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Posts Tagged ‘Lord Emsworth’

What happens when a banking professional like Suvarna Sanyal, who has spent a life time poring over bulky ledgers and checking debit and credit figures, turns his attention to one of the popular stories dished out by P G Wodehouse? Well, he simply whips up a series of illustrations which figure some of the better known characters from the canon in some selected scenes from the story!

Savour below the results of his labour of love.

 

‘The day was so warm, so fair, so magically a thing of sunshine and blue skies and bird-song that anyone acquainted with Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, and aware of his liking for fine weather, would have pictured him going about the place on this summer morning with a beaming smile and an uplifted heart.’

 

‘Instead of which, humped over the breakfast-table, he was directing at a blameless kippered herring a look of such intense bitterness that the fish seemed to sizzle beneath it. For it was August Bank Holiday, and Blandings Castle on August Bank Holiday became, in his lordship’s opinion, a miniature Inferno.’

 

Clarence wilts under the steely gaze of his head gardener.

 

‘It is always unpleasant for a proud man to realize that he is no longer captain of his soul; that he is to all intents and purposes ground beneath the number twelve heel of a Glaswegian head-gardener.’

He recalls the greatness of his brave and bold ancestors, whereas he himself reels under the tyranny of his sister and his head-gardener.

 

This is how Lord Emsworth meets Gladys!

 

Lord Emsworth experiences surprise and admiration while listening to what Gladys has to report. Her brother, Ern, joins in.

 

A rendezvous gets fixed up!

 

Clarence runs into Constance, who plans to tick off the kids who had misbehaved on their last visit to the Castle lawns.

 

Lord Emsworth in the tea tent; he attempts to lift his top hat, while a rock cake, singing through the air like a shell, takes it off for him.

 

Lord Emsworth meets a sobbing Gladys in the cow shed.

 

Gladys recounts the encounter between Lady Constance and Ern.

Lord Emsworth is surprised that Gladys has not had any nourishment.

‘Do you mean to tell me that you have not had tea?’

‘No, sir. Thank you, sir. I thought if I didn’t ‘ave none, then it would be all right Ern ‘aving what I would ‘ave ‘ad if ‘ad ‘ave ‘ad.’

 

Lord Emsworth and Gladys in the library, with Beach the butler in attendance.

 

 

When they are back on the lawns, Lord Emsworth asks Gladys if Ern, her brother, would like anything else.

‘Could he ‘ave some flarze?’

‘Certainly, certainly, certainly,’ he said, though not without a qualm. ‘Take as many as you want.’

And when a small girl in a velveteen frock is seen flitting about McAllister’s sacred gardens and picking his sacred flowers – that too, a girl who had copped him on the shin with a stone just the other day, he rushes out of his den at forty-five miles per hour.

Lord Emsworth’s soul quivers at the spectacle of the man charging down on him with gleaming eyes and bristling whiskers. But with the soft hand of Gladys in his hands, he feels he should be worthy of the love received and the trust reposed in him.

A cold exchange takes place between McAllister and Lord Emsworth.

 

Angus McAllister decides it is better to cease to be a Napoleon than to be a Napoleon in exile.

 

Lord Emsworth stands up to his sister.

 

Lord Emsworth eventually proves worthy of his glorious ancestors.

This is how love conquers all. The desire to please the party of the other part. The need to be worthy of her trust and affection. Even spines made of cottage cheese get transformed into those made of chilled steel!

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/lord-emsworth-and-the-girlfriend-a-viewpoint

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/lord-emsworth-and-the-girl-friend-when-nature-stands-still

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/great-wodehouse-romances-lord-emsworth-and-the-girl-friend-by-ken-clevenger)

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When the silver rays of a refined full moon descend upon Blandings Castle, the ancestral home of Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, queer things start happening.

Would-be brides find themselves quarantined, so obdurate mothers may breathe easy. Romantic aspirations get into a jumble. Phantom faces keep popping up, proving the theory advanced by Dr E. Jimpson Murgatroyd that excess consumption of tissue restoratives results in such hallucinations. A diamond necklace goes missing, thereby creating conditions which could lead to a nasty divorce.

