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Posts Tagged ‘KIds’

Hapless parents who are always rushing from pillar to post to make the two ends meet carry a lovely responsibility on their tender shoulders – that of bringing up kids.

Families have shrunk. Technology has sneaked into the family space. Most parents themselves have one sibling each, and they also happen to be equally busy chasing their own dreams. The desire to enjoy independence from parents has led to the current trend of singular families. Kids no longer have the luxury of curling up in bed with the family seniors and listening to juicy stories and fables from the distant past.

kids-internet-1

Often, hassled parents, already bearing the guilt of not being able to spend enough quality time with their kids, get into a conflict with kids over such inane matters as the choice of their friends, the dress they wish to wear in their free time, and the shows they insist on watching on a TV or on an iPad. Arbitration facilities provided by family seniors in the past have all but vanished.

Fed by cartoon or game characters which shoot to kill, the kids gradually start believing themselves to be invincible. They take violence and physical intimidation against others to be a normal behaviour. The resultant chaos in the society is for all of us to see and brood upon.

kids tom and jerry

Pick up an old soft movie like The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins, and present day kids could be forgiven for looking at these askance. Put on an animation movie and you find an immediate arousal of interest.

Minimizing Screen Time, Maximizing Values

For hapless parents, there are two basic challenges. One, that of minimizing Screen Time, weaning away kids from gadgets and involving them in outdoor activities. Two, that of imparting them the values which would last them a life time.

No meal can be consumed unless a cartoon movie is not playing on the iPad perched on the dining table. The threat of changing the WiFi password alone works to bring about a semblance of discipline in the house.

kids-chhota-bheem

Gone are the days when family seniors used to control all the entertainment appliances in the house. Now the kids’ wish and expertise rules supreme. At schools, gone are the days of detention and punishment. In quite a few cases, teachers get the flak for not treating the kids right.

One does not resent the kids their present state. One merely wants them to be better prepared to face the harsh realities of life, as and when they need to forgo the sheltered lifestyle they take for granted. In some cases, stay in a hostel might help. In others, a special course to use the right side of the brain might help.

kids-brighter_minds

Perhaps it is time to consciously revert back to the joint family system, wherever feasible. Perhaps it is time to be soft as well as stern while dealing with kids. Perhaps it makes sense for them to get exposed to some sort of deprivation in life. A walk through a slum. Stories of kids who do not get to attend school. Gifting toys to poor children.

The corporate world has already woken up to the need of a woman employee to spend more quality time with her kids. Maternity leaves are getting extended. Paternity leaves are already a norm in the advanced countries. More options centered around flexible hours are being offered. Yet, much more can and needs to be done.

kids-panchtantra

In all cases, an outdoor sports activity helps. An addiction to reading books also helps. Even on internet, there is no dearth of such offerings as Aesop’s Fables and the Panchatantra.

What is essential is a strong connection with the real world and an exposure to the slice of virtual world which is steeped in ethics, morals and values.

(Notes:

  1. All illustrations are courtesy the world wide web.
  2. Brighter Minds is an educational initiative to equip every child with tools and methods to enhance cognitive functioning for achieving personal excellence, and instill confidence in oneself)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/on-the-children-by-khalil-gibran

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/kids-with-a-western-mind-and-an-eastern-heart

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/goofy-kids-p-g-wodehouse-and-some-spiritual-tenets)

 

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The prattle of tender feet around one keeps one very much alive and contented. Especially so when one happens to be in a phase of life where one can have the luxury of observing their behaviour at close quarters without having to worry about their mundane needs. Other then providing unalloyed joy and sparkling mirth, it also provides one an opportunity to grow spiritually.

When a Bollywood diva casts a spell

Take the case of a one-year old toddler who takes Master Thos to be his role model. If Thos was infatuated with a Hollywood diva, he happens to be besotted with one of the Bollywood divas. Play this particular song on the TV, and he goes into a trance which even the most advanced practitioners of Zen might not have experienced. Meals get forgotten. Toys cease to be of any consequence. Those around him might not even exist.

Sonam Kapoor, the diva in question, may be delighted to know of the brand equity she carries in the mind space of this young one. There is a good chance that he might even earn the distinction of being the youngest ever fan of a Bollywood diva.

One can only hope and pray that, as he grows, he never gets to emulate the goofy schemes of Thos the Terrible. In fact, thanks to the benign influence of the diva, perhaps there is a chance that he would end up performing such noble deeds as walking a few miles to fetch a newspaper for a guest or carrying any other injured young one on his tender shoulders, so as to win over the affections of his heart-throb.

