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ashokbhatia

Dear All,

As an Executive Secretary of the Animal Division of the International League of Happiness, I hereby appeal to all of you, especially sociologists, linguists, litterateurs, politicos and legal luminaries amongst you, to quickly evolve a purely vegan code of conduct for the usage of English and also to push through some judicial reforms, thereby facilitating happiness in the animal world.

Several species of animals are miffed at direct as well as indirect references to the members of their respective tribes, often in a derogatory manner. They believe that the tendency of Homo sapiens to use references to animals of any kind is to be curbed. They also plead for some legal reforms to be pushed through.

Some of the species which have already registered a protest with us are as follows:

  • Potato Chip, the famous race horse, takes a jaundiced view of the fact that politicians…

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Cupid has a free run in Plumsville. He is present everywhere. He influences and enables incidents which go beyond the normal call of his duty, not restricting himself merely to generating and sustaining magnetic currents flowing between two individuals.

The large circle of influence of Cupid

When he wants someone goofy like Thos to acquire a saintly disposition, he strikes at him, leaving him besotted with Greta Garbo, thereby making him rise in love. When he decides to champion the cause of vegetarians, he uses Madeline Bassett as a front and forces Gussie Fink-Nottle to lay off all the vitamins of animal origin, making him skip Anatole’s lavish spreads and survive only on spinach, sprouts, broccoli and similar stuff. When he wishes to campaign for safety of sharks, he deploys Angela to do his bidding.

Those who serve in the constabulary, however tough their exteriors and however pure their intentions to bring the culprits to book, also fall under his spell. When one of them has to be taught a lesson in humility, Stiffy Byng becomes an instrument in his hands, persuading even a vicar to pinch a policeman’s helmet. When the intellectual level of those who belong to the so-called sterner sex has to be raised, Cupid uses such characters as Florence Craye and Vanessa Cook to give the project a good shot. When he decides to downgrade obesity, he finds an ally in Maud, who scratches her fixture with Geoffrey Raymond to bring home the point.

When casinos at Monte Carlo need some promotion, Cupid makes two perfect strangers meet. If George Albert Balmer is an insurance clerk, the party of the other part is a companion of Lady Julia. Within a day of their having met, George proposes and finds that he is getting accepted. It is only then that he gets asked by his lady-love as to what his name happens to be! (The Tuppenny Millionaire, The Man Upstairs and other stories)

Bingo Little and the Evolution of Romantic Maturity

But the character Cupid is particularly fond of in Plumsville is Bingo Little. It appears that there are repeated attempts on Cupid’s part to enable his favourite person to ‘settle down’ in life. Objects of Bingo’s affection have included a waitress named Mabel; Honoria Glossop, the formidable daughter of Pop Glossop; Daphne Braythwayt, a friend of Honoria; Charlotte Corday Rowbotham, a revolutionary; Lady Cynthia Wickhammersley, a family friend of Bertie’s; and Mary Burgess, niece of the Rev. Francis Heppenstall. After each failed affair, Bingo does not necessarily sulk. Cupid rushes to his aid. The scales fall from his eyes, and he suddenly realizes that the next girl alone is his true soul mate.

After many failed affairs, Bingo ends up marrying the romance novelist Rosie M. Banks, an author whose outlook on life happens to match well with that of his. Cupid does not desert him even in his post-nuptials phase, setting the bar rather high for all the men who attach a premium on matrimonial bliss.

We now find a Bingo Little who is completely transformed. He is singularly devoted to his wife. Maintaining matrimonial peace and harmony is the sole purpose of his life. When it comes to keeping his lady-love happy and contented, there is little that he leaves to chance.

Charles Darwin, had he come across this unique case, might have gifted humanity with a treatise on The Evolution of Romantic Maturity instead.

Taking care of those young at heart

When it comes to Cupid’s machinations, age, caste, creed, profession and social status do not really matter. He does not discriminate between the younger lot and those who might be advanced in age but are young at heart. Other than the topsy-turvy romances of younger couples, he also does justice to those who are advanced in age and young at heart. An affection which was discernible in a couple’s younger days – whether declared or otherwise – survives the harsh slings and arrows of life. A chance meeting unearths and rekindles the deep buried embers of love. A well seasoned romance bears fruit. The Valentine Spirit prevails. Love may remain dormant for a long time, but can get revived in a jiffy – much like a Psyche getting revived by a Cupid’s kiss!

