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Posts Tagged ‘P G Wodehouse’

The more the thoughts dwell on the fate of Wodehousitis in the decades to come, the more the soul recoils in horror. One peers into the future, and shudders at what one sees there.

Most youth of today are blissfully ignorant of the sunlit valleys of Plumsville, where rivulets of subtle humour offer a gentle reprieve from the stress of an incessant exposure to social media. Where roads are lined on both the sides with trees which offer low hanging fruits of eternal wisdom. Where characters offer solutions to such delicate challenges in life as handling loopy soul mates, diet-obsessed girl friends and spouses, obdurate aunts, thrifty uncles, moody pigs, overbearing dogs and sleepy cats.

Unless prompt steps are taken through proper channels now, the epidemic of Wodehousitis may soon become a part of folklore, confined to the dustbins of history.

A singular characteristic of this affliction is that it passes from one generation to the next. It follows that if steps are taken to facilitate its inheritance, better results may ensue. Stocking all editions of all the works of P G Wodehouse on our book shelves could help. Ensuring that the technical gizmos lying around in our humble abodes carry some of the juiciest stories in the canon could help. Occasionally replaying some episodes of the movies featuring Bertie Wooster and Jeeves could make the younger ones in the family sit up and take notice. Gifting appropriate books to those in the family way could help.

At a recent meeting of the Master’s fans in New Delhi, India, the germ of another idea popped up – that of identifying potential soul mates with Plummy leanings for the young ones who are yet-to-be-affianced. It was felt that even if one of the parents carries the Wodehousean chromosome in his/her genes, the coming generations would be likely to lead happier and fuller lives. If the parent belonging to the tribe of the delicately nurtured caries it, the drive to make Wodehousitis sustainable might yield better results.

One way of initiating a search of this kind could be to come up with matrimonial advertisements which actively seek life partners suffering from the dreaded affliction of Wodehousitis.

Here is a draft which could be refined and sent across to various sites which offer matrimonial services.

“A well-bread professional, a male rabbit of about 27 winters, well endowed in physical and materialistic terms, is on the look out for a soul mate who is a gentle and mild dormouse with whom he could settle down peacefully and nibble lettuce.

The aspiring soul mate would be expected to be smart, intelligent and well read. Specifically, the party of the first part strongly believes that those familiar with the works of P G Wodehouse would make an ideal party of the other part.

What the party of the first part intends to bring to the proposed union is a modern notion of chivalry. Opening car doors and holding chairs is passe. Instead, the emphasis would be on sharing household responsibilities and in providing soulful companionship. All possible endeavours shall be made to ensure that the party of the other part never misses her afternoon cup of tea. 

Ability of the party of the other part to think of goofy schemes to ward off those who prey on the millions of the party of the first part would be preferred. So would be those who have strong entrepreneurial leanings, much along the lines of Joan Valentine and Sally.

Spending some quality time together while gazing moodily at the stars would be encouraged. But espousing theories about God’s daisy chains and fairies would be discouraged.

Skills which keep invading cousins, aunts and ex-fiancees away from the home and hearth would be greatly admired. So would be the ability of retaining cooks and maid servants in the face of stealthy moves by scheming aunts who refuse to be gentlemen.

Costs of adequate medical insurance shall always be a part of the household budget. This would cover any damage to limbs caused by the cup of mirth brimming over while reading together a work of the Master and one falling off from a sofa and rolling over on the floor, and any such eventualities.  

The party of the better part shall be encouraged to pursue her own professional career. It is expected that the pocket-money meant for the party of the worse part would get dished out without any hesitation or remorse. Nor would its usage be ever questioned or doubted, thereby supporting the sporting spirits of the party of the worse part.

It may kindly be noted that the party of the first part shudders at the prospect of swimming a mile and then playing five sets of tennis post lunch on weekends. Also, an improvement in one’s intellect is not on the agenda of the proposed union. It is hoped that the party of the better part would keep such sensibilities in mind and refrain from using softer tactics to get the party of the worse part to abide by her wishes.

Both parties would enjoy equal rights in terms of occasionally spending time with their own circle of friends at clubs and in other social circles. Valets and house maids who are members of clubs which insist on keeping records of juicy goings on in the lives of either of the parties shall not be hired.

