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Archive for February, 2019

The fascinating process we call Leadership can be viewed through several lenses. Each lens offers a unique perspective. Some are more comprehensive, others less so. But almost all reveal a facet which is distinctive in its own way.

Some of the lenses which management theorists and practitioners have used over the last 150 years to view the enigma called leadership are discussed in brief here.

The Trait Lens

The lens of the Trait theories makes us notice the kind of personality traits of a leader which make him effective. Domain knowledge, self-confidence, interpersonal skills and charisma are some of the critical components here. However, these presume that the environment and the followers have no role to play when it comes to assessing the effectiveness of a leader. With such a uni-dimensional approach, where the personality traits of the leader alone count, it is neither practical nor desirable to compare this approach to that of the three mindsets under discussion here.

The Behavioural Lens

The lens of the Behavioural theories of leadership leads us to such operating styles as dictatorial, autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, and the like. In the spectrum of direct authority exercised, if the dictatorial style implies maximum control, the laissez-faire style would relate to minimum control, though not amounting to abdication.

The Contingency Lens

Yet another lens which we use to view the phenomenon of leadership is that of the Contingency theories. These posit that the effectiveness of a leader is determined by the interplay of several factors – personality traits, behavioural patterns, nature of the task at hand, the composition of the group being led, and the kind of situation at hand.

An example is that of Fred Fiedler’s theory. It proposes that in extremely favourable or unfavourable situations, task-oriented leaders fare better, whereas in moderate situations, relationship-oriented leaders deliver better results. As a logical corollary, in a business situation which is changing rapidly, a new leader with a more appropriate operating style needs to be brought in.

The Situational Lens

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational model is yet another lens with which one may view leadership. This one proposes that effective leadership rests on two fundamental concepts: Leadership Style and the group’s Performance Readiness level.

It follows that there is no single ‘best’ style of leadership. Effectiveness of a leader varies not only with the characteristics of the group being led; it also depends on the goal to be achieved.

The level of maturity of the followers determines the leadership style which would work the best. While dealing with new entrants to the organization, a leader would do well to follow a Directing Style. While dealing with seasoned professionals, a Delegation Style would yield better results. The other two styles envisaged are Coaching and Supporting.

The Transactional Lens

Then we have the lens of the Transactional theories of viewing leadership. These are characterized by a transaction made between the leader and the followers. By implication, these place a higher premium on positive and mutually beneficial relationships between leaders and their respective followers. The effectiveness of leadership is thus believed to be dependent on the alignment between individual and organizational goals.

These theories propose that a system of reward and punishment alone works. A well-defined hierarchy, where everyone knows who the leader is and who is following, is a sine qua non. In a way, this is a premise which subjugates people, reducing them to mere cogs in the wheel, with no concern for social or human values. The adage ‘my way or the highway’ readily comes to one’s minds.

The Transformational Lens

The Transformational theories provide yet another lens with which one may view leadership. Transformational leaders inspire their followers by their vision, by setting examples which are worthy of emulation, and by the sheer force of their own personality. In the process, they themselves develop as leaders. They are also able to groom leaders out of their more competent followers.

Four components of this model happen to be:

  1. Intellectual stimulation.
  2. Consideration for individual team members.
  3. Inspirational motivation.
  4. Idealized influence.

Transformational leadership theories work on the premise that people are motivated by the task that must be performed. This implies that the culture of the organization is such as to act as a key enabler for such leaders to be effective. There is an emphasis on cooperation, collective action and healthy competition. Tasks are designed to be challenging and desirous. The whole system is geared towards placing the community above individual egos.

The lens of Three Mindsets

Yes-Men

Prof G P Rao, an eminent authority in the field of Organizational Behaviour, has recently proposed a new approach to viewing leadership.

This approach proposes three kinds of leadership mindsets: “I Am Everything’, ‘I Am Nothing’ and ‘I Am Something’. These are not mutually exclusive but co-exist, much like the three traits (Gunas) mentioned in Indian scriptures: Saatvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. Time and business environment play key roles in determining the dominant mode of mindset a business leader has at a given point in time.

