Archive for May, 2015

Whether it is the realm of politics, home affairs, civic issues or public transport, Sudhir Dar’s cartoons continue to regale us with their tongue-in-cheek humour.

You may enjoy these as well:

01 Strike and Lift

02 Car pools

03 Bus drivers

04 Old vehicles

05 Thieves

06 Men

07 Board meetingsDenizens of Delhi would surely relate to these works of art better. But the underlying messages happen to be global in nature.

The likes of Sudhir Dar, R K Laxman, Mario Miranda and Shankar have always managed to keep us amused with their timely and witty cartoons. But for them, and but for authors like P G Wodehouse, our lives would be so very dull and dreary.

(Source: The Best of Sudhir Dar, Penguin Books)

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When the chips are down, what do we do? Some of us would drown our sorrows in tissue restoratives. Some would watch a movie. Some would curl up in bed with one of the anti-depressant narratives of P G Wodehouse. Some others would reach out to their bookshelves, shake the dust off a book of cartoons, and soak in the wit and humour embedded therein.

One of the cartoonists I have always admired is Sudhir Dar. For many years, every morning, it used to be a delight to look up what was in store on the front page of The Hindustan Times. These were invariably timely, uproariously funny and highly pungent. Amidst the plethora of gloomy happenings – a gang rape, a murder, a scandal and what not – his cartoons, published under a caption ‘This is it!’, never failed to lift one’s spirits.

Here are some of his cartoons which continue to be as relevant and apt today as they were when published originally.

09 British civility

10 Elections

12 Home work

13 Henpecked husbands

14 Pollution

15 VIP security

08These cartoons continue to serve life with its sunny side up and help many amongst us to retain our sanity in these turbulent times.

(Source: The Best of Sudhir Dar, Penguin Books)

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Often, on Facebook, some fans raise a question as to who the most lovable character is; or, which is the best work of P G Wodehouse. Futile, I say. Pointless, I state. Because when it comes to making any comparisons in Plumsville, the mind boggles. Each character has a couple of traits we can readily identify with. Each narrative has a situation which we can relate to. We just need to roam around in Plumsville’s valleys lit with sunny humour and quietly lend an ear to the rivulets of gentle mirth murmuring past us.

Here is one of the several exceptional posts from Plumtopia which demonstrates (if that is the word I want) this simple fact of life.


Pip pip!


Wodehouse, as a nonagenarian

Henry glanced hastily at the mirror. Yes, he did look rather old. He must have overdone some of the lines on his forehead. He looked something between a youngish centenarian and a nonagenarian who had seen a good deal of trouble.

The Man with Two Left Feet (1917)

I feel much like Henry did, as I glance in the mirror to inspect the remains of my former self on the eve of what I’ll just call a ‘significant’ birthday.  But I shall resist the urge to impersonate the great Russian novelists, and reflect instead upon some of my favourite Wodehouse moments. I have selected five favourite novels to share, representing one for each completed decade, and one for the future. I do hope you will indulge me.

My first selection is a school story, published in magazine (The Captain) and book format under various…

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My dear Blogger,

I think you have a magnificent blog. I just happen to be one of your followers. Allow me to share my plight with you.

De-mystifying my fickleness

To you, I sound fickle-minded. You work hard on creating a marvelous piece that you post. The absence of response 'The Thinker' : Rodinis maddening. You keep twiddling your thumbs, trying to figure out where the denizens of Blogosphere are. It is as if WW-III has broken out and all the followers have gone underground, scurrying for safety. At times, you create something in a jiffy, and lo and behold, you are flooded with likes and comments!

For me, the recipient of all your creative outpourings, yours is just one of the several other blogs I follow. Then there is so much else to be read on the world-wide-web we have spun around ourselves. Please understand that I have the unenviable task of sifting through hundreds of other platforms and blog posts. I might just end up missing your latest post. I may simply lack the time, the will-power or the perseverance to locate the very post you are keen I should look at. Breathe easy. Relax. Give yourself some time.

Of Moore’s Law and sky-diving Attention Spans

You see, the job of keeping a track of what is happening on social media becomes tougher every day. Earlier, I had to undertake an elaborate ritual to kick-start my PC and then see what was up. These days, even while traveling in a ramshackle bus, I merrily continue to check the latest updates. Now, when the smart woman sitting next to me flashes her eyelids and tries to catch up on her updates, I am bound to get distracted, right? Can you then really blame me for missing out on your post, howsoever juicy it might be?