But Gally is there to set things right, acting like an elderly Christopher Robin, leaving everybody happy, loving young hearts united, and nothing for anyone to worry about.

Here are some of the gems from Full Moon which fans of P G Wodehouse may relish.

 

When clotted cream becomes audible

Her reverie was interrupted by the opening of the door. The pencil of light beneath it had attracted Colonel Wedge’s eye as he started forth on his mission. She raised her head from the pillow and rolled two enormous eyes in his direction. In a slow, pleasant voice, like clotted cream made audible, she said:
‘Hullo, Dad-dee.’

Some basics of Cardiology

To say of anyone’s heart that it stood still is physiologically inexact. The heart does not stand still. It has to go right on working away at the old stand, irrespective of its proprietor’s feelings. Tipton’s, though he would scarcely have believed you if you had told him so, continued to beat. But the illusion that it had downed tools was extraordinarily vivid.

The proceedings at reunions

Few things are more affecting than these reunions of old buddies after long separation, but they involve too many queries as to what old What’s-his-name is doing now and whatever became of old So-and-so to make good general reading.

When business magnates behave like Roman Emperors

You don’t know my father-in-law, of course. He’s a bird who looks like a Roman emperor and has a habit of hammering on the table during conferences and shouting: “Come on, come on, now. I’m waiting for suggestions.”

 

 

Einstein and Gally

There were men in London – bookmakers, skittle sharps, jellied eel sellers on race-courses, and men like that – who would have been puzzled to know whom you were referring to if you had mentioned Einstein, but they all knew Gally.

A beleaguered garrison in India

It was with something of the emotions of the beleaguered garrison of Lucknow on hearing the skirl of the Highland pipes that he came at long last out of a sort of despairing coma to the realization that the dressing gong was being beaten, and that for half an hour he would be alone.

When a gnat bite depreciates radiant beauty by between sixty and seventy per cent, Sugg’s Soothine helps

As Veronica Wedge stood gazing at Tipton Plimsoll with her enormous eyes, like a cow staring over a hedge at a mangel-wurzel, no one could have guessed that a few brief hours previously the nose beneath those eyes had been of a size and shape that had made her look like W. C. Fields’s sister.

Uninspiring dinners at English country homes

Too often, in English country houses, dinner is apt to prove a dull and uninspiring meal. If the ruling classes of the island kingdom have a fault, it is that they are inclined when at table to sit champing their food in a glassy-eyed silence, doing nothing to promote a feast of reason and a flow of soul.

 

The Thinker (Auguste Rodin)

 

A meditative state

He went back to the bed and sat down again, his chin on his hand, motionless. He looked like Rodin’s Penseur.

When an ex-fiancé spoils the fun

Ex, one says, for where he had once beheld in Frederick Threepwood a congenial crony and a sidekick with whom it had been a pleasure to flit from high spot to high spot, he now saw only a rival in love, and a sinister, crafty, horn-swoggling rival at that, one who could be classified without hesitation as a snake. At least, if you couldn’t pigeon-hole among the snakes bimbos who went about the place making passes at innocent girls after discarding their wives like old tubes of toothpaste, Tipton was at a loss to know into what category they did fall.

Trouser seats

The face which now looked up into his was one which harmonized perfectly with the trouser seat. It was the face, as the trouser seat had been the trouser seat, of a tortured soul.

A perspective on future sons-in-law

There are fathers, not a few of them, who tend to regard suitors for their daughter’s hand with a jaundiced and unfriendly eye, like shepherds about to be deprived of a ewe lamb.

A bad bit of casting

His eyes rested on Prudence and in them now there was nothing but affection, gratitude, and esteem. It amazed him that he could ever have placed her among the squirts. An extraordinarily bad bit of casting. What had caused him to do so, of course, had been her lack of inches, and he realized now that in docketing the other sex what you had to go by was not size, but soul. A girl physically in the peanut division steps automatically out of her class if she has the opalescent soul of a ministering angel.

