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ashokbhatia

Here is what my dream soul mate would sound like,
He may or may not be tall, dark and handsome;
While handling Life’s harsh slings and arrows,
I merely expect the young prune to be agile and lissome.

A blighter like Gussie Fink Nottle would surely not do,
A newt fancier and a teetotaler is bound to leave me cold;
A chappie like Freddie Threepwood would also put me off,
Someone like Spode I would stoutly detest, truth be told.

A lack of interest on my part in flowers, pumpkins and sows,
Rules out any dalliance with the ninth Earl of Emsworth;
A rugged and handsome Esmond Haddock may make the cut,
But his domineering aunts would vitiate matrimonial mirth.

Having a whack at any bloke’s millions is not my idea of fun,
An abundance of the milk of human kindness would do;
His frequent visits to an all-men’s club…

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ashokbhatia

The Association of Sterner Husbands (ASH) hereby seeks nominations for its prestigious Star Sterner Awards which are conferred upon those of the tribe of the so-called sterner sex who have managed to break the bond between themselves and their delicately nurtured spouses during the preceding year.

ASH is devoted to the cause of promoting Masculinism. It has instituted the awards to counter the ‘rising trend of all this nonsense about the modern emancipation of women which has resulted in them getting it up their noses’, eventually manifesting itself in such ‘movements’ as Feminism, #MeToo and the like.

Things in the society have reached a state where physical violence inflicted upon the party of the other part, even if the husband is all sozzled up, is in the realm of imagination. So is the provocation of an extra-marital affair. The level of delicacy of the f of the s…

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ashokbhatia

panjab-university-ubs

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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ashokbhatia

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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The Association of Sterner Husbands (ASH) hereby seeks nominations for its prestigious Star Sterner Awards which are conferred upon those of the tribe of the so-called sterner sex who have managed to break the bond between themselves and their delicately nurtured spouses during the preceding year.

ASH is devoted to the cause of promoting Masculinism. It has instituted the awards to counter the ‘rising trend of all this nonsense about the modern emancipation of women which has resulted in them getting it up their noses’, eventually manifesting itself in such ‘movements’ as Feminism, #MeToo and the like.

Things in the society have reached a state where physical violence inflicted upon the party of the other part, even if the husband is all sozzled up, is in the realm of imagination. So is the provocation of an extra-marital affair. The level of delicacy of the f of the s has already jumped up several notches, putting a lot of burden on the m of the s. Besides the harsh slings and arrows of a career, he is now expected to take care of household affairs. The days when he could afford the luxury of exerting his authority without being responsible for whatever may be happening on the domestic front are long since over. The rise in the delicacy level has resulted into a sharp drop in the tolerance levels, thereby making it relatively easier for aggrieved husbands to persuade their wives to seek a divorce. A mere flick of the eyebrow is all that is needed these days to send a wife scouring around for a lawyer.

But the foundations of our civilization are quivering. The institution of marriage itself is being torn down brick by brick by cold-hearted wives clawing their way up the power ladder in a family. Unless prompt steps are taken through proper channels, the future of humanity is at stake. Males need to reassert themselves so the process of human evolution does not get derailed.

Those who qualify to apply for the Star Sterner Award would need to conclusively demonstrate having any or all of the personality traits mentioned herein below. They should have successfully persuaded their soul mates to promptly file for a divorce.

  • He has always imagined himself to be the King of Babylon and has treated his wife like an Egyptian slave. He would have been the lord and master of the house in the truest sense of term. His wish should have been her command. From time to time, he should have shown her place by assaulting her physically. He should have made her submit unconditionally to his whims and fancies. Like a caveman of the distant past, he should have never cringed at the prospect of hitting her with a club and dragging her with her hair to the cave. This would have fulfilled her inward yearning to be treated like Mrs Spottsworth.
  • He realizes that the proof of his masculinity lies in his donning the mantle of a Serial Harasser. He may otherwise lose whatever respect he gets from the society. Following would have been his role models:-Vincent Jopp who is known to have been terrible to his wife Luella Mainprice Jopp. He always insisted that her dog eat the leg of a chicken and not the breast.

    -Sir Derek Underhill, the knighted MP whose treatment of Jill (the reckless) scored rather high on the Richter Scale of Harassment of the Delicately Nurtured.