Surely, you have heard of Moore’s Law? As predicted, the transistors per square inch of the ICs used in our gizmos keep going up. Screen sizes keep shrinking. Our attention spans keep sky-diving.

Allow me to propose an AKB’s Law on Attention Spans, which would postulate that ‘The Attention Spans of netizens are directly proportional to the screen size of the gizmo in use, the quality and the topicality of the content, as also its presentation.’ The smaller the screens, the shorter the attention spans. The smarter the content, the longer the attention span. More glitzy the presentation, better the attention it attracts.

If you are in the eye-ball grabbing rat race, aiming at a mass following, you have to keep coming up with zanier and wackier headlines. You can cover topics which are either controversial or of current interest. Press and media professionals do it all the time. But if your posts happen to provide a fresh perspective on issues of global interest, and if you are content with a smaller and more devoted group of followers, you could still catch my attention somehow.

The obligation of providing instant gratification

You already know that blogging is more like a marathon and not a sprint. When you have published something new internet image 2straight from the oven, please do not expect me to rush to my IT contraption, all agog in excitement, quivering in keen anticipation, and post either a ‘like’ or a ‘comment’ right away. I could be busy with my own life. Even if my eyes are glued to a screen of sorts at the time, I could be deep into something else. Give me some space.

At the end of each tiring day, as I sit bleary-eyed in front of my laptop, the least I want to read about is one of your raves and rants about the several ills plaguing our society. Or, a personal problem you happen to facing. You see, I am already suffering an overdose of negativity around me. Nor do I expect to read about how your day went. Life happens to me as well and I know the pressures of a typical day in one’s life.

Yes, if you have something to say which could be of some use to me, I might glance at it. For example, if your boy/girl friend has just decided to dump you, you have my deepest sympathies. But I might not be interested in the not-so-juicy details of the break-up. Yes, if you have tips on how to be successful in getting my wife to walk out of my life, I would lap up your post much like a hungry cat would devour a hapless creature of the piscine kind.

The great sermon handicap

I detest sermonizing on your part. As a kid, I had to put up with this charade at the hands of my parents. As a student, my teachers took it upon themselves to mould me right; they simply ended up reducing my self-confidence to pulp. Once I tied the knot, my spouse took up the task of reforming me. Born optimist that she is, her sincere endeavours continue unabated till this day. On the job, several of my bosses continue to do it with unfailing regularity and severity. Of late, to my chagrin, even my children have started making such attempts. Living up to some lofty ideals held sacrosanct by those who profess to love me has left my soul in torment. Please do not add to this discomfiture of mine.

Yes, if you have learnt something new from an experience of your own, I am game. For example, your internetBlogging illustration connection has been playing truant and you have discovered a deity which specializes in setting it right. I look forward to learn from you the special invocation which you find to be effective. Let us say your spouse has been bed-ridden and you have suddenly found a website which sends you a maid at a very short notice. I would surely like to try it out. Or, you have just found a new trick of convincing your boss to let you have a day off. I would be delighted to know. You could have discovered a way of having your morning cup of tea while reading your newspaper peacefully, without being disrupted by a nagging spouse. Please, oh please, do share it with the denizens of Blogosphere. Like me, all permanent members of the Harassed Husbands’ Association would bless you no end.

Not looking for a fly-by-night wordsmith

Try to be regular, will you? If you get erratic in posting your ideas and thoughts, I might just lose track. If you are a regular, I shall love to watch your progress with considerable interest. We may even become blog-buddies, exchanging ideas and what not. If your ego is sublimated, I could even think of giving you some tips. If you are feeling down in the dumps, I could perhaps cheer you up. I could be your sounding board for ideas for simmering within you for future posts.

The long and short of it

When you start composing your outpourings, you find yourself unable to stop. You go on and on. Please have a pity on me. With continuous exposure to screens of all kinds, my eyesight is already failing. Also, I have limited time at my disposal. Please come up with pieces which are short, sweet and to-the-point. If your post is a long one, let it be. In that case, just ensure that I am able to grasp the likely nature of the contents within the first two paragraphs of your post. Or, group your paragraphs and provide sub-headings.

Another thing that puts me off

Often, I take some precious time off and exercise my grey cells to write a comment. But you do not bother to either acknowledge or respond within a reasonable period of time. If you are too busy to do so, you are welcome to remain in your ivory tower. I would then simply exercise my democratic rights and ‘un-follow’ you.