The sincerity with which he expresses his fondness for the song featuring Sonam Kapoor is something which deserves to be emulated. It teaches us the innate goodness in all things musical, artistic and beautiful.

By being under the spell of a silver screen diva, he is merely following a long-held tradition of his ancestors. Soon, though, moving doors, books or other items may take his fancy.

He also demands equality in treatment vis-a-vis other kids in the immediate vicinity. If that does not come by, he knows how to shriek and attract the attention of his seniors, so justice gets meted out. This is invariably the scenario when some ice cream is getting distributed.

There are also times when he reminds one of Algernon Aubrey Little. When the father’s boss came visiting some time back, he was a model of ideal behaviour. No tantrums. No yells. Only some cute smiles. Peace prevailed. A promotion on the job soon followed.

Norway Schhol Art 1

A respect for technical gizmos

The other young boy, all of four years old, reminds one of Edwin the scout. It is not that his daily acts of mercy include dousing fires with and setting cottages on fire. But he does try to reverse-engineer and repair an egg-boiler, with catastrophic results.

Anything that moves attracts his attention. Curious to the core, he would tend to dismantle the gadget and then look on helplessly when attempting to put it together again. Door locks get fondled with much love. Remote controlled toy cars or toy boats are never safe in his vicinity. A family senior testing blood sugar or injecting insulin is an object to be closely observed and supported.

As he has grown, cell phones and iPads have gained his respect as reliable sources of perennial entertainment. Thus, these are no longer subjected to the kind of rigorous quality tests he used to conduct in his formative years. In his younger days, he has dunked many a cell phone in a mug of piping hot tea, marvelling at their steadfastness when compared to, say, biscuits.

One is yet to notice if, like Edwin, he is an expert on ant behaviour. But dogs, pigs, cows and horses do come in for stark appraisals under his watchful eye.

Locking up people inside dark rooms comes naturally to him. So does sneaking up from behind and suddenly yelling in one’s ear, thereby leaving one all of a twitter. Often, sudden bouts of some karate moves make one run for cover, lest one may need to review one’s medical insurance cover. Tying up one’s shoe laces surreptitiously makes him burst into uncontrollable laughter, much to the chagrin of the party of the other part.

Dealing with him is very instructive. His knowledge of all things mechanical and electronic makes one humble. One simply aspires to be a quick learner like him, so as to be able to quickly absorb the latest that technology has to offer and make progress in life, as defined by contemporary standards.

Norway School Art 2

A goofy mind, a tender heart

Consider also the case of a young girl of 6 odd years whose flair for drawing, painting and singing is often a talking point. But beneath the veneer of sophistication and innocence lies a mind which could churn out goofy schemes at the drop of a hat. The likes of Roberta Wickham and Stiffy Byng could learn quite a few tricks of the trade from her.

Much like Peggy Mainwaring, she is used to staring and giggling at odd times, leaving the party of the other part shaken to the core. A relentless chatter emanating from her often leaves one yearning for some peace and quietitude. A continuous barrage of queries fired at one leaves one exasperated at times. The value of courage and perseverance is thus learnt the hard way.

Compassion comes naturally to her. She loves being surrounded by pets she can shower her motherly affection on. When a bitter feud with a younger sibling results into the latter getting hurt, she gets immediately transformed into a caring and loving nurse. But Homo Sapiens often get bluntly ticked off by her for the slightest of perceived infractions on their part.

When germs of acute goofiness strike, the sky is the limit. A younger sibling’s trousers are found wet in the middle of the night. Wisdom dawns when one notices the empty bottle of drinking water by the side of the bed. Guilt-less pleasure is felt when the younger sibling gets a reprimand for an act of omission committed by her own self.

Post-ablutions, she turns out to be a great bathroom singer, requesting the support of a senior to clean up. ‘Potty is over’ is belted out, in tune with a nursery rhyme like ‘Twinkle twinkle little star….’.

Her receptivity is not to be taken lightly. When it is playing time at a friend’s place, she realizes the rest, solitude and enjoyment the hapless mother would experience while she is away. The hapless mother’s rights to such well-deserved rest and recuperation come in for open and frank criticism.

Norway School Art 3

Competing with the Bermuda Triangle

Yet another case which merits consideration is that of a young lass of 7 years who is built along the lines of Kid Clementina. She is a not-so-quiet saint-like child, when in a good mood. When taken out for a movie and a dinner, she is full of gratitude. She gazes at her benefactor in silent admiration. But while at home, a stubbornness tests the patience of the seniors around.

Great deal of perseverance is required so she may partake of any single meal which may last well over 90 minutes. Each morsel is punctuated by a commercial break, so to say. Unless, of course, the meal comprises a pizza alone, followed by the temptation of either an ice cream or a chocolate.

