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Posts Tagged ‘Indian Curry’

Bjorn Bergstrom, Sweden

Ashok, your excellent Indian Curry is really spicy! I can imagine how hard you must have worked on it to find all those references to India.

Chakravarti Madhusudana, Australia

P G Wodehouse never visited India. But even a first reading of his works reveals his affinity for India, Indians and Indian things in general. He may not be always complimentary about Indians and sometimes be even wrong, but his observations were totally without malice and always with an acute sense of the absurd.

In “The Indian Curry Dished Out”, Ashok Bhatia has made an extensive study of Indian references in Plum’s stories and novels. He has classified them into more than a dozen categories and presented them in a style that would be the envy of probably the master himself. I particularly liked the section “Missed Ingredients…” which hints at how PGW’s works might have been enriched by looking at other aspects of Indian culture.

This is a momentous work performed with great love and respect for Plum. I am sure it will be read with delight by Wodehouse fans whether or not they have an Indian background.

John Dawson, USA

This is a unique, delightful and informative essay. Of course I knew that Plum had referenced Indian matters quite a few times in his books, but the volume of these references you’ve included were surprising to me. You’ve done a superb job on an ambitious project! I don’t believe anyone has heretofore attempted to gather all of the Indian references in Wodehouse’s books. Please accept my congratulations for a lovely and worthwhile contribution to Wodehouse scholarship.  

Masha Lebedeva, Russia

The article is absolutely wonderful. It not only gives us a chance to enjoy Master’s humour again and again but also a possibility to look through Plum’s eyes at India’s history, politics and culture. Bravo, Ashok, great work!

Kartik Pashupati, USA

Excellent essay. It’s interesting that Plum’s cat was named Poona. “Poonai” is also the Tamil word for cat, although I doubt if that’s what he had in mind. It’s also worth noting that all of the references to gemstones and similar artifacts stolen from Indian temples are parodies of “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins, which is said to be one of the earliest detective novels in English.

Nikhil Rathod, India 

Thank you for the fascinating piece. It took me a while, but I finally finished all 50+ pages. You’ve really researched it!

A couple of things stood out to me:

– India was a huge part of British culture. More than PGW having a fascination for India, I got the impression he was just reflecting the popular culture. PGW was quintessentially English, which is reflected in his writing-style and stories. The references to India weren’t particularly knowledge about India.

– Speaking of “stories”, I’ve loved reading PGW. But, I always knew that the storyline or theme of most books never changed. Obviously, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of his writing. Similarly, the references that you pointed out in your essay were also repeated in several books. The essay really illustrated this point.

I would have said, Happy Reading, in conclusion, but I don’t think we’ll find an author to compare. Again, thanks for sharing your essay.

Pradeep Swaminathan, India

Ashok has taken the pains book by book to correlate all facts that the Master has made about India. Right from the origins of Wodehouse Road in Colaba, Mumbai, to practically every single mention of anything connected with India. I was a small kid living in Colaba, in the early 60s, when my father was working for that very British institution – The Indian Railways. The colonial hangover still lingered. Colaba was where British India administered Mumbai and the surrounding areas. I still recollect the magnificent building we lived in – Beryl House. Just for the record the ICS exams were replaced with the IAS exams after 1947, so this British Structure is still very much there.

Back to Ashok. If and when he decides to share his essays publically do make it a point to delve deeply into them. How PGW without ever coming to India could garner so many facts about India amazes me. How Ashok has managed to pick each of these gems relate it to the book and give the references also amazes me.

Rajeev Varma, India

This is a fabulous collection of PGW’s literary rendezvous with the Indian curry – scorpions, cats, cobras, fakirs and their spikes, the Maharajas, the princes, the Taj Mahal and Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore – all put in an appearance.  Some modern day Indian nationalists might be critical  of what PGW felt about Mahatama Gandhi’s fasting but one must take into account the time and circumstances while he spoke of Indian Civil Disobedience.  Ashok has admirably captured the essence of PGW’s humour and wit. Undoubtedly, Ashok’s write-up will be immensely liked by PGW’s fans all over India and even elsewhere.

Ashok’s command over the language and the flourish of presentation evoke immediate interest in his writing. A commendable work indeed!

Sanjit Ghatak, India

Imagine my rapture as I turned to page 49 of ‘The Indian Curry dished out by P. G .Wodehouse’ where you kindly mentioned about my humble effort to translate P. G. Wodehouse in Bengali.

At the outset, I must congratulate you on how you have painstakingly collated the India related references scattered in plethora of Wodehouse works, garnishing them suitably with appropriate comments. I hope you will not mind if I mention below some of the other India-related anecdotes appearing in Wodehouse work.

a) It was mentioned somewhere that a Hindu flung himself into the Ganges, got devoured by an alligator and considered the day well spent!

b) Horse racing was a favourite topic for Plum- Hon. Galahad Threepwood was a noted sportsman in his youth. Mention of winning the Great Calcutta Sweep was made on many occasions.

c) In Big Money Major Flood Smith “said something sharply in one of the lesser-known dialects of Hindu-Kush”.

Shalini Kala, India

What a feat – a comprehensive compilation of Plum’s India, accompanied with a wonderful commentary! Loved every bit of it.  I think it will be a treat for any Indian or Indophile who has enjoyed PGW’s writings.

Sriram Paravastu, India

Brilliant writeup and accompanying cartoons by Suvarna Sanyal sir.

Subrata Sarkar, India

Superb. All people wanted to know about “Plum and India” but were too lazy to find out themselves. Hurry Bongsho Jabberjee is obviously a Bengali. I suspect Plum remembered the surname had something to do with incessant talking “chatter” which he recalled as “jabber”. And hence Jabberjee.

Oh! I must mention Suvarna Sanyal and his collage. He brings the characters to life with an additional x-factor.

Suvarna Sanyal, India

Truly PhD level work.

Swarupa Chatterjee, India

This is brilliant. Such an exhaustive account of PGW’s Indian references. And the accompanying illustration is out of the world!

Thakshila Jayasinghe, Sri Lanka

What a read! Enjoyed it very much. I had no idea there were so many references to India in Plum’s books. I suppose you only realise the extent of it when they’re all compiled together like this. Thank you for sharing this with me. It is truly a labour of love as only a real Wodehouse fan could’ve had such dedication.

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