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Posts Tagged ‘Blandings’

In fond memory of Eduardo Garcia who handed in his dinner pail recently.

ashokbhatia

(Disclaimer : This composition is not by Ralston McTodd. But poets are, after all, also God’s creatures…)

I wish I could be Bertie, and let Jeeves do all the thinking
Whilst avoiding hard work – about it having no inkling,
I worship Ickenham’s horror of convention
And yet, often, am prevailed upon to avoid contention;

I yearn to saunter between tailor, bootmaker and hatter 
Rather than dentist and supermarket – whilst enduring boring chatter,
I dream of living in Blandings, superbly waited on by Beach
Unconcerned about rules I daily feel inclined to breach;

But, alas, one cannot live other’s lives – that’s our lot
And however irksome one’s existence, of it one cannot be shot,
So one must find solace in laughter, fellowship and books
To escape – however briefly – boredom’s nasty hooks;

And there is a place to go, unlike any other one
Which uplifting powers are…

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(Disclaimer : This composition is not by Ralston McTodd. But poets are, after all, also God’s creatures…)

 

 

I wish I could be Bertie, and let Jeeves do all the thinking
Whilst avoiding hard work – about it having no inkling,
I worship Ickenham’s horror of convention
And yet, often, am prevailed upon to avoid contention;

I yearn to saunter between tailor, bootmaker and hatter 
Rather than dentist and supermarket – whilst enduring boring chatter,
I dream of living in Blandings, superbly waited on by Beach
Unconcerned about rules I daily feel inclined to breach;

But, alas, one cannot live other’s lives – that’s our lot
And however irksome one’s existence, of it one cannot be shot,
So one must find solace in laughter, fellowship and books
To escape – however briefly – boredom’s nasty hooks;

And there is a place to go, unlike any other one
Which uplifting powers are huge, and cannot be undone,
Stemming not from order or discipline but, rather, farce and disaster
Recounted and made supremely enjoyable by the art of The Master;

So here’s to you, my fellow members of this most noble institution
Stalwarts of culture, wit, joy and laughter – genteel forms of revolution,
Where the burdens and anxieties are shed as one mocks
Spode’s brutality or even, say, one’s “less understated” socks…;

Unlike our Dover Street heroes we do spin and, indeed, must toil
But here, like them, we find peace and sanctuary – and can uncoil,
So I state with the utmost certainty, never having to recant or atone
That one of the greatest boons of life is this: being a Drone!

 

(Eduardo Garcia is a fuddy-duddy human salad, having been born in Rio, received an anglicized education and lived in the UK, Spain, Central Asia and Portugal. To complicate matters further, he is married to an American citizen – whose stepfather was a Dutchman – of Brazilian, English, U.S. and Greek extraction and his son lives and works in Denmark. This does not explain his liking for P.G Wodehouse, but may well have to do with his behaviour being often associated to some of the Master’s less mentally stable characters.)

(Visual courtesy Wikipedia)

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When Kalidasa speaks of Summer in Ritusamhara, he not only talks of the hot and dusty earth but also of the comfort of fountains and lily ponds, the moonlit nights spent either on cold slabs of marble or on terraces, the expectations of a good monsoon soon to follow and the affairs of the heart. He touches upon the manner in which lovers prepare for courtship in this harsh season. The use of fragrant flowers and sandal paste gets mentioned. The mention of soft sounds of the anklets worn by lissome damsels fires up one’s imagination.

The poet might as well have alluded to the kind of summer that Pondicherry offers. Howsoever oppressive the heat may feel during the first half of the day, late afternoon onwards, a cool breeze starts blowing in from the sea-side. The trees start swaying with gay abandon. The lily ponds can be forgotten. As the sun starts packing up its bags for a night’s well earned rest and repose, denizens rush to the promenade and enjoy a leisurely stroll thereat.

If the tender coconuts on offer provide succour to a hapless traveller by the day, small garlands made up of fragrant jasmine flowers provide a welcome relief during the evening hours. One’s olfactory senses kick in. The soul drives solace. The colour of either the skin or the hair, which wears such a garland and boasts of such a treat to one’s senses, no longer matters. The mere thought of a leisurely stroll which comes with the perks of an intoxicating aroma wafting in frequently lifts one’s soggy spirits no end.

