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Posts Tagged ‘Jeeves’

Day 1

It is widely believed that Jeeves was fed a lot of fish in his childhood, thereby making him a brainy cove, with his head bulging at the back. However, all bloggers may not have had the same fortune. Their grey cells often register a protest, refusing to budge, much like Balaam’s Ass.

But there are indeed times when the creative juices are in full flow and an idea pops up!

Day 2

The idea simmers within. Many sub-ideas spring up and fall into the creative cauldron. The blogger often behaves like Angus McAllister, nurturing the Achilleas, the Bignonia Radicans and the Yucca in the Blandings garden, eventually creating a bouquet of exotic ideas, cleverly brought together.

The outcome is a juicy idea which often gives a sleepless night to the blogger who twiddles her thumbs to figure out words and phrases so the key idea gets draped appropriately.

Day 3

Thanks to one of Jeeves’ pick-me-ups, the idea takes the shape of words which flow on to the writing instrument preferred by the blogger. A working draft emerges. Many refinements take place over meals comprising soluble vitamins recommended by Laura Pyke. Putting different kinds of tissue restoratives down the hatch aids the creative process.

Day 4

The blogger sleeps over the draft. On the following day, when the sun is shining bright, birds are twittering and butterflies are hopping around taking in as much nourishment as they can muster, she gets back to her work station.

Much like Florence Craye, she makes several refinements. A chipping here, a cut there, and the stone of the core idea takes a well-hewn shape. Some cross references get traced. Spellings and grammar get checked.

Day 5

The D day arrives. After a final review, the blogger has a nice feeling about the way the post has shaped up. She has by now started developing a sense of detachment to the post, wanting it to have an independent existence of its own. Like Gwladys Pandlebury, she casts a final look at the portrait of Bertie Wooster, takes a deep breath and punches the ‘publish’ button!

Prompt steps are taken through proper channels to circulate the post over different social media platforms. She finally experiences the inner bliss of having conveyed her idea to the universe at large.

Day 6

A blogger does not necessarily court praise. Many scriptures also recommend that the adulation of the multitude should mean very little to a person. But when one has taken the trouble of whipping up what, in her opinion, is a highly juicy piece which would benefit a deep-in-the-soup society in many ways, her soul anticipates some nurturing by means of a meaningful interaction with a wider audience.

Absence of any feedback, or getting trolled for the same, upsets her deeply. It leads to a V-shaped depression getting experienced.

Some likes and fewer comments make her heave a sigh of relief, much like Rosie M Banks discovering that Bingo Little had indeed deposited the tenner entrusted to his care in the kid’s bank account.

The Law of Bloggers’ Happiness kicks in. The more the number of likes, the happier the blogger feels. Answering meaningful comments raises her Happiness Quotient even higher.

Day 7

Whether in moments of heart-bowed-gloominess or of the nectar of happiness brimming over the cup of life, there is nothing that calms the soul like a good go at one’s beauty snooze – a creative one, tuning the mental antenna to the creative forces of the universe, keenly searching for the next idea to pop up!

 

(Illustrations courtesy Ms Shalini Bhatia)

(Related posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/of-writers-and-their-blocks

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/a-plummy-way-to-banish-the-cruelty-that-authors-face

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/some-blogging-lessons-from-the-bhagavad-gita

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/bertie-social-media-and-blogging-blues)

 

 

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{Here is a transcript of the Key Note Address delivered by Reginald Jeeves at the recently held Annual General Meeting of the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism (SPIN)}

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to thank your esteemed Society for having bestowed upon me the honour of sharing some of my thoughts on the issue of remaining happier and safer in these challenging times.

I take the liberty of calling our present as a challenging one not only because of the pandemic we collectively face these days. I also do so because we all suffer from another pandemic – that of the so-called social media spreading mistrust, misinformation and misgovernance.

