Posts Tagged ‘Thos’


We have already discussed the antics of some of the kids we encounter in Plumsville. Barring Edwin the Boy Scout and Ogden Ford, we have failed to meet anyone who can aspire to rise to the same heights of roguishness that Master Thomas achieves.


Master Thomas is the King of the Underworld. He is also known as The Shadow. He has carroty hair and a cynical expression. His manner is curt and supercilious. Annoy him, and he could arrange for a drawing pin to greet your fleshy parts when you sit on your favourite chair.

A tip from Captain Flint

In Jeeves and the Impending Doom (Very Good, Jeeves), Thos is being tutored by Bingo Little at Woollam Chersey, Aunt Agatha’s place, where Bertie has been invited over. Unbeknown to him, the aunt aspires for a secretarial career for Bertie, assisting Mr Filmer, the Cabinet Minister.


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Bingo Little Junior and Prudence Baxter earn a negative ranking on the Richter scale of Roguishness. However, there are several others who deceive us with their apparent innocence – Kid Clamentina, Oswald and Peggy Mainwaring, to name the ones we have covered in the last post.

Here are a few more who deserve to be considered.


Bonzo, the son of Aunt Dahlia, has a sound reputation as a pest. But if Thos sets a gold standard in devilry, Bonzo is merely a good, ordinary mischief-maker. His proud mother compares the two as follows:

‘Whenever it comes to devilry, Bonzo is a good, ordinary selling-plater. Whereas Thomas is a classic yearling.’

When Bonzo is in love, his nature gets altered. He tries to lead a finer, betterVeryGoodJeeves life. When tempted to climb on the roof and boo down Mr Anstruther’s chimney, he refuses to oblige. When prompted to burst a…

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Some residents of Plumsville may like to join me in recalling our pre-adolescence days. Our first ever encounter withVeryGoodJeeves Cupid’s arrows. The time when innocence slowly started giving way to half-baked romances of a transient nature. The neighborhood crush and the chance encounters. The classroom and the furtive glances. The one-sided affections. The attempts at showcasing gallantry and modesty. The unfulfilled desire to share tips on demystifying Romeo and Juliet. The relentless yearning for companionship. The possibility of a picnic where the presence of a certain person made our hearts go all of a twitter.

A more sinister restlessness crept in when we got infatuated with someone within the dark confines of a cinema hall. Posters of an upcoming movie featuring the adored person invariably got more attention than any text-book at hand. Sneaking off to a matinée, while giving a skip to the homework assigned, was also attempted…

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How do you solve a problem like Somaiya?

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

How do you find the word that means Somaiya?

A nay-sayer! A yeller! An obstinate clown!


Many in the family adore her,

Her superior intelligence could put a Jeeves to shame;

The psychology of any individual is an open book to her,

In a game of chess a victory she can easily claim.


She is often held to be an angel and a child,

A gentle soul, an eve lamb and a darling;

She makes others laugh and keeps them bemused,

Her imagination is never wanting, always on a wing.


Aspiring to swim like a fish and dance like a diva,

She is justifiably proud of her long and flowing mane;

Doing school work on an iPad she detests,

Watching teeny serials and a smart phone addiction is her bane.


She may look as flighty as a feather,

But has great strength in her bones;

Many a medal has she won while playing football,

She loves gorging on pizzas and ice cream cones.


But many others around her are often left confused,

They have no clue as to where exactly they stand;

Unpredictable as weather, with repeated bouts of anger,

In many a peril they suspect the sleight of her hand.


Often, their toothbrushes, combs and shoes could go missing,

She is taken as a headache and a riddle waiting to be solved;

Unlike Kid Clementina, adding sherbet to inkpots is passé,

Changing the settings of other’s smart phones keeps her involved.


A fine specimen of the female of our species,

Bobby Wickham is the one she apes, though her hair is black;

Getting invited to parties and movies she relishes,

In unleashing goofy schemes she is neither wanting nor slack.


