Posts Tagged ‘Love’

One of the major events our marketing honchos keenly look forward to happens to be the Valentine’s Day. Promotional goods flood the market. Aggressive campaigns get launched, with a sharp eye on the purse of the customer. Producers of chocolate, balloons and heart-shaped objects rule the roost. A sense of eager anticipation prevails. Love is in the air. Couples can be seen holding hands and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears, cooing to each other like turtle doves.

Quite a few friends of mine believe me to be a romantic. However, I confess I have never quite understood the sentiment alluded to as love. Perhaps, I am too much of a perfectionist. Or, I may be a creature of rigid habits, inwardly shuddering at the prospect of being ‘reformed’ in any way by a member of the species of the delicately nurtured.

Often, I wonder if the concept of love is merely a mirage which people keep chasing relentlessly, possibly encountering a few oases of a deeper level of infatuation along the way.  

Love – A Gigantic Swindle? 

What exactly does it entail to be in love with someone? If at all someone gets to experience this sentiment which is responsible for a major chunk of our literature, fine arts, and movies, why would one be referred to as having fallen in love? Is this sentiment akin to the ‘bottomless perdition’ referred to by John Milton in Paradise Lost?

Instead, why can’t people follow the example of such kids as Thomas Gregson, Bonzo Travers and Sebastian Moon? Some of you may recall how they rose in love by trying to be worthy of the affections of their favourite silver screen divas like Greta Garbo, Lilian Gish, and Clara Bow.

Consider the views of the highly opiniated and strong-willed Ann Chester of Piccadily Jim fame who calls love a swindle of gigantic proportions. She hates all this noise about love, as if it were something wonderful that was worth everything else in life put together.

“Because I’ve had the courage to think about it for myself, and not let myself be blinded by popular superstition. The whole world has united in making itself imagine that there is something called love which is the most wonderful happening in life. The poets and novelists have simply hounded them on to believe it. It’s a gigantic swindle.”

She continues further.

“I believe in marriage. . .but not as the result of a sort of delirium. I believe in it as a sensible partnership between two friends who know each other well and trust each other. The right way of looking at marriage is to realise, first of all, that there are no thrills, no romances, and then to pick out someone who is nice and kind and amusing and full of life and willing to do things to make you happy.”

Of Love, Saint Valentine, and Martyrdom

I am reasonably certain that the soul of the 3rd century Italian Saint Valentine would be rather pleased at the positive press he keeps getting year after year, though his name represents not only courtly love but also being worthy, strong, and powerful. Those who have already experienced this emotion can alone confirm if these personality traits happen to be essential for one to aspire to be a star performer in the realm of love.

However, there is no evidence that poor Saint Valentine was a patron of lovers. Just before his beheading, apparently, he wrote a note to a girl, whose eyesight he had restored, signed ‘from your Valentine’. This might have inspired today’s lovers to associate him with romantic overtures. Moreover, during the Middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired in mid-February. This could have been another factor which could have led to Valentine’s Day getting widely recognized as a day for romance and devotion.

The fact that he was martyred on February 14, 269 at the behest of Claudius II, the then Roman Emperor, might have even led people to say that they fall in love. Those who are experts on the topic of love alone may be able to say if it feels like being martyred at the altar of love when one falls in it. After all, it would need nerves of chilled steel to willingly surrender one’s freedom, carefreeness, and sovereignty to another human being, thereby, in a way, getting martyred upon falling in love. Sure enough, they follow Indian scriptures which strongly advocate the spiritual concept of surrender, albeit to a higher power.

Shades of Love

Having exercised my limited grey cells a wee bit and having perused some of the narratives of P G Wodehouse, I have veered around to the view that he captures at least three shades in the rainbow of this much-revered sentiment.  

Light Pink: The Butterfly/Chamois State

Those who behave like either butterflies or the chamois of the Alps constitute this category. Consider these cases from the oeuvre of Plum and you would know what I mean.

“Are you insinuating that I am the sort of man who turns lightly from one woman to another—a mere butterfly who flits from flower to flower, sipping . . .?”