Values which are vanishing like Indian Fakirs

I believe that truth and reality have taken a back seat. We live in an illusory world of our own where reality is nothing but a simulation. A handful of smart and goofy code developers are increasingly shaping our opinions and controlling our collective behavior. Given the dense fog of a media which tends to become more anti-social with each passing day, facts do not penetrate through to us. Commerce determines content. Aesthetes do the window dressing. Governments monitor it to manipulate us, giving democracy a run for its money. Privacy has gone for a toss. Our social conscience has started changing, resulting in the sharp rise of hate, mistrust and discrimination across the planet. The milk of human kindness is getting evaporated fast. The psychology of the individual is changing. It is ‘I’, ‘Me’ and ‘Mine’ which rule the roost.

I am sure that the Chief Patron of SPIN, Sir Roderick Glossop, while delivering his concluding remarks, would touch upon the rapid evolution of our loonier instincts in much greater detail.

Let me hasten to add that I admire the unique benefits that social media has brought to us. Acquiring knowledge has become easier. Newer modes of networking have emerged. When facing a crisis – medical, environmental or otherwise – help is easier to seek. It has made distances irrelevant, cocking a snook at the concept of international borders.

Subtle changes to the psychology of the individual   

Allow me to share some of my concerns with you.

One is the immeasurable power of certain companies in shaping public discourse anywhere in the world. Helping those in power to keep spinning out yarns to their gullible public and keep projecting a larger-than-life image of them.

The underground money making apparatus, duly supported by mining users’ data, aided and abetted by technological advances. The result is an invasion of our privacy, a fact which many of us are blissfully unaware of.

Thanks to persistent lockdowns, my boss, Mr Bertie Wooster, is no longer getting sozzled at late night gigs. But he still needs one of my trademark pick-me-ups. I keep discharging my feudal obligations, helping him to overcome his present addiction to social media. His mood swings have only become worse. Absence of a like on one of his posts featuring an audio clip belting out ‘Sonny Boy’ in his bath leaves him depressed. So does either a painting done by him or a banjolele recording not garnering a smiley. Often, I have to watch over him so as to check any suicidal tendencies arising in his bosom which, as we all know, is awash with the milk of human kindness.

I understand that user data gets routinely used to build models to predict user actions and companies retain user attention to maximize the profit from advertisements. The psychology of the individual is delicately profiled and then used to the hilt to generate revenue. Often, this would lead to increased depression and higher suicide rates, especially among those who lack nerves of chilled steel.

There are subtle changes being made to the P of the I, and these amount to our becoming zombies.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is disturbing, to say the least.

However, all is not lost. Example, in Wikipedia, we have a ray of hope. I believe that they continue to offer a neutral landscape for seeking information. 

Some rotten eggs in our basket of habits

We cannot whip up a delectable omelette by retaining some rotten eggs we carry in our behavioural baskets. These need to be promptly replaced by the ones laid by contented hens. The rotten ones can instead be put to better use to dissuade someone like Tuppy Glossop from rendering ‘Sonny Boy’ at his next appearance at one of the gigs organized by Beefy Bingham.

Some of you may recall the time when Mr Wooster had started entertaining the idea of having the prattle of tender feet around him. A trip to Brighton, followed by an address to a bevy of giggling young girls, made him drop the idea.

Likewise, any threat to us can be neutralized by using tact and resource. But what is also needed is a dash of will power and persistence.

I have brooded over this matter for some time now. I fancy I have a plan which may produce satisfactory results

My humble plan involves our developing habits of the following kind.

Getting rid of Commentitis

Overcoming the urge to either comment upon or getting involved in, some inane discussion on any of the social media platforms.

Shying away from Topicalitis

Learning to take a long-term view of things in life; not whipping up passions on something which is trending on social media and may get you only your 15 seconds of fame.

Avoiding recommended videos which are merely a ruse to keep you glued to a screen.

Doing away with Checkitis

Restricting the habit of frequently checking what is happening on the World Wide Web.

Cultivating Humouronia

Taking it easy, with a dash of humour. The virtual world is not the real world. A ‘like’ could be posted merely to be in your good books. A derogatory remark could be unpeeled to reveal invaluable feedback, or even to present an alternative perspective.

The perils of 5G and beyond

Discovering the environmental and behavioural perils of advanced technologies in the offing. Revenue-hungry governments would not be interested in your knowing these. Businesses chasing top and bottom lines could not care less.