Vendors peddling frozen desserts and ice creams of all sizes and shapes laugh all the way to their respective banks. Those dishing out fruit juices and smoothies also do brisk business. Owners of outdoor cafes miss their normal rush of customers, who prefer to pop up instead at restaurants which offer air-conditioned comfort. Hotels boasting of swimming pools are hard pressed to accommodate guests who would like to take the plunge. Boutiques which offer organically made perfumes often run out of supplies. Those selling cotton garments never complain of any slackness in their business.

Like the poet envisages, cool rays of moonlight provide great comfort late in the evenings. Just lying on one’s terrace and looking up at the moon makes one forget the harshness of the hot and humid days. The sheer expanse of twinkling stars leaves one invigorated. The skies are invariably clear and one can easily see distant constellations.

The reasons for Pondicherry being attractive during summers are not hard to find. The place is small in size and one does not waste much time commuting from one place to the next. Even though it offers metropolitan comforts, it is not a concrete jungle. Mother Nature still holds sway. Environment is clean. People are friendly and cool.

An early morning dip in the sea perks one up no end. So do boat rides, surf riding and scuba diving. The crowds are lesser, making it a good time to enjoy a peaceful vacation in this little town. With lesser number of people swarming at the beaches, one can enjoy one’s private space at most public places.

As someone who has lived in Pondicherry for over two decades, one finds that the summers were almost 2 degrees cooler in the past than what one finds these days. My favourite spot is a neem tree in the backyard of my house, where I can devour a Blandings story dished out by P G Wodehouse, with a kettle full of green tea by my side, duly accompanied by some cookies.

I am sure you have perfected your own methods of enjoying the summer in Pondicherry. Feel free to share your ideas with me!

(Images courtesy www)

(A version of this appears here: https://www.pondylive.com/simple-pleasures-of-a-pondicherry-summer-starry-nights-sea-breeze-sweat-and-surf)

 

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Residents of Plumsville are hereby invited to the maiden plenary meeting of the newly launched International League of Happiness (ILH).

The meeting shall be held at the lawns of Blandings Castle on October 15, 2017, starting at 1700 hours GMT.

 

Inaugural Address

“Saving the world from the nuclear peril it faces”

Mr Rupert Psmith, Secretary General

Keynote Address

“Can Dictatorship be used as a means to end terror?”

Mr Roderick Spode, Deputy Secretary – Terror and Covert Intelligence

Special Address

“Unresolved conflicts and violation of humanitarian laws: Some goofy techniques never used before

Ms Roberta Wickham, Honorary Secretary – Human Conflicts, Founder Director – Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies

Other talks

“Countering Climate Change by star gazing”

Ms Madeline Bassett, Deputy Secretary – Environment

“Addressing the challenge of growing inequality by boosting the confidence of the underprivileged”

Ms Joan Valentine, Deputy Secretary – Income Disparities

“Hacking the hackers: A war on cyber warfare”

Mr Rupert Baxter, Deputy Secretary – Cyber Crimes

“Eradicating unemployment, promoting start-ups”

Ms Sally Nicholas, Secretary – Entrepreneurship

“Using human intelligence to prevent misuse of Artificial Intelligence”

Mr Reginald Jeeves, Deputy Secretary General, ILH.

Release of the Blandings Declaration of Happiness

Lord Emsworth, Chief Patron, ILH

Inauguration of Exhibition of products developed by the Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies (RAGT)

