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Posts Tagged ‘KIds’

Kind of moody the guv’nor had been for some days. Not at all his usual bright self. I had put it down to reaction from a slight attack of influenza which he’d been having: and, of course, I took no notice, just performing my duties as usual, until this evening which I’m talking about, when I brought him his whisky and siphon as was customary and he burst out at me.

“Oh, dash it, Jeeves!” he said, sort of overwrought. “I wish at least you’d put it on another table for a change.”

“Sir?” I said.

“Every night, hang it all,” proceeded the guv’nor, “you come in at exactly the same old time with the same old tray and put it on the same dashed old table. I’m fed up, I tell you. It’s the bally monotony of it that makes it all seem so frightfully bally.”

I confess that his words filled me with a certain apprehension. I had heard gentlemen in whose employment I’ve been talk in very much the same way before, and it had almost invariably meant that they were contemplating matrimony. It disturbed me, therefore, I’m free to admit, when Mr. Wooster spoke in this fashion. I had no desire to sever a connection so pleasant in every respect as his and mine had been, and my experience is that when the wife comes in at the front door the valet of bachelor days goes out at the back.

“It’s not your fault, of course,” went on the guv’nor, calming down a trifle. “I’m not blaming you. But, by Jove, I mean, you must acknowledge, I mean to say—I’ve been thinking pretty deeply these last few days, Jeeves, and I’ve come to the conclusion mine is an empty life. I’m lonely, Jeeves.”

“You have a great many friends, sir,” I pointed out.

“What’s the good of friends?”

“Emerson says a friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature, sir.”

“Well, you can tell Emerson from me next time you see him that he’s an ass.”

“Very good, sir.”

“What I want—Jeeves, have you seen that play called I-forget-its-dashed-name?”

“No, sir.”

“It’s on at the What-d’you-call-it. I went last night. The hero’s a chap who’s buzzing along, you know, quite merry and bright, and suddenly a kid turns up and says she’s his daughter. Left over from act one, you know—absolutely the first he’d heard of it. Well, of course, there’s a bit of a fuss and they say to him: ‘What-ho?’ and he says: ‘Well, what about it?’ and they say: ‘Well, what about it?’ and he says: ‘Oh, all right, then, if that’s the way you feel!’ and he takes the kid and goes off with her out into the world together, you know. Well, what I’m driving at, Jeeves, is that I envied that chappie. Most awfully jolly little girl, you know, clinging to him trustingly and what not. Something to look after, if you know what I mean. Jeeves, I wish I had a daughter. I wonder what the procedure is?”

“Marriage is, I believe, considered the preliminary step, sir.”

“No, I mean about adopting a kid. You can adopt kids, you know, Jeeves. I’ve seen it in the papers, often. ‘So-and-so, adopted daughter of Tiddleypush.’ It can be done all right. But what I want to know is how you start about it.”

“The process, I should imagine, would be highly complicated and laborious, sir. It would cut into your spare time.”

This seemed to check him for a while. Then he brightened up.

“Well, I’ll tell you what I could do, then. My sister will be back from India next week with her three little girls. I’ll give up this flat and take a house and have them all to live with me. By Jove, Jeeves, I think that’s rather a scheme, what? Prattle of childish voices, eh? Little feet pattering hither and thither, yes!”

I concealed my perturbation. The scheme the guv’nor was toying with meant the finish of our cosy bachelor establishment if it came off: and no doubt some men in my place would at this juncture have voiced their disapproval and probably got the sack for it, the guv’nor being in what you might call an edgey mood. I avoided this tracasserie.

“If you will pardon my saying so, sir,” I suggested, tactfully, “I think you are not quite yourself after your influenza. If I might express the opinion, what you require is a few days by the sea. Brighton is very handy, sir.”

“Are you suggesting that I’m talking through my hat?”

“By no means, sir. I merely advocate a short stay at Brighton as a physical recuperative.”

The guv’nor thought it over.

“Well, I’m not sure you’re not right. I am feeling more or less of an onion. You might shove a few things in a suit-case and drive me down in the car to-morrow.”

“Very good, sir.”

“And when we get back I’ll be in the pink and ready to tackle this pattering feet wheeze.”

“Exactly, sir.”

Well, it was a respite, and I welcomed it. But I began to see that a crisis had arisen which would require adroit handling. Rarely had I observed the guv’nor more set on a thing. Indeed, I could recall no such exhibition of determination on his part since the time when he had insisted, against my obvious disapproval, on wearing purple socks. However, I had coped successfully with that outbreak, and I was by no means un-sanguine that I should eventually be able to bring the present affair to a happy issue. Employers are like horses. They want managing. Some of us have the knack of managing them, some haven’t. I, I am happy to say, have no cause for complaint.

(Source: Bertie Changes His Mind – the only story in the Wodehouse canon which is narrated by Jeeves)

(Illustration courtesy Suvarna Sanyal)

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

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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…

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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…

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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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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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