In a highly favourable business climate, a leader is apt to have an ‘I Am Everything’ mindset. In an unfavourable setting, a leader may end up having an ‘I Am Nothing’ mindset. In a moderate situation, an ‘I Am Something’ mindset is likely to prevail.

The approach is based on an empirical study and has been implemented in an IT organization in India. It has been discussed in detail in the book on Leader Mindsets.

The composite lens of Results, People and Ethics

This proposition is based on my own managerial experience of over four decades in the private sector. The basic premise here is that decisions are based not only on commercial considerations but also on sound ethics and values. Decisions which would serve the strategic interests of the organization and would never lead it to a situation of public disgrace and compromise.

If one were to take the liberty of modifying the Blake Mouton Grid, the leadership style of such a CEO would qualify for either a 9,9,9 or a 5,5,5 classification.

The modified grid leads us to 9 different styles which we have already discussed elsewhere in detail.

An evolutionary thought process

Human thoughts forever keep evolving. Newer experiences come about. Refined paradigms surface. But each succeeding step is like a stepping stone. It is built upon the success achieved by, as well as upon the deficiencies noticed in, the previous ones. The different lenses of viewing leadership we have discussed here are no exception.

What we have attempted here is merely indicative and not exhaustive. Many more interpretations of leadership exist. Many more models and theories would emerge in the times to come. As businesses hurtle forward, armed with newer and smarter technologies, the need for humane leaders would only become more acute.

This would surely lead to newer lenses which would be more comprehensive and elaborate, and would better serve the needs of commercial enterprises better in future.

(A version of this article appears as one of the chapters of the book ‘I Am Something: Developing a New Leader Mindset’.)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit)

 

 

 

 

 

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ashokbhatia

PGW StiffUpperLipHere is a collection of some juicy quotes from ‘Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves’.

http://balu036.blogspot.in/2015/03/a-few-funny-moments-from-stiff-upper.html

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Our dream merchants keep dishing out movies. Some of us who use a managerial lens to view the same keep learning new lessons from these.

There are several parallels between a reel career and a real career. On the screen, we admire a hero. At our place of work, we admire some of our bosses. On the screen, we notice the oomph of a diva and fall in love with her, at least temporarily, till the time the next heart-throb pops up in another movie after some time. Likewise, in real life, we come under the temporary spell of a company. We join it, only to find that what was showcased as heaven turns out to be a hell in more ways than one. We then decide to shift our allegiance to another corporate we come across.

In the movies, we learn to hate a villain or a vamp. In real life, we run into those who oppose all our proposals tooth and nail. Some do it openly whereas others, much to our chagrin, do it covertly. We decide to move on to greener pastures, only to find some villainous characters there as well. Only the faces and names change, their jaundiced approach to us does not.

While watching a movie, we experience a willing suspension of disbelief. In real life, we often end up suspending our egos and our autonomy of thought. If a flick makes us travel to a fantasy land for 2-3 hours, a career makes us grind our heels for at least 10 hours a day.

Recently, an opportunity came up for yours truly to interact with members of the Ahmedabad Management Association in India. Some of the fresh ideas presented at the event could be summed up as follows.

Building Synergy and Team Management

  • Handling ethnic and regional prejudices
  • Seeking areas of agreement first
  • Building on strengths, Compensating for weaknesses; Synergy
  • Overcoming adversity
  • No eve teasing, No sexual harassment

Inspiring Leadership

The manner in which Nelson Mandela endeavours to overcome racial prejudices not only in his team of personal assistants but also in the country makes one sit back and wonder as to how he thought of using a sport like rugby to further his agenda. One of the qualities of leaders who inspire us is a capacity to indulge in out-of-box thinking to solve complex problems.

Brand Building



If one was about putting customer needs first, the other was about the use of even unethical means to achieve an ethical end – that of delivering better value to customers. Both cover a critical success factor which contributes towards building a brand.

Human Values: Energy and Wisdom

When a start-up driven by only youthful energy also starts tapping into the wisdom of an experienced executive, things start to fall into place. Business grows in a sustainable manner.

Firing and Terrorizing


The emotional cost of being on a firing spree could take its own toll, dulling sensibilities in a significant manner. The trauma of working under a tough and unreasonable boss leads to a deeper understanding of the managerial process.