Members of the tribe of the delicately nurtured who happen to be pure padded cell from the foundations up are discouraged to respond to this missive.

It is hoped that when either of the parties faces one of Life’s harsh slings and arrows and is twiddling her/his thumbs trying to cope with a challenge, the other one would rally around and act like a Jeeves, marshalling not only his/her keen intelligence but also a deep understanding of the psychology of the individual.

The intended purpose of the proposed union is not only to enjoy life long companionship, especially at an advanced age when the lining of the stomach poses unique challenges to the parties concerned. It is also about little feet pattering about the home – feet which support a head which is steeped in Plummy thoughts and a heart within which sloshes an abundant supply of the milk of human kindness.

The union would be expected to produce offspring who will inherit the combined Plumminess of both the parents. Offspring in the vicinity of whom human life would not be under any threat. Bright kids who might be goofy but shall not seriously endanger the peace of mind of the nurses, the governesses, the private-school masters and the public-school masters who will eventually take on the responsibility of looking after a blend of the parties of the better and the worse part.

This alone will ensure that flowers shall always be in bloom, birds shall always chirp merrily, peace shall prevail, the sun shall shine merrily and God shall continue to be in heaven.”

What do you think?

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/a-plummy-encounter-in-new-delhi-india)

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Travel is highly educational, said Jeeves. That is how it turned out to be when plans to visit New Delhi, some 2,200 kilometres away from where yours truly normally pollutes the environs, fructified.

An innocuous post on the Fans of P G Wodehouse page on Facebook led to some fans of the Master in the National Capital Region (NCR) deciding to meet up on 11.11.2017.

Eggs, Beans and Scones

The infamous Delhi smog singularly failed to dampen the spirits and many ardent fans of Plum in NCR landed up at the gig so very graciously hosted by a young man in spats, a management professional who happens to be based in Canada but was visiting his family in India.

Lord Emsworth, the grandfather of the young man, presided over the boisterous proceedings. An eminent bureaucrat in his hey days, he happens to be a devoted Plum fan. He turned out to be quite far from being woolly headed, and ensured that all the guests who had descended on his castle felt absolutely comfortable and at home.

Lady Mildred Mant, the daughter of Lord Emsworth, proved to be a genial host. Her attention to detail and the standard of hospitality on display might have prompted Jeeves to undergo a refresher course under her in the art and science of entertaining guests.

The theme of the gig was ‘Eggs, Beans and Scones’, since Lord Emsworth and the family found that the local bakeries were clueless as to what Crumpets stood for.

A leaner version of Beach, the butler, kept shimmering in and out, providing nourishment to all and sundry.

The Proceedings

Stiffy Byng showed up, somewhat annoyed at not being able to detect any chance of launching one of her goofy schemes. In the absence of any policemen in the vicinity, and missing the Harold Pinker of her life, she decided to go in for a safer option – that of bringing a quiet and dignified charm to the gig.

Bertie Wooster popped up, with Cousin Wilmot in tow. He brought in a black forest cake, with a portrait of the Master adorning its top. The portrait ensured a restricted calorie intake for all present. Only a small strip at the bottom of the cake, comprising Plum’s signatures, was eventually consumed. The rest was gobbled up by potential fans in families elsewhere who made polite enquiries regarding the identity of the person before shoving in large helpings down the hatch.

Aunt Dahlia marched in and proved to be a charming companion. Having been a Governor of several educational outfits in the league of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, she displayed exemplary restraint and did not address any one of those present as blots on the landscape or as worms.

The huge parcel which she brought in was presumed by those present to be having copies of the latest editions of Milady’s Boudoir. Instead, it was found to contain several Bertie-Jeeves mugs, which caused much merriment. All were eagerly lapped up.

Joan Valentine, the coordinator of the group, trooped in precisely at 11.11 AM, so the meeting could get off to a flying start. A rendition of The Yeoman’s Wedding Song was promptly located and played out, declaring the proceedings open.

Gladys Biggs turned up, accompanied by an impostor who turned out to be Clarence Mulliner. Technology having advanced, he did not need to squeeze bulbs and shoot photographs. While others got busy with much back-slapping and what-ho-ing, he quietly went about creating a visual record of the boisterous proceedings.