The perks of wearing a false fungus

Every young man starting out in life ought to wear a false beard, if only for a day or two. It stiffens the fibre, teaches him that we were not put into this world for pleasure alone.

Of Clarence and jellyfish

‘My dear boy, I have been closely associated with my brother Clarence for more than half a century, and I know him from caviare to nuts. His I.Q. is about thirty points lower than that of a not too agile-minded jellyfish.’

 

 

Poet Robert Burns

It is a truism to say that the best-laid plans are often disarranged and sometimes even defeated by the occurrence of some small unforeseen hitch in the programme. The poet Burns, it will be remembered, specifically warns the public to budget for this possibility.

The density of face fungus

Too little, the chronicler realizes, has been said about that beard of Fruity Biffen’s, and it may be that its concealing properties have not been adequately stressed. But reading between the lines, the public must have gathered an impression of its density. The Fruities of this world, when they are endeavouring to baffle the scrutiny of keen-eyed bookmakers, do not skimp in the matter of face fungus. The man behind this beard was not so much a man wearing a beard as a pair of eyes staring out of an impenetrable jungle; and, try as she might, Lady Hermione was unable to recall any more definite picture than just that.

A puma of the Indian jungle

Throughout this well-phased harangue Lady Hermione had been sitting with twitching hands and gleaming eyes. It had not occurred to the speaker that there was anything ominous in her demeanour, but a more observant nephew would have noted her strong resemblance to the puma of the Indian jungle about to pounce upon its prey.

The Aunt, the whole Aunt, and nothing but the Aunt

Lady Hermione was still sitting behind the teapot, as rigidly erect as if some sculptor had persuaded her to pose for his Statue of an Aunt. In all the long years during which they had been associated it seemed to Freddie that he had never seen her looking so undisguisedly the Aunt, the whole Aunt, and nothing but the Aunt, and in spite of himself his heart sank a little. Even Lady Emily Finch, though her mental outlook was that of a strong-minded mule, an animal which she resembled in features as well as temperament, had been an easier prospect.

An unbridgeable gulf

The Hon. Galahad snorted sharply. Himself a bachelor, he was unable to understand and sympathize with what seemed to him a nephew’s contemptible pusillanimity. There is often this unbridgable gulf between the outlook of single and married men.

When equanimity gets ruffled

‘She’ll divorce me.’

‘Nonsense.’

‘She will, I tell you. American wives are like that. Let the slightest thing ruffle their equanimity, and bingo! Ask Tippy. His mother divorced his guv’nor because he got her to the station at ten-seven to catch a train that had started at seven-ten.’

 

 

Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There is a widely advertised patent medicine which promises to its purchasers a wonderful sense of peace, poise, neural solidity and organic integrity, and guarantees to free them from all nervous irritability, finger-drumming, teeth-grinding, and foot-tapping. This specific Tipton Plimsoll might have been taking for weeks, and the poet Coleridge, had he been present, would have jerked a thumb at him with a low-voiced: ‘Don’t look now, but that fellow over there will give you some idea of what I had in mind when I wrote about the man who on honeydew had fed and drunk the milk of Paradise.’

The omelette gag

‘But you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Not Shakespeare,’ said the Hon. Galahad. ‘One of my own. Unless I heard it somewhere. Besides, Freddie’s agony will be only temporary.’

Of lovers’ impulses

The primary impulse of every lover, on seeing the adored object on a balcony, is to shin up and join her.

Cactus in a trouser seat

What urged him to retreat was the thought of having to meet Lady Hermione again. It stimulated him to action like a cactus in the trouser seat.

A family’s average of mental anguish

It is fortunately only very rarely that in any given family in the English upper classes you will find two members of it who have drained the bitter cup in a single afternoon. The average of mental anguish is as a rule lower.

 

Full Moon is only one example of the virtuosity of Plum, whose narratives are littered with similes, literary allusions and insights on human behaviour. These amuse, entertain and educate.