Let the title not be a cross-word puzzle

Do please provide a heading which says it all. If you make it too tantalizing, I may simply get put off. If you make itinternet image 1 too indirect, my pitiable IQ levels might just fail you. Please be aware that my idea of an exciting career is not to become an assistant to either Sherlock Holmes or Dr Watson.

The inner glow of happiness

When you post, you are happy for having expressed yourself to the world. Yes, words of praise and encouragement become the fuel which keeps you chugging along on all six cylinders. But try not to be over-dependent on me to provide this fuel to you on a regular basis.

I am in Blogosphere merely to relax, to get amused, to derive some inspiration, to be entertained and, at times, to get educated. To learn something new. To discover new vistas. Help me in any way you can in doing any of this, and you shall be suitably rewarded. Great many likes may come your way. Juicy comments would continue to flow in.

Hope some of this makes some sense to you. If it does not, pray do not fret. I am myself not someone who practices what I preach. The fact that this post itself has become much too long, exceeding 1,500 words in all, goes on to prove this, right?

Happy blogging!

Your Ardent Follower

(Inputs from a fellow blogger, Ms Lopamudra Mitra, are gratefully acknowledged)

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Branding is an important part of marketing, and who knows this better than the celebrities from the realm of cinema? Assuming an appealing name is a crucial aspect of a celebrity’s image and persona. Here is a well-researched two-part series of posts on some Bollywood personalities. A sumptuous treat for Bollywood fans.

My Views On Bollywood

By Sharada Iyer

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;”…



Does this hold true for our industry? A peep into our film industry’s history reveals a fascinating number of artistes of the early era who changed their name to try their luck and write their destiny in the industry. Some chose the names on their own, some were rechristened to suit their personalities, some had to change to avoid confusion with already existing similar name…Well! Whatever the reason, they are now part of our cinematic consciousness and today we cannot imagine them by their original names…

The most famous change of name that comes to our mind is that of Dilip Kumar who did not hesitate in giving up his original name Yusuf Khan and take on the screen name of Dilip Kumar thus establishing…

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R K Laxman Common Man

Happy are they who in this chaos of things
With the feet of time chasing them in the rear,
Continue to be Very Ignorable Persons
Living modestly, armed only with hope, doubt and fear.

In this uncertain and ambiguous world
Full of pompous VIPs of a different kind,
Happy are they, anchored on fixed belief
Immense wealth they do not need to mind.

Drunken driving they dare not indulge into
Lest the long arms of law catch up with them,
Disproportionate assets not to worry about
The poverty in their lives being the only gem.

They continue to chug along eking out a living
Facing the harsh slings and arrows of Fate,
Happy, contented, smiling, enjoying togetherness
Nurturing their family along with a soul mate.

Lining up for public facilities they are used to,
But they sleep well, relishing the small joys of life
They dream big for their younger ones
Struggling hard to keep them away from harm and strife.

Not for them the exalted concerns of the privileged class
The color of the beacons on their cars, the power and the pelf,
The ‘special handling’ at airports, at toll booths and at other places,
Twisting the short arms of the law, escaping ignonimity of the self.

The enforced solitude and the lack of real private space
Missing the late night ice creams off a street-parked cart,
The stress of living in a fish bowl, always in the media glare
Unable to go off to a movie or to a museum for a spot of art.

Imagine being a Bertie Wooster sans the millions
Going about life care-free, helping out pals in distress,
Reuniting sundered hearts, obliging ungentlemanly aunts
Avoiding a saunter down the aisle with an aspiring mistress.

Tickling purring cats behind their ears, befriending dogs with aniseed,
Relishing lavish spreads of Anatole, laced with some exotic wines,
Merely pinching policemen’s helmets, manuscripts and cow-creamers
Facing a beak like Pop Bassett and coughing up some modest fines.

Our system somehow does not follow Pop Bassett’s example
Our celebrities might be aware how very lucky they happen to be,
Receiving acquittals aplenty, escaping the thirty days without an option
A furlough there, a bail here, pretty liberal the system appears to be.

Happy are they who in this chaos of things
With the feet of time chasing them in the rear,
Can afford the luxury of continuing to be Very Ignorable Persons
Living modestly, armed only with hope, doubt and fear.

(Illustration courtesy R K Laxman: The Common Man)

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In the post-matrimony phase, we find Bingo Little to be a devoted husband. Maintaining matrimonial peace and harmony is the sole purpose of his life. When it comes to keeping his lady-love happy and contented, there is little that he leaves to chance.

