broccoli and similar stuff (Right Ho, Jeeves).

Stiffy Byng’s map, as a rule, tends to be rather grave and dreamy, giving the impression that she is thinking deep, beautiful thoughts. Quite misleading, of course. Harold Pinker, a vicar, gets prodded by her to pinch a policeman’s helmet, braving the risk of being defrocked (‘The Code of the Woosters’).

Pauline Stoker expects her beau to swim a mile before breakfast and then proceed to play five sets of tennis post-lunch. Her soul mate has to be someone like Chuffy who is adept at riding, shooting and following foxes with loud cries. Generally speaking, someone on the dynamic side (‘Thank You, Jeeves’).

Taking Men for Granted

Bertie is persuaded by Roberta Wickham to puncture hot water bottles in the middle of the night. In ‘Jeeves in the Offing’, he is even JoyInTheMorningdeclared to be engaged to her. She does it only to ensure that her parents may then view her intended alliance with Reginald Herring in a favorable light.

Nobby charms Bertie into abusing an uncle so Boko, the out-of-favor lover, may earn some brownie points and thereby win her hand. Somehow, his guardian angel ensures his not being able to do so. (‘Joy in the Morning’).

The Sculptors of Intellect

Florence Craye tries to mould the men she falls for. She treats males like a mere chunk of plasticine in the hands of a sculptor. She is one of those intellectual girls. Her manner is brisk and aunt-like. Expecting Bertie to go through ‘Types of Ethical Theory’ comes naturally to her (‘Joy in the Morning’).

Vanessa Cook (‘Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen’) does not expect Bertie to start improving his intellect by reading Turgenev and Dostoyevsky. She merely expects him to go through ‘The Prose Ramblings Of A Rhymester’, a collection of whimsical essays by Reginald Sprockett, a brilliant young poet from whom the critics expect great things.

The Charmers

Miss Dalgleish is fond of dogs. She has caught Tuppy on a rebound just after a break-up between him and Angela. She is a largish, corn-fed girl, who wears tailor-made tweeds and thick boots. She has charmed Tuppy into playing football for the village of Upper Bleaching, a grave risk for someone who is born and bred in the gentler atmosphere of London. On the day of the match, Tuppy risks life and limb, only to please her. However, she is not present to witness the bravado. Instead, she goes off to London, trying to lay her hands on an Irish water-spaniel (‘The Ordeal of Young Tuppy – Very Good, Jeeves!’).

The Feisty Ones

Joan Valentine (‘Something Fresh’) comes across as a delightful example of an independent woman who knows her mind and lives life on PGW StiffUpperLipher own terms. She is a girl of action. She is one whom Life has made not only reckless, when a venture is afoot, but also wary of friendly advances. Stealing a scarab is a venture that interests her. She detests getting a soft treatment at the hands of the sterner sex. To quote her:

‘You look on woman as a weak creature to be shielded and petted. We aren’t anything of the sort. We’re terrors. We’re as hard as nails. We’re awful creatures. You mustn’t let my sex interfere with your trying to get this reward.’

The Soft-natured Ones

It is not that we do not get introduced to soft-natured women in Plumsville.

The Soothing Motherly Kind

In ‘Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves’, we meet Emerald Stoker who is one of those soothing, sympathetic girls you can take your troubles to, confident of having your hand held and your head patted. There is a sort of motherliness about her which you find restful. But she does not borrow money. Much too proud. Having lost money at the races, she decides to supplement her income by assuming the post of a cook at Totleigh Towers.

The Peace-Loving Kind

In ‘Ring for Jeeves’, we come across the gentle Jill. Wodehouse’s description of her rushing to the aid of her lover, despite having broken the engagement owing to a misunderstanding on her part, is lovingly captured as under:

‘It is a characteristic of women as a sex, and one that does credit to their gentle hearts, that – unless they are gangsters’ molls or something of that kind – they shrink from the thought of violence. Even when love is dead, they dislike the idea of the man to whom they were once betrothed receiving a series of juicy ones from a horse whip in the competent hands of an elderly, but still muscular, chief constable of a county. When they hear such a chief constable sketching out plans for an operation of this nature, their instinct is to hurry to the prospective victim’s residence and warn him of his peril by outlining the shape of things to come.’

The True Romantics

In the same narrative, we get to meet Captain Biggar who believes in following the code that says a poor man must not propose marriage to a PGW RingForJeevesrich woman, for if he does, he loses his self-respect and ceases to play with a straight bat.

