Here is a juicy tribute to P G Wodehouse from a fan of his, Mahesh Verma. He is a banker by profession, a columnist by choice; a father of two lovely daughters and a husband to an amazing woman! Every alternate Wednesday, he writes a column known as ‘Trivial Travails’.
“Albert Einstein probably didn’t realise that his theory of relativity did not really affect those who are not relatives and consequently tie the knot on T-1 from Valentine’s Day, and his theory of relative disappointment (“Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed”) also does not hold true for those brave ones who are not falling prey to the triskaidekaphobia – the morbid fear of the number 13!
So while M&M celebrated vanquishing the fear of that number in their exotic residence in The Hague, M&V celebrated overcoming that dreaded number 13 in their not-so-exotic residence in The Wave.
And as February 13th blended into the 14th, the Shakespearean fans reminded the non-believers: “Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.”
So while the world celebrated what is popularly known as Valentine’s Day (a day dedicated to extortion, as per Jay Leno) a few of the dedicated bunch mourned the passing away of the Master, some 41 years ago. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE born on October 15, 1881 left for his Master’s abode on February 14, 1975.
Almost like yours faithfully, Wodehouse also was employed by a bank and also disliked the work and also turned to writing in his spare time. But while he switched to comic fiction, creating characters like “the feather-brained Bertie Wooster and his sagacious valet, Jeeves; the immaculate and loquacious Psmith; the feeble-minded Lord Emsworth and the Blandings Castle set”, this plebian started with writing for the school newspaper and graduated to the Reader’s Forum and switched to the column, ‘Trivial Travails’, writing about the handsome Atticus and the Trinity and the society at large – where some display their assets while others display what, unknown to them, have become liabilities over time.
While Wodehouse moved in 1934 to France for tax reasons, this poor banker moved to Muscat in 1985 for pecuniary reasons. While the Master used a mixture of Edwardian slang, quotations from and allusions to numerous poets, and only some critics considered his work flippant, nearly all critics (and boy, are they out there!) consider the TT to be flippant despite the quotations from numerous poets and references to the acute and obtuse.
But flippant or not, the alternate Wednesdays keep coming and so does the TT – at least till some more time to come. C’est la vie – such is life! And across the oceans, on the night of February 14, Leonardo DiCaprio had a date with Kate Winslet, at the Royal Opera House in London. Yes, they have a Royal Opera House there too, though nowhere as elegant and beautiful as ours in Muscat. But I digress…was in the process of telling you that Leo and Kate did what they couldn’t do during their Titanic days.
And before the likes of a certain Mr Singh start thinking things, one needs to clarify that the stars of Titanic fame won the 69th BAFTA awards: Leo won his first Best Actor’s award for his role in The Revenant while Kate got the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Steve Jobs’ secretary. And the coveted Academy Fellowship went to Sir Sidney Poitier, the Sir of To Sir, with Love fame.
The British Academy Film Awards are generally considered to be a precursor to the Academy Awards (or Oscars) and the bookies are now busy rejuggling their odds and ends on Leo and Kate. Don’t know about DiCaprio and Winslet, but I am hoping that Asif Kapadia does a repeat of the BAFTAs and wins again for the best documentary Amy – based on the late singer Amy Winehouse. And the same evening, the BAFTA’s host Stephen Fry’s comment about the costume design award-winner Jenny Beavan’s appearance created havoc in the world of the Twitteratis. After users tweeted him their distaste, he angrily responded in a number of updates, reminding people that Beavan is a close friend of his and she was aware of his intention.
He wrote: “Will all you sanctimonious … … … … … (expletives deleted to protect the continuity of the TT). Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet”. He also shared a picture of himself and Beavan, with the caption: “Jenny Baglady Beavan and Stephen Outrageous Misogynist Swine Fry at the #EEBAFTAs after party”. But he subsequently deleted his account expressing his happiness at being free from Twitter, a platform he referred to as “a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended”.
Maybe someday, I too will delete my Twitter account after I get to host some award function or the other! But in all fairness, let the man be… . Stephen Fry is a genius, not only because he is the quintessential perfect Jeeves and his Moab is my Washpot is an absolute gem of an autobiography, but because he is!
Give the man a break – if we can’t joke with a friend or about a friend on stage or in print, then we might as well sell our souls to the critics. Right, Mr Singh?
And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:
Do you know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?
Do you know that hell also hath no fury like a woman conned?
Do you know that hell actually hath no fury like a woman tagged in a Facebook photo that makes her look fat??
Till next fortnight… .”
- This article appeared in The Muscat Daily on the 17th of February, 2016. (http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Stories-Files/Valentine-s-Day)
- Permission from the author to re-blog it here is gratefully acknowledged.)