If a childhood friend has to be persuaded to soften up an uncle, he does it. If having the same friend being held to be a VeryGoodJeeveslooney helps him to make the dove of peace flap its sonorous wings over his abode, he does not hesitate.

If a cook of the stature of Anatole has to be sacrificed to ensure that his social reputation does not nosedive, so be it.

In Jeeves and the Impending Doom (Very Good, Jeeves), we find him struggling hard to earn his subsistence by tutoring a despicable kid like Thos. He has to ensure that he is not discovered to be a pal of Bertie. He has to also ensure that the kid’s misdemeanours do not get reported to his mother.

Bingo shares his predicament

When Bertie runs into Bingo at Woollam Chersey, he is exhorted to behave like a perfect stranger.

The letter ‘was to tell you that I was down here tutoring your Cousin Thomas, and that it was essential that, when we met, you should treat me as a perfect stranger.’

‘But why?’

Bingo raised his eyebrows.

‘Why? Be reasonable, Bertie. If you were your aunt, and you knew the sort of chap you were, would you let a fellow you knew to be your best pal tutor your son?’

Eventually, the mystery unfolds thus.

‘I will also now reveal why I am staying in this pest-house, tutoring a kid who requires not education in the Greek and Latin languages but a swift slosh on the base of the skull with a black-jack. I came here, Bertie, because it was the only thing I could do. At the last moment before she sailed to America, Rosie decided that I had better stay behind and look after the Peke. She left me a couple of hundred quid to see me through till her return. This sum, judiciously expended over the period of her absence, would have been enough to keep Peke and self in moderate affluence. But you know how it is.’

Odd women and an angry swan

What poor Bingo regarded as a cautious and conservative investment camecupid unstuck. The horse in question came in last, making him blow up the entire allowance in a single go. He has had to find the means of keeping his body and soul together till Rosie’s return, so she does not discover what has occurred.

‘Rosie is the dearest girl in the world; but if you were a married man, Bertie, you would be aware that the best of wives are apt to cut up rough if she finds that her husband has dropped six weeks’ housekeeping money on a single race. Isn’t that so, Jeeves?’

‘Yes, sir. Women are odd in that respect.’

Eventually, Mr Filmer, the Cabinet Minister, faces retribution for having reported Thos smoking in the shrubbery. On a rainy day, he is made to get stranded on an island, facing a swan which has taken serious offence at its family having been disturbed.

Even after he has been rescued, Mr Filmer keeps wondering if Thos was the one who had set his boat adrift. Jeeves manages to shift the burden of this misdemeanour on to Bertie. This saves Bertie from being considered for the position of Mr Filmer’s private secretary, an unagreeable prospect. However, he has to slide down a pipe to avoid an unpleasant confrontation with Aunt Agatha.

Little Bingo ends up retaining his tutoring assignment, thereby securing matrimonial peace. To him, sacrificing a bosom pal’s social reputation for the sake of having peace at home is a worthy trade-off in life.

A rare beauty in Bertie’s nature

Some of us could wonder as to why Bertie keeps helping Little Bingo from time1923 The Inimitable Jeeves mycopy to time. All of us know that he is an ardent follower of The Code of the Woosters. The extent to which he goes out of his way to help his pals, sublimating his own ego, is truly amazing. This is a point which he himself attempts to clarify in yet another narrative, entitled Comrade Bingo (The Inimitable Jeeves):

‘I don’t know why, ever since I first knew him at school, I should have felt a rummy feeling of responsibility for young Bingo. I mean to say, he’s not my son (thank goodness) or my brother or anything like that. He’s got absolutely no claim on me at all, and yet a large-sized chunk of my existence seems to be spent in fussing over him like a bally old hen and hauling him out of the soup. I suppose it must be some rare beauty in my nature or something.’

Friends like Bertie Wooster certainly make our lives sweeter and simpler!

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When it comes to attaining a state of matrimonial bliss, hapless husbands have to resort to tactics of all kinds. TheirVeryGoodJeeves misdemeanours should not come to the notice of the better half. The satiation of their gastric juices has to be accorded a lower priority. The social reputation of their bosom pals has to be sacrificed at the altar of marital peace.

‘Jeeves and the Old School Chum’ (Very Good, Jeeves) is a short story where Bingo Little’s food habits come in for harsh criticism at the hands of Laura Pyke, an old school mate of Rosie M. Banks. Bertie fears that continuous feedback of this nature could result into marital relations between the couple turning sour. However, a missed lunch basket, and a sorely missed afternoon cup of tea, lead to a bitter argument between the school chums. Laura Pyke walks out of their lives. Matrimonial peace continues to reign.