He is in love with Mrs Spottsworth who is a strong believer in rebirths. She sees themselves in some dim, prehistoric age. In this previous existence, they were clad in skins. Captain had hit her over the head with a club and dragged her by her hair to his cave. A true romantic at heart!

The Fitness Buffs

Then we have Maud (‘A Damsel in Distress’) who hates obesity. After giving the poor George Bevan a short shrift and making him plan to depart for USA, she realizes that her infatuation with Geoffrey Raymond was, well, a mere infatuation. She loses no time in changing her mind and starts discussing her post-matrimonial plans with George over telephone.

The Efficient Secretaries

In the same narrative, Alice Faraday happens to be a secretary of gentle persuasion. She is keen to do enough work to merit her generous salary. However, Lord Marshmoreton’s love for gardening comes in the way of his working on the Family History.

One could go on and on. One thing is clear, though. In Plumsville, we get to meet women of all ages, sizes, shapes and classes. Invariably, they end up taking a saunter down the aisle with the men of their dreams. But the choice is invariably theirs.

Grant them their moodiness, though. They could have transient rifts, triggered by sharks, mustaches or hats. In the end, however, sundered hearts invariably get united.

Much too often, the so-called sterner sex ends up being the weaker sex. More to be pitied than to be censured!ADamselInDistress

In Plumtopia, a treasure trove of Wodehouse related matters, there is a great post on women. The author concludes as follows:

“In Wodehouse’s art, as in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This puts him above most writers I know, male or female, who rarely take the trouble to create ‘unattractive’ female characters, let alone make them central figures in romance. Of course Wodehouse offers plenty of attractive women too.

All this makes Wodehouse a terrific writer of, and for, women (Terry Pratchett is another) and it’s hardly surprising to learn that he has a large and enthusiastic female following. His fans include Dr Sophie Ratcliffe from the University of Oxford, who edited P. G. Wodehouse: A life in Letters.”


Occasionally, we get to meet professional women as well, though mostly as authors, editors and headmistresses. Had Wodehouse lived in today’s age and times when women have broken through the glass ceiling in diverse fields of life, we would have had the pleasure of curling up in bed with one of his inimitable works which might have offered a ringside view of more career-oriented women.


  1. Those of you who wish to look up a scintillating piece on the subject of Wodehouse and Feminism may like to check out this one from Elin Woodger, an eminent expert on Plummy affairs: http://www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v37_nr3.pdf.
  2. Those who are missing Honoria Glossop in this post may like to get acquainted with her at https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/the-romances-of-bingo-little-honoria-glossop)

(Related Posts: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-powerpuff-girls-of-bollywood)

Different Shades of Women in Plumsville 2.0 (Aunts and Seniors)

Some More Shades of Women in Plumsville 3.0

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Quite often, life gives us a roller-coaster ride. We get pulled and pushed by forces beyond our control. Then, we suddenly discover someone on whom we can work off our pent-up feelings. In the house, it could be the unsuspecting spouse who ends up absorbing the shock. In an office setting, we ourselves could be at the receiving end. If so, we quickly find a scapegoat onto whom our own brand of vitriol could be off-loaded.

Consider this. The CEO, when things are going wrong, takes it out on the VP. The VP goes and ticks off the General Manager. The GM, the unpleasant OVERSTAYING ONE’S WELCOMEinteraction concluded, immediately proceeds to crucify the Manager. The Manager loses no time in giving a piece of his mind to the hapless Executive. While the Manager sits down to have a cup of coffee in an attempt to cool off, the fuming Executive takes the office boy to task. The office boy delivers a stunning kick to the dog. The dog, realizing that this is surely not his day, steps out in the street to bark at the cat. The cat starts scouring the drains for a mouse which deserves to be at least rebuked, if not devoured.

Note that down the line, each one is unhappy. Each one is looking for someone else to whom the baggage of anger can be passed on. It is like a relay race, where the torch of anger is being kept ablaze. As the day progresses, we find that the place is replete with dull faces, bent backs and slouching shoulders. People go around with a highly constipated look on their faces. Possibly the only people left suppressing a chuckle are the ones who serve tea and coffee at the tables of the high and mighty. For the better part of the day, white-collar productivity goes for a toss.

