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Archive for July, 2020

ashokbhatia

The more the thoughts dwell on the fate of Wodehousitis in the decades to come, the more the soul recoils in horror. One peers into the future, and shudders at what one sees there.

Most youth of today are blissfully ignorant of the sunlit valleys of Plumsville, where rivulets of subtle humour offer a gentle reprieve from the stress of an incessant exposure to social media. Where roads are lined on both the sides with trees which offer low hanging fruits of eternal wisdom. Where characters offer solutions to such delicate challenges in life as handling loopy soul mates, diet-obsessed girl friends and spouses, obdurate aunts, thrifty uncles, moody pigs, overbearing dogs and sleepy cats.

Unless prompt steps are taken through proper channels now, the epidemic of Wodehousitis may soon become a part of folklore, confined to the dustbins of history.

A singular characteristic of this affliction is that it…

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For movie buffs who are also tuned to ‘ragas’ of Hindustani Classical Music, here is yet another delectable offering from ‘My Views on Bollywood’.

Enjoy!

My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

Music directors of our film industry have skillfully woven the basics of classical ragas from our rich musical heritage in a simple form and given us outstanding film songs that could reach out to a much wider section of the audience and thus find mass appeal. Instead of strictly adhering to all the technicalities of the raga which can be appreciated only by a few, the essence or the flavour of the raga is maintained in the song to give us the right feel and emotion associated with the scene or mood of the character. Sometimes the raga is only lightly touched upon and at other times the raga is mixed with other ragas to highlight its beauty.

Lyricists, music directors, singers and finally the actors and actresses have all contributed by adding their own magic to enhance the appeal and reach of these songs to the…

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Mr Schnellenhamer, the head of the Perfecto-Zizz-baum Corporation, the leading movie studio, is reported to be having an odd disagreeable feeling these days. Perhaps, it is caused by what Roget’s Thesaurus would describe as  agitation, fury, violent anger, wrath and similar emotions listed under the heading ‘Rage’, that too of an impotent kind.

Having struck a deal with Coronavirus Global Corp (CGC in short) to unleash upon the public a movie based on the current pandemic, he believes things to be moving a tad sluggishly. He is not able to gather enough goofy ideas to add a sparkle to the script. Discussions with his team of directors, script-writers, music composers, yes-persons, deputy yes-persons, junior yes-persons, nodders and trainee nodders have led to finalization of the basic outlines of the movie. But he feels much more could be done. CGC had mandated that the movie should get released before any vaccine or virus anti-dote hits the market.

Tentatively titled ‘The Corona Gladiators’, the movie would capture the positive effects of the pandemic over all the inhabitants of our planet; also, the eventual victory of Homo sapiens over the deadly virus emanating from the laboratories of Coronavirus Global Corp (CGC in short).

Details of the plot are yet to be revealed but perhaps the hero and the heroine, cast in the mould of Psmith and Eve, would both be scientists working on an anti-virus drug. Frustrated at the lack of results, they go underground on a super secret mission to steal innovative ideas from laboratories elsewhere in the world. To be shot in Washington, London, Paris, Oslo, Beijing, Tokyo, New Delhi and Canberra, the movie will have car chases, gun fights, encounters with secret services and many other elements which would ensure not only commercial success but also critical acclaim.

The climax may see the couple, after having whipped up an anti-virus drug, facing a bunch of rogue Vice Presidents of CGC inside the Colosseum in Rome. Before being threatened with pistols designed to fire a volley of vials filled with the brand new anti-dote and running off to safer pastures, CGC personnel will blast humanity in general for its apathy towards environment and Mother Nature. As the drums start beating, declaring the brave gladiators to be victors, the titles start rolling. The end will leave the doors open for a sequel which could cover the onset of a far more deadly version of the virus.

Some of the sub-plots discussed so far for spicing up the script are as follows.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Leaders  

 Poor politicos live in glass houses but are well-endowed to hurl stones at others, as and when the situation demands so. The pandemic is merely just another tool in their hands to beef up their image further and also to win upcoming elections by clipping the wings of those in opposition.

Top honchos like Prime Ministers and others are improving upon their macho-but-sensitive images these days by not only flexing their muscles to browbeat enemies – real or imaginary – but also remaining in news for unexpected reasons.

Scribes were recently surprised – much like a nymph while bathing – when the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did some push-ups on his office carpet during a newspaper interview to demonstrate his post-Corona fitness for the job.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Fredricksen decided to postpone her wedding in order to be able to attend a meeting of the European Council on the virus. We understand this is the third time she has done this.

Hon’ble A B Filmer has been requested to collect more details on the leaders who have publically defied such norms as social distancing and wearing masks.