This is how the narrative unfolds.

When two hearts beat like one

‘Oh, sweetie-lambkin, isn’t that lovely?’


‘Laura Pyke wants to come here.’


‘You must have heard me speak of Laura Pyke. She was my dearest friend at school. I simply worshipped her. She always had such a wonderful mind. She wants us to put her up for a week or two.’

‘Right-ho. Bung her in.’

‘You’re sure you don’t mind?’

‘Of course not. Any pal of yours…’

‘Darling!’ said Mrs Bingo, blowing him a kiss.

‘Angel!’ said Bingo, going on with the sausages.

All very charming, in fact. Pleasant domestic scene, I mean. Cheery give-and-take in the home and all that. I said as much to Jeeves as we drove off.

‘In these days of unrest, Jeeves,’ I said, ‘with wives yearning to fulfill themselves and husbands slipping round the corner to do what they shouldn’t, and the home, generally speaking, in the melting pot, as it were, it is nice to find a thoroughly united couple.’

‘Decidedly agreeable, sir.’

‘I allude to the Bingos – Mr and Mrs.’

‘Exactly, sir.’

‘What was it the poet said of couples like the Bingeese?’

‘“Two minds but with a single thought, two hearts that beat as one”, sir.’

‘A dashed good description, Jeeves.’

‘It has, I believe, given uniform satisfaction, sir.’

An innate tendency to reform husbands

Rosie is absolutely potty about Laura Pyke who holds strict views on what should be eaten and how. The cuisine of the house gets shot to pieces. Cocktails get banned, because they corrode the stomach tissues.

‘Are wives often like that? Welcoming criticism of the lord and master, I mean?’

‘They are generally open to suggestion from the outside public with regard to the improvement of their husbands, sir.’

Bertie is worried for his pal, who is under relentless criticism for his dietary habits. Bingo is being projected to his wife as a sort of human boa-constrictor. Under such circumstances, love could wither.

‘You see, what makes matters worse is that Mrs Bingo is romantic. Women like her, who consider the day ill spent if they have not churned out five thousand words of superfatted fiction, are apt even at the best of times to yearn a trifle. The ink gets into their heads. I mean to say, I shouldn’t wonder if right from the start Mrs Bingo hasn’t had a sort of sneaking regret that Bingo isn’t one of those strong, curt, Empire-building kind of Englishmen she puts into her books, with sad, unfathomable eyes, lean sensitive hands, and riding boots. You see what I mean?’

‘Precisely, sir. You imply that Miss Pyke’s criticisms will have been instrumental in moving the hitherto unformulated dissatisfaction from the subconscious to the conscious mind.’

‘Once again, Jeeves?’ I said, trying to grab it as it came off the bat, but missing it by several yards.

The perils of a missed cup of afternoon tea

At the Lakenham races, Jeeves connives to miss the carefully piled up lunch basket. Bertie is of the opinion that Bertie imagemissing the afternoon tea could instead provide the requisite ammunition.

‘I fear you have not studied the sex as I have. Missing her lunch means little or nothing to the female of the species. The feminine attitude towards lunch is notoriously airy and casual. Where you have made your bloomer is in confusing lunch with tea. Hell, it is well-known, has no fury like a woman who wants her tea and can’t get it. At such times the most amiable of the sex become mere bombs which a spark may ignite.’

Jeeves manages to drain out petrol from one of the cars. The result is that both the school chums get stuck in a deserted spot, with only a small house visible in the distance.

Fissures soon appear in their relationship, and a fight ensues. Laura Pyke decides to part company, whereupon Bingo blackmails the baby-sitting house occupant into offering some tea to Rosie.

Romance is back on its throne

‘Well, you jolly well aren’t going to,’ said young Bingo. ‘Unless you go straight to the kitchen, put the kettle on, and start slicing bread for the buttered toast, I’ll yell and wake the baby.’

The Bandit turned ashen.

‘You wouldn’t do that?’

‘I would.’

‘Have you no heart?’


‘No human feeling?’


The Bandit turned to Mrs Bingo. You could see his spirit was broken.

‘Do your shoes squeak?’ he asked humbly.


‘Then come on in.’

Thank you,’ said Mrs Bingo.