Relishing the perks of Family Time

Having a budget for maximum screen time for yourself in a day. Set an example which others around you – especially kids – can follow. Spend more time with them. Encourage them to develop real relationships rather than virtual ones.

Do not pamper children by giving them access to smart phones which end up making them dumb. Allow social media use only after children reach high school.

Let all devices be out of the bedroom after a certain time; also, off the dining table during ‘family time’.

Sifting the wheat from the chaff

Building nerves of chilled steel to protect yourself, your family and your country from mischievous messages planted by media cells of governments and political parties to sway your opinion about things which really matter.

Looking for news feed from different platforms, even from the ones which oppose your own views and opinions. Trying and being objective about what you soak in.

Not forwarding unnecessary messages, even though these sound like ‘breaking news’ at the time.

Using search engines that do not keep a track of your searching history.

Checking your gadgets ruthlessly at least once a month. Remove all apps which you no longer use.

Working towards receiving minimum notifications.

Delivering satisfaction

I urge upon you to realize that we alone can stem this rot, whether individually or collectively. There is no messiah who is going to pop up and help us in this endeavour. We alone can stop the quivering of the foundations of our civilization.

Only then can we be assured of a life based on the premise of Liberty, Fraternity, Equality, Truth and Peace.

Permit me to convey my gratitude for the patience with which you have listened to me. I do hope I have delivered some satisfaction!

 

(SPIN is a not-for-profit platform which advocates the cause of an unbiased social media and encourages users to refrain from indulging in narcissistic behavior when online.)

(This blog post is inspired by ‘The Social Dilemma’ a 2020 docudrama available on Netflix.)  

   

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/bertie-social-media-and-blogging-blues

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/bertie-jeeves-and-the-internet-of-things

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/03/23/the-delightful-variety-of-those-who-post-on-facebook-by-sriram-paravastu)

 

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 A well-bred professional, a docile male rabbit of about 68 winters, is desirous of the companionship of a gentle and mild dormouse with whom he could nurture a peaceful bond and nibble lettuce.

The Party of the First Part (PFP) is not a patch on the inimitable Rupert Psmith. It follows that the Party of the Second Part (PSP) need not be cast in the mould of Eve Halliday.

Who is PFP?

Born in Mathura (UP), he had his education in Delhi and Chandigarh. Throughout his uninspiring career of over 35 years in senior management cadre, he, being a dumb brick of the first order, kept learning and relearning the same lessons repeatedly. One can be excused for believing how lucky these companies were to get him. In reality, it was the other way round. His inability to grasp what it was all about made him a legend of sorts. Often, he had the unique distinction of being called a manager, even though the grapevine declared him to be an overpaid and glorified clerk. Details of his experiments in mismanagement can be seen here

Companies like Tata International, Hidesign, HCL and others he has worked with were secretly delighted when he decided to quit them. Few of his seniors even celebrated the day of his departure from these companies as a ‘Happy Riddance Day’.  

Having hung his corporate boots, he keeps busy writing articles and books. Often, he can be found searching for a muse. Management institutes in different countries shy away from inviting him to deliver talks, lest their students get into the habit of dozing off while someone speaks. On the day a talk by him does get scheduled, vendors of rotten vegetables and eggs in the city do brisk business.  

PFP’s family life has followed a straight line, with nothing much to write home about. His late spouse has left behind two loving children and their families. They reside in the European Union. Long time friends and relatives keep a watchful eye, ensuring that the PFP is never up to any mischief. Since 1997, he has been infesting the environs of Pondicherry in India. 

What the PFP intends to bring to the table is a modern notion of chivalry. Opening car doors and holding chairs is passé. Instead, the emphasis would be on sharing responsibilities based on respective capabilities and in providing soulful companionship. All possible endeavours shall be made to ensure that the party of the other part never misses her evening cup of tea. 

Check if you could be the PSP

The aspiring PSP is expected to be smart, intelligent and well read. PFP strongly believes that those familiar with the works of P G Wodehouse would fit the bill rather well. It would help if the aspirant has a head which is steeped in Plummy thoughts and a heart which has an abundant supply of the milk of human kindness sloshing about within. An abiding interest in movies and music would be desirable. So would be an awareness of the spiritual dimensions of life.