Gladys unveiled a delectable collection of some exquisite hand-painted sketches themed around the works and characters of Plum. It transpired that the same had been done by her niece, Gwladys Pendlebury, who had burnt the midnight oil to dish out the entire collection. She had done so at Hyderabad at a very short notice, and had couriered the entire set to Delhi, where her aunt and family had lost no time in getting these framed. Understandably, there was much excitement generated. All those present lost no time to grab one each.

Mr Mulliner too dropped in and regaled all those present with some stories of Bollywood producers and directors. A frequent traveller between Delhi and Mumbai, he proved to be a repository of Wodehousean wisdom.

Ashe Marson materialized, wearing a Wodehousean golf cap, looking bronzed and fit. His demeanour and bearing demonstrated the power of Larsen exercises, coupled with brisk walks, cold baths and a strict diet regimen. An established author, he often gave the impression as if his grey cells were busy working out the next adventure of the famous detective Gridley Quayle.

(L to R: Young man, Lady Mildred Mant, Aunt Dahlia, Mr Mulliner, Lord Emsworth, a balding Bertie Wooster, Joan Valentine, Gladys Biggs, Stiffy Byng, Ashe Marson, Cousin Wilmot; Clarence Mulliner is lurking behind the camera)

Florence Craye walked in, essentially to check as to what the excitement was all about and how the meeting was proceeding. Luckily, she did not appear to have any intentions of raising the intellectual level of those present.

Honoria Glossop joined the NCR Plummies over Skype briefly from UK, adding to the sparkle. Despite these being early hours in the Queen’s country, that too on a Saturday, she took the initiative of chatting with all those present.

Spawning Wodehousitis

Other than Plum’s works and characters, Spinoza and other literary figures also came up for discussion. Some openly shuddered at the challenge of exposing the coming generations to the unique pleasures of Plumsville.

It was felt that many amongst us have inherited the germs of Wodehousitis from our previous generations. The group wondered if prompt efforts can be made through proper channels to identify suitable Plummy soul-mates for those who are not averse to taking a saunter down the aisle in the near future. Such an initiative would ensure a steady spread of Wodehousitis in the times to come.

At such meets, continents and countries disappear. So do races, castes, creeds, gender, professions and income inequalities. Only the affliction known as Wodehousitis retains its relevance.

Those who are turning green with envy need not fret. They would do well to brace up for the next gig, planned at the same venue, on Saturday, February 17, 2018.

(Note: The allusion to characters of P G Wodehouse here is purely arbitrary and subjective and is not intended to offend any of those who spared the time to join in and make this encounter a memory to cherish for a long time. Permission to use photographs is gratefully acknowledged.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/another-drones-club-meeting-at-asker-in-norway

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/a-drones-club-meeting-in-amsterdam)

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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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Ms Ragini SGH, an ardent fan of P G Wodehouse, has whipped up a composition which all residents of Plumsville would cherish.

Someone once suggested writing a clerihew
Not too sure about it ‘coz the word to me was new;
I decided to try it with some of Plum’s characters
It requires great skill along with other factors.

 

Let’s begin with Lord Emsworth
His vocabulary was stunted at birth;
The most that he managed to speak
Made him sound like a pip squeak;
Many doubted his ability mental
But he was just shy and gentle.

 

Aunt Dahlia’s master chef Anatole
Often baked a huge Swiss roll;
Layers and layers of chocolate cream
Truly a sweet n delightful dream.

 

An interesting character is Gussie Fink Nottle
Who kept newts in a bottle;
He studied their habits in great detail
Identifying the male and the female;
In this study he was totally engrossed
By every character bossed;
For years he preferred staying in the country side
From crowds he always tried to hide.

 

Madeleine Bassett
Far too frivolous to be an asset;
Whenever it rained
She felt hurt and highly pained;
A fairy’s teardrops
Couldn’t be reported to cops.

 

As for Dear Bertie
He tries very hard not to be flirty;
Before he knows it he’s hooked
Waiting to be cooked;
Between Bobbie and Madeleine
He can but jump in vain.

 

Gally Lord Galahad,
Knows how to drive everyone mad;
With every smile
His friends run from him a mile;
He’s incorrigible,
Always on the lookout for the gullible.