(Frederick Mulliner to Jane Oliphant in Portrait of a Disciplinarian)

“But the real reason was that he thought Boko was a butterfly.”

I couldn’t follow her. She had me fogged. Anything less like a butterfly than good old Boko I’ve never set eyes on.

“A butterfly?”

“Yes. Flitting from flower to flower and sipping.”

(Nobby Hopwood, to Bertie Wooster, Joy in the Morning)

“I haven’t seen Pongo since we were kids.”

“Even then he was flitting from flower to flower like a willowy butterfly.”

(Bill Oakshott and Lord Ickenham, Uncle Dynamite)

“I think young Mike Cardinal is a butterfly, Shorty; the kind that flits from flower to flower and sips.”

(Terry Cobbold to Lord Shortlands, Spring Fever)

“And this will show you the sort of flitting and sipping butterfly the hound is.”

(Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright, to Bertie, about Esmond Haddock, The Mating Season)

Like so many young doctors with agreeable manners and frank blue eyes, Ambrose Gussett continued to be an iodoform-scented butterfly flitting from flower to flower but never resting on any individual bloom long enough to run the risk of having to sign on the dotted line.

(Up from the Depths)

“He is a flitting butterfly and a two-timing Casanova.”

(Valerie Twistleton, speaking of Horace Davenport, The Shadow Passes)

For some time past, it appeared, he had been flitting round this girl like a pimpled butterfly, and it had suddenly come to him with a sickening shock that his emotional nature had brought him to the very verge of matrimony.

(Oofy Prosser’s self-realization, The Word in Season)

“And you stand revealed as a cross between a flitting butterfly and a Mormon elder,” said Sally with spirit. “You and Brigham Young, a pair.”

(Sally Painter to Freddie Widgeon, Ice in the Bedroom)

“The trouble with you, Bertie, is that you haven’t got it in you to understand true love. You’re a mere butterfly flitting from flower to flower and sipping, like Freddie Widgeon and the rest of the halfwits of whom the Drones Club is far too full.”

(Gussie Fink-Nottle accusing Bertie Wooster in Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves)

“Like so many substantial citizens of America, he had married young and kept on marrying, springing from blonde to blonde like the chamois of the Alps leaping from crag to crag.”

(Summer Moonshine)

It was unfortunate that none of these arguments presented themselves to Bill Oakshott as he turned the corner. In Otis Painter he saw just another libertine, flitting from flower to flower and sipping, and we are already familiar with his prejudice against libertines.

(Uncle Dynamite)

‘What did he say?’

‘Well, he seemed to hint, unless I misunderstood him, that the above Haddock hadn’t, as it were, done right by our Nell. According to Catsmeat, you and this modern Casanova were at one time holding hands, but after flitting and sipping for a while he cast you aside like a worn-out glove and attached himself to Gertrude Winkworth. Quite incorrect, probably. I expect he got the whole story muddled up.’

(Corky and Bertie Wooster, The Mating Season)

Dark Pink: The Nightingale State

What happens when the sentiment of love has survived the ravages of time? Or, when two persons suddenly rediscover each other and sparks of love fly. Having had a rich experience in their lives, they use their astonishingly rich repertoire to ‘sing’ to each other like nightingales, sharing their social, familial, health, and many other issues with much felicity.  

In most of his works, P G Wodehouse regales us with the topsy-turvy romances of couples who are invariably in the impressionable phases of their lives. But in a few of his narratives, such as Indian Summer of an Uncle, Extricating Young Gussie, and Ring for Jeeves, even a seasoned romance gets celebrated. Gone are the impulsive breakoffs linked to sharks, moustaches, and an abysmal record at the golf links. Nor are we treated here to an impetuous affair kick-started by the heroine’s cat being saved by a chivalrous and dashing hero. Instead, we are allowed to bask in the soft glow and warmth of a long drawn out romance the embers of which get rekindled after several years.

Such couples often find a common cause in family affairs, shared ailments, and, of course, areas of common interest. Piggy and Maudie, Joe and Julia, and Mrs Spottsowrth and Captain Biggar fit into this category. So do Sir Roderick Glossop and Lady Chuffnell and James Duff and Beatrice Chavender.