It would be nice if the PSP has a sunny disposition and nerves of chilled steel. It would help her to handle the ass-like obstinacy of the PFP with equanimity and aplomb. Prior experience in managing children who throw tantrums at the drop of a hat would be equally useful.    

A sound bonding at the mental level would be the mot juste. Neither party shall try to have a whack at the other’s millions, if any.

Skills which keep invading cousins, aunts and friends away from the home and hearth would be greatly admired. So would be the ability of retaining cooks and maid servants in the face of stealthy moves by scheming neighbours and aunts who refuse to be gentlemen.

Some contours of companionship

The PSP shall be encouraged to pursue her own professional career and personal interests. It is expected that the resultant pocket-money meant for the PFP would get dished out without any hesitation or remorse. Nor would its usage be ever questioned or doubted, thereby supporting the sporting spirits of the PFP.

It may kindly be noted that the PFP shudders at the prospect of swimming a mile and then playing five sets of tennis post-lunch on weekends. Joint Larsen exercises, even under the curious eyes of the maid, the cook and stray dogs and cats, may be considered. An improvement in one’s intellect shall not be on the agenda of the proposed companionship. Sharing of knowledge, thoughts and views shall be encouraged. It is hoped that the PSP would keep such sensibilities in mind and refrain from using softer tactics to get the PFP to abide by her wishes.

Both parties would enjoy equal rights in terms of occasionally spending time with their own circle of friends at clubs and in other social circles. Valets and house maids who are members of clubs which insist on keeping records of juicy goings on in the lives of either of the parties shall not be hired.

It is hoped that when either of the parties faces one of Life’s harsh slings and arrows and is twiddling her/his thumbs trying to cope with a challenge, the other one would rally around and act like a Jeeves, marshalling not only his/her keen intelligence but also a deep understanding of the psychology of the individual.

Since either party could be facing unique challenges owing to the lining of the stomach being not in the pink of health, it is crucial that the PSP be adept at dishing out savouries which are nutritious and healthy. Co-morbidities, if any, shall need to be managed effectively. The PFP confesses that his own cooking talents are restricted to boiling milk and eggs originating from contented cows and hens.

Members of the tribe of the delicately nurtured who happen to be pure padded cell from the foundations up are discouraged to respond to this missive. Same goes for the likes of Laura Pyke and Madeline Bassett. Gold diggers need not respond to this missive. 

A joint endeavour

The intended purpose of the proposed companionship is to drink deep from the rivulets of life in the remaining time left for either of the parties on this planet. 

In case it works out, the arrangement may be annulled by either party at any time. Prior intimation and mutual consent would help.

All this will ensure that flowers shall always be in bloom, birds shall always chirp merrily, the sun shall shine merrily, peace shall prevail, and God shall continue to be in heaven, at least till the time one of the parties decides to either kick the bucket or bid adieu.

Those interested in exploring this concept further may like to send a mail to akb.usha1952@gmail.com. Privacy of messages exchanged is assured.  

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/about-me

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

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/some-wodehousean-characters-i-can-relate-to)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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ashokbhatia

As you prepare yourself for a married life,

Full of love, happiness, joy and domestic bliss;

Here is an utterly butterly Plummy wish

Which you would do well not to miss.

 

Unlike Pauline Stoker, may you never ask your Bingo Little

To swim a mile before breakfast;  

And then playing five sets of tennis post-lunch,

Leaving the hapless guy shaken and aghast.

 

Like Honoria Glossop, may you never be prone to

Slapping the backs of guests with all your might;

Nudging the sterner sex to perform goofy deeds

With no consideration of their own plight.

 

May you never be like Florence Craye,

Trying to mould him into an intellectual cove;

Instead, groom him in washing dishes and changing nappies,

Shaping up a rebel lion into a docile dove.

 

Unlike Stiffy Byng, may you never prompt him

To pinch the helmet of a constable;

Landing him…

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You shimmered into our lives just as Jeeves would have done,

Carrying upon your silver salver tissue restoratives of a different kind;

Thanks to you, we relish a rare sense of solitude and a chance to go within,

As each sip goes down the hatch, reviewing our priorities in life we do not mind.

