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Posts Tagged ‘KIds’

ashokbhatia

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…

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ashokbhatia

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…

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ashokbhatia

Bingo Little Junior and Prudence Baxter earn a negative ranking on the Richter scale of Roguishness. However, there are several others who deceive us with their apparent innocence – Kid Clamentina, Oswald and Peggy Mainwaring, to name the ones we have covered in the last post.

Here are a few more who deserve to be considered.

Bonzo

Bonzo, the son of Aunt Dahlia, has a sound reputation as a pest. But if Thos sets a gold standard in devilry, Bonzo is merely a good, ordinary mischief-maker. His proud mother compares the two as follows:

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

When Bonzo is in love, his nature gets altered. He tries to lead a finer, betterVeryGoodJeeves life. When tempted to climb on the roof and boo down Mr Anstruther’s chimney, he refuses to oblige. When prompted to burst a…

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ashokbhatia

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…

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Adults love obedience. But give them a simple kid who is plain subservient and they start complaining about life being rather monotonous and dull. Kids who are not naughty at all could prove to be somewhat boring. The higher the Naughtiness Quotient (NQ) of a kid, the brighter the life is. The challenge of having a high NQ kid around keeps one on one’s toes. One becomes hotter at one’s job. Outlook towards life becomes more indulgent. Capacity to handle the harsh slings and arrows of life shows a substantial improvement. Spiritual growth gets hastened up.

P G Wodehouse gave us such sterling kids as Thomas Travers, Seabury, Edwin the Scout and many others. Hanry King Ketcham gave us Dennis the Menace, based on the daily exploits of his own son.

Here is a quick look at some of the escapades of Dennis which amuse and entertain us just like those of Plummy kids.

Just the question Algernon Aubrey Little would have asked his parents, Bingo Little and Rosie M Banks, had they been living in our internet-infested times these days!

 

A scene of unalloyed domestic bliss, with the chivalrous husband wearing a skirt and pitching in to assist in domestic chores!

 

When hapless parents bringing up a Thos-like son yearn for some kid-free time!

 

This is what could happen if Edwin the Scout were to complain to D’Arcy Stilton Cheesewright about a friend of his!

 

The progeny of Stiffy Byng and Harold Stinker Pinker would invariably be unpopular amongst the public at large. The poor souls get to inherit the combined loopiness of both their parents.

 

A sentiment dreaded by such lion-tamers as Rev. Aubrey Upjohn, Miss Mapleton and Miss Tomlinson!

 

Refuse to cough up protection money and the prospect of treading down a hard staircase covered with soft butter would await one.

 

When he grows up a little bit, he might make some such confessions so as to be worthy of the affections of either a Greta Garbo or a Clara Bow.

 

Many of us would be inclined to be patient and give Dr. E. Jimpson Murgatroyd here a chance to check on the pink spots on Dennis’ chest!

 

The fate of a clueless Ann Banister when endeavouring to baby sit for Joey Cooley!

It is not easy to compare the brilliance of the written word with that of an illustration. Perhaps, there is no need for us to compare the two genres. We just need to sit back and bask in the pristine humour these two forms of art represent.

The fulcrum which makes the two forms of art converge is that of the Naughtiness Quotient of the kids in general. Or, their rank on the Richter Scale of Roguishness.

(Dennis the Menace cartoons courtesy the world wide web)

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/the-gallery-of-rogue-kids-in-plumsville

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

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When Bollywood directors decide to etch out the character of either a mother or a soul mate in finer detail, lullabies come in handy.

It is widely believed that lullabies, when sung with minimal words and unaccompanied by any kind of music, have more of a soothing effect on a baby. However, given the penchant of the Indian audience to lap up lyrics only when dished out along with some lilting music, our directors make some compromises and come up with songs which not only boast of some soulful lyrics but are also accompanied by a wide range of musical instruments playing softly in the background.

The result is that many of these tend to soothe the frayed nerves of not only a baby but even some adults who appear to be passing through a challenging phase in their lives. In other words, the lullabies on our silver screens not only put babies to sleep but also get deployed as a clever device to provide succour to anguished souls in other age brackets.

Let us recapitulate some of the outstanding lullabies dished out by Bollywood over the past few decades.

For kids in all kinds of circumstances

A key feature of parenthood is the desire to protect one’s child from the harsh slings and arrows of Life. A lullaby could get sung in a protective environment. It could also get rendered when either a mother or a caretaker is seriously concerned about the future of the child.

 

Do Bigha Zamin

(1953, Music: Salil Chowdhury, Lyrics: Shailendra)

 

Vachan

(1955, Ravi, Prem Dhawan)

 

Do Ankhen Baarah Haath

(1957, Vasant Desai, Bharat Vyas)

 

Pardesi

(1957, Anil Biswas, Prem Dhawan or Ali Sardar Jafri)

 

Sujata

(1959, S D Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri)

 

Mujhe Jeene Do

(1963, Jaidev, Sahir Ludhianvi)

 

Brahmchari

(1968, Shankar Jaikishan, Shailendra)

 

Koshish

(1972, Madan Mohan, Gulzar)

 

Mukti

(1977, R D Burman, Anand Bakshi)

 

Masoom

(1983, R D Burman, Gulzar)

 

Zubeidaa

(2001, A R Rahman, Javed Akhtar)

 

Swades

(2004, A R Rahman, Javed Akhtar)

 

Providing solace to adults

When a weary soul is on the lookout for some solace, help comes from a loving and devoted companion, who could either be a soul mate or an empathetic person who believes that it is his duty to comfort the other. The music is so soothing as to put the weary person to sleep, thereby helping him or her to cope with distress.