She hastens the spiritual evolution of those around her,

Thos would surely be envious of her track record;

A chin-up attitude is necessary to deal with her,

With those who take her acts lightly she strikes a chord.


She is the lord and master of all she surveys,

All around her are expected to do her bidding;

From Seabury she would like to learn the art,

Of making butter slides for erring parents, no kidding!


When it comes to giving others a supercilious gaze,

Treating them as dust beneath her bicycle wheels;

She could teach a thing or two to Oswald Glossop,

Making them either jump in lakes or take to their heels.


She is someone who could try others’ patience no end,

She always knows which side of her bread is buttered;

Her toys and dolls are invariably left in a state of disarray,

Her room, drawers and shelves are always cluttered.


Dressing up and leaving for school is a chore she dislikes,

Washing her face does not come easy, also combing her hair;

But she loves the company of her friends there,

She waltzes inside her school and even whistles on the stair.


Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her,

Many a thing she ought to understand;

But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say,

How do you keep a wave upon the sand?


Oh, how do you solve a problem like Somaiya?

How do you hold the rays of moon in your hand?!


(Inspired by a song from the movie ‘The Sound of Music’)

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There are indeed times when the harsh slings and arrows of Life weigh one’s soul down with woe. The intensity of each succeeding sling shot becomes more acute. The frequency also registers an uptick. Life seems to be overtaken with a Thos-like propensity – to test the depth of one’s reserves of patience and fortitude. It appears as if each arrow is doused in paraffin and is being shot by an Edwin the Scout to douse an already raging fire in one’s cottage. One’s Guardian Angels appear to have gone off on a long vacation. The air is congested with a series of W-shaped depressions which keep hitting one at regular intervals. Even before one has had a chance to pull oneself out of the preceding episode, the next one follows, leaving one all of a twitter. The soul remains in a phase of perennial torment.

When faced with a situation of this nature, one has two options. One can either wallow in self-pity, question one’s Guardian Angels as to what one has done to deserve a harsh treatment of the kind being dished out, and generally keep looking for shoulders which would not look askance at the prospect of getting wet with one’s tears. Or, one can start exploring the possibility of clawing one’s way back up the cesspool of darkness one finds oneself in.

In case the latter option suits one’s temperament, there could be no better way to beat the blues than to immerse oneself in one’s work with a renewed vigour and enthusiasm.

Besides, the following actions, if taken, might make one realize that one should never repine, never despair, and never allow the upper lip to unstiffen, come what may.

  1. Remaining in touch with the loved ones, who care and share.
  2. Being surrounded by those who bring some sunshine into one’s life. Warm hugs and embraces perk one up no end.
  3. Having advisors like Jeeves around whose keen intelligence and resourcefulness may enrich one’s life.
  4. Calling upon the services of pals like Bertie Wooster who would never let one down.
  5. Treating oneself with a daily dose of some Larsen Exercises, making an acquaintance like Ashe Marson proud.
  6. Trying to break the mould and doing something one has never done before; visiting far off places, meeting new people, and indulging in such heavenly pursuits which had so far remained pious intentions. These could even include such acts as pinching umbrellas and policemen’s helmets.
  7. Avoiding the company of aunts who feast on glass bottles and happen to be lionesses in the garb of sheep. Instead, getting oneself invited to lairs which boast of an Anatole on the premises.
  8. Standing up to a bully like Roderick Spode and giving him a piece of one’s mind; provided, of course, one has access to a Eulalie-like secret.
  9. If one belongs to the tribe of the delicately nurtured, one may like the company of someone configured along the lines of Rupert Psmith.
  10. If one is instead from the tribe of the so-called sterner sex, one may like the company of an Emerald Stoker, a soothing and sympathetic girl one can take one’s troubles to, thereby being confident of having one’s hand held and one’s head patted. However, it may help to avoid the company of persons built along the lines of Florence Craye, Honoria Glossop, Roberta Wickham or Stiffy Byng.
  11. Curling up in bed with one’s favourite whodunit, preferably with a tissue restorative by one’s side, and with soothing music softly playing in the background.
  12. Remembering that this phase too shall pass, as the wise men have said!