She turned for an instant to Bingo, and there was a look in her eyes that one of those damsels in distress might have given the knight as he shot his cuffs and turned away from the dead dragon. It was a look of adoration, of almost reverent respect. Just the sort of look, in fact, that a husband likes to see.

‘Darling!’ she said.

‘Darling!’ said Bingo.

‘Angel!’ said Mrs Bingo.

‘Precious!’ said Bingo.

In place of a tankard of ale, hot Scotch-and-water is planned to be served at home that evening. Unalloyed marital bliss prevails.

To sum up, when it comes to ensuring peace at home, Bingo does not believe in flexing his muscles. He does not assert himself. Instead, he makes great sacrifices. He makes full use of Bertie’s milk of human kindness. He requisitions the services of Jeeves, the stout fellow who is full of fat-soluble vitamins.

Perhaps all husbands, whether permanent members of the Self-harassed Husbands’ Association or otherwise, have a chivalrous Bingo Little squirming within themselves. What they lack is a bosom pal like Bertie and a marvel like Jeeves to help them out in times of marital friction.

A Bertie-Jeeves Heart Reuniting Service?

When it comes to bringing soul mates together, Bertie and Jeeves have an impeccable record. The Mating Season PGW HughLaurie-BertieWoosteritself is a clear demonstration of their prowess in uniting as many as half a dozen pairs of hearts. Trials and tribulations of Bingo Little establish their credentials for married couples as well.

You might tend to agree that if ever they decide to start a Heart Reuniting Service specializing in bringing and keeping sundered hearts together, society would stand to gain. Wedding planners, caterers and trousseau marketers would continue to prosper. Divorce rates would plummet. Judges assigned to family courts would breathe easy. Children would be happier.

Perhaps the only ones to complain would be the lawyers specializing in divorce and settlement cases; they might be found crying all the way to their respective banks.

Bingo Little’s Tips Summarized

1. Reputation of devoted friends is a small price to pay for the dove of peace and harmony continuing to flap its sonorous wings over your abode.

2.  Protect your social reputation with mercenary zeal. Be prepared to make supreme sacrifices, as and when necessary. A spirit of renunciation helps.

3.  When the spouse plans to go to the press with some intimate details, take prompt steps through proper channels and nip all such endeavours in the bud.

4.  Do not blow up six-week’s sustenance allowance on a race horse with unproven credentials.

5.  If the sporting spirit to make speculative gains is too strong, ensure that the allowance for the same is suitably camouflaged and covered in the regular sustenance allowance.

6. Discourage the better half’s school chums from coming over. If unavoidable, subject their dietary preferences to a pitiless analysis. At the earliest possible opportunity, facilitate a rift between the centre of your universe and her school chum.

7. Ensure that she gets her favourite tissue restorative at the appointed hour. Behave like a knight in shining armour when dealing with baby-sitting bandits who stand in her way.

Do this (and much more) and the dove of peace shall continue to flap its wings over your abode!

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In ensuring a state of peace and harmony at home, Bingo demonstrates himself to be a man of chilled steel. In order to be able to protect his social prestige, he even agrees to dispense with the services of God’s gift to our gastric juices – Anatole. For a foodie like him, who, upon noticing a glorious sunset, would be apt to say that it reminded him of a slice of roast beef, cooked just right, this is indeed an instance of supreme sacrifice.

The perils of marrying an author

In ‘Clustering Round Young Bingo’ (Carry On, Jeeves), Rosie M. Banks gets commissioned by Aunt Dahlia to PGW CarryOnJeeveswrite an article for Milady’s Boudoir. Bingo is understandably all of a twitter, because the article, entitled “How I Keep the Love of My Husband-Baby”, has some juicy comments concerning him. If made public, Bingo’s reputation would surely go for a toss.

This is how he shares his predicament with Bertie.

‘…..you have about as much imagination as a warthog, but surely even you can picture to yourself what Jimmy Bowles and Tuppy Rogers, to name only two, will say when they see me referred to in print as “half god, half prattling, mischievous child”?’

‘She doesn’t say that?’ I gasped.

‘She certainly does. And when I tell you that I selected that particular quotation because it’s about the only one I can stand hearing spoken, you will realize what I’m up against.’

Much to the credit of the housewife in Mrs Bingo, she has managed to dig up a Frenchman of the most extraordinary vim and skill. Since this amazing cook, popularly known to all of us as Anatole, has arrived at their home, Old Bingo is said to have picked up at least ten pounds in weight.