The case of Joe and Julia springs to one’s mind. So does the case of Piggy and Maudie. Not to forget the case of Mrs Spottsworth and Captain Biggar-Biggar. Even someone of the stature of Sir Roderick Glossop, the eminent nerve specialist, is not spared. Having fathered such exquisite specimens as Honoria and Oswald Glossop in the past, and having been a widower for two years, he decides to get hitched to Myrtle, Lady Chuffnell, later in his life.

 

The limitations of Cupid

But the freedom to strike at will does not come without its attendant responsibilities. Cupid has some serious obligations to meet in Plumsville. The strict code of chivalry in vogue therein does not permit physical intimacy. It looks askance at someone bandying about the name of a female. It does permit a sideways scrutiny of a lissome profile but scoffs at any attempts to outrage the modesty of a member of the tribe of the delicately nurtured. In Plumsville, romance blossoms. Love is in the air. Devotion is permitted. But physical intimacy is a taboo. Aphrodite has limited access to the goings on in Plumsville. Eroticism is denied entry. An occasional occurrence which could amount to mild titillation alone is allowed.

Consider some such instances where Cupid’s advances have met with a resounding buff in Plumsville.

When Bertie Wooster stands up to Gussie’s Amorous Plans

The Mating Season touches upon Gussie’s notebook which contains some juicy remarks on Pop Bassett and Rederick Spode and continues to be in Stiffy’s possession. Gussie comes up with a fruity scheme to retrieve the notebook from her.

‘Well, listen. You could easily engage her in a sort of friendly romp, if you know what I mean, in the course of which it would be simple to…well, something in the nature of a jocular embrace…’

I checked him sharply. There are limits, and we Woosters recognize them.

‘Gussie, are you suggesting that I prod Stiffy’s legs?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well, I’m not going to.’

‘Why not?’

‘We need not delve into my reasons’, I said, stiffly. ‘Suffice it that the shot is not on the board.’

He gave me a look, a kind of wide-eyed, reproachful look, such as a dying newt might have given him, if he had forgotten to change its water regularly.

Unfortunately, Gussie proceeds with his plans. This prompts Madeline Bassett to scratch their engagement, thereby putting both Gussie and Bertie in a limbo.

Of girls clad in swimsuits in one’s bed

Bertie is never too keen on having Pauline in his bedroom in the small hours of night, and that too dressed in a wet swimsuit. But his reaction upon finding her there is not to fall for one of the devilish schemes of Cupid. His primary concern is to get her out of his cottage at the earliest possible. He does not even try to kiss her. Deciding to wait till the morning, he himself sleeps in the garage. (Thank You, Jeeves)

Bertie often comments on women’s bodies but only as an appreciation of beauty. There’s never any lust involved and he treats his female friends well, though he considers Madeline a drip and Bobbie Wickham and Stiffy Byng as troublemakers.

The closest he appears to come to expressing some lascivious thoughts is perhaps in The Mating Season. But here again, the Code of the Woosters reigns supreme.

When reproduction is embarrassing

The very idea of reproduction embarrasses Bertie Wooster, making him blush, as in this conversation he once had with Aunt Agatha:

‘Aline Hemmingway,’ said Aunt Agatha, ‘is just the girl I should like to see you marry, Bertie. You ought to be thinking of getting married. Marriage might make something of you. And I could not wish you a better wife than dear Aline. She would be such a good influence in your life.’ 

‘Here, I say!’ I chipped in at this juncture, chilled to the marrow. 

‘Bertie!’ said Aunt Agatha, dropping the motherly manner for a bit and giving me the cold eye. 

‘Yes, but I say–’ 

‘It is young men like you, Bertie, who make the person with the future of the race at heart despair. Cursed with too much money, you fritter away in idle selfishness a life which might have been made useful, helpful and profitable. You do nothing but waste your time on frivolous pleasures. You are simply an anti-social animal, a drone. Bertie, it is imperative that you marry.’

 ‘But, dash it all–’

 ‘Yes! You should be breeding children to – ‘

 ‘No, really, I say, please!’ I said, blushing richly. Aunt Agatha belongs to two or three of these women’s clubs, and she keeps forgetting she isn’t in the smoking-room.