Bright Red: The Turtle Dove State

Marriage is not a process for prolonging the life of love, sir. It merely mummifies its corpse.

(The Small Bachelor)

However, the good news is that as long as the embers of romance are aglow, a bright red shade of love prevails.  

Consider the state of matrimonial bliss Bingo Little attains after he has realized that Rosie M Banks is indeed The One as far as he is concerned. Much like a sub-atomic particle which altogether skips an orbit and jumps from one to another, he transcends from being a butterfly to a turtle dove state.  

We know Bingo Little to be a diehard romantic, perennially in love with some dashing female or the other. Even when at school, he is reported to have had the finest collection of actresses’ photographs; at Oxford, his romantic nature was a byword. He is inclined to fall in love at first sight on a regular basis and become highly emotional about his affections.

Residents of Plumsville are aware that objects of his affection have included a waitress named Mabel; Honoria Glossop, the formidable daughter of Pop Glossop; Daphne Braythwayt, a friend of Honoria; Charlotte Corday Rowbotham, a revolutionary; Lady Cynthia Wickhammersley, a family friend of Bertie’s; and Mary Burgess, niece of the Rev. Francis Heppenstall. After each failed affair, Bingo does not necessarily sulk. The scales fall from his eyes, and he suddenly realizes that the next girl alone is his true soul mate.

After many failed affairs, Bingo ends up marrying the romance novelist Rosie M. Banks, an author whose outlook on life happens to match well with that of his.

Within ten days of having met his future wife, Bingo announces to Bertie Wooster that he has been successful in his latest endeavour.

‘Good Lord! That is quick work. You haven’t known her for two weeks.’

‘Not in this life, no,’ said young Bingo. ‘But she has a sort of idea that we must have met in some previous existence. She thinks I must have been a king in Babylon when she was a Christian slave. I can’t say I remember it myself, but there may be something in it.’

(The Inimitable Jeeves)

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

‘Oh, sweetie-lambkin, isn’t that lovely?’


‘Laura Pyke wants to come here.’


‘You must have heard me speak of Laura Pyke. She was my dearest friend at school. I simply worshipped her. She always had such a wonderful mind. She wants us to put her up for a week or two.’

‘Right-ho. Bung her in.’

‘You’re sure you don’t mind?’

‘Of course not. Any pal of yours…’

‘Darling!’ said Mrs Bingo, blowing him a kiss.

‘Angel!’ said Bingo, going on with the sausages.

(Jeeves and the Old School Chum)

Wherever Plum is, love cannot be far behind. He covers its varied hues with much aplomb. If he, the Master Wordsmith of our times, has covered this sentiment so very extensively, I guess it must have some merit to it.

In any case, to all those who claim to be besotted, captivated, charmed, enamoured, enchanted, enraptured, obsessed, smitten, and taken in by a party of the other part, I hereby extend my best wishes. May their tribe flourish, keeping our marketing honchos, authors as well as publishers of mushy romantic books, movie moguls, and many others laughing all the way to their respective banks.      

The Pale Parabola of Love

Staunch believers in the concept of love, as well as purists, may register a protest at missing out on a few other shades of this sentiment in Plum’s universe which thrives on humour, wit, and positivity. A unique feature of this universe is that nothing negative happens here. The worst suffering may involve looking for strawberries around Christmas time and getting fined as well as jugged for trying to steal some. Or, being confronted by someone like Roderick Spode who goes about issuing sinister threats to lover boys who make the party of the other part cry.  The ultimate sacrifice may be going on a strict vegetarian diet and forsaking the pleasure of putting steak and kidney pie down the hatch till the time the relations are restored, and love is back on its shimmering throne.

Even death does not depress. Nor does it make the spirits sag. Instead, it finds mention in a positive vein. It confers wealth, castles and titles upon the best loved heirs and wards, thereby spreading joy and sunshine all around.           

