Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Drones Club’

The intermittent rays of a highly reluctant evening sun were falling on the city of a wind-swept Amsterdam. The Amstel flowed quietly. The Opera House rose from its banks in a majestic manner.

At the Rembrandt Square, a swathe of wide-eyed tourists of various sizes, shapes and ethnicities were busy getting photographed for the sake of posterity. Some liked to be remembered standing just beneath the imposing statue of the famous painter of the country. Others preferred to get clicked with the soldiers surrounding the main statue in the square. Some others fancied being seen in the company of army drummers which formed a part of the ensemble of statues at the square.

Just off the square, located on Bakkerstraat, inside a cosy and warm restaurant by the name of Szmulewicz, the owner, with a stiff upper lip which would have put even the Rev. Aubrey Upjohn to shame, was surveying his patrons of the day with a distinct frown of disapproval. He thought those visiting his place on the day were rather a noisy and boisterous lot. A sprightly and conscientious Miss Mabel was scurrying around, serving customers with alacrity and elan.

Psmith, the efficient coordinator who had organized the Drones Club meeting at the restaurant, was anxiously waiting for his invitees to join him.

Given the address, one could be forgiven to presume that he was expecting the famous detective and his companion, Doctor Watson, to join up. After all, literally translated from Dutch, Bakkerstraat is nothing but Baker Street. Alas, that was not the case, for the street was located not in London but in Amsterdam.

Nor were artists of such fame as Bill Lister, Corky or Gwaldys Pandlebury on his list of those invited to participate in the festivities.

Instead, on his list of invitees were some of the characters etched out with much finesse in the Wodehousean canon. Eve Halliday, the famous librarian from Blandings Castle, was expected. So was Aunt Dahlia from Brinkley Court. Also, joining in were Bingo Little and Rosie M Banks from India. Regrettably, Galahad, the President of the local Wodehouse Society, had already expressed his inability to make it to the meeting due to some harsh sling  and arrow of Fate he was facing at the time.

Within a few minutes of the appointed time, the group had assembled. Introductions had been performed. The couple from India was overjoyed to be meeting some members of the Society, which had seen as many as twenty-seven springs since it came to be formed.

Psmith was quick to inform everyone that due to constraints of space at the restaurant, plans to hold a dart throwing competition had been abandoned. Even though bread crumbs could be ordered, all assembled concurred that any projectile activity involving the same could be deferred to the next meeting, so deliberations could take place in a serene atmosphere, in tune with the decorum of the place. Plans to stand on the table and sing Sonny Boy were also vetoed for the same reason. Orders for tissue restoratives and the exotic fare on the menu were duly placed.

When asked about the whereabouts of the family members of Bertie Wooster’s sister in India, Bingo Little appeared to be clueless. It transpired that Bingo Little had progressed beyond being an editor of Wee Tots and had now become an author in his own right. On her part, Rosie M Banks had grown out of her previous role as an author and ventured instead into the realm of spirituality and meditative practices. Both confirmed that Bingo was still following the tradition of ensuring a regular supply of afternoon tea to his better half, thereby ensuring matrimonial harmony on the domestic turf.

Psmith, a prolific author in his own right, was delighted to present Bingo Little with his latest book, Sherlock Holmes and the Birth of The Ashes, a delectable tale of the detective unraveling the villainy behind and other events which took place at The Oval during August, 1882. Bingo regretted his inability to reciprocate the gesture, not having on hand his recently launched book, a light-hearted take on the art and science of management.

Aunt Dahlia, geniality personified, was keen to leave the gathering a wee bit early. It appeared that Anatole had planned a lavish spread at home. She feared that her absence at such an important event could make him put in his papers, thereby causing much disruption at Brinkley Court. This, she felt, would be worse than the perilous implications of the impending stand-off between USA and North Korea. The group wished her good luck.

Eve Halliday was elaborate and generous in her praise of her previous employer, Lord Emsworth. She fondly recollected her time at the Blandings Castle, and her invigorating encounters with the Empress of Blandings.

She and Psmith got into an animated discussion over the relative superiority of Plum’s screen plays vis-à-vis his romantic whodunits and other creative endeavours. As expected, the discussion was inconclusive.

The speech of Gussie Fink Nottle, delivered many years back at the Market Snodsbury School, came in for a loving mention. So were the sterling characters of such strong-willed women as Joan Valentine, Sally and Mrs Spottsorth. The conduct of such kids as Thos, Seabury and Edwin came up for discussion. One of the members sympathized with Aunt Agatha for the challenges she faced so very bravely while bringing up Thos.