Hormones vs Hierarchies





Managements can no longer afford to look the other way when their key performers happen to be having a serious affair with one of their team members. Work places need to be made more gender sensitive.

Battling the Cancer of Corruption


Both were a humorous take on the issue. One led to failure while the other one concluded on a positive note.

Aiming High


Demonstrates the kind of sacrifices one makes and the subterfuges one indulges in to climb the ladder to dizzying heights of one’s chosen profession. Managing successes and failures with a dash of equanimity is a critical factor.

Mentoring



Deep reserves of patience are a hallmark of a good mentor. The satisfaction of a job well done is far more important than the money at stake.

Start Ups



Identifying and tapping latent market potential is an important skill for an entrepreneur to have. Leveraging one’s core strengths happens to be another.

 

Some Observations of the Audience

  1. Quite a few movies gain traction due to the pre-release controversies which appear to get whipped up. Would you say that such controversies form a part of a well-orchestrated marketing campaign for the movie concerned?

In most of the cases, perhaps yes. When millions ride on a single movie, the producers would go to any lengths to keep the box office registers ringing aloud.

  1. Many of the movie reviews in the press appear to be unduly biased, either praising or panning a work in a superficial manner. Whom can we trust for an honest and objective review?

Good observation. Since I am active in blogosphere, over the years, I have somehow come to trust some individuals who, I believe, provide a balanced view of the movies which keep coming up. Here are some which might be of interest to those who love cinema:

Of course, there would be several others whom I am yet to discover.

  1. Why did you not think of becoming a movie critic yourself?

Simply because I would rather watch a movie with a quiet mind, sans a deadline and an editor breathing down my neck. Making one’s hobby a profession has its own perils! 

  1. The rising level of obscenity in our movies. Is there anything that can be done about it?

Trust our film makers to keep pushing the envelope further with each passing year. Shock, awe and titillation happen to be the name of the game. A rejection by audience could alone bring results. A self-certification by movie makers as to the Gender Sensitivity Rank of an offering could help.

 

(Notes:

 

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The Spandan (Heartbeat) perspective

   

  • Innate divinity, intrinsic altruism and basic goodness of human beings are determinants of human existence and growth.
  • Spandan (Heartbeat, vibration, pulsation, echo) is the binding element of the entire universe and its living organisms.
  • A Maternalistic style of Management: The Mother as a symbol of – among others – (a)  Nurturing – caring, sharing and compassionate; (b) Faith in basic goodness of others; and (c) Empathy of the highest order.
  • Spandan approach, with emphasis on a high degree of sensitivity towards others’ needs (like a mother) as the quality of a leader.
  • Spandan Spectrum of Human Values 2013.
  • Spandan 3D Process of Diagnosis, Discovery and Development; Inculcation of Human Values in Organisations for sustained success.
  • Functionally Humane Leadership (FHL).
  • Functionally Humane Organisation (FHO).

 

‘I Am Something’ leader mindset

 

  • Leaders operate in three kinds of mindsets: ‘I Am Everything’; ‘I Am Nothing’; ‘I Am Something’.
  • ‘I Am Something’ believes that I am neither above you, nor below you. I am neither in front of you, nor behind you. I am neither away from you, nor near to you. I am along with you. I am however different and distinct. So are you.
  • Self is the pivot: For any meaningful change to take place, leaders themselves have to take the initiative.
  • The process of transformation involves three steps:  Remaking the Self to adopt the ‘I Am Something’ mindset; Facilitating others remake themselves along similar lines; Initiating a mindset change across an organisation.
  • An empirical study done by the author found that as many as 75.55% of those who participated was operating as per the ‘I Am Something’ mindset.
  • A practical roll out of the ‘I Am Something’ mindset is already underway at a company in India.
  • Globally, several businesses show a tendency to veer around the ‘I Am Something’ mindset. Some of the existing theories of leadership match the concept of this mindset.
  • Teachings of Gautama Buddha and Ramana Maharishi relate to the ‘I Am Something’ mindset.
  • With the onset of such technologies as AI, Robotics, Machine Learning, and the like, the importance of human values and ethics in management is bound to go up in the times to come. ‘I Am Something’ is a mindset concept of which the time has already arrived. Leaders of tomorrow need to hone their skills and attitudes in tandem with the impending changes.