 

Angela at Cannes saw a shark,
Tuppy thought it was probably a tree bark;
They had a huge spat
Heatedly giving each other tit for tat;
Angela decided to act tough
Told Tuppy he was ill mannered and rough;
Their engagement she did break
And wished Tuppy would go jump into a lake.

 

Hey Nonny Nonny!
A few words in favour of aunt Connie;
Whose brothers are weird
But her grey cells well oiled and geared.

 

Writing about Honoria I did consider
But that I felt would create quite a stir;
She’d quote lines from Nietzche
Bertie, she would verbally flay;
‘Coz he said she had a lion tamer’s voice
To befriend her would be much against his choice.

 

(Permission to blog it here is gratefully acknowledged.)

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Residents of Plumsville are hereby invited to the maiden plenary meeting of the newly launched International League of Happiness (ILH).

The meeting shall be held at the lawns of Blandings Castle on October 15, 2017, starting at 1700 hours GMT.

 

Inaugural Address

“Saving the world from the nuclear peril it faces”

Mr Rupert Psmith, Secretary General

Keynote Address

“Can Dictatorship be used as a means to end terror?”

Mr Roderick Spode, Deputy Secretary – Terror and Covert Intelligence

Special Address

“Unresolved conflicts and violation of humanitarian laws: Some goofy techniques never used before

Ms Roberta Wickham, Honorary Secretary – Human Conflicts, Founder Director – Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies

Other talks

“Countering Climate Change by star gazing”

Ms Madeline Bassett, Deputy Secretary – Environment

“Addressing the challenge of growing inequality by boosting the confidence of the underprivileged”

Ms Joan Valentine, Deputy Secretary – Income Disparities

“Hacking the hackers: A war on cyber warfare”

Mr Rupert Baxter, Deputy Secretary – Cyber Crimes

“Eradicating unemployment, promoting start-ups”

Ms Sally Nicholas, Secretary – Entrepreneurship

“Using human intelligence to prevent misuse of Artificial Intelligence”

Mr Reginald Jeeves, Deputy Secretary General, ILH.

Release of the Blandings Declaration of Happiness

Lord Emsworth, Chief Patron, ILH

Inauguration of Exhibition of products developed by the Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies (RAGT)

Sir Roderick Glossop, Director General, RAGT

  1. Laser-guided Needles usable for puncturing hot water bottles of politicians who misbehave in international affairs. These guarantee deadly precision, with minimal risk of exposure to the fleshy parts of the target person at the receiving end.
  2. Infra-red Incinerators which allow one to burn offending scripts and memoirs at the push of a button. No smoke is emitted, thereby allowing complete secrecy even within confined spaces.
  3. Magnetic Props which are highly effective in pinching policemen helmets. Field tests have demonstrated a high rate of success even for novice clergymen who might be out to pinch such objects merely to please their current heart-throbs.
  4. Machines which automatically produce 3-D versions of butter slides. These are found very useful by step-sons who have been refused protection money by their would-be step-fathers.
  5. Adhesives of an advanced nature, which allow party of the one part to affix and remove with much ease fungus of any colour from the visage of the party of the other part.
  6. Software which develops and delivers juicy speeches of all kinds to large gatherings of giggling and staring school girls and boys, thereby simplifying life for all those who are left all of a twitter when invited to address the wards under the charge of such illustrious lion-tamers as Rev. Aubrey Upjohn and Miss Tomlinson.
  7. Advanced e-learning kits which enable enthusiasts to learn to play such musical instruments as banjeoles. By using blue-tooth technology, such kits enable one to practice without disturbing one’s neighbours.
  8. Artificial Intelligence enabled gentlemen of gentlemen, duly configured with a Jeeves Service Package. These are extremely popular as wedding gifts which the brides-to-be accept with much glee, enabling them to show the door to the real Jeeves in their would-be husbands’ lives in the post-nuptial phase.
  9. Silver Detectors which can be used by enterprising aunts to locate and steal cow creamers and such other collectibles from castles of rivals. Smart nephews who do not wish to lose the privilege of feasting on Anatole’s delectable spreads use such contraptions to keep their aunts in good humour.
  10. Calorie Counters specifically designed to monitor the feeding pattern of the Empress of Blandings. These enable her to keep winning the top slot at international level sow competitions.
  11. Advanced Algorithms capable of accurately forecasting the results of all kinds of speculative sports. Bingo Littles of the world are thus enabled to keep the dove of matrimonial bliss flapping above their humble abodes at minimal costs.
  12. Aniseed Perfumes specifically developed for those who specialize in stealing detective dogs from the enemy camp in a peaceful and non-violent manner.
  13. Electronic Stunners which can be used for inducing temporary disability amongst cops who might be chasing well-meaning persons out to serve the delicately nurtured members of the society.
  14. Digestive Capsules designed to eliminate any problems of the lining of the stomach amongst those who are routinely taken in by the pleasures of the table and do not believe in the efficacy of Larsen Exercises popularized by Ashe Marson.
  15. Anti-aunt Apps designed to smartly block communications from obnoxious aunts when they refuse to be gentlemen.
  16. Spider Footwear which make it easy to slide down pipes to escape the fury of aunts who insist on having a word with their nephews who are in no mood to face the firing squad.
  17. Body Scanners which can enable a member of the delicately nurtured tribe to ascertain the Chivalry Quotient of a matrimonial aspirant.
  18. Mental Imagers which can check the Pumpkin Quotient of a person.
  19. Cat Detectors which bleep when a bunch of feline characters are in the vicinity.
  20. Powder of Milk of Human Kindness, duly certified by FAO.