 

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/some-juicy-quotes-from-stiff-upper-lip-jeeves)

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Lord Emsworth

Much like all masters perched on the literary high table, P G Wodehouse also used Nature as a colluding partner in his narratives. When all is well with the world, roses are in bloom, bees and birds go about doing what they are ordained to do, and the sun goes about spreading cheer with due benevolence. But when giant egos clash or a disaster looms large, Nature stops in its tracks, birds stop chirping noisily, breeze ceases to blow and even flowers stand still.

In other words, Nature is depicted as having a sensitive soul, cheered up when the proceedings are going as per plans, but looking askance when the reverse happens. In the hands of proficient wordsmiths, it assumes a character of its own and provides mute support to the goings on in the narrative.

By way of an example, consider the story ‘Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend.’

Angus McAllister, the head gardener at Blandings Castle, has an anti-moss spirit. Lord Emsworth often wonders why Providence had not taken note of his sterling qualities and made him a first class mule. He recalls the time when, after having sacked him, McAllister, he, Lord Emsworth, had to plead with him to come back. This alone had resulted in his favorurite pumpkin winning the Agricultural Show.

It was a supreme sacrifice at the altar of an employer’s ego, paving the way for a subsequent loss of the iron hand to have an effective control over his own property, comprising not only the castle and its grounds but also the exquisite flora and fauna hosted therein. Lord Emsworth had thus ended up becoming the ground under the number twelve heel of the Glaswegian head-gardener.

He believed that he had thus evolved into a spineless and unspeakably unworthy descendant of his ancestors who had perfected the art of handling employees, even if it involved dividing an obdurate employee into four employees by using a battle-axe without any eyebrows getting raised.

Till the time Gladys popped up in the scheme of things, McAllister’s control over ‘flarze’ in the Blandings Castle gardens was absolute. Anyone desirous of acquiring some of these had to wait till the time he was in an amiable state of mind, steer the conversation around to the subject of interior decoration, and then took a pot shot at one’s desire.

If one’s Guardian Angels were in a benevolent mood, and if McAllister chose to show you around the gardens with a dash of Scottish pride, one could see the following species in full bloom:

Achillea

 

Bignonia Radicans

 

Campanula

 

Digitalis

 

Euphorbia

 

Funkia

 

Gypsophila

 

Helianthus

 

Iris

 

Liatris

 

Monarda

 

Phlox Drummondi

 

Salvia

 

Thalictrum

 

Vinca

 

Yucca

And when a small girl in a velveteen frock is seen flitting about his sacred gardens and picking his sacred flowers – that too, a girl who had copped him on the shin with a stone just the other day, he rushes out of his den at forty-five miles per hour.

Lord Emsworth’s soul quivers at the spectacle of the man charging down on him with gleaming eyes and bristling whiskers. But with the soft hand of Gladys in his hands, his spine sheds all the cottage cheese it had accumulated over time and gets converted into one made up of chilled steel.

‘This young lady,’ said Lord Emsworth, ‘has my full permission to pick all the flowers she wants, McAllister. If you do not see eye to eye with me in this matter, McAllister, say so and we will discuss what you are going to do about it, McAllister. These gardens, McAllister, belong to me, and if you do not – er – appreciate that fact you will, no doubt, be able to find another employer – ah – more in tune with your views. I value your services highly, McAllister, but I will not be dictated to in my own garden, McAllister. Er – dash it,’ added his lordship, spoiling the whole effect.

The sudden transformation in the character of the main protagonist leaves Nature baffled and astounded. All is still for some time. The Achillea, the Bignonia Radicans, the Ampanula, the Digitalis, the Euphorbia, the Funkia, the Gypsophila, the Helianthus, the Iris, the Liatris, the Monarda, the Phlox Drummondi, the Salvia, the Thalictrum, the Vinca and the Yucca – all are still.