 

 

 

 

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

“Your classicism is of value only if you know how to fine-tune it to the peculiar visual needs of instant cinema. In the end in the recording room it is not who knows classical singing but who has the ability to modulate classicism to the adolescent needs of mainstream cinema”

– Raju Bharatan (taken from his book- ‘A Journey Down Melody Lane’, 2010)

The repertoire of our century old Hindi film music boasts of a wide range of songs based on a variety of classical Hindustani ragas. As the object of a raga is to express a certain emotional mood and sentiment each music director has captured the essence of the raga in his/her own way to fit into the milieu of the narrative- ranging from deep love and longing, to the agony of separation, a heart-felt devotional ‘bhajan’ or just a peppy dance number.

Instead of…

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Cupid has a free run in Plumsville. He is present everywhere. He influences and enables incidents which go beyond the normal call of his duty, not restricting himself merely to generating and sustaining magnetic currents flowing between two individuals.

The large circle of influence of Cupid

When he wants someone goofy like Thos to acquire a saintly disposition, he strikes at him, leaving him besotted with Greta Garbo, thereby making him rise in love. When he decides to champion the cause of vegetarians, he uses Madeline Bassett as a front and forces Gussie Fink-Nottle to lay off all the vitamins of animal origin, making him skip Anatole’s lavish spreads and survive only on spinach, sprouts, broccoli and similar stuff. When he wishes to campaign for safety of sharks, he deploys Angela to do his bidding.

Those who serve in the constabulary, however tough their exteriors and however pure their intentions to bring the culprits to book, also fall under his spell. When one of them has to be taught a lesson in humility, Stiffy Byng becomes an instrument in his hands, persuading even a vicar to pinch a policeman’s helmet. When the intellectual level of those who belong to the so-called sterner sex has to be raised, Cupid uses such characters as Florence Craye and Vanessa Cook to give the project a good shot. When he decides to downgrade obesity, he finds an ally in Maud, who scratches her fixture with Geoffrey Raymond to bring home the point.

When casinos at Monte Carlo need some promotion, Cupid makes two perfect strangers meet. If George Albert Balmer is an insurance clerk, the party of the other part is a companion of Lady Julia. Within a day of their having met, George proposes and finds that he is getting accepted. It is only then that he gets asked by his lady-love as to what his name happens to be! (The Tuppenny Millionaire, The Man Upstairs and other stories)

Bingo Little and the Evolution of Romantic Maturity

But the character Cupid is particularly fond of in Plumsville is Bingo Little. It appears that there are repeated attempts on Cupid’s part to enable his favourite person to ‘settle down’ in life. Objects of Bingo’s 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. Cupid rushes to his aid. 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. Cupid does not desert him even in his post-nuptials phase, setting the bar rather high for all the men who attach a premium on matrimonial bliss.

We now 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.

Charles Darwin, had he come across this unique case, might have gifted humanity with a treatise on The Evolution of Romantic Maturity instead.

Taking care of those young at heart

When it comes to Cupid’s machinations, age, caste, creed, profession and social status do not really matter. He does not discriminate between the younger lot and those who might be advanced in age but are young at heart. Other than the topsy-turvy romances of younger couples, he also does justice to those who are advanced in age and young at heart. An affection which was discernible in a couple’s younger days – whether declared or otherwise – survives the harsh slings and arrows of life. A chance meeting unearths and rekindles the deep buried embers of love. A well seasoned romance bears fruit. The Valentine Spirit prevails. Love may remain dormant for a long time, but can get revived in a jiffy – much like a Psyche getting revived by a Cupid’s kiss!

The case of Joe and Julia springs to one’s mind. So does the case of Piggy and Maudie. Not to forget the case of Mrs Spottsworth and Captain Biggar-Biggar. Even someone of the stature of Sir Roderick Glossop, the eminent nerve specialist, is not spared. Having fathered such exquisite specimens as Honoria and Oswald Glossop in the past, and having been a widower for two years, he decides to get hitched to Myrtle, Lady Chuffnell, later in his life.