When Anger Becomes Predictable and Routine

Many bosses have honed their skills of managing and controlling affairs by using what they consider to be the most deadly weapon they have at their disposal – anger. A public display of anger leaves those around them shaking and shivering. This gives them a feeling of having overpowered their hapless subjects. However, when this becomes a predictable and a routine affair, several things happen.

One, the blame game starts. I did not do it, sir. It was she who forgot to ship the material on time, sir. Thus, the power of human ingenuity gets used up in inventing new excuses.

Two, the quick-fix approach comes into play. People get used to seeking look-good short-term fixes. The long-term implications are forgotten.

Three, some people develop resistance to it. Next bout of shouting and one could see them merely shuffling their feet and trying to put on a melancholy mask so as to hide their chuckles. In other words, there is no attempt at a genuine improvement in the situation.

Four, the boss willy-nilly acquires a reputation of someone who apportions blame without a fair hearing being given to all the parties concerned. All employees detest this disservice to the principles of natural justice. The respect for a senior is no longer real; it is feigned. A culture of hypocrisy gets perpetuated. Eventually, operational efficiency nosedives.

In such outfits, when the boss enters the work place, a frenzy of activity starts. Electrified at the boss’ presence, the employees run around like headless chickens. Physical presence and activity gets interpreted as a sign of efficiency. Those who can think quickly on their feet suddenly remember a very crucial issue for which they need to seek valuable guidance from the boss.

Five, seniors supporting the boss end up having to spend a great deal of time on mollifying the hurt souls. Invariably, they have an extra box of tissue papers readily available, just in case the tormented souls need to wipe off their tears. No senior is comfortable having to work with a sulking manager who might otherwise be a star performer. Many of them end up donning the extra hat of being Chief Listening Officers of the company. Seniors’ contribution towards company’s goals faces a real risk of getting diluted.

Handling Anger – Countering vs. Conditioning

Admittedly, there are juniors who feel they have been wronged and do not hesitate the register a protest. They have the guts to look the boss in the eye JOB LABELSand make him/her beat a hasty retreat, much like a hunter with a shotgun who, while taking a stroll in the corporate jungle, suddenly encounters a lioness who has just had a fight with her soul mate.

In one such situation, the telephone operator, a sprightly and spirited soul from amongst the delicately nurtured species, failed to transfer a customer’s overseas phone call because the top boss’ extension was busy with another call. The customer got through finally on her third attempt to call up the boss. All hell broke loose as the boss lost no time in court martialling the hapless operator, with the head of administration and the head of HR also getting ticked off in the process. Drawing herself to her full height, the operator stood her ground. Eventually, the boss realized that it was his own secretary who had kept the extension busy and was responsible for the delay. The operator got a well-earned reprieve. In due course of time, she even ended up being promoted as a secretary to the boss!

In such organizations, one could often run into morose executives. When prodded as to the reasons for their despondency, they are quite likely to come up with the explanation that they were yet to get the daily ‘quota’ of shouting from the boss! Pavlov would have been delighted to include this form of conditioning as well in his research work.

Of Oceans and Immersed Volcanoes

Once, when I asked one such CEO what he thought of his frequent display of anger, he gave me a rather harsh look and said ‘Do you think I like doing this? To be frank, it ruins a few hours of my day. But what to do? These people are so very stupid…etc, etc.’ I ended up pitying the fellow. He was working on a wrong premise – that anger alone can resolve issues – and was causing long-term damage to his own health.

Anger is highly contagious, much like negative news is. Mankind can perhaps be divided into two kinds. There are the ‘ocean’ types – those who are turbulent on the surface but calm deeper inside. Then there are the ‘immersed volcano’ types – the vast lake may look very placid on the surface but could be seething with anger within. It is this kind which causes maximum damage to its own well-being.

Selective Use of Anger

There are no easy solutions to controlling one’s anger. One has to first learn to accept oneself and feel happy and contented inside. One also needs to empathize with others and accept them as they are. Then alone does one stand a chance of guiding others around oneself in rectifying the mistake and in ensuring that it does not recur. The basic quality one needs to have is the capacity of observing oneself at all times, and following a strict self-discipline as to when a display of anger is done and when it is not.

Soothing music surely helps. Agitated nerves can get calmed down by a bout of meditation. A ‘laughter break’ with a colleague who has a sunny outlook towards life could bring some relief. Getting busy with another challenge for the day is another anti-dote to anger.