  • He should have an ostrich-like outlook on life. The trauma the wife suffers even when she receives a short message from him is her problem, not his. His arrival at the doorstep should make her wilt like a flower which has not been watered for some time. By traumatizing her, he merely hastens her spiritual growth. He has continued to live in a bubble of illusion that the wife alone is responsible for all the problems he faces. A bout of introspection or soul-searching should have been the last thing on his mind. 
  • The nominee has been firm in his belief that he is merely a victim of circumstances. He should have played the victim card to the hilt, scooping up sympathy – real or feigned – from all those who have come under his spell. He is convinced that by doing so, the rift between the partners would get resolved. He refuses to address the basic issue at hand. A direct dialogue with the person he believes to be the Harasser would have been a strict no-no. He has played safe by remaining at the fringes and never coming to the point.
  • He should have been a harsh critic of all endeavours of his wife, clearly conveying the deficiency in her services, such as:-Her culinary skills not matching to the standards set by Anatole, God’s gift to the gastric juices;

    -The need for her to undergo a crash course in rearing children under the aegis of such stalwarts in the realm of lion-taming as Aunt Agatha who brought up Thos and Miss Tomlinson who, with her steely gaze, could control goofy kids like Peggy Mainwaring. 

    Either cleaning the dishes and doing the laundry, or in maintaining the house like a five-star hotel, all spick and span.

    -Having a dreamy demeanour, like that of Madeline Bassett, or being someone who deserves to consult Sir Roderick Glossop so as to ascertain her Loopiness Quotient.

  • He should have repeatedly told her of all that he has done for her and for her ungrateful family. Hating her parents and her family is one of the essential conditions. So are misbehaving with them in her presence, ignoring her siblings when they come to pay a visit, rebuking his sister-in-law, showing open disrespect to his brother-in-law and even taking their kids to task for any goofy adventures. Driving a wedge between their kids and his kids would have been his policy.
  • Evidence of having insulted her in the presence of her kids would help.
  • Unlike Bertie Wooster, he should have never behaved with her like a preux chevalier.
  • Nor should he have ever followed the example of Bingo Little, ensuring that she got her afternoon cup of tea without fail. He should have never behaved like a spineless worm beneath her chariot wheels when she wanted to accompany her mother for some treatment at the Droitwich brine bath. Displaying nerves of chilled steel, he should have put his foot down. Even if her mother had decided to kick the bucket, he should have bluntly refused to support any of the spouse’s travel plans to perform her last rites.
  • If he had ever been persuaded to wear a skirt and undertake such household chores as dish washing, baby sitting and vacuuming, he should have let it be known in clear terms that he performs such chivalrous acts only as a great favour to the family; that he does so after making great personal sacrifices, such as catching up either on the latest political gimmickry on television or on social media updates streaming through his smart phone. He should have resorted to such tactics as may have irritated her no end, like never tidying up the toilet seat and even honing his discus throwing skills by using his wet towels in the master bedroom.

Those who have ever felt like a Tubby Vanringham to a cold-hearted Miss Whittaker need not apply.

It is presumed that applicants have covered their tracks well and ensured that no evidence of any of the acts mentioned above and indulged in by them exists. Documentation submitted in support of the application shall be kept confidential, thereby minimizing the chance of an applicant being hauled up in a harassment case.

The awards will be presented on the next International Men’s Day at the Blandings Castle by Sir Derek Underhill in the august presence of Lord Emsworth, the Chairman of the Association of Sterner Husbands and himself a member of the old school which resents a disposition on the part of the young man to act like a slave to the deemed Cleopatra of his life.

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Here is what my dream soul mate would sound like,
He may or may not be tall, dark and handsome;
While handling Life’s harsh slings and arrows,
I merely expect the young prune to be agile and lissome.

A blighter like Gussie Fink Nottle would surely not do,
A newt fancier and a teetotaler is bound to leave me cold;
A chappie like Freddie Threepwood would also put me off,
Someone like Spode I would stoutly detest, truth be told.

A lack of interest on my part in flowers, pumpkins and sows,
Rules out any dalliance with the ninth Earl of Emsworth;
A rugged and handsome Esmond Haddock may make the cut,
But his domineering aunts would vitiate matrimonial mirth.

Having a whack at any bloke’s millions is not my idea of fun,
An abundance of the milk of human kindness would do;
His frequent visits to an all-men’s club would be fine,
Enabling the embers of romance to act longer like a glue.

I would not expect him to open doors for me,
Nor hold any chair I may decide to use;
Such notions of chivalry are already outdated,
I can open jam cans myself and even mend a fuse.

He should pay heed to the needs of our times,
Believe in meaningful notions of chivalry instead;
Be a loving, loyal and devoted soul mate,
Helping with such household chores as making a bed.

Like Bingo Little, baby sitting should be his forte,
Not sulking when I invite over a friend of mine;
Ensuring that never do I miss my afternoon cup of tea,
Cosying up to me near the fireplace over a glass of wine.