 

The limitations of Cupid

But the freedom to strike at will does not come without its attendant responsibilities. Cupid has some serious obligations to meet in Plumsville. The strict code of chivalry in vogue therein does not permit physical intimacy. It looks askance at someone bandying about the name of a female. It does permit a sideways scrutiny of a lissome profile but scoffs at any attempts to outrage the modesty of a member of the tribe of the delicately nurtured. In Plumsville, romance blossoms. Love is in the air. Devotion is permitted. But physical intimacy is a taboo. Aphrodite has limited access to the goings on in Plumsville. Eroticism is denied entry. An occasional occurrence which could amount to mild titillation alone is allowed.

Consider some such instances where Cupid’s advances have met with a resounding buff in Plumsville.

When Bertie Wooster stands up to Gussie’s Amorous Plans

The Mating Season touches upon Gussie’s notebook which contains some juicy remarks on Pop Bassett and Rederick Spode and continues to be in Stiffy’s possession. Gussie comes up with a fruity scheme to retrieve the notebook from her.

‘Well, listen. You could easily engage her in a sort of friendly romp, if you know what I mean, in the course of which it would be simple to…well, something in the nature of a jocular embrace…’

I checked him sharply. There are limits, and we Woosters recognize them.

‘Gussie, are you suggesting that I prod Stiffy’s legs?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well, I’m not going to.’

‘Why not?’

‘We need not delve into my reasons’, I said, stiffly. ‘Suffice it that the shot is not on the board.’

He gave me a look, a kind of wide-eyed, reproachful look, such as a dying newt might have given him, if he had forgotten to change its water regularly.

Unfortunately, Gussie proceeds with his plans. This prompts Madeline Bassett to scratch their engagement, thereby putting both Gussie and Bertie in a limbo.

Of girls clad in swimsuits in one’s bed

Bertie is never too keen on having Pauline in his bedroom in the small hours of night, and that too dressed in a wet swimsuit. But his reaction upon finding her there is not to fall for one of the devilish schemes of Cupid. His primary concern is to get her out of his cottage at the earliest possible. He does not even try to kiss her. Deciding to wait till the morning, he himself sleeps in the garage. (Thank You, Jeeves)

Bertie often comments on women’s bodies but only as an appreciation of beauty. There’s never any lust involved and he treats his female friends well, though he considers Madeline a drip and Bobbie Wickham and Stiffy Byng as troublemakers.

The closest he appears to come to expressing some lascivious thoughts is perhaps in The Mating Season. But here again, the Code of the Woosters reigns supreme.

When reproduction is embarrassing

The very idea of reproduction embarrasses Bertie Wooster, making him blush, as in this conversation he once had with Aunt Agatha:

‘Aline Hemmingway,’ said Aunt Agatha, ‘is just the girl I should like to see you marry, Bertie. You ought to be thinking of getting married. Marriage might make something of you. And I could not wish you a better wife than dear Aline. She would be such a good influence in your life.’ 

‘Here, I say!’ I chipped in at this juncture, chilled to the marrow. 

‘Bertie!’ said Aunt Agatha, dropping the motherly manner for a bit and giving me the cold eye. 

‘Yes, but I say–’ 

‘It is young men like you, Bertie, who make the person with the future of the race at heart despair. Cursed with too much money, you fritter away in idle selfishness a life which might have been made useful, helpful and profitable. You do nothing but waste your time on frivolous pleasures. You are simply an anti-social animal, a drone. Bertie, it is imperative that you marry.’

 ‘But, dash it all–’

 ‘Yes! You should be breeding children to – ‘

 ‘No, really, I say, please!’ I said, blushing richly. Aunt Agatha belongs to two or three of these women’s clubs, and she keeps forgetting she isn’t in the smoking-room.

 (The Inimitable Jeeves)

 

Of upturned faces and burning kisses

Showering upturned face with burning kisses is another tactic that brings a Plummy reader to a somewhat provocative titillation. Constable Ernest Dobbs of The Mating Season fame indulges in such a naked display of affection towards Queenie, the maid at Deverill Hall. However, he is quick to apologize.