A Pristine Shade of Love

Plum presents a pristine version of love. He takes the reader on a leisurely stroll in his Garden of Eden where apples are of the high hanging kind and such creatures as snakes are singularly missing. A strict code of chivalry is in vogue. Romance blossoms. Devotion is permitted. But physical intimacy is a taboo. Aphrodite has limited access to the goings on. Eroticism is denied entry. Saint Valentine would have heartily approved.  

It is rather fitting that Plum decided to hand in his dinner pail on Valentine’s Day, a day associated with love, romance, and devotion. He bequeathed his works to all his fans, spreading eternal joy and sweetness on this planet.    

(Notes: Butterfly/Chamois quotes are courtesy Ana Jung. Inputs from Suryamouli Datta are gratefully acknowledged.)

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Most of the songs in the movies being churned out by Bollywood happen to portray feelings of love. One often wonders as to how the heroine and the hero keep changing their outfits in each of the stanzas, keeping the wardrobe designers and producers laughing all the way to their respective banks. The high walls of manmade borders melt away, as they are seen wandering about on different continents of the world without any visa/immigration hassles, proving the age-old adage of Vasudhaiv Kutumbukam. Not to speak of the bevy of choreographers and a 100-piece orchestra which keeps following them scrupulously, without missing a single beat.

But once in a blue moon, we get treated to a love song which is more spontaneous in its depiction. The lyricist and the music director obviously work harder on creating such songs which appear as if these are getting composed by the couple in real time on the screen.

Consider the following songs which fall in this category. 

One of the very few love songs which has an office setting as a background.

Jaane kahaan mera jigar gaya ji…

Movie: Mrs and Mr 55 (1955)

Singers: Mohd. Rafi, Geeta Dutt

Music Director: O P Nayyar

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

 Here is a flirtatious song from an otherwise serious movie. The back-and-forth chat between the heroine and the hero is a sheer delight.  

Hum aapki ankhon mein…

Movie: Pyasa (1957)

Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Geeta Dutt

Music Director: S D Burman

Lyricist: Sahir Ludianvi

What happens when a lovers’ tiff results into a lovelorn backchat between the pair?

Achha ji main haari chalo…

Movie: Kala Pani (1958)

Singers: Mohd. Rafi & Asha Bhosle

Music: S.D. Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

A mischievous heroine puts the poor hero through an ordeal and then has the cheek to teasingly ask as to how he is feeling!   

Haal kaisa hai janaab ka…

Movie: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: S.D.Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Claiming some dues from the party of the other part can happen even during a stage performance!

Paanch rupaiya barah anna…

Movie: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: S D Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

How did you fall in love with me, asks the heroine coyly!

Sach bata tu mujh pe fida…

Movie: Sone ki chidiya (1958)

Singers: Asha Bhosle, Talat Mehmood

Music: O P Nayyar

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

Yet another song where bickering between a couple takes place during a stage performance.  

Tere pyar ka aasra chahta hoon…

Movie: Dhool Ka Phool (1959)

Singers: Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: N. Datta

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

A romantic poem gets composed as the hero plays a muse to the heroine.

Chupke se mile pyaase pyaase…

Movie: Manzil (1960)

Singers: Geeta Dutt, Mohammed Rafi

Music Director: S. D. Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

The lovers list the precautions the party of the other part should take, lest any harm may come to the flora and fauna around.

Bikhra ke zulfien chaman mein na jaana…

Movie: Nazrana (1961)

Singers: Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: Ravi

Lyricist: Rajendra Krishan

A delectable confluence of Carnatic and Hindustani music, this song captures the rivalry between two persons, both trying to woo the young lady.

Ek chatur naar…

Movie: Padosan (1968)

Singers: Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar

Music Director: R D Burman

Lyrics: Rajendra Krishan

Getting the beloved to accept that she loves the lover.

Baagon mein bahaar hai…

Movie: Aradhana (1969)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi

Music Director: S D Burman

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

Even surreptitious meetings between a couple get overshadowed by the heroine’s wish to return home early!

Achha to hum chalte hain…

Movie: Aan Milo Sajna (1970)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

Strictly speaking, only the first portion of this song happens to be dialogue-driven. Nevertheless, overall, it surely has a dash of spontaneity to it!  