Yes, I also happen to know bosses who have perfected the art of displaying anger selectively, while not feeling it within themselves. But they do so once in a while, when a situation really demands a show of temper. I admire them for their wisdom and sagacity.

How do you deal with anger at the work place?

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If you happen to be a professional to whom the allure of becoming a director on the board of a company is irresistible, here is a confidential note written by the Chairman of an imaginary company to one such aspirant, listing out the unstated terms and conditions of the offer.

From: The Chairman, XYZ Ltd.
To: A wannabe Independent Director

“Dear Aspirant,

I am happy to know that you aspire to be an independent director on the board of our company. Whereas a formal letter of appointment would soon follow, I write to you in my personal capacity to explain the real rights and responsibilities of an independent director.

1. You shall be hired only for your fame, your excellent contacts and your eminence. Your subject knowledge, competence and seriousness of participation in the meetings are important but secondary to the scheme of things.

2. Our company believes that machinations of the management (read “real owners”) are supreme. Our business is run on a quarter to quarter basis. PROMOTIONSAny talk of business strategy, etc, happens against this background. You shall always remain an embellishment on the board and shall conduct yourself with grace and equanimity accordingly.

3. Please appreciate that the Chairman and the President/CEO are advised by the best brains in legal and accounting matters. Their word is final and binding.

4. For the sake of excellent PR, as also to keep our market image shining and bright, the company has a set of clear guiding principles, a sparkling vision document, an exemplary code of conduct, a well spelled-out corporate philosophy, a robust governance framework, a sound CSR policy and a clearly articulated intention of zero tolerance to graft, corruption or sexual harassment. However, based on exigencies faced in the business environment or the seniority of the person involved, the management reserves the right to be flexible in its approach towards enforcing the aforesaid.

5. During your tenure, you may discover some creative accounting practices resorted to by the company. You may come across audit notes which point out the calculated risks we take while planning our direct as well as indirect taxes. You may also discover highly ingenious ways in which we interpret the laws of the land. You shall be expected to put across innovative suggestions to further refine such practices. You shall not be expected to raise any objection to the same, whether in private or in public.

6. You shall be encouraged to represent a group of shareholders, or appear to be partial to a group of stakeholders of the company; provided, of course, that your performance shall always be evaluated based only on the key deliverables – namely, towing the line of the management and ensuring that the company’s image is protected and its business interests advanced at all times.

7. Should you become involved in any legal hassle owing to having not registered a dissent on issues of either corporate governance or legal compliance by the company, an issue-based support may be provided. In such an eventuality, the company reserves its right to publically disown you and terminate its association with you forthwith.

8. Any attempt on your part to form a group of Independent Directors shall be treated as an act of dissidence and betrayal by management. As a matter of corporate policy, we do not encourage dissent, whether expressed or otherwise.

9. In respect of any matter pertaining to the operations of the company, you shall never take a moral high ground and start teaching us ethics and value YES-MENsystems. The last thing we need is a lecture from a glorified employee, the real capacity in which you shall serve the company.

10. The company expects you to observe complete confidentiality even after the end of your term as an Independent Director.

11. Post-retirement, you shall undertake not to become a whistle-blower and seek protection under any such scheme offered by the government of the day.

12. Advances, affiliations and activities of an amorous nature attempted by you towards directors from the other sex shall be frowned upon; unless, these happen to be dictated by the business needs of the company and have prior tacit approval of the management.

Even if you do not appear in the database of prospective candidates maintained by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, we trust that you have so far been smart enough to ensure that your legal record is squeaky clean. We are sure that you shall continue to be vigilant on this score.

We look forward to a long-term mutually beneficial association with you. We welcome you as a part of the growing tribe of (perceived to be) independent directors in the country. We have no doubt whatsoever that you shall conduct yourself in a manner which would enhance the prestige and influence of this newly created labor market.

Yours truly, etc”

Background note:

Indian companies having a paid up capital of more than INR 100 millions and those whose aggregate outstanding loans, debentures and deposits exceed INR 500 millions are now required to have at least two independent directors on their respective boards. The new rules notified by the Government of India come into force from the 1st of April, 2014.

Likewise, some companies are now required to have at least one woman director on their board. For some, it is now mandated to spend 2% of their profits on CSR activities.

Hopefully, in the days to come, the newly emerging tribe of Independent Directors would play a far more effective role in ensuring that more companies conduct their affairs with better attention to transparency, ethical standards, gender diversity, environment protection measures and socially relevant investments.

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