The perks of being an eccentric

Rupert Psmith hastens to rush across to handover a virtually stolen umbrella to Eve Halliday in Leave it to Psmith. He indulgently tolerates a stain on his assumed character when Eve takes him to task during a boat ride for mistreating his supposed wife who is a close friend of hers. Cupid brings them close together yet again while facing Smooth Lizzie, but there is never any trace of any physical intimacy between the two of them. This is how their alliance gets sealed:

‘Cynthia advised me’, proceeded Eve, ‘if ever I married, to marry someone eccentric. She said it was such fun…Well, I don’t suppose I am ever likely to meet anyone more eccentric than you, am I?

‘I think you would be unwise to wait on the chance.’

When class distinctions evaporate

Other than cross-class affairs at many places, we also run into Lord Emsworth treating his young friend who happens to be a girl rather well. When Gladys requests some flowers, he hesitates, but cannot refuse her. Just as she is picking her flowers, McAllister rushes up in a fury, but his master, encouraged by Gladys’ hand in his, stands up to the man, putting him in his place. (Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend)

Here is a case where the innocence of Master Cupid does the trick, holding the adult Cupid at bay.

Snuggling close together

In one of the short stories, estranged lovers get reunited on an isolated beach. When a chilly wind starts blowing in, the girl, who is not sufficiently clad, ends up asking the party of the other part if it would not be better if they snuggled together. The rest, of course, is left to the reader’s imagination. (Wilton’s Holiday, The Man with two left feet)

She seated herself with her back to him. Dignity demanded reprisals, so he seated himself with his back to her; and the futile ocean raged towards them, and the wind grew chillier every minute.

 Time passed. Darkness fell. The little bay became a black cavern, dotted here and there with white, where the breeze whipped the surface of the water.

 Wilton sighed. It was lonely sitting there all by himself. How much jollier it would have been if—

 A hand touched his shoulder, and a voice spoke—meekly.

 ‘Jack, dear, it—it’s awfully cold. Don’t you think if we were to—snuggle up—’

 He reached out and folded her in an embrace which would have aroused the professional enthusiasm of Hackenschmidt and drawn guttural congratulations from Zbysco. She creaked, but did not crack, beneath the strain.

 ‘That’s much nicer,’ she said, softly. ‘Jack, I don’t think the tide’s started even to think of going down yet.’

 ‘I hope not,’ said Wilton.

Warm embraces and progeny

Perhaps the top slot for flirtatious initiatives in Plumsville would go to Gally and Lord Ickenham, who are known to have embraced young ladies with warmth much greater than what might be warranted.

The paternalistic origins of Sue Brown, the daughter of Gally’s old flame Dolly Handerson, leave Plum fans twiddling their thumbs. In any case, illegitimate children are never in the scheme of things in Plumsville.

 

Plumsville: Intentions as pure as freshly driven snow

If one were lucky enough to have gone through all the works of Wodehouse, and even his biographies, one is unlikely to find any traces of either overt sexuality or vulgarity. Strong attraction, yes. Infatuation, decidedly. Cupid’s arrows, surely. The world he has left behind for us to revel in is innocent, with intentions as pure as freshly driven snow. And therein we have the unique appeal of his canon.

 

Several lenses of viewing the Wodehouse canon

There are several lenses with which one could discern the messages embedded in his works. A literary lens would reveal his canvas to be very wide. A spiritual lens would bring into sharp focus the kind of lessons he forks out about life in general. A fitness lens would nudge us to avoid the pleasures of the table and remain fit and trim. A social lens would make the scales on our eyes fall and help us in seeing the perils of economic inequality.

However, a romantic lens would reveal a clear absence of cruder passions. Respect for women reigns supreme. In fact, his canon is a sterling example of a superficial male supremacy where, in reality, it is the females who call almost all the shots, whether in the form of domineering aunts and love interests who have perfected the art of wrapping the males around their dainty fingers, enterprising collaborators who think nothing of stealing scarabs, efficient secretaries who wish to earn their pay through hard work, romantic interests who think stars are God’s daisy chains, and of course those who have the grit and determination to pursue their careers with reverent support from the Bingo Littles of their lives.