As to tackling life’s myriad problems and challenges,
May he be like Jeeves, armed with superior intelligence;
Handling visiting aunts and distant cousins with aplomb,
Displaying a feudal spirit, resolving issues with elegance.

Let him be a dasher along the lines of someone like Psmith,
Handling life with perseverance, alacrity and grace;
Spreading love while riding the pale parabolas of joy,
Neutralizing mischief mongers without losing his own face.

Someone like Ashe Marson could also qualify,
Dishing out whodunits lapped up by the masses;
Open to adventurous escapades involving scarabs,
Handling his bosses well, conducting fitness classes.

Hitching my lot to someone like Galahad could be considered,
His gallantry is legendary, so is his wit and charm;
Oh, life would be real fun being with a person like him,
Things would be easier while I hold on to his arm.

I would not even mind a good pal like Bertie as a soul mate,
Whose heart would forever remain coated with gold;
Wrapping him around my dainty fingers would be easy,
Nice to have someone around whose intellect I could mould.

To have shades of all these coves in a single chap
Would be well-nigh difficult, truly an overwhelming task;
May be someone amongst you would refer a suitable blighter,
So I don’t have to walk down the aisle with a smiling mask.

Let the chappie at least be a true fan of P G Wodehouse,
So the progeny is assured of a great sense of humour;
Basking in the sunlit brilliance of the Master’s works,
Going through life with its chins up, wearing a blissful armour.

 

(Notes:

  1. A crisper version of this composition appears in ‘Wooster Sauce’, The Quarterly Journal of the P G Wodehouse Society (UK), in Issue Number 89, March 2019. 
  2. This post is inspired by
    https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/wodehouse-desirable-men
  3. Related posts: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/a-plummy-wish-for-a-bride-to-be, https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/the-need-to-look-for-plummy-soul-mates
  4. Illustration courtesy www)

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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 in a chokey,

Missing Bartholomew’s company at the dining table.

 

May you have occasional traces of Madeline,

Capable of gazing moodily at stars in the sky;

While the Bingo Little in your life

Serves some bacon and egg fry.

  

May you be an ideal mate,

Endowed with a generous helping of grey cells;

Feeding enough fish to Jeeves who can protect you both

When life rings its sinister bells.

 

A soulmate dishing out a seven course Anatole meal

With a magic wand;

Ensuring a liberal supply of tissue restoratives,

With pick-me-ups always at hand.

 

Keeping the house clear of invading cousins,

Ex-fiancees, cats, dogs and aunts;

Life free of silver cow creamers, speeches to school kids

and Pa Bassett’s taunts.

 

Fussing over him like Angela,

A spiritual view on life you would possess;

Despite sharks and occasional tiffs,

Helping his pals in distress.

 

If ever you decide to be an auhtor like Rosie M Banks,

May he always support you in thought and deed;

Ensuring that you get your afternoon cup of tea,

Convinced that chums like Laura Pyke you do not need.

 

In matters of attire and appearance,

You would keep Jeeve’s admonitions at bay;

Deploying an empathic stiff upper lip

When his financial misdemeanours lead him astray.  

 

An occasional sojourn of his to the Drones

You would surely not mind;

Keeping the milk of human kindness sloshing about,

Love softening the harsh blows of the daily grind.

 

Warm and cosy evenings may see him

Acting like the perfect preux chevalier;

Cuddling small ones the prattle of whose feet

Would make the home livelier.

 

Much like Sally, may you always inspire him,

Keeping his entrepreneurial ambitions alive and kicking;

Or follow the example of Joan Valentine,

Be an equal when executing a fruity scheme like scarab picking.

 

 Jeeves’ feudal spirit you would skillfully utilize

To ensure domestic harmony and bliss;

Delegating to him the mundane affairs,

A professional career of your own you do not miss.

 

Much like Roberta Wickham,

May you sashay up to the altar with much aplomb;

We pray that each moment spent with you,

May never be for him like a ticking bomb.

 

 May you both be like Joe-Julia and Piggy-Maudie,

Your fondness for each other growing over time;

When concerns about the lining of the stomach rule,

May grand kids enjoy your belting out a nursery rhyme.

 

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panjab-university-ubs

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 background in commerce twiddle their fingers trying to grasp the complexities of quantitative techniques in decision-making.

The neglected need to boost our EQs

The behavioural sciences do provide a little bit of cheer to the tormented souls undergoing a typical MBA course. But to understand the psychology of an individual is no mean task. Mere case studies and management tips for handling an industrial strife do not improve one’s EQ substantially. Handling a tough boss eventually gets learnt only in the corporate world outside. The real world also teaches us to handle errant subordinates whose emotional blackmail upon reporting for work after a spell of French leave needs deft handling. The harsh realities of business world provide a high quality learning which can surely not be replicated within the stifling confines of a classroom.

