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Now, when a friend like Psoumya approaches with a problem of Plummy proportions what is one to do? I mean noblesse oblige and all that rot.

Especially a pal with whom you have swapped creative juices while working on a series of books, a saga that you have let loose on unsuspecting masses in five bally parts. Add to that more such collaborations are in the works, to be hurled at naïve souls when they are at their most vulnerable.

The Code of the Psenguptas compels you to spring into action, sleeves rolled up and palms spat on. The old bean races like a cheetah resolved to catch the first scene before the curtain is raised, unscheduled maintenance work on Piccadilly notwithstanding.

You see, Psoumya was just pottering about, minding her own business and generally spreading sweetness and light, when she was blind-sighted by this blighter of a friend asking her to compile a list of ten books. Following that she was to publish the list, one measly volume after another, into what has become the tangled web of our lives, FaceBook – that mingled yarn, fusing good and ill together.

Being an artist, and a topping one at that, Psoumya decided to put her own crafty spin on it. With her diligent brush-strokes, she dragged her choice of books onto canvas. She made them wear the frame, Spode-like, around their spines and leather jackets. To cut a long story short, she started making paintings of each book in her list.

And having dipped the wick of her creative soul in the dangerous spirit of graphic novelling, in which yours truly has waded alongside as her comrade in arms, she was ignited with the desire to put words into the mouths of the books. As if all that they held from cover to cover was not good enough. She brought in speech bubbles.

Being a Plummite herself, it was not too long before she plunged for Doctor Sally among her choices. And with jolly old Wodehouse fare literally in the picture, so to say, she rang for her partner in crime to come to her aid.

“What ho!”

“Of all the infernal nuisance …”

“Good morning to you too.”

“I picked Doctor Sally.”

“Did you now? No Psmith, no Blandings, no Jeeves. That’s the most unkindest cut of all.”

“I could pick only one Wodehouse book. Dashed difficult thing too, given he seems to have produced one every alternate day.”

“I wonder what the rest of the volumes have to say about that in your cartoon?”

“They will have some testy tinkerty-tonks up their sleeves, won’t they?””

“Given they will be cut to the quick at not being picked, I doubt they will stop at the unprintable.”

“They are books, for g’s sake. They cannot access the unprintable.”

“Take it from me, old p-in-c, that little technical impossibility won’t stop them. Besides, this is the electronic world. Print is passe and all that sort of thing… Also, given a shelf, they can stand up for themselves … and they don’t lack spines.”

There was what you would call a pregnant silence before she gushed forth:

“I say, can you help me come up with some words for these pestilent perishers?”

“Well, you see, what with this thing and that …”

“Arun, I mean now!”

“Oh, sure, indeed, right-ho, sure thing, happy to help and all that.”

So, that was the gist of it. As rummy old Shakespeare says, if you’re going to do a thing you might as well pop right at it and get it over.

With firmness of purpose we did just that, and in the image above you see the result.

If for some reason you find yourself intrigued about the Psoumya-Psengupta collaborations I surreptitiously hinted at (perhaps because someone took away your all-day sucker at the age of six), I am adding the details of the blasted lot without a blush of shame on our cheeks of modesty.

(Sportswriter Arun Sengupta and artist Soumya Ganesh (Maha) have collaborated in producing a series of graphic novels based on the History of World Cup Football. However, both remain Plummy types. Hence, faced with a FaceBook challenge, they combined to produce something Wodehousean.

Arun Sengupta writes the story behind the Plum-piece. The artwork is by Soumya Ganesh.

Sudden Death: An Illustrated History of World Cup Football as a Mystery Thriller Volumes 1 to 5 by Arun and Maha …published by Criketsoccer … available from Amazon and other outlets)

(This article appeared in the May-June 2019 issue of Nothing Serious, the journal of the P G Wodehouse Society of Netherlands)

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