The threat of changing the WiFi password alone works wonders and makes her obey various commands at home. Fond of playing such brainy games as chess, she is quick to perceive that an attempt is being made to make her falsely win the game of patience and strategy. She resents such acts of chivalry. Her artistic skills are remarkable. So is her passion for karate.

There being no ink pots around these days, one is sure that she is unable to put any sherbet in the same in her classroom. But messing up the password of the iPad of a schoolmate comes readily to her. Rapid progress gets made by her in the realm of mastering all kinds of technical gizmos.

She believes in keeping one on one’s toes. While going out of the house in a hurry, one suddenly finds one’s footwear missing. Or, a ping-pong ball resting inside one of the shoes. A toothbrush can suddenly vanish, leaving one gnashing one’s teeth in disbelief and dismay. A toothpaste tube could get replaced by a cold cream tube. Unless one is alert and agile, the experience leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth, literally as well as figuratively. One’s shaving kit could go into hiding for two weeks, leaving one feeling like a distressed soul pining for one’s beloved, beard and all. One’s favourite comb could get hidden, leaving one shuddering at the prospect of making an appearance in public. Overall, the house appears to provide stiff competition to the Bermuda Triangle.

Norway School Art 4

A Core of Innocence

Put any two of the kids together and the results could be disastrous. Put all four of them together and the foundations of civilization start quivering.

The combined goofiness of a group of kids is directly proportional to the square of the number of kids together.

Unlike what the Theory of Relativity postulates about there being an upper limit for the speed of light, one does not believe there could be an upper limit for kids’ goofiness. With three kids of his own, Einstein himself might have been in agreement with this proposition.

Their interpersonal interactions are more like sinusoidal curves, putting the Dow Jones Index and the Sensex to shame. Loving embraces are quickly followed by bitter arguments, accompanied by loud background music and tantrums of all kind.

Their minds are highly creative. Their imagination is vivid and fertile. More often than not, they are a reflection of what one is and how one behaves in their presence. In a way, they hold a clear mirror to us, especially when it comes to ethics, values and social leanings.

It is true that kids are simply adorable. Perhaps because their external sheath of goofiness is built around a core of touching innocence – a virtue which one loses as one advances in age. They radiate the purity of their chaste souls, yet to be corrupted by social prejudices and materialistic considerations. A sheltered upbringing obviously helps.

Towards spiritual progress

mothersymbolmeaningThe Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram has spoken of twelve attributes which help a spiritual aspirant to make progress. Sincerity. Humility. Gratitude. Perseverance. Aspiration. Receptivity. Progress. Courage. Goodness. Generosity. Equality. Peace.

Being with kids surely paves the way for rapid spiritual progress, besides keeping one amused and entertained at all times.

The challenge of minimizing Screen Time

While families have shrunk, technology has entered the family space. For hapless parents, there are two challenges. One, that of minimizing Screen Time, weaning away kids from gadgets and involving them in outdoor activities. Two, that of imparting them the values which would last them a life time. Perhaps it is time to consciously revert back to the joint family system. More about this in another blog post.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-1-of-3

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

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/bringing-up-kids)

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A saunter down the Gallery of Rogue Kids in Plumsville leaves us amazed at the innovative skills, cunning and resource of the children we come across in the works of P G Wodehouse.

Some end up boosting the sagging morale of their fathers. Some treat their step fathers with as much scorn as theyPGW PiccadillyJim can muster at a tender age. They do not spare them while out to collect protection money. Their antics could make or break matrimonial alliances in a jiffy. Souring up business deals comes easy to them. When they burn down cottages, guests are forced to seek shelter in garden sheds.

When seniors devise a Good Conduct award, they leave no stone unturned to prove their mettle. When infatuated with celebrities, they devote their lives to being worthy of their affections. When in the company of clergymen, they end up making them more spiritual, thereby making them hotter on their jobs.

When it comes to wreaking vengeance, they do not discriminate based on one’s wealth or social stature. A Cabinet Minister has as much chance of spending a rainy afternoon out in the open marooned on an island inhabited by an agitated swan as you and I. If we have reported their misdemeanours to an unforgiving mother like Aunt Agatha, we are bound to land in a soup sooner or later. If we have decided to kick them on their backsides, we are bound to find hedgehogs in our beds at night. Retribution is invariably swift and harsh.

When delivering mischief, kids of the gentler sex appear to be deadlier than their male counterparts. But they deploy subtler methods. When playing a prank, they are more delicate in their approach. Not so for the kids of the so-called sterner sex, whose roguish tendencies manifest in a straight forward manner, in full public view. Methods as well as outcomes of the pranks played by them happen to be rough.