Zindagi

(1940, Pankaj Mullick, Kedar Nath Sharma)

 

Albela

(1952, C Ramchandra, Rajinder Krishan)

 

Shabaab

(1954, Naushad, Shakeel Badayuni)

 

Hum Dono

(1961, Jaidev, Sahir Ludhianvi)

 

Khandaan

(1965, Ravi, Rajendra Krishan)

 

Sadma

(1983, Iliyaraja, Gulzar)

 

The deep yearning to bear a child

Some of you might agree with me that a soothing song which poignantly captures the deep yearning of a woman to bear a child could also be labelled as a lullaby. Even though it expresses tender thoughts for a child who might still be on the horizon, the feelings portray the same love and affection as the ones articulated in a lullaby.

Filhaal

(2002, Anu Malik, Gulzar)

 

Most of these songs have a different context. But the underlying sentiment of empathy, compassion and love remains the same. The fertile imagination of a director, coupled with the creativity of a music director, ensures a wide spectrum of the genre of lullabies in Bollywood, ranging from yet-to-be-born children to those who are much past the phase of childhood.

Diminishing returns from lullabies?

This post is surely not an exhaustive one. But while compiling the songs, yours truly was struck by the relative absence of lullabies in the movies released in recent decades. For the 1950s, I could come up with 7 of the songs listed above, whereas for the 2010s I could barely trace 3 songs in  this genre!

Perhaps, our producers and directors no longer appear to believe that the presence of soothing lullabies in their offerings to the gullible audience makes the box office ring any louder. It is not that scripts centered on kids do not find favour with them. In fact, the converse could be true. Think of Tare Zameen Par, Nil Battey Sannata, The Blue Umbrella, I Am Kalam, Stanley Ka Dabba and many others which have been eagerly lapped up by the audience in the recent past. But the character of children has undergone a change. No longer are they to be pampered with lullabies. Instead, they are showcased as being smarter kids, somewhat grown up and awash with dazzling inputs from the digital world that surrounds them. They no longer appear to be vulnerable, needing the emotional support of a lullaby to get to sleep.

Perhaps this has to do with the setting of most scripts having become an urban one. With the rise of the nuclear family and the ready availability of technological gizmos, the space for lullabies appears to be shrinking. Choices for hapless parents who are caught in the vicious circle of materialistic pursuits of life have narrowed down. In children’s formative years, perhaps a soothing touch is getting gradually replaced with cold metallic screens streaming inane cartoons and animation movies which are replete with violent sequences. With each passing decade, the threshold of innocence appears to be getting lowered, thereby reducing the utility of a soulful lullaby to add to the box office collections.

But parents and soul mates need not lose heart. Bollywood’s repertoire of lullabies of the past is a rich one. Many of the songs alluded to above could still be of immense utility when it comes to putting their wards to a restful slumber.

Also, there is the hope that the future may somehow see a revival of this unique genre of Bollywood music. However, given the creative imagination of our script writers and lyricists, one would not be surprised to find a humanoid being shown to be crooning a lullaby wherein the moon has got replaced by inter-galactic travel, the stars have given way to the twinkling city lights and a cool breeze has got substituted by gentle air conditioning!

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

 

 

 

 

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How do you solve a problem like Somaiya?

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

How do you find the word that means Somaiya?

A nay-sayer! A yeller! An obstinate clown!

 

Many in the family adore her,

Her superior intelligence could put a Jeeves to shame;

The psychology of any individual is an open book to her,

In a game of chess a victory she can easily claim.

 

She is often held to be an angel and a child,

A gentle soul, an eve lamb and a darling;

She makes others laugh and keeps them bemused,

Her imagination is never wanting, always on a wing.

 

Aspiring to swim like a fish and dance like a diva,

She is justifiably proud of her long and flowing mane;

Doing school work on an iPad she detests,

Watching teeny serials and a smart phone addiction is her bane.

 

She may look as flighty as a feather,

But has great strength in her bones;

Many a medal has she won while playing football,

She loves gorging on pizzas and ice cream cones.

 

But many others around her are often left confused,

They have no clue as to where exactly they stand;

Unpredictable as weather, with repeated bouts of anger,

In many a peril they suspect the sleight of her hand.

 

Often, their toothbrushes, combs and shoes could go missing,

She is taken as a headache and a riddle waiting to be solved;

Unlike Kid Clementina, adding sherbet to inkpots is passé,

Changing the settings of other’s smart phones keeps her involved.

 

A fine specimen of the female of our species,

Bobby Wickham is the one she apes, though her hair is black;

Getting invited to parties and movies she relishes,

In unleashing goofy schemes she is neither wanting nor slack.

 

She hastens the spiritual evolution of those around her,

Thos would surely be envious of her track record;

A chin-up attitude is necessary to deal with her,

With those who take her acts lightly she strikes a chord.

 

She is the lord and master of all she surveys,

All around her are expected to do her bidding;

From Seabury she would like to learn the art,

Of making butter slides for erring parents, no kidding!

 

When it comes to giving others a supercilious gaze,

Treating them as dust beneath her bicycle wheels;

She could teach a thing or two to Oswald Glossop,

Making them either jump in lakes or take to their heels.

 

She is someone who could try others’ patience no end,

She always knows which side of her bread is buttered;

Her toys and dolls are invariably left in a state of disarray,

Her room, drawers and shelves are always cluttered.

 

Dressing up and leaving for school is a chore she dislikes,

Washing her face does not come easy, also combing her hair;

But she loves the company of her friends there,

She waltzes inside her school and even whistles on the stair.

 

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her,

Many a thing she ought to understand;

But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say,

How do you keep a wave upon the sand?

 

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Somaiya?

How do you hold the rays of moon in your hand?!

 

(Inspired by a song from the movie ‘The Sound of Music’)

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