Angus McAllister is perplexed. He decides it is better to cease to be a Napoleon than to be a Napoleon in exile. ‘Mphm,’ he says.

Nature resumes its breathing. The breeze begins to blow again. And all over the gardens the birds resume their musical notes. And the Achillea, the Bignonia Radicans, the Ampanula, the Digitalis, the Euphorbia, the Funkia, the Gypsophila, the Helianthus, the Iris, the Liatris, the Monarda, the Phlox Drummondi, the Salvia, the Thalictrum, the Vinca and the Yucca, much relieved, start swaying in the gentle wind yet again.

The repertoire of such literary giants as Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Kalidasa are littered with natural allusions. Same is true of P G Wodehouse.

(Illustration courtesy Suvarna Sanyal, a retired banker who has an eye and an ear for all there is to see, listen to and laugh at in this world.

Representations of flowers courtesy Wikipedia. Given the non-floricultural background of yours truly, errors and omissions in these may kindly be excused.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/lord-emsworth-and-the-girlfriend-a-viewpoint

https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/great-wodehouse-romances-lord-emsworth-and-the-girl-friend-by-ken-clevenger)

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Lord Emsworth

The narratives dished out by Plum not only amuse but also educate the lay reader. Critics may label these as escapist fares, but that does not take away the kind of social and spiritual lessons which are embedded therein.

When a girl whom you have come to respect seeks your protection, you try to rise to her expectations. Suddenly, the spine which was made of cottage cheese gets transformed into one of chilled steel. You stand up to bullies and tell them where they get off. You look them in the eye and make them wilt, making them beat a hasty retreat from their time-tested positions. Like Angus McAllister, they suddenly find more merit in ‘ceasing to be a Napoleon than to become a Napoleon in exile.’

The Parva School Treat Transformation

When the story begins, we find that Lord Emsworth’s soul is weighed down with woe. The sun is going about its task with great aplomb, but he is unable to potter around in his own gardens. For, this is the day of the August Bank Holiday, ‘when a tidal wave of the peasantry and its squealing young engulfed those haunts of immemorial peace.’ In place of an old coat, he is forced to wear a stiff collar and a top hat and be genial. As if this were not enough, he is expected to make a speech in the evening.

However, by the time the story reaches its climax, he has become a transformed man. He has become a man amongst men. He can stand up to Angus McAllister, his gardener, and boldly reject his proposal to lay a gravel path through the moss-covered yew alley. He has even found the courage to give a piece of his mind to Constance, his dominating sister.

His foremost concern is to bring some sunshine into the life of Gladys, his girlfriend. If she has not had any nourishment, she must be provided a sumptuous fare not only for her but also for her younger brother, Ern. If she asks for flowers from the Blandings gardens, she must have them. He would rather walk back with her to the cottage she is staying at, rather than face the prospect of making a speech.

Doing the ancestors proud

Lord Emsworth detests the fact that he is no longer the captain of his soul. But he ends up acquiring the courage to stand up to the bullies in his life. From being a spineless and unspeakably unworthy descendant of ancestors who had certainly known how to handle employees, he can now boast of being a tough egg. Even though his soul quivers, the simple act of Gladys seeking his protection from a menacing Angus McAllister by slipping her small, hot hand into his, he secures a mute vote of confidence. It is something that he wishes to be worthy of.

Learning from kids of a metropolitan origin

Street smart kids of metropolitan origin have perfected his survival and self-preservation skills. They acquire a ‘breezy insouciance’ which their country cousins lack. Shyness is not one of the virtues they can boast of. They have no difficulty in translating their thoughts into speech. Their dog-management skills are something to write home about.

If they need to pick flowers, they stoop to conquer. They have no reservations about throwing stones at those who endeavour to thwart their floral ambitions. Those attempting to do so even run the risk of getting copped on the shin. And if someone were to deliver a sharp reprimand, they are not averse to biting them in the leg.

These are the kind of personality traits which appeal to someone like Lord Emsworth who believes that he is not a captain of his own soul. Kids with a kindred spirit end up earning his unalloyed reverence.