Rankings on the Richter Scale of Roguishness

When it comes to ranking them on a Richter Scale of Roguishness, one has to evaluate the evidence available in somePGW MatingSeason of the narratives of P G Wodehouse. One sifts it based on three broad parameters. One, the gravity of the kind of pranks played. Two, if the pranks were of an ingenious nature, perpetrated by self-motivated souls, entirely of their own. Three, the goofiness of the methods deployed.

Based on the above, one would endeavour to grant them the following scores.

Ogden Ford

Here is someone who can manipulate his kidnappers with much aplomb, change the rules of the game at the school he joins and even tick off his step father. If there is a spoilt and unpleasant brat who is overindulged by his wealthy parents, it is Ogden, the supreme fiend in human shape.

A score of 8.2 would perhaps be the mot juste.

Thos

Master Thomas is one of the star attractions in the Gallery of Rogue Kids. He is the King of the Underworld. He is alsoVeryGoodJeeves known as The Shadow. He has carroty hair and a cynical expression. His manner is curt and supercilious. The only person who appears capable of outwitting him is Jeeves.

A score of less than 7.9 would be undervaluing his unique capabilities.

Edwin

He is the younger brother of Florence Craye. When he tries to catch up with his acts of kindness, human life is imperiled. His acts of mercy include burning down country cottages, nipping his father and others with a Scout’s stick when mistaking them for a burglar, mending egg boilers with perilous results and pasting press clippings of ‘Spindrift’ upside down.

He deserves a score of at least 7.7.

Seabury

If you do not cough up protection money when called upon to do so, things could happen to you. The fact that you JoyInTheMorninghappen to be an aspiring step father does not get you off the hook. Using butter slides to trip one up is one of the tricks he can teach us. This is how Bertie views him.

‘In my Rogues Gallery of repulsive small boys I suppose he would come about third – not quite so bad as my Aunt Agatha’s son, Young Thos, or Blumenfeld’s Junior, but well ahead of little Sebastian Moon, my Aunt Dahlia’s Bonzo, and the field.’

A score of less than 7.3 would be unjust.

Kid Blumenfeld

In the world of theatre, he is an undisputed king-maker. Besides nipping the career of aspiring artists in the bud, this dish-faced specimen is also in the habit of walking off with a guest’s pet. When he takes a fancy to McIntosh, Jeeves has to intervene so that relations between Bertie and Aunt Agatha continue to be cordial.

Here is someone who deserves to be awarded a score of at least 5.1.

Sebastian Moon

The boy with golden curls has hidden depths which deserve a further investigation. He tends to be direct and blunt. PGW ThankYouJeevesWhile in love with Clara Bow, he does not mince words when criticizing Greta Garbo. Jeeves is convinced about his proficiency in matters which might get classified as pranks in our civilized times.

A score of 4.6 would surely be in order.

Bonzo

Details about his escapades remain fuzzy but the opinion of his mother, Aunt Dahlia, does carry some weight with us.

‘Whenever it comes to devilry, Bonzo is a good, ordinary selling-plater. Whereas Thomas is a classic yearling.’

A score of 3.8 might do him justice.

Peggy Mainwaring

She is a red-haired young girl with a snub-nose and an extremely large grin. She could impart lessons on unnervingPGW Inimitable_jeeves the best of public speakers by using such techniques as giggling and staring.

A score of 3.6 would perhaps be in order.

Oswald

The brother of the formidable Honoria Glossop, Oswald happens to be one of those supercilious souls who give you the impression that you went to the wrong school and that your clothes do not quite fit.

He deserves a score of 3.3.

Kid Clementina

She teaches us the art of going AWOL when under the care of Miss Mapleton, the female lion-tamer.

A score of 2.1 would perhaps be in order.

Prudence Baxter

An innocent kid, she secures the fifth position at the local Egg and Spoon Race. However, thanks to Jeeves, she getsPGW CarryOnJeeves declared as a winner.

She deserves a negative rank on the Richter Scale of Roguishness: -1.8

Algernon Aubrey Little

Bingo Little Junior wins a bonny baby competition, giving his father the vim and courage to demand a raise from the proprietor of Wee Tots. When left in the custody of Oofy Prosser, his Godfather, the latter sees the futility of getting married in life and decides to remain a bachelor.

He scores -2.2.

The hapless parents of all the kids who score higher than 5 on the Richter Scale of Roguishness obviously have our full sympathies.