Cupid is invariably omnipresent. But one would not be surprised to find a note from him one of these days, protesting overwork and lack of any assistance whatsoever. If Santa Claus, who gets busy only around Christmas time, could have elves and a fleet of reindeer supporting him, why he, who has to remain preoccupied throughout the year, 24 by 7, has to work single-handedly, he might well ask.

 

Blessing: A singular absence of Vitamin S

Dishing out narratives which get lapped up by common folk like us despite a missing element of Vitamin S, considered so very critical to the commercial success of an author, is no mean task. P G Wodehouse accomplished it. His plots invariably stuck to the conventional norms of morality.

A blessing, indeed. Much like seeing a family movie which is certified as ‘U’, reading the works of P G Wodehouse gives us a neutral ring side view of romantic affairs of all kinds. But to label these as ‘romcoms’ might not be proper. Perhaps, as suggested by Honoria Plum of Plumtopia fame elsewhere, a term along the lines of ‘comroms’ might do the Wodehouse canon better justice.

In an age when the threshold of childhood innocence is getting lowered with each passing year, his works happen to be squeaky clean, safe to be devoured even by kids and adolescents about whom their hapless parents lose much of their beauty sleep these days.

Educationists could improve upon the effectiveness of the sex-education packages for their wards by including some references to the works of Wodehouse.

Judicial beaks the world over, while dishing out harsh sentences to those convicted of sexual adventurism, could seriously consider gifting a tome of the Master’s works for them to compulsorily devour while cooling their heels in prison.

Societies and associations which propagate Wodehousean thoughts could come up with annual awards which get dished out to those who demonstrate a chivalrous approach to the challenges faced by their heart-throbs.

The possibilities are limitless. The mind boggles.

(Yours truly acknowledges with great respect the inputs of those Plum fans whose thoughts have enriched this post many times over.)

(Related Posts:

https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/wodehouse-and-the-romantic-novelist-sophie-weston

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/different-shades-of-women-in-plumsville

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/when-rozzers-in-plumsville-fall-in-love

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/when-masters-thos-bonzo-and-moon-rise-in-love

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/joe-julia-and-a-seasoned-romance

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/piggy-maudie-and-a-seasoned-romance

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/of-mrs-spottsworth-and-the-biggar-code-of-white-men)

 

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The International League of Happiness hereby invites all residents of Plumsville to a glittering ceremony at the Tinanmen Square in Beijing, where the Empress of Blandings shall be conferred with a prestigious award, based on the following citation:

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Pig of the Year Award

Hereby conferred upon the Empress of Blandings, in recognition of her literary contributions which keep bringing happiness and joy to humanity, as also owing to her such sterling qualities as follows:

  • Optimism, as reflected in the attitude of equanimity she maintains even when remaining at the centre of many a kidnapping plot foisted on her from time to time;
  • Enthusiasm, by way of her openness towards feasting on all kinds of nourishment that comes her way, including, but not limited to, tissue restoratives of all kinds; and,
  • Hard work which she demonstrates by sticking to her trough at all times, gobbling up not only what is on offer but even dubitable memoirs, protecting the family honour at all costs.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

The ceremony shall be held on February 14, 2019, starting at 1700 hours, local time. It would involve presentation of a gold medal, an honorary red colour ribbon and a silver plaque with the aforesaid citation.

Lord Emsworth, the Chief Patron of ILH, has kindly consented to preside over the brief function. George Cyrill Beloved shall be in attendance, taking due care of the honourable awardee.

Mr Rupert Psmith, Secretary General of ILH, shall deliver a small talk on ‘Getting the Suidae members of our Planet to contribute towards Global Peace and Harmony.’

Miss Gladys, the famous girl friend of Lord Emsworth, shall propose a Vote of Thanks.

High Tea by Beach.

 

Note:

The International League of Happiness is a not-for-profit organization where:

-Destructive propaganda of any kind is sneered at

-Global interests are accorded higher priority than narrow national/regional interests

-Healthy discussion is encouraged but indifference to, or defiance of, its collective resolutions is discouraged

(Limited seats. Please register without delay at http://www.ilh.com.)

(Illustration courtesy: OLDBOOKILLUSTRATIONS.COM)

 

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