Overall, one may like to brood upon the singular advantage one’s Guardian Angels have conferred on one – that of facing harsher slings and arrows of Life. The perks of such a fate are many. One develops a spiritual outlook towards life, that too at a faster pace, much like the clergymen who come in contact with Master Thos. Nerves of chilled steel get developed. One’s inner resilience improves, leaving one less prone to distress of any kind in future. One develops a tendency to focus on the sunnier side of life. The inner will to live life to the hilt gets back on its throne. The brow is no longer furrowed. Rather than believing oneself to be a victim of circumstances, one learns to go with the flow of life, adapting to change. One learns to respond to life gracefully, with ease.

One may then look north, south, east and west and discover not a single cloud on the horizon. One realizes that no matter how dark the skies may be, the sun would be shining somewhere and will eventually come smiling through; just like Bertie Wooster says somewhere in his memoirs!

(Caricature courtesy Kevin Cornell)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/shopping-therapy-and-some-plummy-techniques-to-treat-depression)

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The prattle of tender feet around one keeps one very much alive and contented. Especially so when one happens to be in a phase of life where one can have the luxury of observing their behaviour at close quarters without having to worry about their mundane needs. Other then providing unalloyed joy and sparkling mirth, it also provides one an opportunity to grow spiritually.

When a Bollywood diva casts a spell

Take the case of a one-year old toddler who takes Master Thos to be his role model. If Thos was infatuated with a Hollywood diva, he happens to be besotted with one of the Bollywood divas. Play this particular song on the TV, and he goes into a trance which even the most advanced practitioners of Zen might not have experienced. Meals get forgotten. Toys cease to be of any consequence. Those around him might not even exist.

Sonam Kapoor, the diva in question, may be delighted to know of the brand equity she carries in the mind space of this young one. There is a good chance that he might even earn the distinction of being the youngest ever fan of a Bollywood diva.

One can only hope and pray that, as he grows, he never gets to emulate the goofy schemes of Thos the Terrible. In fact, thanks to the benign influence of the diva, perhaps there is a chance that he would end up performing such noble deeds as walking a few miles to fetch a newspaper for a guest or carrying any other injured young one on his tender shoulders, so as to win over the affections of his heart-throb.

The sincerity with which he expresses his fondness for the song featuring Sonam Kapoor is something which deserves to be emulated. It teaches us the innate goodness in all things musical, artistic and beautiful.

By being under the spell of a silver screen diva, he is merely following a long-held tradition of his ancestors. Soon, though, moving doors, books or other items may take his fancy.

He also demands equality in treatment vis-a-vis other kids in the immediate vicinity. If that does not come by, he knows how to shriek and attract the attention of his seniors, so justice gets meted out. This is invariably the scenario when some ice cream is getting distributed.

There are also times when he reminds one of Algernon Aubrey Little. When the father’s boss came visiting some time back, he was a model of ideal behaviour. No tantrums. No yells. Only some cute smiles. Peace prevailed. A promotion on the job soon followed.

Norway Schhol Art 1

A respect for technical gizmos

The other young boy, all of four years old, reminds one of Edwin the scout. It is not that his daily acts of mercy include dousing fires with paraffin and setting cottages on fire. But he does try to reverse-engineer and repair an egg-boiler, with catastrophic results.

Anything that moves attracts his attention. Curious to the core, he would tend to dismantle the gadget and then look on helplessly when attempting to put it together again. Door locks get fondled with much love. Remote controlled toy cars or toy boats are never safe in his vicinity. A family senior testing blood sugar or injecting insulin is an object to be closely observed and supported.

As he has grown, cell phones and iPads have gained his respect as reliable sources of perennial entertainment. Thus, these are no longer subjected to the kind of rigorous quality tests he used to conduct in his formative years. In his younger days, he has dunked many a cell phone in a mug of piping hot tea, marvelling at their steadfastness when compared to, say, biscuits.