There was a consensus that many of the problems faced by humanity at present – poverty, treatment meted out to the delicately nurtured, and terror, to name just a few – could be effectively tackled by ensuring that Homo sapiens followed the Code of the Woosters.

The meeting was yet another evidence, if evidence is indeed necessary, of the love for Plum’s works which transcends boundaries and can bring people of diverse origins together.

(Note: Yours truly and his spouse wish to express their heartfelt gratitude for the warm hospitality extended to them by Ms Josepha Olsthoorn, Mr Arunabha Sengupta and Ms Wil Brouwer.)

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Some residents of Plumsville might be interested in this news release from the Nordic branch of PBC, the Plum Broadcasting Corporation.

Quote

It is a well documented fact that the epidemic of Wodehousitis peaks at two times in a year. One, around the 15th of October, the day on which P G Wodehouse was born. Two, around the 14th of February, the day he decided to start regaling his Guardian Angels instead.

This is not to say that the epidemic is dormant during the rest of the year. It merely subsides a wee bit, popping up here and there, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, sex or ethnicity.

The medical fraternity continues to be clueless as to how to contain the dreaded epidemic. Researchers of all hues continue to be baffled at the unique kind of drug resistance displayed by those who suffer from Wodehousitis – they exhibit no desire to be rid of the affliction.

It is learnt from reliable sources that residents of Plumsville, a euphimistic term deployed to identify those suffering from acute Wodehousitis, could go to any lengths to celebrate their shared suffering from the dreaded affliction. To them, cultural, linguistic and continental barriers do not count. Man-made boundaries do not matter.

Take the case of one Morten Anersen from Norway and one Ashok Bhatia from India. On the 15th of October, 2016, the two decided to put their nose bags together and meet up at the Little England Tea Rooms (LETR) at Vollen in Norway.

img_20161015_164536909_hdr

It is understood that wide-ranging talks were held between the two on the occasion. The atmosphere was said to have been highly cordial and congenial. The couple running the show at LETR, Henning Edin Lyche and Liv Kjersti Lyche, when forewarned about the specific occasion being celebrated, revived the best of Drones Club traditions. British high tea was served with much enthusiasm and attention to detail.

img_20161015_164029830

The talks are said to have covered the following topics:

  • BREXIT: Whether Wodehouse, had he been around these days, would have approved of Brexit. The conjecture of the duo was in the negative.
  • The Technological Twist: Would he have continued churning out juicy narratives, with his trademark old world charm, replete with eccentric lords, super-intelligent butlers, domineering aunts, goofy females, woolly-headed bachelors, romantic cops and kids who could motivate even vicars to aspire to higher levels of spiritual upliftment? Especially, in this age of technology and the Internet of Things? The guess was in the affirmative. Probably, at best, telegrams might have got replaced by WhatsApp messages and phone calls by Skype or Viber calls.
  • Of dyspepsia, class distinctions and scarabs: Some ever fresh lessons from ‘Something Fresh‘ came up for discussion. Larsen Exercises, brisk walks and cold baths and the need to have a digestive system which keeps firing at all twelve cylinders, were mentioned with much enthusiasm. The socio-economic divide between Aline Peters and Joan Valentine, inter alia, came under the duo’s lens. The correlation between being a millionaire and being a collector of scarabs was discussed.
  • Real People and Real Books: Many facets of Wodehouse’s personality were discussed. The fact that he modelled his characters based on real life people was mentioned. So was the fact that books like ‘Types of Ethical Theory‘, once used by Florence Craye to attempt to uplift the intellectual leanings of Bertie Wooster, really did exist.
  • The Nietzsche Taboo: Surprise was expressed at the fact that Friedrich Nietzsche, held to be basically unsound by a person no less than Jeeves, was also born on the 15th of October, though the year of his birth was 1844. There were mutual confessions that Jeeves’ world was taken rather seriously. Hence, no attempts were likely to be made to read up any of Nietzsche’s works.
  • No darts, please: Out of respect for the excellent interior design of LETR, as well as for several other customers present, plans to throw some darts were deferred.
  • Potential members: It was noted with much regret that such eminent members as Geir Hasnes, Jo Ingebrigt Spalder, Jens Magne Andreassen, Oystein Moe and others could not join in the festivities.
  • Of 2017: It was hoped that a meeting planned some time in either April or May 2017 would attract better attention of Plum fans based in various parts of Norway. A strong need was felt for a local Jeeves who would be able to spare some time and coordinate the affair.

img_20161015_163944166

It is reliably learnt that Liv Kjersti Lyche, the delicately nurtured better-half of the owner of the place, a charming lady in the mould of Mrs Spottsworth, had spent some time during her teens in India, learning the art of dishing out piping hot samosas and chicken tikka sandwiches.