 (The Inimitable Jeeves)

 

Of upturned faces and burning kisses

Showering upturned face with burning kisses is another tactic that brings a Plummy reader to a somewhat provocative titillation. Constable Ernest Dobbs of The Mating Season fame indulges in such a naked display of affection towards Queenie, the maid at Deverill Hall. However, he is quick to apologize.

The perks of being an eccentric

Rupert Psmith hastens to rush across to handover a virtually stolen umbrella to Eve Halliday in Leave it to Psmith. He indulgently tolerates a stain on his assumed character when Eve takes him to task during a boat ride for mistreating his supposed wife who is a close friend of hers. Cupid brings them close together yet again while facing Smooth Lizzie, but there is never any trace of any physical intimacy between the two of them. This is how their alliance gets sealed:

‘Cynthia advised me’, proceeded Eve, ‘if ever I married, to marry someone eccentric. She said it was such fun…Well, I don’t suppose I am ever likely to meet anyone more eccentric than you, am I?

‘I think you would be unwise to wait on the chance.’

When class distinctions evaporate

Other than cross-class affairs at many places, we also run into Lord Emsworth treating his young friend who happens to be a girl rather well. When Gladys requests some flowers, he hesitates, but cannot refuse her. Just as she is picking her flowers, McAllister rushes up in a fury, but his master, encouraged by Gladys’ hand in his, stands up to the man, putting him in his place. (Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend)

Here is a case where the innocence of Master Cupid does the trick, holding the adult Cupid at bay.

Snuggling close together

In one of the short stories, estranged lovers get reunited on an isolated beach. When a chilly wind starts blowing in, the girl, who is not sufficiently clad, ends up asking the party of the other part if it would not be better if they snuggled together. The rest, of course, is left to the reader’s imagination. (Wilton’s Holiday, The Man with two left feet)

She seated herself with her back to him. Dignity demanded reprisals, so he seated himself with his back to her; and the futile ocean raged towards them, and the wind grew chillier every minute.

 Time passed. Darkness fell. The little bay became a black cavern, dotted here and there with white, where the breeze whipped the surface of the water.

 Wilton sighed. It was lonely sitting there all by himself. How much jollier it would have been if—

 A hand touched his shoulder, and a voice spoke—meekly.

 ‘Jack, dear, it—it’s awfully cold. Don’t you think if we were to—snuggle up—’

 He reached out and folded her in an embrace which would have aroused the professional enthusiasm of Hackenschmidt and drawn guttural congratulations from Zbysco. She creaked, but did not crack, beneath the strain.

 ‘That’s much nicer,’ she said, softly. ‘Jack, I don’t think the tide’s started even to think of going down yet.’

 ‘I hope not,’ said Wilton.

Warm embraces and progeny

Perhaps the top slot for flirtatious initiatives in Plumsville would go to Gally and Lord Ickenham, who are known to have embraced young ladies with warmth much greater than what might be warranted.

The paternalistic origins of Sue Brown, the daughter of Gally’s old flame Dolly Handerson, leave Plum fans twiddling their thumbs. In any case, illegitimate children are never in the scheme of things in Plumsville.

 

Plumsville: Intentions as pure as freshly driven snow

If one were lucky enough to have gone through all the works of Wodehouse, and even his biographies, one is unlikely to find any traces of either overt sexuality or vulgarity. Strong attraction, yes. Infatuation, decidedly. Cupid’s arrows, surely. The world he has left behind for us to revel in is innocent, with intentions as pure as freshly driven snow. And therein we have the unique appeal of his canon.

 

Several lenses of viewing the Wodehouse canon

There are several lenses with which one could discern the messages embedded in his works. A literary lens would reveal his canvas to be very wide. A spiritual lens would bring into sharp focus the kind of lessons he forks out about life in general. A fitness lens would nudge us to avoid the pleasures of the table and remain fit and trim. A social lens would make the scales on our eyes fall and help us in seeing the perils of economic inequality.

However, a romantic lens would reveal a clear absence of cruder passions. Respect for women reigns supreme. In fact, his canon is a sterling example of a superficial male supremacy where, in reality, it is the females who call almost all the shots, whether in the form of domineering aunts and love interests who have perfected the art of wrapping the males around their dainty fingers, enterprising collaborators who think nothing of stealing scarabs, efficient secretaries who wish to earn their pay through hard work, romantic interests who think stars are God’s daisy chains, and of course those who have the grit and determination to pursue their careers with reverent support from the Bingo Littles of their lives.