 

Vote of thanks

Mr Gussie Fink Nottle – Deputy Secretary – Love, flora and fauna

High Tea by Anatole

 

 

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.)

(Related Post:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-epidemic-of-wodehousitis)

 

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Respected Sir,

As a lay citizen of India, allow me to say that you are spearheading a great drive to reform the education system of the country. There may be no big ticket announcements, but one can see some incremental steps which would help our youth to realize their full potential in the years to come.

I write this with all humility at my command, merely to suggest one such incremental reform, which, I am reasonably certain, can help our youth to develop their soft skills faster and better.

I write this to suggest that a special drive be launched to expose Indian students to the works of the eminent humourist, P G Wodehouse. By discovering, delving into and devouring these, our future citizens shall turn out to be cheerful, joyous and happy. India would soon become a country which would be not only chasing her Gross Domestic Product numbers, but also shoring up her Gross National Happiness index.

A spurt to ingenuity and innovation

At the school level, his stories – depicting hostel life, cricket rivalries and the kind of goofiness which kids normally display – would entertain and motivate our children no end. On the one hand, headmasters and headmistresses would quickly learn how to be shrewd lion-tamers. On the other, children would get into the right spirit of innovation and ingenuity, thereby brightening the prospects of creating many a Silicon Valley in India in the decades to follow.

Children who have already shifted to ball point pens, iPads and other advanced gadgets would no longer be able to put sherbet in ink pots. But they would still learn how to sneak back into their dormitories, ably assisted by their resourceful seniors. They would understand the importance of giggling and staring at guest lecturers, thereby enabling the latter to improve upon their oratorical skills and overcoming their stage fright.

Seeking protection money would come easily to them. When they grow up and take up responsible positions in administration, such skills would make them hotter at their jobs. Planning for such innovative schemes as creating butter slides for defaulting step-fathers-to-be would help them to sharpen their intuitive faculties. Their decision making abilities would improve. They would end up being better managers. Their employability quotient would register a quantum jump.

Many back benchers in our schools would end up being proficient in such vocations as chimney cleaning et al. The skill of using paraffin to douse flames of any kind would help them to gauge and neutralize terror threats of many kinds. When they grow up, our law enforcing agencies would find them ready for many a delicate task.

When besotted with Bollywood divas, they would rise to their higher selves and learn how to help those in distress. Better discipline and good conduct, whether in schools or at home, would result. Tantrums thrown at the change of a Wi-Fi password at home, or at the announcement of a surprise test in mathematics at school, would be a thing of the past. Hapless parents and teachers would breathe easy.

A boost to chivalry and matrimonial bliss

At the college level, our youth would learn invaluable lessons in chivalry, thereby making our country much safer for the delicately nurtured amongst us. Following in the footsteps of Bertie Wooster, they would go to any length to stand by a pal in distress. Eventually, this would help them to imbibe a feeling of brotherhood and secularism.