The dashers and the rabbits

In fact, for some of those who formed the batch of 1977, the beautifully laid out campus outside provided a far better laboratory to test their hypotheses on the softer matters of the heart. These were the chosen ones who were smitten by the tender arrows of a smart Cupid.

The snag in the business of falling in love is much like that of mixed up career choices. Take an introvert and put him in a marketing assignment and the results could be disastrous. Take an extrovert used to making tall claims and put him in charge of manufacturing. The customers could soon melt away, leaving the company grappling with a credibility gap.

Bertie image

Same is the case in matters of love. As per the Bertie Wooster doctrine:

“….parties of the first part so often get mixed up with the wrong parties of the second part, robbed of their cooler judgment by the parties of the second part’s glamour. Put it like this. The male sex is divided into rabbits and non-rabbits and the female sex into dashers and dormice, and the trouble is that the male rabbit has a way of getting attracted by a female dasher (who would be fine for the male non-rabbit) and realizing too late that he ought to have been concentrating on some mild, gentle dormouse with whom he could settle down peacefully and nibble lettuce.”

The USP of the Class of 1977

The batch of 1977 had as many as five members of the tribe of the delicately nurtured. Since the previous one, the Class of 1976, had none, they were the cynosure of all eyes. They were invariably the prime focus of attention for many of us in the batch of 1976. All we seniors required was an inane excuse to pop up and try to grab the attention of at least one out of the five pairs of eyes we could feast on. The faculty members simply loved them – not necessarily for their academic proficiency, but merely for ensuring some discipline amongst the men folk loitering around.

Some of the members of our tribe of the so-called sterner sex were the shy and silent kind. Some were busy chasing their academic pursuits and kept their hormones under check. Others were benignly interested but limited their interactions to admiring gazes alone. Very few were the dashing types who, their puny chests all puffed up, attempted to indicate a more than passing interest in the parties of the other part.

Managed walks down the aisle

Those were traditional times when the distinction between an ‘arranged marriage’, a ‘love marriage’ and a ‘love marriage which had to be managed’ was pretty clear. Live-in relationships were not heard of.

The majority amongst us believed in the straight and narrow path that life offered then – the comfort of an ‘arranged marriage’ where the parents take the flak for subsequent problems, if any, and where love blossomed, albeit hesitatingly in some cases, much after the walk down the aisle took place. The time on the campus was, therefore, used by the members of this tribe merely to exchange furtive glances, suffer the pangs of transient infatuations and a silent admiration for the physical profile of the party of the other part.

pu-student-center

Then there were the dashing types, the risk takers who could use their time on the campus to firm up their affection for each other and concoct some dreamy plans for their future together. To avoid inquisitive and prying eyes, they would often vanish in thin air, possibly to land in such distant locales as the Sukhna Lake or the Rose Garden.

Management knowledge put to loving use

These were indeed the souls which put most of their management knowledge to actual use. No manual has been published till now, but it is clear that strategic decisions were taken by them with due diligence. Flawless planning and execution followed. Regression Analysis was applied to ensure that respective parents fell in line with the wishes of their wards. Soft-nosed commerce was used to draw up joint P&L Accounts and Balance Sheet, so the planned merger would face little financial turbulence. Principles of Materials Management were applied to ensure that the eventual stock transfer of one party to the abode of the party of the other part was carried out in a smooth and cordial fashion. Inspiration was drawn from a random sample of other couples who had successfully handled their affairs in an exemplary fashion.

Managing the Affairs of the Heart

cupidCupid, when it chooses to strike, is pretty democratic in nature. If one of the Class of 1977 decided to hitch her lot with a classmate of hers, yet another signed and sealed a merger deal with a senior of the Class of 1976. Both lived happily thereafter!

Close to forty years down the road, looking at the success of these mergers and alliances, it is highly regrettable that management academics still continue to adopt the stiff-upper-lip approach which focuses on analytical skills alone.

A day should surely dawn when ‘Managing the Affairs of the Heart’ gets introduced as a compulsory full semester subject across all management institutes; a time when doctoral theses on such subjects shall be encouraged.

After all, there are as many management lessons to be drawn from the works of Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, P G Wodehouse, O Henry and Jane Austen as can be gleaned from the tomes dished out by such luminaries as Peter F Drucker, McGregor and Philip Kotler.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/the-class-of-1976-how-it-managed-to-get-suspended-for-a-week

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/the-class-of-1990-how-ubs-prompted-sandeep-mann-to-learn-management-from-movies)

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