 

Sips of your restoratives have shown us to ourselves in our true colours,

The cruelty with which we neglect our loved ones who really care for us;

The callous disregard of life, nature and a sense of due proportion we practice,

Our dire need to demolish walls of all kinds around us without much fuss.  

 

By treating us all with equal respect sans any discrimination,

You have shown us the value of gifting some purple socks to a lay liftman;

A vast majority of us may not be as richly endowed as Bertie Wooster,

But care, empathy and concern for the have-nots around us do not deserve a ban.

 

When the master dreams of prattle of tiny feet around him to perk up things,

For a tactful person like Jeeves to get him to change his mind would simply be fun;

Lockdown rules out an encounter with a bunch of giggling and staring school girls,

But a webinar with Miss Tomlinson and her pupils could bring home the bacon.

 

Next time Angus McAllister wishes to spend some time with his folks back home,

We shall encourage Lord Emsworth to egg him on with a generous tip;

When Freddie starts marketing the anti-virus variety of his Dog-Joy biscuits,

We do not doubt his ability to have a big order from Lady Georgina in his grip.

 

Anatole is delighted at the novel range of dishes he has come up with recently,

A group led by him is now busy running community kitchens on major highways;

Providing succor to the needy, the hungry and the displaced poor travelling home,

Eager to hug their near and dear ones in far off places, awaiting happier days.

 

Rosie M Banks is dishing out scripts for romantic serials for social media barons,

While Bingo Little works from home and keeps busy with household chores;

Psmith and Eve are preoccupied as advisers to the United Nations,

Keeping a sharp eye on political leaders who prioritize wealth over the health of their crores.

 

Calamities have befallen us, mind-boggling challenges face us,

Civil protests we have suffered, economic ruin stares at us;

But we are persons of chilled steel, sporting a stiff upper lip,

Adjusting to your presence, walking along with our chins up.

 

Harsh slings and arrows of Life we have long since known how to face,

But you have highlighted to us the value of breathing in fresh air;

The air which would contain the fragrance of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity

Thank you for helping us to evolve spiritually, for showing that you care.

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/residents-of-plumsville-support-extension-of-corona-related-lockdowns

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

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Of all the reading that I have done, I have never ever had so much fun,
Than whilst perusing Wodehouse, Laughing to burst out of my blouse.

That Bertie Wooster is so British, such a jolly good fellow,
Can erupt like a volcano at times, yet is disarmingly mellow,
Ample bosomed Aunt Agatha et al bully him into the ground,
Bertie would be lost if Jeeves, that paragon wasn’t around.

The aunts make mincemeat of Bertie without so much as a by your leave,
If it wasn’t for Jeeves the saviour, we’d weep for Bertie and for him grieve,
The Wooster name would fall into ruin, rust corrode their noble family crest,
Sans Jeeves to keep a vigilant eye and shoo away both aunt and other pest.

Bertie Wooster is so upper class, so stiff upper lip, simply so very English,
He belongs to the right club, yet tormented by kinsfolk who can be devilish,
He can be downright foolish dealing with matters of finance and of the heart,
Both sorted out impeccably by Jeeves, his man for all seasons from the start.

Bertie’s a sharp judge of character, he knows a man who is a good egg,
In a silk dressing gown B.W. loves to lounge all day without shake of a leg,
If a challenge confronts his intellect he turns to Jeeves with a : What ho?
What ho? What ho? he choruses on till his Man Friday makes it right to go.

Of all the reading that we do, Wodehouse brings us so much fun,
Don’t ask me why, just pick up a book, turn the pages and no further look.

 

(Ruby Haider loves to write. The magic of language fascinates her. She has been a teacher and an advertising professional. She loves poetry and believes herself to be a bit of an idealist and dreamer.

Her permission to blog this composition here is gratefully acknowledged.)

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ashokbhatia

Bertie Wooster, as you know,
Is not really a true Lothario.
Sure, he’s admired a girl or two,
As lively young Drones are apt to do.

There was Bobby, of the fiery tresses,

Who got Bertram into tangled messes.

And haughty Lady Florence Craye,

A lovely profile, seen sideway.

Pauline Stoker gave him quite a scare,
Lolling about in his gents’ sleepwear.
Honoria Glossop was a strong maybe,
‘Til her father gave the nolle prosequi.