One of the kids who earns the awe and admiration of Lord Emsworth is Gladys. She is described as a ‘small girl, of uncertain age – possibly twelve or thirteen, though a combination of London fogs and early cares had given her face a sort of wizened motherliness which in some odd way caused his lordship from the first to look on her as belonging to his own generation. She was the type of girl you see in back streets carrying a baby nearly as large as herself and still retaining sufficient energy to lead one little brother by the hand and shout recrimination at another in the distance.’ Ern, her younger brother, also falls in the same category.

Pristine love that uplifts

A streak of independence, disobedience and childlike vehemence invariably appeals to someone who is not himself in the firing line. When it affects the parties who happen to be the tormentors, the sense of awe and admiration experienced by the tormentee grows manifold. Lord Emsworth is no exception to this general rule.

Love results into a spiritual upliftment of sorts. One is no longer concerned only about one’s own discomforts, whether material or spiritual. One starts looking at the broader picture. The vision is no longer myopic. The scales fall from one’s eyes. One works towards bringing some sunshine into the lives of those who are somewhat disadvantaged. Social and economic barriers fade away. Empathy and compassion kick in. So does the milk of human kindness. One focuses only on providing adequate succour to the object of one’s affections.

(Illustration courtesy Suvarna Sanyal, a retired banker who has an eye and an ear for all there is to see, listen to and laugh at in this world.)

(Related Posts: 

https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/great-wodehouse-romances-lord-emsworth-and-the-girl-friend-by-ken-clevenger

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

 

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The International League of Happiness hereby invites all residents of Plumsville to a glittering ceremony at the Tinanmen Square in Beijing, where the Empress of Blandings shall be conferred with a prestigious award, based on the following citation:

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Pig of the Year Award

Hereby conferred upon the Empress of Blandings, in recognition of her literary contributions which keep bringing happiness and joy to humanity, as also owing to her such sterling qualities as follows:

  • Optimism, as reflected in the attitude of equanimity she maintains even when remaining at the centre of many a kidnapping plot foisted on her from time to time;
  • Enthusiasm, by way of her openness towards feasting on all kinds of nourishment that comes her way, including, but not limited to, tissue restoratives of all kinds; and,
  • Hard work which she demonstrates by sticking to her trough at all times, gobbling up not only what is on offer but even dubitable memoirs, protecting the family honour at all costs.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

The ceremony shall be held on February 14, 2019, starting at 1700 hours, local time. It would involve presentation of a gold medal, an honorary red colour ribbon and a silver plaque with the aforesaid citation.

Lord Emsworth, the Chief Patron of ILH, has kindly consented to preside over the brief function. George Cyrill Beloved shall be in attendance, taking due care of the honourable awardee.

Mr Rupert Psmith, Secretary General of ILH, shall deliver a small talk on ‘Getting the Suidae members of our Planet to contribute towards Global Peace and Harmony.’

Miss Gladys, the famous girl friend of Lord Emsworth, shall propose a Vote of Thanks.

High Tea by Beach.

 

Note:

The International League of Happiness is a not-for-profit organization where:

-Destructive propaganda of any kind is sneered at

-Global interests are accorded higher priority than narrow national/regional interests

-Healthy discussion is encouraged but indifference to, or defiance of, its collective resolutions is discouraged

(Limited seats. Please register without delay at http://www.ilh.com.)

(Illustration courtesy: OLDBOOKILLUSTRATIONS.COM)

 

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Whether in literature or in fine arts, we relate to characters when we find an inner connection. There could either be a similarity in personality traits, or in the challenges faced. When this happens, we laugh with the person. We cry with the person. We willingly suspend our own beliefs and virtually start living the life of the character.

As a member of the tribe of the so-called sterner sex, I confess I have shades of quite a few characters etched out by P G Wodehouse. These could be males, or even females.