Sa re ga ma pa…

Movie: Abhinetri (1970)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar

Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

The subtle art of dodging the police by showcasing a clandestine meet as a lovers’ date.

O mere raja, khafa na hona…

Movie: Johnny Mera Naam (1970)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: Kalyanji Anandji

Lyricist: Rajinder Krishan

A budding romance soon gets transformed into a life-long commitment.

Aap yahaan aaye kisliye…

Movie: Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan

Lyricist: Neeraj

Social barriers and taboos keep the heroine on tenterhooks, whereas the hero is not worried about such mundane issues.

Gir gaya jhumka…

Movie: Jugnu (1973)

Music Director: S D Burman

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

Two playful songs, depicting the sprouting of romantic feelings between two teenagers.  

Mujhe kuchh kehna hai…

Hum tum ek kamre mein band hon…

Movie: Bobby (1973)

Singers: Shailendra Singh, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: Laxmikant Pyarelal

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Couplets (dohas) of such Sufi poets as Rahim and Kabir have regaled generations with pristine wisdom, duly laced with an earthy common sense. Trust Rajshri Productions to string some of these together for our sake.   

Bade badaai na karen…

Movie: Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se (1978)

Singers: Hemalata, Jaspal Singh

Music Director: Ravindra Jain

Lyrics: Dohas of Rahim and Kabir

Keep the dialogue on and love will soon follow it its wake!

Suniye, kahiye…

Movie: Baton Baton Mein (1979)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: Rajesh Roshan

Lyricist: Amit Khanna

The hero regales a bunch of kids with a juicy story about his encounter with a lion.

Mere paas aao mere doston…

Movie: Mr. Natwarlal (1979)

Singer: Amitabh Bachchan, Master Ravi

Music Director: Rajesh Roshan

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

The hero and the heroine are cooing to each other like turtle doves. They keep rhyming words and phrases and end up creating an impromptu song!

Kaise ho pagal…

Movie: Chashme Buddoor (1981)

Singers: Raj Kamal, Hemanti Shukla

Music Director: Raj Kamal

Lyricist: Indu Jain

When his six younger brothers fall hopelessly in love, the elder one guides them!

Pyaar tumhen kis mod pe le aaya…

Movie: Satte Pe Satta (1982)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Bhupinder and others

Music Director: R D Burman

Lyricist: Gulshan Bawra

These are songs which, I believe, showcase a higher level of creativity on the part of our lyricists and music directors. To bring in a spontaneity of this kind is no mean task. Alas, these are very few and far between.

Can you think of any songs which could be added to this list? If so, please leave behind a comment below.  

{Note: Inputs from Ms Madhulika Liddle, Mr Sunil Jain and Ms Pooja Agrawal are gratefully acknowledged}.

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Come Valentine’s Day and the air is fragrant with thoughts of love, caring and compassion. The movie buffs amongst us are literally spoiled for choice. For example, we can catch up on one of the breezy romcoms, like 50 First Dates (2004, Peter Segal), Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008, A Match Made by God, Aditya Chopra), No Strings Attached (2011, Ivan Reitman) or Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani(2013, Crazy Youth, Ayan Mukerji). Movie 50 First Dates

Or, we can delve into our personal collections and rediscover classics such as Gone With the Wind(1939, Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood), Mughal-e-Aazam(1960, K Asif, The Emporer of the Mughals), The Sound of Music(1965, Robert Wise) or Guide (1965, Vijay Anand).Guide_poster

We also have the choice of curling up on a love couch and savoring romantic escapades of the mature and ripe kind. Here are some movies…

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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…

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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…

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Elango was not your ordinary sailor. He was fat; too fat for his seniors from Leading Telegraphists (Rank in the navy) to the Captain not to lecture him on getting his weight reduced to a decent level. He was not bothered too much about his resembling a rotund duck that had drunk all the water around it. Indeed, drink, particularly beer – never a single bottle – was the primary reason for Elango’s ever increasing girth.

He would grin sheepishly at anyone speaking on his expanding body. It is not that he did not try to get himself into shape; he ran, sweated it out with thimbles, swam but just could not stop drinking.