Such exquisite hobbies as rearing newts would reignite their respect for environment. They shall imbibe the finer characteristics of canine and feline creatures. They would learn to treat members of all species with due respect. Those who decide to pursue the career of a dietitian may seriously consider specializing in developing healthier diets for the Empress and her ilk.

Standing up to aunts who are not gentlemen would come easily to them. Rebutting the unpleasant endeavours of such bullies as Roderick Spode by ferreting out their Eulalie-kind secrets would help them in their lives. They shall develop a deeply spiritual outlook towards the harsh slings and arrow of fate.

Some of them would surely aspire to be like Jeeves, providing satisfaction to all and sundry with their keen intelligence. They would learn to use the psychology of the individual as a potent tool to achieve their goals in life. Overall, their Emotional Quotient ratings would jump manifold.

The art of sliding down pipes to avoid encounters of an unpleasant kind would be a great value-add to their skill sets. Refusing to be job seekers, they would use their romantic skills to assume key positions in premium dog biscuit manufacturing conglomerates, generating a multitude of employment opportunities. Motivated by the adventures of Sally, many others would create successful start-ups.

When they start experiencing the bliss of married life, Bingo Little would become a role model. Sacrificing a highly proficient cook merely to keep peace at home would make them practice the invaluable art of detachment, as espoused in the Bhagavad Gita. Ensuring that the spouse gets the daily ration of her afternoon tea would sustain matrimonial harmony. The art of bringing up kids and touching others for ten quids would get learnt the easy way. Divorce rates shall plummet. Happier and contented kids would eventually evolve into happier citizens of India.

From Ashe Marson, they would learn to do regular Larsen exercises at an early age. Even if they choose to write detective stories when they grow up, they would land lucrative assignments involving restoration of unmindfully pinched scarabs to their rightful owners. By hobnobbing with those who are less fortunate than them in their station in life, they would develop empathy and compassion, thereby becoming more humane in their approach to life and its myriad situations.

Thanks to Rupert Psmith, the art of managing and controlling bosses would come easy to them. They would make effective managers, and shall be in great demand in the employment market.

Making education enjoyable

Sir, you are undoubtedly aware that our students happen to be a worried and depressed lot these days. At a tender age, they are expected to lug around heavy bags slung on their slender shoulders. When at the secondary stage, the poor souls turn and twist in their beds, worrying about future career choices. Much before they acquire a degree of sorts, they start chewing their nails and twiddling their thumbs trying to figure out ways to support their families by making a decent living.

A dash of humour is what they desperately need. Loads of wisdom and practical advice is what they want. Values and a role model is what they seek. A sense of inner joy, peace and happiness is what they inwardly crave for.

All this, and much more, can be found in the Wodehouse canon. By introducing his works for study at all levels of education, India shall be setting a fine example for the rest of the world.

By ensuring ready availability of his works in libraries, book clubs and reading rooms across the entire country, we shall be enabling our youth to rediscover the value of subtle humour in their lives. Our Teacher Training Institutes can be tasked to expose those in the so-called noble profession to the works of P G Wodehouse. Our multilingual scholars can be persuaded to translate his works into other prominent languages used in India. Local fans of the author may be willing to spare some time to read his books to students at all levels.

By learning to appreciate the sunnier side of their lives, students would overcome their depression and be ready to face the future challenges with a chin-up attitude. Many of them would derive a vicarious pleasure in reading about the decadent British aristocracy, thereby forgetting their own deprivations in life.

A unique initiative with juicy spin offs

It is time that we, as a country, adopt what is good for our youth, rather than only blaming Lord Macaulay, who belongs to a distant past.

If you were to initiate this single change, your colleagues in many other ministries of the Government of India shall feel obliged as well as bucked up. The Home Minister would applaud you. The Health and Family Welfare Minister would praise you. The Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister would be in awe of you. The Social Justice and Empowerment Minister would look up to you. The Defence Minister would admire you. The Women and Child Development Minister would envy you. The possibilities and the spin offs are mind boggling.

Sir, this unique initiative is all yours to take. I, on behalf of Wodehouse fans the world over, hope you will not disappoint us.

With kind regards and a hearty pip pip!