Amongst males, when it comes to notions of chivalry and a chin up attitude towards the harsh slings and arrows of Fate, Bertie Wooster becomes my role model. When the summons arrive from someone higher up in the hierarchy, and the prospects of a severe dressing down cloud the horizon, I meekly surrender and follow the messenger, trooping down to face the firing squad. Even if one is being led to the gallows, the chin should invariably be up. Also, when a pal in need has to be bailed out, no effort can be spared to bring solace to the tormented soul.

Jeeves is obviously a role model when it comes to advising others on solving the intricate problems of their own lives. The pleasure I get thus is readily explained. One, I am not obliged to follow the advice myself, so there is a comfort and a sense of objectivity to the whole act of dishing out advice. Two, it proves to be a short-term interaction. Pretty soon, the party of the other part realizes that my grey cells are but a fraction of those of Jeeves. They then do a vanishing trick the speed of which would embarrass an Indian fakir of yore doing a rope trick. They start avoiding me like the plague. Whenever they run into me next, they start checking if my head indeed bulges at the back, or if my eyes shine with the legendary keenness of his intelligence.

Rupert Psmith is another role model. Unlike him, I confess I could not woo females by lying without batting my eyelids while spending time with them on a boat adrift in a lake. But I could surely thwart an attempt by gang lords to skin a close pal alive. I could also persuade a young lass wanting to commit suicide to give up her homicidal thoughts and instead walk out of my office with a song on her lips, eyes sparkling with renewed hope. Her reasons could be as whacky as her boy friend having not ‘liked’ her social media post about the sharks she encountered while splashing about in the waters near Cannes. A dash of the occasional gift of the gab, you see.

When it comes to uplifting the intellectual level of some dim wits whom I happen to know, I take after the likes of Florence Craye and Vanessa Cook. I advise them either to read a Peter Drucker tome or devour some scholarly articles in reputed management journals which get unleashed on hapless managers at regular intervals. If they desist, I recommend to them one of my own books, so they might become sharper at managing their careers.

In matters of physical fitness, Ashe Marson and Honoria Glossop happen to secure my adulation.

When churning out a dreamy whodunit, Madeline Bassett and Rosie M Banks don the mantle of being my muse.

I cannot afford to have an Empress of Blandings on my humble premises. But as to forgetfulness, you could be forgiven to believe that I happen to be a cousin of Lord Emsworth.

At home, I have always tried to maintain matrimonial harmony by simply walking in the footsteps of Bingo Little. Before my bitter half decided to hand in her dinner pail, I tried to ensure that she never missed a steaming hot cup of tea first thing in the morning. When there was a spiritual event she wanted to attend, I normally rallied around by ferrying her to the same. Whenever a friend like Laura Pyke passed by, I retained my sangfroid and tolerated all the dietary restrictions imposed on me. To deliver satisfaction to her had invariably been my motto.

The mood of my Guardian Angels has seen some swings of late. Quite a few bouquets have come my way. Some brickbats – deserved as well as undeserved – have also got hurled at me. Fate has been busy targeting me with some harsh slings and arrows. But by doing so, it has ensured a spiritual awakening of sorts. Quite a few scales have fallen from my eyes.

Be that as it may, the chin remains up. The brow is not furrowed. The upper lip is not stiffened. The protective shield provided by the Wodehouse canon does not fail me.

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ashokbhatia

When the dark clouds of sorrow envelop us and Life makes us glum,

A brilliant ray of humour breaks through in the form of a narrative Plum;

The deep blues of despair and despondency get chased away,

Replaced by a warm glow of joy which holds us in its sway.

There is no problem which a brilliant Jeeves cannot solve,

Be it an intellectual girl friend or a scheming aunt with a goofy resolve;

When he shimmers in with one of his pick-me-ups on a tray,

Our hangovers evaporate, making us forget all shades of grey.

All his solutions are based on the psychology of the individual,

His approach to solving problems is often circuitous and gradual;

Breaking a few eggs to make an omelette is a sign of his maturity,

By ensuring his master never ties the knot, he enjoys job security.

With a pal like Bertie Wooster around…

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