However, where she makes her bloomer is in inviting Uncle Tom and Aunt Dahlia over for dinner. A combination of consommé pate d’Italie, paupiettes de sole a la princesse and caneton Aylesbury a la broche ends up reviving Uncle Tom like a watered flower.

A rudimentary sense of morality

Jeeves is commissioned by Aunt Dahlia to somehow persuade Anatole to join her. Bingo is aghast to hear this.

‘What! Is that – that buzzard trying to pinch our cook?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘After eating our bread and salt, dammit?’

‘I fear, sir,’ sighed Jeeves, ‘that when it comes to a matter of cooks, ladies have but a rudimentary sense of morality.’

Jeeves manages to pull off this feat. A breach of cordial relations between the two ladies ensues. Mrs Little declines to contribute the ghastly article for Aunt Dahlia’s rag. Matrimonial peace prevails.

Jeeves even manages to get Mrs Little a proficient housemaid. He also persuades Bertie to be away from the scene of action, since the latter fails in pinching the cylinder of the recording machine containing the article from Bingo’s house. Bertie proceeds to spend some time with Uncle George who is desperate to have some company while at Harrogate.

To go into sordid figures, a gratified Old Bingo Little gifts twenty pounds to Jeeves. Aunt Dahlia, at twenty-five pounds, turns out to be the most generous. Mrs Little pitches in with ten pounds for finding her a satisfactory housemaid. Uncle Thomas matches the generosity of Aunt Dahlia. Uncle George hands over a cheque of ten pounds. When told about the appreciable increase in his savings, even Bertie hands over a fiver to Jeeves!

A deep sense of renunciation

The risk in marrying an author is that one has to be ceaselessly vigilant about the kind of ripe or unripe stuff the spouse is being expected to churn out. In case intimate and unsavoury details are likely to get publicized, prompt steps have to be taken through proper channels to nip the same in the bud. Great sacrifices are called for. Nerves of chilled steel need to be developed.

When there is a choice to be made between public disgrace of some kind and God’s gifts to one’s gastric juices, the latter have to be given up with a feeling of utmost detachment. Willingly parting company with someone of the stature of Anatole is a supreme sacrifice which deserves to be heartily applauded.

Matrimonial peace does not come cheap; often, one has to cultivate a deep sense of renunciation. Old Bingo’s married life is a shining example of this kind. Not for him a confrontation with the better half. Not for him a cold disapproving look at the love of one’s life. No lodging a protest. No wavering in the deep appreciation of the qualities of a soul mate. Sheer resignation to fate. A meek surrender to the superior intelligence of Jeeves. A spirit of renunciation.

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Present tense, future perfect

Many of us, the residents of Plumsville, are familiar with eligible bachelors and spinsters who dot its magnificent landscape. Their attempts at attracting each other, as well as their romantic rifts, keep us glued to many a narrative. Incurable optimists that we are, we believe that once they have tied the knot, they would live happily ever after. Their present may be tense, but their future would surely be perfect.

But life has this innate tendency to keep them baffled. The harsh slings and arrows of Fate continue to torment them with equal ferocity even after they have sauntered down the aisle with their soul mates and we, the gullible readers, have mistakenly decided to breathe easy.

To PG Wodehouse’s credit, he etches out the struggles of married couples with as much aplomb as he does those of bachelors and spinsters in his narratives.

The curious case of Bingo Little: Pre-nuptials

Take the case of Bingo Little. We know that he is a diehard romantic, perennially in love with some dashing female or Wodehouse charactersthe other. Even when at school, he is reported to have had the finest collection of actresses’ photographs; at Oxford, his romantic nature was a byword. He is inclined to fall in love at first sight on a regular basis and become highly emotional about his affections.

Residents of Plumsville are aware that objects of his affection have included a waitress named Mabel; Honoria Glossop, the formidable daughter of Pop Glossop; Daphne Braythwayt, a friend of Honoria; Charlotte Corday Rowbotham, a revolutionary; Lady Cynthia Wickhammersley, a family friend of Bertie’s; and Mary Burgess, niece of the Rev. Francis Heppenstall. After each failed affair, Bingo does not necessarily sulk. The scales fall from his eyes, and he suddenly realizes that the next girl alone is his true soul mate.

After many failed affairs, Bingo ends up marrying the romance novelist Rosie M. Banks, an author whose outlook on life happens to match well with that of his.