Cupid is invariably omnipresent. But one would not be surprised to find a note from him one of these days, protesting overwork and lack of any assistance whatsoever. If Santa Claus, who gets busy only around Christmas time, could have elves and a fleet of reindeer supporting him, why he, who has to remain preoccupied throughout the year, 24 by 7, has to work single-handedly, he might well ask.

 

Blessing: A singular absence of Vitamin S

Dishing out narratives which get lapped up by common folk like us despite a missing element of Vitamin S, considered so very critical to the commercial success of an author, is no mean task. P G Wodehouse accomplished it. His plots invariably stuck to the conventional norms of morality.

A blessing, indeed. Much like seeing a family movie which is certified as ‘U’, reading the works of P G Wodehouse gives us a neutral ring side view of romantic affairs of all kinds. But to label these as ‘romcoms’ might not be proper. Perhaps, as suggested by Honoria Plum of Plumtopia fame elsewhere, a term along the lines of ‘comroms’ might do the Wodehouse canon better justice.

In an age when the threshold of childhood innocence is getting lowered with each passing year, his works happen to be squeaky clean, safe to be devoured even by kids and adolescents about whom their hapless parents lose much of their beauty sleep these days.

Educationists could improve upon the effectiveness of the sex-education packages for their wards by including some references to the works of Wodehouse.

Judicial beaks the world over, while dishing out harsh sentences to those convicted of sexual adventurism, could seriously consider gifting a tome of the Master’s works for them to compulsorily devour while cooling their heels in prison.

Societies and associations which propagate Wodehousean thoughts could come up with annual awards which get dished out to those who demonstrate a chivalrous approach to the challenges faced by their heart-throbs.

The possibilities are limitless. The mind boggles.

(Yours truly acknowledges with great respect the inputs of those Plum fans whose thoughts have enriched this post many times over.)

(Related Posts:

https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/wodehouse-and-the-romantic-novelist-sophie-weston

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/different-shades-of-women-in-plumsville

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/when-rozzers-in-plumsville-fall-in-love

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/when-masters-thos-bonzo-and-moon-rise-in-love

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/joe-julia-and-a-seasoned-romance

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/piggy-maudie-and-a-seasoned-romance

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/of-mrs-spottsworth-and-the-biggar-code-of-white-men)

 

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Dear All,

As an Executive Secretary of the Animal Division of the International League of Happiness, I hereby appeal to all of you, especially sociologists, linguists, litterateurs, politicos and legal luminaries amongst you, to quickly evolve a purely vegan code of conduct for the usage of English and also to push through some judicial reforms, thereby facilitating happiness in the animal world.

Several species of animals are miffed at direct as well as indirect references to the members of their respective tribes, often in a derogatory manner. They believe that the tendency of Homo sapiens to use references to animals of any kind is to be curbed. They also plead for some legal reforms to be pushed through.

Some of the species which have already registered a protest with us are as follows:

  • Potato Chip, the famous race horse, takes a jaundiced view of the fact that politicians in several countries indulge in what is euphemistically referred to as ‘horse trading.’ He says he has no rights to demand a stoppage of such behaviour on part of our politicos, but would like the allusion to his breed in the said term avoided.
  • Wilfred, the alligator, is unhappy that the simple act of expressing pseudo-sadness is often referred to as someone ‘shedding crocodile tears.’
  • Bartholomew, the well-known canine in the service of Stiffy Byng, is not amused that top honchos in management are often referred to as ‘top dogs.’ What makes him even sadder is the use of the phrase ‘barking up the wrong tree’, which, he feels, makes light of the kind of sterling service his species renders to human beings, alerting them of imminent dangers and even saving their lives at times.
  • Augustus, the cat, takes a strong exception to the fact that junior employees across companies often use an expression which refers to her species as a tough and terrorizing boss in our democratic times. To say that ‘when the cat is away, the mice will play’ reflects a Theory X mindset, whereas human beings should be worrying about popularizing the Theory Y mindset instead.