The menace of Madeleine Bassett was there,
Like Damocles’ Sword, hung above Bertie’s hair.
Only Gussie Fink-Nottle, her prospective mate,
Stood between Bertram and a most hideous fate.

An English gentleman’s honour code,
Pointed Bertie down the matrimonial road.
Only an iron hand in a velvet glove,
Could loose the tightening fetters of love.

Fresh off a fish-containing snack,
Head visibly bulging at the back,
Jeeves glides in and finds a way,
To free…

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As ever, Jeeves entered the room at the exact time. Neither too soon or too late, but just when I was about to begin to open my eyes, the honest man shimmered into view holding the salver with the invigorating cup of morning tea.

‘Good morning, Jeeves’, I said.

‘Good morning, sir’, said Jeeves.

‘What’s the weather like, outside?’

‘Extremely clement, sir. A balmy afternoon can be expected.’

‘Just the thing to encourage a chap to go for a constitutional around the park after breakfast, preparatory for a good lunch at Simpson’s, eh, Jeeves?’

‘Under usual circumstances, most definitely, sir.’

There was a clearly unhappy undertone in that. Almost imperceptible to the untrained ear, but definitely there. I decided to probe further into the matter.

‘Is anything the matter, Jeeves? Is the park being drilled for oil? Is the Serpentine being converted into some sort of dam to generate electricity for the Metropolis?’ I inquired.

‘Not exactly, sir. But circumstances have arisen that will prevent our leaving the flat for some time.’

‘Surely not, Jeeves. An Englishman’s right to roam the land of his birth is sacred. Am I being stalked by some malevolent aunt wanting to use me as an instrument of her devilments? Are we surrounded by bailiffs clamouring for the settlement of unpaid bills or some such nonsense?’

‘No, sir. No aunts have presented themselves at the door, and neither have any bailiffs. And all the bills have been satisfactorily settled.’

‘What’s the snag, then? Why can’t we leave the flat? Have our basic liberties been rescinded?’

‘Rescinded is not the right word for the present situation, sir. Suspended would be a more apt choice of word, if I may say so. And only in the case of venturing outside, sir. For one’s own health, sir.’

‘Come, come, Jeeves. I think that this massive brain of yours has sprung a leak. There’s nothing healthier than the bracing air of the Metropolis on a fine day. It has been proven time and again, eh?’

‘The metropolitan air is now filled with a new strain of virus, sir. It is called Coronavirus, and hails from China. Its effects are most unpleasant and human contact must be kept to a minimum to avoid its dissemination and contagion.’

I was jolted by that. I sat up in bed as if my spine had become a switchblade and the steaming cup was nearly flung across the bedroom in the process. But I composed myself and pressed on with the questioning.

‘Are you trying to tell me that we are facing some kind of Spanish Flu, Jeeves?’, I asked, clearly alarmed.

‘Of a kind, sir. But I have been reassured by an article which appeared in The Lancet that if all the proper precautions are taken, there is not much to be concerned about.’

‘Dash it, Jeeves! Confound it! Of all the bally things that could have been sprung upon is, this is one of the balliest, eh?’

‘It certainly disrupts one’s normal life, sir. But one must also look upon it as bringing some measure of not unimportant rewards.’

‘And beyond remaining in proper form to take part in the 02:30 Sweepstake at Kempton Park on Saturday, what rewards might those be, Jeeves?’

‘Well, sir, you will remember telling me that you urgently needed respite from Mrs. Gregson’s constant campaigns to affiance you to a suitable young lady.’

‘I do’, I replied pensively.

‘Also, the chances of encountering Miss Honoria Glossop will be most slender’.

‘They will’ said I cheering up considerably.

‘Not to mention Lord Sidcup. And Miss Madeline Basset…’

‘And her blasted father, Sir Watkyn Basset!’ I added, now positively positive about the whole thing.

‘Indeed, sir.’

There was definitely a hopeful, even cheerful note about the whole thing ringing in the air. The dark gloom lifted from the atmosphere, which became instantly light and suffused by golden hues. I could gladly face a bit of domestic incarceration if I could be protected from that oriental virus and the aforementioned human pests.