One day, five of us friends went to see a matinee show in the Strand Cinema in Colaba: To Sir with Love, a film that would find a place in anybody’s best movies’ list. The sky had been overcast when we went in to the theatre. When we came out after the movie, it was drizzling. We had to stand somewhere under the shade to escape the rain. What better place than Martin’s Restaurant opposite the cinema?

I do not know now but 45 years ago, you were guaranteed a fulfilling evening snack in the place. Elango was particularly fond of the pork vindaloo you got there. We ordered it along with some steamed rice. When it arrived, we pounced upon it with our hands rather than using the spoon and fork the gentleman in the restaurant had put on the table. As it turned out, that was the last time that Elango was going to taste the meat; in fact, any meat.

There was a girl with an old woman sitting two tables away from us. Beautiful was not the word that would have crossed your mind on beholding her; she was not that. There was, however, something about her that made you steal a second glance at her. Elango was sitting on the chair right opposite her. She was eating whatever she was eating with gusto.

We were only about ten minutes into clearing the plate of its contents by gobbling up what there was when the girl got up, paid her bill and went out to join her companion who had already exited and was standing under the sunshade of one of the row of shops in the street. There was no way they could venture out in the rain.

For one thing, the woman was old and frail and looked as if she would catch a cold and follow it up with high temperature if she as much as caught a single raindrop on her head which only had thinning strands of hair. Even a more compelling reason for them not to walk into the rain was the girl’s dress. It was too skin-fitting to get wet all over. She would not dare do that. Not all men are decent. Some can cause more harm with their eyes than with any physical activity.

I am not too sure if Rupert Psmith had ever given Elango some tips on the art and science of courtship. Taking a leaf out of Leave it to Psmith, Elango lost no time to take in the scene, told us to wait, ran out into the falling rain and disappeared. I went out and saw him turning the corner though I did not know where he was headed. The girl could not stop laughing at the fat boy whose limbs were doing dance steps of their own when he ran.

Within a very short time, Elango was running towards us as fast as he could which was not really fast. I saw that he had an umbrella with him. He slowed down as he approached us and without a word, offered the umbrella to the girl. The girl was taken aback and did not know what to do or say.

The old woman obviously believed in making hay while the sun shined; or to put it in context, grabbing an umbrella when it rained. She almost snatched the umbrella from Elango’s hand, stepped out on the road before nudging the girl to follow her even as she was opening the umbrella.

The girl gave Elango a smile and ran a step or two to catch up with the old woman. We noted that they went south towards the Radio Bhuvan. Elango gave them 10 seconds, followed them, stopped at the corner and watched. The two women jostling each other under the umbrella indeed went into the Radio Bhuvan.

Elango stood there in the rain, thought for a while and returned to us. We departed and walked towards Lion Gate. The rain-washed buildings lining the road on either side were not very different from the stately mansions on the streets of London we just saw in the movie. The grey clouds were getting darker in the evening sky and the buildings were glowing, bathed in the light emanating from the lamps all around.

Within a week Elango enrolled himself in the Radio Bhuvan for a telex operator course. Was there any need to do that? Absolutely not. But, why not? Wasn’t Gilda studying at the institute?

In what you can safely call a miracle, Elango shed his weight in a record time. He gave up meat, fish and eggs and shunned everything that could be called alcohol. What the chidings, mockery and his own determination could not achieve, love did. Easily. Such is the power of love. He visibly bloomed into a dashing hero in the mould of someone like Dean Martin, as handsome a man as you could imagine. Rupert Psmith would have heartily approved of his conduct in the matter.

Those of you who run into Geoffrey Raymond of A Damsel in Distress fame – the one who had acquired not only wealth but also a highly obese physical frame and a triple-chin visage – might want to tap him on the shoulder and quote to him the real life example of Elango. For all you know, scales may fall from his eyes and he might eventually end up winning the heart of someone in the mould of Lady Maud Marsh.

The duration of the short course was sufficient for Elango to woo the Eva/Maud of his life. Woo he did and went steady with her. They made a fine young couple.