  • The Empress of Blandings threatens to refuse her daily feed till the time the expression ‘bringing home the bacon’ gets obliterated from everyday use. Lord Emsworth is deeply disturbed about this unforeseen development, especially because the next local Shropshire Agricultural Show is not too far off. Queen of Matchingham, the prize sow of Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe, heartily seconds the notion of adopting such a non-violent protest, following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Aunt Elizabeth, the hen with a much dreaded foul temper, has registered a strong protest against the use of the phrase ‘don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.’ If finance experts continue with this practice, she demands a share of the returns earned thus. Use of the term ‘hen pecked’ is also improper.She is of the view that meek and submissive husbands are more to be pitied than to be censured in such a manner.
  • Bovines point out several aberrations in the language used by human beings. (a) ‘A man’s meat could be another’s poison’ is a phrase which is objected to by all bovines. (b) Members of this species take a jaundiced view of the concept of ‘the milk of human kindness.’ They feel that the time is now ripe for human beings to openly acknowledge the benevolent kindness they, the bovines, show towards them, the humans. Keeping their calves starved while providing copious supplies of milk for human consumption is not their idea of fun in life. (c) Nor is it pleasant to know that one is being reared only to be slaughtered one of these days, when their Guardian Angels happen to be on a vacation. (d) Business magnates who label some of their verticals as ‘cash cows’ could soon find bovine herds protesting at their doorsteps with loud moos and a substantial deposit of excreta on their otherwise sparkling premises.
  • Bill the Parrot takes a satirical view of the expression ‘birds of a feather flock together.’ He is also consulting legal experts to find out what steps he can initiate against Twitter which clearly infringes on the rights of all avian tribes.
  • Members of the piscine species are upset about the usage of the term ‘fishy business.’ They also feel that they have not been given due credit for the supreme sacrifice made by one of their own in getting a matrimonial alliance between Bertie Wooster and Honoria Glossop scratched. After all, getting gobbled up by as many as 23 cats is not their idea of fun in life. Rupert Psmith, the Secretary General of the International League of Happiness, who despises anything related to fish, strongly urges all of you to cease and desist from using this term.

  • Bears and bulls look askance at being used as motifs for collective human behaviour in the stock markets.
  • Peter the snake is surely not enamoured of ladders but is surprised that a popular game of humans uses its name without prior authorization. If prompt steps are not taken through the right channels, a suit of infringement of copyrights could soon be on its way. A win in such litigation might leave the reptile hissing gleefully all the way to its bank.
  • Percy and Edgar, representing the tribe of swans of all sizes and shapes, whether angry or otherwise, are upset with the expression ‘cooking each others’ goose’, which, they feel, projects their brethren in a poor light. Right Honourable A B Filmer and many others could soon face another backlash. All of them are hereby advised to plan their boating trips accordingly. Moreover, they are of the considered opinion that the use of the term ‘duck’ in some sporting activity lowers their dignity, since it signifies a nil score.
  • Newts are none too pleased at the prospect of humans with negligible intelligence being addresses thus. Their pride is hurt. ‘Pissed like a newt’ is another rude expression which hurts them deeply. They are not clear as to why they should take the rap for persons losing control over their own gulping down of tissue restoratives in bulk.
  • Eustace the monkey is of the considered view that what his genetic successors refer to as ‘monkey business’ is a perfectly legitimate activity not to be sneered at. A delegation of his tribe is soon planning to get a legal notice issued to Homo sapiens, asking them to stop using such derogatory references to a species which ranks pretty high up in its IQ rankings.
  • The tribe of worms and caterpillars, adept at popping up in salad bowls and thereby meriting a sullen and reproachful look from the person on the table, is up in arms at one of their bluish limbless amphibian members being recently christened as Dermophis Donaldtrumpi. Most of these distant cousins happen to be blind to subtle shades of life and can merely make out the difference between light and dark. Also, they prefer to remain underground. But for them to be labelled after a President who downplays climate change and its ecological impact is a cause of serious concern. They believe that a reference of this kind is against their public relations policy. Moreover, anything that threatens the availability of green leafy vegetables and lettuce which they love nibbling in the company of their loved ones does not meet with their approval. They also detest crawling out of their dens early in the day, only to be devoured by an early bird.
  • Lions happen to be somewhat depressed these days. They feel that they are never allowed to tell their side of the story whereas hunters, who have not ended up garnering an obituary column, often keep walking away with all the glory. As advised by Wadswordth Hemmingway, the lawyer turned golfer, they have already filed a petition in the International Court of Justice, requesting that Principles of Natural Justice be followed.