Notes:
1. This list does not purport to be exhaustive in nature. Nor does it claim to be highly objective. In case of a demur of any kind, a consultation with Reginald Jeeves would provide better satisfaction.
2. This summary has been compiled for the benefit of those in a tearing hurry. For a leisurely review, the reader is hereby exhorted to either refer to the original narratives of the Master, or to look up the detailed blog posts listed herein.

Sourced from:
-The Little Nugget
-Piccadilly Jim
-The Mating Season
-Very Good, Jeeves
-Joy in the Morning
-Thank you, Jeeves
-The Inimitable Jeeves
-Carry On, Jeeves
-Eggs, Beans and Crumpets

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-1-of-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-2-of-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-3-of-3

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

 

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We have already discussed the antics of some of the kids we encounter in Plumsville. Barring Edwin the Boy Scout and Ogden Ford, we have failed to meet anyone who can aspire to rise to the same heights of roguishness that Master Thomas achieves.

Thos

Master Thomas is the King of the Underworld. He is also known as The Shadow. He has carroty hair and a cynical expression. His manner is curt and supercilious. Annoy him, and he could arrange for a drawing pin to greet your fleshy parts when you sit on your favourite chair.

A tip from Captain Flint

In Jeeves and the Impending Doom (Very Good, Jeeves), Thos is being tutored by Bingo Little at Woollam Chersey, Aunt Agatha’s place, where Bertie has been invited over. Unbeknown to him, the aunt aspires for a secretarial career for Bertie, assisting Mr Filmer, the Cabinet Minister.

When Thos is caught smoking and reported to his formidable mother by Mr VeryGoodJeevesFilmer, he starts looking for an opportunity to inflict some hideous revenge on the Cabinet Minister. He confides in Jeeves that he wants to model his own conduct on that of a certain Captain Flint.

‘But, good heavens, Jeeves! If I remember Treasure Island, Flint was the bird who went about hitting people with a cutlass. You don’t think young Thomas would bean Mr Filmer with a cutlass?’

‘Possibly he does not possess a cutlass, sir.’

‘Well, with anything.’

‘We can but wait and see, sir. The tie, if I might suggest it, sir, a shade more tightly knotted. One aims at the perfect butterfly effect. If you will permit me -’

‘What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? Do you realize that Mr Little’s domestic happiness is hanging in the scale?’

‘There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter.’

Rest, as they say, is history. Mr Filmer, while visiting an island in the middle of a lake, gets marooned there in heavy rains. Thos, following the example of Flint, sets his boat adrift. An angry swan, which does not approve of this attack on its privacy, makes Mr Filmer seek refuge on the roof of a building known as the Octagon.

Mr Filmer gets rescued. In order to save Bingo’s tutoring assignment, Jeeves convinces the Cabinet Minister that it was Bertie who had set his boat adrift. Before Aunt Agatha can have an audience with her nephew, the latter resorts to a down-the-stout-water-pipe act and seeks refuge in the metropolis.

In love with Greta Garbo

We also get to meet Thos in the short story The Love that Purifies (Very Good, Jeeves). When competing with Sebastian Moon and Bonzo for the Good Conduct Award announced by Mister Anstruther, Thos comes out with flying colours. He walks several miles so as to fetch a newspaper for Bertie. When Sebastian gets a nail in his shoe, Thos carries him on his back all the way back home in hot sunshine. He loves Greta Garbo and proposes to spend the remainder of his life trying to be worthy of her.

Eventually, faced with Jeeves’ cunning, Thos loses his cool and the Good Conduct Award. Sebastian Moon, himself in love with Clara Bow, speaks disparagingly of Greta Garbo. An argument takes place and all hell breaks loose. Aunt Dahlia wins a bet and Anatole continues to serve her household.

The spiritual advancement of clergymen

Thos also puts in an appearance in The Mating Season. In this narrative, he has been left behind under Bertie’s care and is delighted at being accompanied by Miss Cora Pirbright, his Hollywood heart-throb, to see a picture. He manages to get fifty of her autographs, expecting to get sixpence apiece from the boys at his school. Eventually, he manages to fetch a bob for each of the autographs.

In order to avoid Aunt Agatha landing up at Deverill Hall and discovering BertiePGW MatingSeason masquerading as Gussie, Thomas is persuaded to vanish from his school at Bramley-on-Sea. He is charmed into spending a few days at the Vicarage where Corky is staying. The Vicar is none too happy, but Corky feels that it is good for clergymen to have these trials. Such encounters make them more spiritual, and consequently hotter at their jobs.

Of course, Thos runs the risk of getting some juicy ones on the old spot. Bertie belives that Aunt Agatha would be more hopping mad than anxious at her cub’s disappearance.