She also turned out to be a Plum fan, thereby adding some more sparkle and warmth to the proceedings. Another round of animated discussion is said to have followed, wherein ‘Laughing Gas‘ was merely one of the several works of Wodehouse which had popped up.

img_20161015_145917939

The meeting is said to have generated much laughter and camaraderie and reconfirmed the presence of Wodehousitis in the Nordic country which already boasts of more than 40 works of Plum translated into Norwegian. It also set a precedent of sorts in terms of achieving Gender Diversity for the Drones Club.

Unquote

Vikings are believed to have had a stiff-upper-lip approach to life in the distant past. Gallows Humour is said to be a typical Scandinavian offering.

Folklore has it that the sense of humour of Indians also leaves much to be desired. If it has been there, perhaps it has been more of the loud and overt kind.

But goofy gatherings of the kind reported herein above indicate that those inhabiting Nordic and Asian regions of the world these days perhaps relish not only a chuckle or two but also a loud guffaw once in a while. Subtle humour of the Wodehousean kind appears to have gained currency in these regions.

One wonders if the Humour Quotient of Homo Sapiens tends to improve in tandem with their gradual evolution over a period of time. If so, sunnier days are ahead. Further research by anthropologists and historians is strongly recommended to validate this hypothesis.

The global per capita density of the epidemic of Wodehousitis also needs to be studied further.

(Related Posts:

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

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/a-drones-club-meet-at-asker-in-norway

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/what-ho-what-ho)

Read Full Post »

The winter Sunday was in its latter half. With a light fog enveloping Asker in Norway, the fading daylight was falling on a little garden which the recent spate of snowfall had converted into a quaint little skating rink. Some children were honing their skating skills under the watchful but indulgent eyes of their parents. The air was fresh with a whiff of ozone, imbued with a chilly sharpness so very characteristic of Nordic winters.

From Facebook to Face-to-Face

In a cosy corner of Egon, an artistically done up restaurant near the Asker train station, a meeting of some members of the Drones Club was in progress. An Egg, a Bean and a Crumpet could be seen happily chatting with each other.

Introductions and exchange of pleasantries had got over. The conversation had already covered such wide-ranging topics as genealogy, the open-ended social milieu of Norway, the economic challenges being faced owing to the dip in oil fortunes and the state-of-art infrastructure of the country. Concern had been expressed about the global challenge of maintaining harmony and peace in these troubled times. The relevance of the Code of the Woosters to usher in a phase of sustainable peace had been discussed.

A dash of patriotism

Norway National DayThe Egg and the Bean spoke of the National Day of Norway, which is celebrated with much gaiety and fervour on the 17th of May every year. The Constitution of Norway was signed on this day in the year 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent kingdom in an attempt to avoid being ceded to Sweden after Denmark–Norway’s devastating defeat in the Napoleonic Wars. All residents come out in their respective national dresses and participate in a parade. The King and the Queen are an integral part of the proceedings.

The Crumpet shared the details of the Indian Republic Day which honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950. The military might of the country is on full display in a parade which marches down an important thoroughfare of the capital city New Delhi. So is the social diversity which gets covered in several colourful tableaux which form a part of the parade. Indian Republic Day

The Egg and the Bean touched upon their exploits in the Norwegian military in their younger days. The Crumpet was delighted to know that the delicately nurtured had equal opportunity to join those of the so-called sterner sex in guarding the national frontiers of Norway. The Egg and the Bean were also happy to be informed that the Indian armed forces follow a similar policy.

The Drones who sought Leave of Absence

The audience would surely be wondering by now as to why there were only three members present and where the other members were. Well, a Whisky and Soda had already explained that he would be on the road attending to a critical chore which was essential to keep his body and soul together. A Pieface could not join in because he was confined to bed and was trying to nurse a viral infection with one of Jeeves’ pick-me-ups.