The not-so-curious case of Bingo Little: Post-nuptials

However, in the post-matrimony phase, we find a Bingo Little who is completely transformed. He is singularly devoted to his wife. Maintaining matrimonial peace and harmony is the sole purpose of his life. When it comes to keeping his lady-love happy and contented, there is little that he leaves to chance.

If a childhood friend has to be persuaded to soften up an uncle, he does it. If having the same friend being held to be a looney helps him to make the dove of peace flap its sonorous wings over his abode, he does not hesitate.

If a cook of the stature of Anatole has to be sacrificed to ensure that his social reputation does not nosedive, so be it.

If the pocket allowance granted by the better half gets blown away on a racing misadventure, he starts supplementing his income by tutoring a despicable kid like Thos. His idea is that the lapse on his part should not come to the notice of the better half.

If the afternoon cup of tea held in high esteem by the better-half has to be delayed so as to drive a nutrition freak out of the couple’s life and burnish up his own image in the eyes of his lady-love, he does not twiddle his thumbs.

In this series of posts, we try to learn from Bingo Little the art of surviving and doing well in a matrimonial relationship.

A king in Babylon meets a Christian slave

We get introduced to the future Mrs Little in the short story ‘Bingo and the Little Woman’ (The InimitablePGW Inimitable_jeeves Jeeves). She pops up as a waitress at the Senior Liberal, where the youngest member is about eighty-seven. Bertie portrays her as a tallish girl with sort of soft, soulful brown eyes. She has a nice figure and rather decent hands. She raises the standard of the place quite a bit. Predictably, she casts a spell on Bingo.

Jeeves is sounded out.

‘Is Mr Little in trouble, sir?’

‘Well, you might call it that. He’s in love. For about the fifty-third time. I ask you, Jeeves, as man to man, did you ever see such a chap?’

‘Mr Little is certainly warm-hearted, sir.’

‘Warm-hearted! I should think he has to wear asbestos vests.’

Within a span of ten days, Bingo announces that he has been successful in his latest endeavour.

‘Good Lord! That is quick work. You haven’t known her for two weeks.’

‘Not in this life, no,’ said young Bingo. ‘But she has a sort of idea that we must have met in some previous existence. She thinks I must have been a king in Babylon when she was a Christian slave. I can’t say I remember it myself, but there may be something in it.’

Gift of a literary kind softens up Uncle Bittlesham, who agrees not to pit himself against the decrees of Fate and approves of the marriage. Bingo’s allowance continues to flow in every quarter.

The Code of the Woosters

A complication arises in the shape of Bertie himself, who never shies away from helping a pal in distress. Earlier on, he had been introduced to old Bittlesham as an author using a pseudonym – Rosie M. Banks. Mrs Little, upon meeting the old boy, stakes her claim to the name and proves her case. Before she has a chance of accosting Bertie seeking an explanation, Jeeves advises his master to scoot off to Norfolk, honouring a shooting invitation.

By the time Bertie is back, peace prevails. Uncle and the little woman have become great pals, discussing literature and other things. Bingo has no hesitation in telling Bertie that his uncle is convinced that he is a looney.

‘He – what!’

‘Yes. That was Jeeves’ idea, you know. It’s solved the whole problem splendidly. He suggested that I should tell my uncle that I had acted in perfectly good faith in introducing you to him as Rosie M. Banks; that I had repeatedly had it from your own lips that you were, and that I didn’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be. The idea being that you were subject to hallucinations and generally potty. And then we got hold of Sir Roderick Glossop – you remember, the old boy whose kid you pushed into the lake that day down at Ditteredge Hall – and he rallied round with his story of how he had come to lunch with you and found your bedroom full up with cats and fish, and how you had pinched his hat while you were driving past his car in a taxi, and all that, you know. It just rounded the whole thing off nicely. I always say, and I always shall say, that you’ve only got to stand on Jeeves, and fate can’t touch you.’

In ensuring a state of peace and harmony at home, Bingo demonstrates himself to be a man of chilled steel. Quoting their togetherness at school and college, he continues to persuade Bertie to smoothen things out between himself and his uncle. But when the situation warrants his establishing Bertie’s credentials as a looney, he does not hesitate. In managing uncles and in unraveling his own goofy scheme, projecting Bertie as Rosie M. Banks, he proves himself to be a ruthless husband.

The members of the so-called sterner sex who happen to be permanent members of the Self-harassed Husbands’ Association can perhaps learn a lot from Bingo Little’s example.

(Illustrations courtesy www)

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