Sir Roderick Glossop, Director General, RAGT

  1. Laser-guided Needles usable for puncturing hot water bottles of politicians who misbehave in international affairs. These guarantee deadly precision, with minimal risk of exposure to the fleshy parts of the target person at the receiving end.
  2. Infra-red Incinerators which allow one to burn offending scripts and memoirs at the push of a button. No smoke is emitted, thereby allowing complete secrecy even within confined spaces.
  3. Magnetic Props which are highly effective in pinching policemen helmets. Field tests have demonstrated a high rate of success even for novice clergymen who might be out to pinch such objects merely to please their current heart-throbs.
  4. Machines which automatically produce 3-D versions of butter slides. These are found very useful by step-sons who have been refused protection money by their would-be step-fathers.
  5. Adhesives of an advanced nature, which allow party of the one part to affix and remove with much ease fungus of any colour from the visage of the party of the other part.
  6. Software which develops and delivers juicy speeches of all kinds to large gatherings of giggling and staring school girls and boys, thereby simplifying life for all those who are left all of a twitter when invited to address the wards under the charge of such illustrious lion-tamers as Rev. Aubrey Upjohn and Miss Tomlinson.
  7. Advanced e-learning kits which enable enthusiasts to learn to play such musical instruments as banjeoles. By using blue-tooth technology, such kits enable one to practice without disturbing one’s neighbours.
  8. Artificial Intelligence enabled gentlemen of gentlemen, duly configured with a Jeeves Service Package. These are extremely popular as wedding gifts which the brides-to-be accept with much glee, enabling them to show the door to the real Jeeves in their would-be husbands’ lives in the post-nuptial phase.
  9. Silver Detectors which can be used by enterprising aunts to locate and steal cow creamers and such other collectibles from castles of rivals. Smart nephews who do not wish to lose the privilege of feasting on Anatole’s delectable spreads use such contraptions to keep their aunts in good humour.
  10. Calorie Counters specifically designed to monitor the feeding pattern of the Empress of Blandings. These enable her to keep winning the top slot at international level sow competitions.
  11. Advanced Algorithms capable of accurately forecasting the results of all kinds of speculative sports. Bingo Littles of the world are thus enabled to keep the dove of matrimonial bliss flapping above their humble abodes at minimal costs.
  12. Aniseed Perfumes specifically developed for those who specialize in stealing detective dogs from the enemy camp in a peaceful and non-violent manner.
  13. Electronic Stunners which can be used for inducing temporary disability amongst cops who might be chasing well-meaning persons out to serve the delicately nurtured members of the society.
  14. Digestive Capsules designed to eliminate any problems of the lining of the stomach amongst those who are routinely taken in by the pleasures of the table and do not believe in the efficacy of Larsen Exercises popularized by Ashe Marson.
  15. Anti-aunt Apps designed to smartly block communications from obnoxious aunts when they refuse to be gentlemen.
  16. Spider Footwear which make it easy to slide down pipes to escape the fury of aunts who insist on having a word with their nephews who are in no mood to face the firing squad.
  17. Body Scanners which can enable a member of the delicately nurtured tribe to ascertain the Chivalry Quotient of a matrimonial aspirant.
  18. Mental Imagers which can check the Pumpkin Quotient of a person.
  19. Cat Detectors which bleep when a bunch of feline characters are in the vicinity.
  20. Powder of Milk of Human Kindness, duly certified by FAO.

 

Vote of thanks

Mr Gussie Fink Nottle – Deputy Secretary – Love, flora and fauna

High Tea by Anatole

 

 

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.)

(Related Post:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-epidemic-of-wodehousitis)

 

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Residents of Plumsville, whether of the existing kind or the aspiring kind, would cherish this instructive post on the Blandings saga. Anyone who follows this shall never get lost in the sunlit valleys of the delightful world left behind for us by P G Wodehouse.

Plumtopia

blandings-castle

Lord Emsworth breathed heavily. He had not supposed that in these degenerate days a family like this existed. The sister copped Angus McAllister on the shin with stones, the brother bit Constance in the leg . . . It was like listening to some grand saga of the exploits of heroes and demigods.

‘Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend’

(Blandings Castle)

This piece is the third in a series of guides for readers wanting to discover the joys of P.G. Wodehouse — from the popular Jeeves and Wooster stories, and the Blandings series, to the wider world of Wodehouse ‘hidden gems’. Previous instalments in the series offered:

A reading list for the Blandings saga is offered below, followed by notes on the series.

A Blandings Reading List

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