Atithi Devo Bhava

Back home, India has always believed in treating guests with reverence, atithi devo bhava being the norm. Many Indians thus decided to heartily welcome the Country Managers of Coronavirus Global Corp (CGC) by clapping, lighting candles, ringing bells and banging pots and pans from their balconies.

In order to assist CGC in exceeding its own estimates of market share and bottom line in the country, some imaginative steps were taken. First, a complete lockdown ensured that the migrant labourers got stuck in cramped urban spaces where they could easily get infected. Gradually, they were prodded to migrate to distant rural areas, thereby improving the spread. Those who remained in urban areas threw caution to the winds when it came to wearing masks and following norms of social distancing. After all, there is a limit to what a hassled government and its officers can do to change the behaviour of its citizens in public places.

Aunt Dahlia is in agreement that this needs to be considered for inclusion in the proposed movie.

A Budding Romance

When two young and bright persons come to explore a small and peaceful place like Pondicherry in south India, a transient bond of affection gets strengthened. But on the 4th day of their stay, they are caught unawares by a harsh lockdown announced by the government at a notice of less than 4 hours!

While their needs for survival are adequately met, the sheer fact of living through a major event in their budding lives brings about a stronger play of the hormones. A not-so-astute observer might be forgiven for missing the stars in their eyes and the way their faces light up when they happen to be together.

Angela and Tuppy Glossop concur with this idea.

Cupid and the Mummification of the Corpse

Cupid is busy with his e-initiatives. Love birds living in different metros have learnt to remain contented with video and text chats till the time things return to a newer state of normalcy. A young couple whose marriage had got indefinitely postponed find that the boring part of their relationship has already started. The bride-to-be feels that there is a limit to the number of times one can ask each other how their day was, what they plan to have for dinner and the movie they intend to watch every night. It feels as if they have been living in a fast forward mode and have already sensed the process of the mummification of the corpse of love some time after the priest has chanted the last mantra and the marriage has been sanctified.

Bertie Wooster is delighted that he is not being asked to play a role in the movie.

Some Green Shoots

It is an open secret that thanks to the aggressive marketing strategy being practiced by CGC the world over, sale of sanitizers and related hygiene products has registered an exponential growth. Lifestyle coaches and loony doctors are laughing all the way to their respective banks. Yoga-gurus-turned-business-honchos are busy re-labelling and re-launching select products, unleashing these upon an unsuspecting public. So are the owners of online streaming platforms who have grabbed the rights of movies being churned out by our dream merchants.

The last mentioned would be delighted to know of a retired Rev. Aubrey Upjohn who has created an excel sheet which lists the movies on offer on various streaming platforms. Much of his time now gets spent on keeping the list always updated in terms of new arrivals and the ones which are yet to be watched!

Immunity-boosting Tissue Restoratives

Across homes, homemakers are whipping up turmeric and basil based tissue restoratives, prompting all their family members to gobble the same without much ado. Those who are in the business of spices are chuffed at the sudden uptick in their fortunes.

Laura Pyke heartily approves.

Suggestions are welcome!

Would you have a suggestion to offer as to how to make this movie a wee bit juicier? Suggestions may be mailed to Wilmot.mulliner@zizzbaum.org.

Those whose ideas get selected will receive an invitation to visit the studios and have a meal with Mabel Potter and Wilmot Mulliner.

(Illustration courtesy Mr Suvarna Sanyal)

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/04/11/who-ropes-in-doctors-and-paramedics-from-plumsville-to-counter-corona-virus-part-1-of-2

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/of-lockdowns-p-g-wodehouse-and-the-milk-of-human-kindness)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Summer Lightning” is the first of six novels set at Blandings Castle, in Shropshire, the seat of the absent-minded Lord Emsworth and his prize pig, the Empress of Blandings. This series is different from the Jeeves and Wooster classics – but the 36 quotations below show why it made me laugh out loud. My recent […]

via Why you should read “Summer Lightning” by P G Wodehouse — Robert Pimm: novels, short stories and more

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It was probably early 1974 when I got called for State Bank of India’s (SBI) Probationary Officer’s interview. Because I sort of botched up my M.Sc. exams my plan of graduate studies in the U.S was not looking likely. I had been teaching in colleges for a couple of years. Meanwhile, two of my M.Sc. classmates who were also trying to go abroad and were actually quite brilliant academically, started appearing for bank tests as a backup. So I thought, “What the heck, if these guys are applying I might as well too” (These friends actually ended up as Professors at American universities!)