‘Well, Jeeves. There certainly are some compensations in all this, eh? Besides, I have recently stoked up on records and music sheets, as well as a dozen or so of the ripest detective stories available. And I am sure that you have made arrangements for a decent supply of victuals for the flat and books for you, also, eh? Spinoza’s latest and all that, what?’

‘Precisely, sir. And I have been fortunate enough to secure on loan from Lord Yaxleys’ wife her book of recipes for cocktails, a memento she kept from her days at the Criterion.’

‘Have you now, Jeeves? I have heard that some of them are legendary and have never been tasted ever since she retired’.

‘And there is one more thing, sir. I fear I have been remiss about not having advised you sooner about it.’

I knew it. Just as I had cheered up in the face of such news, Fate was there, about to wield the stuffed eel skin once more. But we Woosters are made of stern stuff. I braced myself for the blow.

‘What is it, Jeeves?’

You will remember, sir, that yesterday the Junior Ganymede Club hosted a dinner for Monsieur Anatole, for his services to culinary excellence.’

‘I seem to remember you mentioning it before you left to go there, Jeeves’.

‘When the ceremony ended, I offered to escort M. Anatole to Paddington, to catch the last train to Brinkley Court. But, alas, the taxicab developed a mechanical problem and we were unable to reach the station in time, so I took the liberty of offering M. Anatole a bed in the spare room.’

‘You mean to say, Jeeves, that Anatole is here for the duration?’

‘Yes, sir. And he is so grateful for our hospitality in the face of this virus that he has committed to cook for us on a daily basis for as long as he is prevented from returning to Brinkley Court.’

‘You mean to say, Jeeves, that on top of being free from pests of all imaginable sorts, having more than enough reading and musical material and being able to taste once more cocktails that have gone into legend we will be having Anatole’s culinary wonders for breakfast, lunch and dinner’?

‘Not to mention tea, sir.’

The beauty of the plot dawned on me. Jeeves had done it again. That gigantic brain had found the perfect solution for a tricky problem once more.

‘Jeeves’, I said, ‘Did you know about this Coronation virus, or whatever it is called, before the curfew was announced?’

‘My copy of the Lancet arrived here, as ever, three days ago, sir.’

‘So can one also take it that the problem with the taxicab was not altogether due to chance?’

‘The fact that the driver is married to one of my cousin Albert’s nieces cannot be wholly discarded from the equation, sir.’

‘Jeeves, you’re a wonder.’

‘Thank you, sir.’

 

(Eduardo Garcia introduces himself thus:

Eduardo “Duca” Garcia is quite probably the most un-trendy and least technologically-savvy person involved with Trends Studies. He is also a human salad, having been born in Rio, received an anglicised education and lived in the UK, Spain, Central Asia and Portugal. To complicate matters further, he is married to a woman of Brazilian, English, U.S. and Greek extraction – whose stepfather was a Dutchman – and his son lives and works in Denmark.

His career was mostly devoted to Marketing and Advertising, something that forced him to look at the consumer, society and mentalities in more detail – if only to avoid sending the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time and being rightly sacked for doing so – and his start in Trends Studies began when he was in Kazakhstan and Carl Rohde was unwise enough to invite him to contribute to Science of the Time.

He can be contacted at eduardo.garcia@40maislab.pt or through Facebook.)

 

(Permission to publish this piece on this blog site is gratefully acknowledged!)

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ashokbhatia

The Honourable Secretary-General,

The United Nations,

New York City,

New York,

USA.

Respected Sir,

You may recall our brief interaction at the recent launch event of the International League of Happiness. You were then kind enough to spare a few moments of your precious time, graciously appreciating my talk there on preventing the misuse of Artificial Intelligence, just after releasing the Blandings Declaration of Happiness as a part of the proceedings.

As a concerned citizen of this planet of ours, allow me to offer my humble services for the cause of promoting international cooperation and maintaining international order.

Yours truly has an impeccable record in delivering satisfaction to all the employers one has been fortunate enough to assist so far in a long and spotless career. The aspiration hereafter is to offer my unique problem solving abilities for the benefit of all the denizens of this planet.

Permit me…

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