A Gin and Tonic had not responded, apparently because she was busy somewhere on the slopes of Galdhopiggen, tending to some injury of Pauline Stoker’s suffered by her during a skiing adventure. A Couch Potato had also not responded to the overtures, possibly owing to a lack of expertise in throwing darts, should a competition got organized.

Aurora_Borealis_and_Australis_PosterAn intellectual cove, who is one of the forty odd literarily gifted persons having had the distinction of translating Plum’s work into the Norwegian language, was discovered just after the meeting. He was said to be busy enjoying the mesmerizing display of Northern Lights somewhere in the Arctic Circle. The loss was entirely that of the members assembled.

Thus, only the Egg, the Bean and the Crumpet had trooped in.

The joy and the pall of gloom

At one stage, the emotions of the three members assembled had almost overpowered them. These called for a ready outlet. They wanted to stand up and announce that a common passion had brought together persons from two countries – Norway and India – which are as different as chalk and cheese. But the ambience of the place restrained them. They wanted to stand on the sturdy table in front of them and sing ‘Sonny Boy’ in unison. But they could not do so because customers would complain. They wanted to shout three cheers in a boisterous fashion, but couldn’t do so. The management would have looked askance and perhaps called in some rozzers eager to augment their incomes on a Sunday evening.

The pall of gloom which such severe restrictions cast on them did not last too long. Miss Postlethwaite, the efficient barmaid, soon popped up. The quiet simplicity of her costume and the devout manner in which she pulled the wine-handle brought in the requisite cheer. Soon, the pot-boy appeared with a steaming hot creamy fish soup which appeared to be coming straight from the stables of Anatole. Nose bags were duly put on and a free-flowing conversation followed.

Of Plummy affairs

The Egg brought up the innumerable qualities of Jeeves, expressing his ardent wish he could get hold of one such gentleman’s gentleman. The Bean admired the woolly headedness of Lord Emsworth and wondered if he did not possess similar qualities. The Crumpet spoke reverentially of the personality traits of independent women like Joan Valentine and Sally. The goofiness of Madeline Bassett got an honourable mention. So did the romantic nature of Mrs. Spottsworth. The Eastern connections of Captain Biggar-Biggar and his own Code of Conduct were fondly recalled.

Lessons of good health espoused by Ashe Marson came in for general praise. Several escapades of Bingo Little and Rosie M. Banks which contribute to the cause of matrimonial harmony were mentioned. The paramount importance of women having their afternoon cup of tea was analysed threadbare. The fact that not many details were available concerning the parents of Bertie Wooster came up for discussion.PGW HughLaurie-BertieWooster

An action movie on Master’s works?

Over coffee, the Egg and the Bean mentioned the authors whose work they read. The Crumpet lamented his being at the terminal stage of Wodehousitis, making him incapable of devouring anything else. The general opinion of the group was that if reading Wodehouse is escapism, then all forms of literature and fine arts could also get labelled likewise.

Movies with a Wodehousian sense of humour came up for discussion. The members present wondered if ever an action movie could be based on the works of the Master. It was doubted if any movie moghul would consider sliding down pipes to escape the fury of an aunt interesting enough. Or, for that matter, either the case of a minister facing an angry swan while perched on a roof in the midst of heavy rains, or the burning down of country cottages by conscientious boy scouts.

Spreading the virus of Wodehousitis

Norway Drones Club Jan 2016The Bean raised the sartorial standard of the meeting by wearing a Drone Club tie which is no longer in circulation. The Egg and the Crumpet are now in the market looking for benevolent souls who might like to donate theirs!

While the deliberations were on, darkness had stealthily enveloped the surroundings. Decorative lights put up by merchants hoping to clear their shelves by offering hefty January Sale discounts were imparting a soft glow to the snow on the streets. It was time to get back to the real world.

The meeting ended with much back-slapping. Hopes were expressed that more such meetings would get planned in future, thereby spreading the virus of Wodehousitis far and wide.

Notes:

  • The intellectual cove who could not be invited: Prof Johan I Borgos. He can be reached at http://www.borgos.nndata.no/Wodehouse.htm
  • The members who attended the meeting: Morten Arnesen, Jo Ingebrigt Spalder and Ashok Bhatia.
  • Should Jeeves come across this narrative, the members shall have no objection to its contents getting entered in the dreaded book maintained by the Junior Ganymede Club. Prior intimation would, however, be necessary.
  • The members deliberately chose not to pass any adverse comments about the several aunts which populate Plumsville. This ensures that Anatole’s services can be sought for future meetings of this nature.

Read Full Post »