I did get called for interviews a few times. But I went for these interviews with zero preparation. I really had no idea then how banks worked and what the job entailed. Those days there were no coaching centres and such luxuries. Even if there were, I doubt I would have tried them, because I was not very serious about a banking career. Very naive of me, I guess, but I did not see any others preparing either. Added to that there was the fact that I was (and still am) terrible at interviews. I do not have a quick mind. I usually need time to formulate my answer. This of course does not work well in interviews.

Anyway, there I was at the SBI interview, at the Local Head Office building at Parrys in Chennai. A little bit in, the question came

“You already have a job, why are you applying for this one?”.

“My current job is assured only till the end of this academic year. Also this pays much better.”

(The pay was more than double).

A little bit of laughter

Then someone else asked me what I knew about the working of banks. I honestly said I did not know anything except that you could deposit your money in the bank and earn interest. I think in later times my interview would have concluded there.

One of the interviewers was a distinguished looking gentleman in a dark green suit, (I do not know why I remember that detail). I learned later that he was one Mr. Kaiwar, a retired Indian Civil Services officer. He asked:

“So what are your hobbies?”

“Tennis, reading..”

“Reading? What do you read? Harold Robbins?”

This was said a little disdainfully, I thought. Harold Robbins used to write these potboilers which were bestsellers. Though I was a voracious reader somehow I had never read Harold Robbins.

“Not really”

“What then?

“Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Wodehouse..”.

At the mention of Wodehouse he stopped me and asked.

“So how many Wodehouse books have you read, 5, 10?”.

“No, more like 50”.

The Loyola College library had more or less all the Wodehouse books, and having spent 7 years there, in the hostel, I had pretty much read all of them.

“Really, are you sure?”  sounding sceptical.

“Yes, sure”

With a glint in his eye he asks “Tell me then, who or what is the Empress of Blandings?”

I said “It is a pig belonging to Lord Emsworth.”

He burst out laughing. And from there on the interview went like a breeze.

Wodehouse, thank you!

(Sunil Korah is a 70 year young cove, a benevolent father of 3 and a doting grandfather of 7. He retired from State Bank of India after 30 years of service. He is now simply enjoying the quintessential retired life, reading, watching sports and movies and occasionally dabbling in computer programming as a hobby. His neighbours have by now got used to his habit of singing in the shower, thereby offering some respite to the loony doctors in the area who no longer receive urgent requests to visit his abode. His permission to re-blog this post here is gratefully acknowledged. 

If you have enjoyed this post, there is a possibility that you may like these as well:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/how-p-g-wodehouse-made-ramgopal-vallath-an-author-and-a-pig-lover

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/how-plum-dissuaded-me-from-opting-for-a-diplomatic-career)

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ashokbhatia

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world,

Allow me to lodge a protest.

The derogatory manner in which I am generally referred to by the Homo sapiens is a matter of sincere regret. I wish to ass-everate that I have sterling qualities of head and heart. Even though a vast majority of you copy me ass-iduously in your day-to-day lives, you hold the member of my species in a low esteem. This is patently unfair. Permit me to set the record straight and ass-ert myself.

Members of your species have always given me a raw deal. You wilfully neglect some of my great contributions in diverse fields of life. Prohibition, literature, health, discipline, education, free speech, human values, law and order, science, politics, management, architecture, adventure and logistics are some of the fields where I have enabled your civilization to scale great heights.

Here is a quick recapitulation of some of…

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ashokbhatia

The gang of twenty-five wannabe managers, when it entered the not-so-hallowed precincts of the University Business School of Panjab University, Chandigarh in the year 1974, was clueless as to the effective use to which the power of music could be put to practice the art of managing people.

Much later in their careers, some members of the gang might have woken up to the immense potential of healthy musical practices when it came to surviving in the corporate jungle. Some would have soared higher whistling the tune that their bosses wanted to hear from them. Others would have become great leaders based on the results their teams produced, much like an orchestra gets led by a conductor to produce mellifluous symphonies.HIS MASTER’S VOICE

Some might have perfected the art of phasing out dissent from their team members by the sheer power of their vocal chords, not alike the way even soulful lyrics get drowned…

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ashokbhatia

The gang of twenty-five wannabe managers which had entered the not-so-hallowed portals of UBS* in the year 1974 had only one regret. Fate had not been kind to it. Gender diversity had taken a toss. None of the members were from the tribe of the delicately nurtured. The batch senior to them did boast of a few, but none who would put a Venus to shame. A sense of melancholy pervaded. The roving eye, having roved, could at best console itself with brief encounters with some of the lotus-eyed females of the species on the campus either while visiting the Student Centre or when loitering around the campus.Panjab_University

The gang was blissfully unaware of the fact that an alumnus of Panjab University could become a sagacious, albeit reluctant, Prime Minister of India some thirty years down the road. Some of its members had vaguely heard of a keen and bright…

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