One is yet to notice if, like Edwin, he is an expert on ant behaviour. But dogs, pigs, cows and horses do come in for stark appraisals under his watchful eye.

Locking up people inside dark rooms comes naturally to him. So does sneaking up from behind and suddenly yelling in one’s ear, thereby leaving one all of a twitter. Often, sudden bouts of some karate moves make one run for cover, lest one may need to review one’s medical insurance cover. Tying up one’s shoe laces surreptitiously makes him burst into uncontrollable laughter, much to the chagrin of the party of the other part.

Dealing with him is very instructive. His knowledge of all things mechanical and electronic makes one humble. One simply aspires to be a quick learner like him, so as to be able to quickly absorb the latest that technology has to offer and make progress in life, as defined by contemporary standards.

Norway School Art 2

A goofy mind, a tender heart

Consider also the case of a young girl of 6 odd years whose flair for drawing, painting and singing is often a talking point. But beneath the veneer of sophistication and innocence lies a mind which could churn out goofy schemes at the drop of a hat. The likes of Roberta Wickham and Stiffy Byng could learn quite a few tricks of the trade from her.

Much like Peggy Mainwaring, she is used to staring and giggling at odd times, leaving the party of the other part shaken to the core. A relentless chatter emanating from her often leaves one yearning for some peace and quietitude. A continuous barrage of queries fired at one leaves one exasperated at times. The value of courage and perseverance is thus learnt the hard way.

Compassion comes naturally to her. She loves being surrounded by pets she can shower her motherly affection on. When a bitter feud with a younger sibling results into the latter getting hurt, she gets immediately transformed into a caring and loving nurse. But Homo Sapiens often get bluntly ticked off by her for the slightest of perceived infractions on their part.

When germs of acute goofiness strike, the sky is the limit. A younger sibling’s trousers are found wet in the middle of the night. Wisdom dawns when one notices the empty bottle of drinking water by the side of the bed. Guilt-less pleasure is felt when the younger sibling gets a reprimand for an act of omission committed by her own self.

Post-ablutions, she turns out to be a great bathroom singer, requesting the support of a senior to clean up. ‘Potty is over’ is belted out, in tune with a nursery rhyme like ‘Twinkle twinkle little star….’.

Her receptivity is not to be taken lightly. When it is playing time at a friend’s place, she realizes the rest, solitude and enjoyment the hapless mother would experience while she is away. The hapless mother’s rights to such well-deserved rest and recuperation come in for open and frank criticism.

Norway School Art 3

Competing with the Bermuda Triangle

Yet another case which merits consideration is that of a young lass of 7 years who is built along the lines of Kid Clementina. She is a not-so-quiet saint-like child, when in a good mood. When taken out for a movie and a dinner, she is full of gratitude. She gazes at her benefactor in silent admiration. But while at home, a stubbornness tests the patience of the seniors around.

Great deal of perseverance is required so she may partake of any single meal which may last well over 90 minutes. Each morsel is punctuated by a commercial break, so to say. Unless, of course, the meal comprises a pizza alone, followed by the temptation of either an ice cream or a chocolate.

The threat of changing the WiFi password alone works wonders and makes her obey various commands at home. Fond of playing such brainy games as chess, she is quick to perceive that an attempt is being made to make her falsely win the game of patience and strategy. She resents such acts of chivalry. Her artistic skills are remarkable. So is her passion for karate.

There being no ink pots around these days, one is sure that she is unable to put any sherbet in the same in her classroom. But messing up the password of the iPad of a schoolmate comes readily to her. Rapid progress gets made by her in the realm of mastering all kinds of technical gizmos.