An Indian suffering from acute Wodehousitis.

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-epidemic-of-wodehousitis)

 

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Most of the management events we get enticed to attend are very much alike. Somebody gets up and introduces the chair person and the speaker of the evening. Then, the chair person mumbles a few words designed to cheer up the speaker. The speaker of the evening then goes on to describe at great length what he thinks of the scandalous manner in which private sector managements behave or exposes the inefficient goings-on in the public sector.

The hapless soul tasked to chair the session makes sympathetic observations about the subject at hand. He makes brief notes in a studious manner. Later, he uses these to wrap up the proceedings as quickly as norms of society, dictates of behavioural sciences and standards of politeness would allow.

The speaker of the evening is invariably dressed in an impeccable corporate style. This is merely to mask the inner shivering he experiences at the prospect of facing a firing squad. Externally, he exudes confidence. Internally, he is all of a twitter. Unfortunately, many speakers are blissfully unaware of the technique of public speaking unwittingly perfected by Gussie Fink Nottle of P G Wodehouse fame – that of getting adequately braced with generous helpings of a strong tissue restorative prior to delivering a speech.

While he tries his best to convey some serious messages to the unsuspecting audience, he also attempts to induct some humour into the otherwise listless and sombre proceedings. This helps him to sugar-coat his dull message to the unsuspecting audience.

The audience upon which the speaker’s verbosity is unleashed listens in a state of polite resignation, often suppressing a yawn or two. With an eye on the wrist watch and a nose trying to detect the faint aroma of snacks and coffee being served outside the lecture hall, they bide their time, hoping for the ordeal to end soon.

From time to time, some members in the audience rise and ask carefully rehearsed questions, which get answered fully and satisfactorily by the speaker. Often, when a question gets asked in the pure spirit of proving to the assembled group that the questioner is smarter than the questioned, the latter either ignores him, or says haughtily that he can find him arguments but cannot find him brains. Or, occasionally, when the question is an easy one, he answers it.

When the discussion gets out of hand, and the speaker is found to be twiddling his thumbs, the chair person rushes in to conclude the affair, thereby bringing joy and relief all around.

The speaker is delighted that he has been rescued just in time and looks upon the chair much like a typhoon survivor would look upon the US marines when they arrive to rescue him from a disastrous situation.

The audience is happy that the trauma is finally over. They look forward to grabbing the vitamins laid outside the hall, so as to keep their body and souls together and also to overcome the state of depression induced by the presentation.

The organisers breathe easy, having saved their furniture and other items from any damage. Someone from their side quickly offers a vote of thanks to all and sundry, lest the speaker change his mind and go on to bore the audience any further.

A smoothly conducted management meeting is one of our civilization’s most delightful indoor games. When the meeting turns boisterous, the audience has more fun, but the speaker a good deal less.

The book presentation session at Madras Management Association recently was true to form in more ways than one. Save and except for the following:

– Being chaired by an exceptional business person who is practising the art of true social responsibility.

– The presentation of some portions of the book was more of an interactive session which never tended to be boisterous.

– There was a singular absence of any rehearsed questions from the audience.

The session had attracted around forty odd souls who suffered the trauma of listening to yours truly and others for about forty minutes or so. Perhaps Einstein’s Theory of Relativity kicked in and these forty minutes felt like forty hours to them, because when it was time for the Q and A, they pounced on an inwardly shuddering yours truly with much glee.

As luck would have it, much light was generated in the discussion that followed the brief presentation. The heat generated was perceptibly less; thus, no fire alarms went off in the lecture hall. The brainy coves assembled for the evening proved their mettle by coming up with astute observations and insightful comments. An enlightened soul in the audience even went on to enquire as to what precisely is meant by Spiritual Quotient, and what could be done to shore it up.

Leadership styles got discussed. Tips on managing Lion Bosses got shared. Dignity of women at workplace came in for a mention. The delicate art of dishing out selective favours to those who really deserve support was brooded upon. Several other topics of contemporary interest were discussed, including the recent boardroom battles which played out at Infosys and at Tata House.

One is grateful to Madras Management Association for having provided this opportunity to share one’s thoughts with their brainy members and honourable invitees.

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/a-tale-of-two-countries-and-a-book-launch)

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