Your kind support to quickly evolve a vegan variety of English is earnestly solicited. Linguists of other tongues may also follow suit and rid their respective languages of all idioms which have a link to the animal kingdom. It would be highly appreciated by all animal rights organizations across our planet. Appropriate legal reforms also need to be pushed through.

Such verbal and judicial weeding out would contribute towards our cause of ensuring a greater level of happiness in the animal kingdom.

With a cheery pip pip!

Madeline Bassett

Deputy Secretary – Environment

International League of Happiness

 

Note:

Iconic former French film star and the Brand Ambassador of our Animal Division, Brigitte Bardot, has already asked President Emmanuel Macron for a Christmas “miracle”, with closed circuit TV in abattoirs and a curb to hunting.

(Another post in the same vein: 

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/an-ass-ass-erts-itself)

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Howsoever dark a cloud is, there is always a silver lining. For those of us in India who are in a mood of despondency these days and continue to be defensive about quite a few things under the sun, let me list out what is there to cheer about.

  • There has been a record reduction in poverty, but we do not wish to announce it to the world. One, we are still concerned about the ones still lagging behind in the economic growth rat race. Two, we are not too sure about our own numbers!
  • There has been a sustained increase in rural wages and incomes. Pretty soon, we shall find that the market is being propped up by rural demand, while our urban folks continue to be in a doom gloom phase. While FMCG honchos are busy designing packages specifically targeted at the semi-urban and rural hinterlands, we continue to be diffident on this front.
  • In five year’s time, we have set up one-fourth of our installed capacity for power generation.  We have also laid power lines to 4.6 lac villages. We can not claim this to be an achievement because we have failed to provide back-up linkages of fuel, leaving vast swathes of country reeling under a power shortage.
  • On the road to financial inclusion, we have created and rolled out a programme which gives each of us a unique identity. This is also likely to help us plug leakages of subsidies, making resources available for other social welfare measures. We are defensive about it, because we are not too sure it would eventually work out. Sure enough, for the un-entitled ones who have been enjoying subsidies so far, the cost of living is just going to go up.
  • We have laid fiber optic cables to 2,50,000 panchayats. The only plausible reason for our hesitation to energizing the same and converting our narrow band capabilities into genuinely broad band ones  could be our fear of a majority of our denizens being covered by snooping measures of some foreign intelligence agencies!
  • Our parallel economy continues to thrive. Our politicos and private sector do not appear to be in a mood to stifle the same any time soon. However, one does come across some  papers and articles which indicate that post-Lehman Brothers, India faced the effect of a meltdown much later, the insulation having been provided by our underground economy. So, may be, we are being smart, allowing black money to proliferate!
  • Our rural tele-density at the beginning of this millennium was close to 1. As of now, it is around 40. We are quite defensive when it comes to claiming this to be an achievement because of some scam ridden decisions which were taken by those at the helm of affairs in the interim.  The argument is not that corruption is acceptable; it is only to say that there is indeed a positive aspect  which needs to be kept in mind.
  • We have also orchestrated a structural transformation of the economy. With the ratio of those engaged in agriculture coming down below 50%, we appear to be on our way to get more industrialized. We feel shy of talking about this because we have not pro-actively addressed the issue of urban housing and reforms.

Forget the ‘Incredible India’ campaign. The credible India has much going for it – a thriving democracy, a robust corporate sector, a young population, a growing and aspirational middle class, increasing urbanization, to cite some of the long-term strengths.  Brand India is there to stay. The devil is in the details – a tendency towards jugaad or short-term fixes, a habit of claiming rights sans any feeling of responsibility, a poor track record in implementation of grandiose projects, and the like.

So, here is a glass which is half full. Admittedly, there are mighty challenges ahead.  Just  as in the case of individuals, nations can learn to manage better from crises. If 1991 brought us economic reforms, the current crisis could prod us into reforming our legislative, executive and judiciary. Bolder and structural reforms could improve the standard of living of millions of Indians in the days to come. Let us be self-confident and push ahead in these times of economic turbulence.

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