She believes in keeping one on one’s toes. While going out of the house in a hurry, one suddenly finds one’s footwear missing. Or, a ping-pong ball resting inside one of the shoes. A toothbrush can suddenly vanish, leaving one gnashing one’s teeth in disbelief and dismay. A toothpaste tube could get replaced by a cold cream tube. Unless one is alert and agile, the experience leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth, literally as well as figuratively. One’s shaving kit could go into hiding for two weeks, leaving one feeling like a distressed soul pining for one’s beloved, beard and all. One’s favourite comb could get hidden, leaving one shuddering at the prospect of making an appearance in public. Overall, the house appears to provide stiff competition to the Bermuda Triangle.

Norway School Art 4

A Core of Innocence

Put any two of the kids together and the results could be disastrous. Put all four of them together and the foundations of civilization start quivering.

The combined goofiness of a group of kids is directly proportional to the square of the number of kids together.

Unlike what the Theory of Relativity postulates about there being an upper limit for the speed of light, one does not believe there could be an upper limit for kids’ goofiness. With three kids of his own, Einstein himself might have been in agreement with this proposition.

Their interpersonal interactions are more like sinusoidal curves, putting the Dow Jones Index and the Sensex to shame. Loving embraces are quickly followed by bitter arguments, accompanied by loud background music and tantrums of all kind.

Their minds are highly creative. Their imagination is vivid and fertile. More often than not, they are a reflection of what one is and how one behaves in their presence. In a way, they hold a clear mirror to us, especially when it comes to ethics, values and social leanings.

It is true that kids are simply adorable. Perhaps because their external sheath of goofiness is built around a core of touching innocence – a virtue which one loses as one advances in age. They radiate the purity of their chaste souls, yet to be corrupted by social prejudices and materialistic considerations. A sheltered upbringing obviously helps.

Towards spiritual progress

mothersymbolmeaningThe Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram has spoken of twelve attributes which help a spiritual aspirant to make progress. Sincerity. Humility. Gratitude. Perseverance. Aspiration. Receptivity. Progress. Courage. Goodness. Generosity. Equality. Peace.

Being with kids surely paves the way for rapid spiritual progress, besides keeping one amused and entertained at all times.

The challenge of minimizing Screen Time

While families have shrunk, technology has entered the family space. For hapless parents, there are two challenges. One, that of minimizing Screen Time, weaning away kids from gadgets and involving them in outdoor activities. Two, that of imparting them the values which would last them a life time. Perhaps it is time to consciously revert back to the joint family system. More about this in another blog post.

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'The Thinker' : Rodin

‘The Thinker’ : Rodin

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies desires to hire the services of a Director Marketing who would assume the responsibility of aggressively marketing its unique range of technologies and products.

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies is an ISO-certified international academy of goofy schemes which are designed to resolve ticklish issues afflicting our society. It does so by promoting and propagating non-violent techniques of registering protests and wreaking vengeance upon those who profess views which are at odds with those of theirs. The Academy brings together the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists to advance and promote excellence in innovative methods designed to secure socially desirable results.

The First Fellows of the Academy include such illustrious figures as Roberta Wickham and Stephanie Byng. Researchers and innovators of all hues continue to be inspired by their inimitable schemes to pursue the lofty goals of the Academy.

Some examples of technologies developed and gadgets patented so far by illustrious fellows of the Academy include:

  1. Laser-guided Needles usable for puncturing hot water bottles. 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 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.

The Academy has several exciting projects on the drawing board which are set to revolutionize the ways in which any goofy scheme is planned and executed. These include Body Scanners which can enable a member of the delicately nurtured tribe to ascertain the Chivalry Quotient of a matrimonial aspirant; Mental Imagers which can check the Pumpkin Quotient of a person; Cat Detectors which bleep when a bunch of feline characters are in the vicinity; Powder of Milk of Human Kindness and the like.

Countries need no longer wage deadly wars against each other. Terrorists no longer need to use violent methods to achieve their political ends. Almost all the patents mentioned hereinabove can be used to achieve the same goals in a non-violent manner. Comrades owing their allegiance to Brigades of all hues can make the haves of the society simplify their wasteful style of living and instead start philanthropic endeavours to fulfill their social responsibilities.