As of now, those of you who happen to visit Goa might as well find them relaxing in a luxuriously furnished family room, relishing their favourite tissue restorative and enjoying the prattle of the tender feet of their grandchildren around them.

About the author:

Asokan Ponnusamy joined the navy at the tender age of 16. Had it not been for the libraries on board the ships, he would not have read books in the English language which woke up the writer in him. Simultaneously, he was enamored by rock music which he got to hear on the ships. Some fifteen years back, he wrote a book ‘500 Popping Questions, Rocking Answers’ on rock, pop, country and folk music. In 2019, he wrote his second book ‘The Funnyman Who Was Also A Sailor’. Besides unleashing his creative outpourings upon unsuspecting people like us, he also undertakes freelance and ghost writing occasionally.

His permission to blog this piece here is gratefully acknowledged. Yours truly confesses to have taken some liberties with the original text provided by him.

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Ranveer Singhania, the tall debonair steel-grey eyed heir to Delhi-based Singhania Empire, had thought that her cheerful vibrant personality, her uninhibited laughter and easy going nature would balance out his serious and colorless life. That she would be the best life partner for him. He had felt it in his heart that making this chirpy and full of life girl his wife will be the best decision of his life. She had caught his attention from the day she had stepped into his life like an innocent cute deer, prancing through life without any worries. She was the only one who made him smile with her non-stop chattering, and make him laugh at her antics. Her huge doe shaped eyes were filled with warmth. And her beautiful smile could warm up any one’s heart. She was one of a kind and she was the one for him. Or so he thought.

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An academic course in management obviously does not offer lessons in managing the affairs of the heart. But the Class of 1977 broke through the academic shackles, with some of its members walking out of the campus with a clear strategy as to who their future soul mate shall be.

The stiff-upper-lip approach

Management education is all about the stiff-upper-lip approach of the mind. Analytical skills rule supreme, leading to rummy situations where analysis often leads to paralysis. Linear programming models get worked upon. Statistical techniques get dished out by stern looking professors who might have been hotter in their jobs more as police officers or as judges.

Hapless students are made to understand exponential smoothening techniques so as to be able to forecast business parameters in an uncertain business environment. Those with an engineering background struggle to match their debits and credits. The lucky ones who have had a…

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As you prepare yourself for a married life,

Full of love, happiness, joy and domestic bliss;

Here is an utterly butterly Plummy wish

Which you would do well not to miss.


Unlike Pauline Stoker, may you never ask your Bingo Little

To swim a mile before breakfast;  

And then playing five sets of tennis post-lunch,

Leaving the hapless guy shaken and aghast.


Like Honoria Glossop, may you never be prone to

Slapping the backs of guests with all your might;

Nudging the sterner sex to perform goofy deeds

With no consideration of their own plight.


May you never be like Florence Craye,

Trying to mould him into an intellectual cove;

Instead, groom him in washing dishes and changing nappies,

Shaping up a rebel lion into a docile dove.


Unlike Stiffy Byng, may you never prompt him

To pinch the helmet of a constable;

Landing him…

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Honoria Plum has a unique flair for digging deep and coming up with gems of pristine knowledge and wisdom as to the kind of life P G Wodehouse lived. Residents of Plumsville thus get a sneak peek into some aspects of his life which might have influenced his work.

Here is a blog post from Plumtopia which amuses, entertains and educates.


For some years now, I’ve been pushing the idea, aided and abetted by a gang of like-minded eggs, that Valentine’s Day should be commemorated as the anniversary of P.G. Wodehouse’s death in 1975. I’m a persistent sort of blighter, so here we are again in 2020.

This year, I was curious to take a look at Wodehouse’s writing on the subject of love and see how it might have developed over the course of his 75-year writing career. I quickly discovered (as ever with Wodehouse) that I’d bitten off more than I could chew. So until some generous bird comes across with the necessary oof for full-time study, it’s a mere snippet.  

It’s unsurprising to find that love doesn’t feature in Wodehouse’s early school stories. The fact that it takes centre stage in his first grown-up novel, Love Among the Chickens (1906) is more curious. Wodehouse’s lifelong love…

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