‘Thos,’ I said, ‘makes rather a speciality of running away from school. He’s done it twice before this, once to attend a cup final and once to go hunting for buried treasure in the Caribbees, and I don’t remember Aunt Agatha on either occasion as the stricken mother. Thos was the one who got stricken. Six of the best on the old spot, he tells me.’

A bright future for Thos

Imagine his plight when Esmond Haddock ends up defying his aunts, five in all, thereby sealing the prospect of his taking a saunter down the aisle with Corky.

‘Why did you sigh?’

‘I was thinking of Master Thomas, sir. The announcement of Miss Pirbright’s betrothal came as a severe blow to him.’

I refused to allow my spirits to be lowered by any such side issues.

‘Waste no time in commiserating with young Thos, Jeeves. His is a resilient nature, and the agony will pass. He may have lost Corky, but there’s always Betty Grable and Dorothy Lamour and Jennifer Jones.’

‘I understand those women are married, sir.’

‘That won’t affect Thos. He’ll be getting their autographs, just the same. I see a bright future ahead of him.’

This is one case where one is apt to concede that Aunt Agatha is more to be pitied than censured – for having to manage someone like Thos, who ranks so very high on the Richter scale of Roguishness.

 

Gender disparity in endeavours of a roguish kind

Many a mom would confirm that bringing up boys is a far more daunting task than that of bringing up girls. Kids in Plumsville conform to this rule but Wodehouse paints his sweet little girls with a somewhat delicate but deadlier depth of character.

Allow me to come back to the ranking of Clementina and Peggy Mainwaring, in whose case, the jury awarding the ranks is still out. The reason for the jury being baffled is that the so-called delicately nurtured kids happen to be discreetly naughtier than their male counterparts.

Admittedly, their public behavior is above reproach. While being treated onPGWodehouse their birthdays or being given a lift in a car, they are at their best behavior. But leave them alone and they are found to be lacing ink-pots with sherbet or going AWOL. Stealing and relishing cigarettes comes easily to them. To make a guest lecturer nervous by simply giggling and staring is their natural tendency. When it comes to delivering mischief, they appear to deploy subtler methods. When playing a prank, they appear to be more delicate in their approach.

Not so for the kids of the so-called sterner sex. Their roguish tendencies manifest in a straight forward manner, in full public view. If they use paraffin to douse a fire, they simply look you in the eye and own up. If they nip the theater career of an aspiring actor in the bud, they tick him off openly. If they seek protection money from their would-be fathers, they do so unabashedly. Yes, their methods as well as the outcomes are pretty rough.

 

The mighty soft power of kids

In whichever narrative they appear, the kids exercise great influence on the adults as well as on the proceedings. By winning prizes, they ensure that their fathers get the courage necessary for them to squeeze their bosses for a raise. Making or breaking matrimonial alliances is the work of a moment for them. Wreaking vengeance is an art they appear to have perfected. Supporting their fathers and controlling the career prospects of artists of all hues comes naturally to them. When seniors devise a Good Conduct award, they leave no stone unturned to prove their mettle. When infatuated with celebrities, they devote their lives to being worthy of their affections. When in the company of clergymen, they end up making them more spiritual, thereby making them hotter on their jobs.

 

Some lessons from the kids in Plumsville

The poet who said ‘The Child is father of the Man’ was not too much off the mark. Whatever their rank on the Richter scale of Roguishness, there is much we can learn from the kids in Plumsville.

  • Notice a colleague sulking because of not being able to squeeze the boss for a raise? We can get her to deliver a speech which is heartily applauded and appreciated. Or, wait for her kid to get a gold medal at school. See how her confidence level shoots up.
  • Competing for a coveted promotion? Like Prudence Baxter, we need to ensure getting noticed by a Jeeves-like senior who is good at spotting potential and is willing to place his bets on someone with our limited abilities.
  • Just like Oswald, let us learn swimming and surviving skills at an early age. When pushed into a lake of troubles, let us develop a capacity to be able to reach the shore on our own. If we keep waiting for a Bingo Little to dive in and save us, we might just sink without a trace.
  • Want to teach a lesson or two to a nasty colleague? Let us develop a supercilious gaze. When he gets up to make a presentation, tell him his tie knot needs to be adjusted. If possible, giggle. Stare. Keep staring till the time he fumbles.
  • When discussing our favourite silver screen divas, let us be open-minded.
  • Despise a politician or a boss? Let us find out the nearest lake with an island in its middle. Leave him marooned there. Let nature do the rest.
  • Let us try to be like a Boy Scout, dishing out acts of kindness to those who matter. When we goof up like Edwin, like by using paraffin to douse a fire, let us own up. We could earn respect and admiration.
  • Do we happen to know someone who could do with a higher Spirituality Quotient? Let us unleash a kid on the person for a few days. We shall be rewarded with excellent results. Kids provide this unique but much under-appreciated service at home to many amongst us.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/some-plumsville-kids-and-the-richter-scale-of-roguishness-part-1-of-3

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P G Wodehouse has etched out the kids in his works with much finesse.  When it comes to ranking these kids on a Richter scale of Roguishness, our task is not too difficult. If Edwin, Thos and Seabury secure the top ranks, kid Blumenfeld, Bonzo and Sebastian Moon occupy the middle order. Kid Clementina, Oswald and Peggy Mainwaring appear to be competing for the lower ranks.

We also get to meet kids who can only earn a negative rank on the Richter scale of Roguishness. Their conduct is as pure as driven snow.

Prudence Baxter does not herself outsmart the real winners at an Egg and Spoon race. It is Jeeves’ desire to help a Bingo in distress which helps her to claim the prize.

Bingo Junior wins a baby contest and is blissfully unaware of the extent to which his accomplishment boosts up the morale of his father. He is too young even to understand that he saves his Godfather, Oofy Prosser, from the prospect of getting married. A soul’s awakening, as it were.

Here is a recap of the antics of some of the kids we come across in Plumsville, broadly recounted in an increasing order of roguishness.

 

Algernon Aubrey Little and the Soul’s Awakening

Proving lucky for the father

Well, here is a son who proves lucky for his father, Bingo Little, when he happened to be the editor of Wee Tots, a journal for the nursery and the home. P P Purkiss, the miserly proprietor of this rag, was adept at shrugging off Bingo’s apologetic hints at giving him a raise. The tightness of money and the rising cost of pulp paper were brought up as and when the old miser was endeavoured to be touched for an increase in the pay packet.

A day dawned when the bouncing baby stood first in a baby contest. He wasPGW MatingSeason kissed by the wife of a Cabinet Minister and generally fawned upon by all and sundry. The next morning, the proud father, with a strange glow on his face, strode into the miser’s office without knocking, banged the desk and demanded an additional ten fish in his pay envelope starting the following Saturday itself. When P P Purkiss started to go into his act, Bingo Little banged the desk again and said he hadn’t come there to argue. ‘Yes or no, Purkiss!’ he said, and the old miser meekly consented to the proposal.

In The Mating Season, Bertie narrates this incident to Corky while trying to convince her of the soundness of the scheme to ensure that Esmond Haddock’s hunting song at the village concert is greeted with thunderous applause. This, he is sure, would give Esmond the courage to defy his five aunts, thereby gaining her respect, admiration and love.

 

Saving a Godfather from a saunter down the aisle

When Mrs Bingo Little is away to see her mother through while she undergoes some treatment at the Droitwich brine bath, Bingo Little loses his allowance on a Gargoyle which merely finishes in the first six. Oofy Prosser refuses to pitch in to make good a loss of ten quids. Since Bingo has intruded into one of his serious romances, he even expresses his desire to dance on the mangled remains of his corpse in hobnailed boots.

Another ten pound note arrives in the mail from Mrs Little. The money is to allow Bingo to open a bank account in the name of Junior. This also gets wiped off in a bet. Bingo then remembers that Oofy Prosser happens to be the Godfather of the child.

On a fateful morning, the son is left behind alone for some time with Oofy. His frightful company, coupled with his ‘homicidal fried egg’ visage, leaves Oofy convinced of the perils of matrimony. To show his gratitude, he consents to give Bingo Little fifty quids, thereby saving the latter an embarrassing ‘Oh, how could you?’ moment with his better half. (Sonny BoyEggs, Beans and Crupmets)

Prudence Baxter, the Egg and Spoon racer

Prudence Baxter is a small girl who is participating in the Egg and Spoon race at the local village school-treat at Twing. She is pretty excited about the rag-doll she has just won in the Lucky Dip and confides in Bertie her plans to name it Gertrude. (The Purity of the Turf: The Inimitable Jeeves)

Prudence turns out to be a good conversationalist but does not seem to havePGW Inimitable_jeeves the build for a winner. According to Jeeves, she is a long shot. Bingo, wounded to the very depth of his soul by the recently failed Cynthia affair, has thirty quids at ten to one riding on her.

The favourite of bookies instead happens to be a Sarah Mills. She has grace and a practised precision about it. Her egg does not even wobble. As widely predicted, she comes first, followed by Jane Parker, Bessie Clay, Rosie Jukes and, well, Prudence Baxter.

Thanks to Jeeves, the first four in the race forfeit their amateur status and get disqualified. The prize, a handsome work-bag, presented by Lord Wickhammersley, goes consequently to Prudence Baxter!

 

Kid Clementina and the art of celebrating a birthday AWOL

A cousin of Bobbie Wickham, kid Clementina is a quiet, saint-like child.  Bertie is charmed into treating her to dinner and a movie on her thirteenth birthday. Unlike other young women, who snigger and giggle when they are in Bertie’s company, she gazes at her benefactor in silent admiration. She is a sympathetic and attentive listener. Her hands are spotless. Her behavior throughout the evening is unexceptionable. At the conclusion of the proceedings, she even thanks Bertie with visible emotion.

Bobbie is of the opinion that at St Monica’s, Clementina is sourly misjudged.VeryGoodJeeves After all, what is the point in sending a decent kid like her off to bed in the afternoon itself, that too on her birthday, just for putting some sherbet in the ink to make it fizz?

It transpires that the kid is out of her school without leave, and Bertie now has the unenviable task of bunging her in without incurring the wrath of Miss Mapleton, the formidable headmistress who also happens to be a close chum of Aunt Agatha.

Thanks to the super-human intelligence of Jeeves, the mission gets accomplished in a smooth manner, with Bertie earning words of praise from Miss Mapleton, the lion tamer. After all, it is not every day that she comes across a modern young man who can single-handedly tackle burglars in the school garden with much vim and courage. (Jeeves and the Kid Clementina: Very Good, Jeeves)

 

Oswald and the Australian crawl

The brother of the formidable Honoria Glossop, Oswald happens to be one of those supercilious souls who give you the impression that you went to the wrong school and that your clothes do not quite fit.

Young Bingo finds it very difficult to love Oswald. The hapless guy, who happens to be passing through the Honoria-is-my-soul-mate phase of his life just then has no other option but to keep trying. After all, Honoria is devoted to the little brute. (The Hero’s Reward: The Inimitable Jeeves)

Bertie comes up with a scheme to enable Bingo to win over Honoria’s heart.1923 The Inimitable Jeeves mycopy He would shove Oswald into the lake. Bingo would save him.

At the appointed hour, the push from the stone bridge gets made. A kind of yelp emanates. A splash follows. However, Bingo is not where he is supposed to be. The outcome is that Bertie himself has to chuck off his coat and vault over, only to find upon surfacing that Oswald is already swimming ashore, using the Australian crawl. Honoria decides to marry Bertie, so as to be able to reform him.

 

Peggy Mainwaring and the art of unnerving lecturers

In Bertie changes his mind (Carry on, Jeeves), we meet Peggy Mainwaring. She is a red-haired young girl with a snub-nose and an extremely large grin. She is perhaps around twelve years of age.

Having enjoyed her half-holiday at Brighton putting pennies in the slotPGW CarryOnJeeves machine, the poor girl ends up getting a nail in her shoe. This delays her return to the boarding school. Faced with the prospect of incurring the wrath of Miss Tomlinson, the formidable headmistress built along the lines of Aunt Agatha, she is all of a twitter.

Bertie and Jeeves offer her a lift and a solution to her grim predicament. Back at school, Bertie is to present himself as an old friend of the young lady’s father. He is supposed to have taken Peggy out for a short drive.

The subterfuge works. Jeeves portrays Bertie as a celebrity of sorts and manages to persuade Miss Tomlinson to get him to address an assembly of girls.

Peggy’s father, Professor Mainwaring, might be an authority on matters philosophical, but the young woman is quite down to earth in her approach to life. She distributes Bertie’s cigarettes for her friends to relish in the shrubbery. Her views on unnerving guest lecturers are also very straight forward.

‘Oh, I say,’ she said, ‘will you give this to Mr Wooster when you see him?’

 She held out Mr Wooster’s cigarette-case.

‘He must have dropped it somewhere. I say,’ she proceeded, ‘it’s an awful lark. He’s going to give a lecture to the school.’

‘Indeed, miss?’

‘We love it when there are lectures. We sit and stare at the poor dears, and try to make them dry up. There was a man last term who got hiccoughs. Do you think Mr Wooster will get hiccoughs?’

‘We can but hope for the best, miss.’

‘It would be such a lark, wouldn’t it?’

‘Highly enjoyable, miss.’

‘Well, I must be getting back. I want to get a front seat.’

The experience of delivering a lecture to a vast group of giggling and staring young women leaves Bertie shaken and stirred. He drops his plans to get married. He gives up his desire of hearing the prattle of young feet around him.

Jeeves manages to avoid severing an association so very pleasant in every respect.

(To be continued)

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