Harassed husbands do not need to inflict violence upon any of the delicately nurtured to ensure peace and harmony at home. Loving spouses need no longer tutor such despicable kids as Thos, merely to recoup their losses incurred at the turf. Owners of prized sows can enjoy good sleep, free of worries concerned with the calorie intake of their prized possessions.

The Director-Marketing shall be assisted by a team of crack salesmen comprising eminently rogue characters of the stature of Thos, Seabury, Edwin and many others.

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies is an equal opportunity employer. Its compensation packages are based on the psychology of the individual and compare with the best in the industry.

Those interested may forward their resumes within a fortnight to directorHR@ragt.com.

(Related Post: Click here )

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Santa Inc is an undisputed leader in the Happiness Industry, committed to spreadingSanta Elf_ornament cheer and hearty laughter all over the universe. With its headquarters at Island-222 on Kepler-22b, its top-line boasts of zillions of smiles and cheer all over.

With operations slated to increase at an annual compounded growth rate of 30%, it is on the look out for smart and tech-savvy elves who would be:

  • Able to demonstrate hi-tech toys and gizmos like smart phones, i-Pads, apps of all kinds, notebooks and fablets to the current generation of tiny tots.
  • Would assist Santa Claus in motivating kids to exchange their previous years’ gizmos with more conventional toys like dolls, train sets, racing cars, bikes and board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, etc., thereby reviving their interest in traditional means of entertainment.
  • Elves who charm TV and internet-addicted bleary-eyed kids into playing more of outdoor games and can wean…

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We have already discussed the antics of some of the kids we encounter in Plumsville. Barring Edwin the Boy Scout and Ogden Ford, we have failed to meet anyone who can aspire to rise to the same heights of roguishness that Master Thomas achieves.


Master Thomas is the King of the Underworld. He is also known as The Shadow. He has carroty hair and a cynical expression. His manner is curt and supercilious. Annoy him, and he could arrange for a drawing pin to greet your fleshy parts when you sit on your favourite chair.

A tip from Captain Flint

In Jeeves and the Impending Doom (Very Good, Jeeves), Thos is being tutored by Bingo Little at Woollam Chersey, Aunt Agatha’s place, where Bertie has been invited over. Unbeknown to him, the aunt aspires for a secretarial career for Bertie, assisting Mr Filmer, the Cabinet Minister.

When Thos is caught smoking and reported to his formidable mother by Mr VeryGoodJeevesFilmer, he starts looking for an opportunity to inflict some hideous revenge on the Cabinet Minister. He confides in Jeeves that he wants to model his own conduct on that of a certain Captain Flint.

‘But, good heavens, Jeeves! If I remember Treasure Island, Flint was the bird who went about hitting people with a cutlass. You don’t think young Thomas would bean Mr Filmer with a cutlass?’

‘Possibly he does not possess a cutlass, sir.’

‘Well, with anything.’

‘We can but wait and see, sir. The tie, if I might suggest it, sir, a shade more tightly knotted. One aims at the perfect butterfly effect. If you will permit me -’

‘What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? Do you realize that Mr Little’s domestic happiness is hanging in the scale?’

‘There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter.’

Rest, as they say, is history. Mr Filmer, while visiting an island in the middle of a lake, gets marooned there in heavy rains. Thos, following the example of Flint, sets his boat adrift. An angry swan, which does not approve of this attack on its privacy, makes Mr Filmer seek refuge on the roof of a building known as the Octagon.

Mr Filmer gets rescued. In order to save Bingo’s tutoring assignment, Jeeves convinces the Cabinet Minister that it was Bertie who had set his boat adrift. Before Aunt Agatha can have an audience with her nephew, the latter resorts to a down-the-stout-water-pipe act and seeks refuge in the metropolis.

In love with Greta Garbo

We also get to meet Thos in the short story The Love that Purifies (Very Good, Jeeves). When competing with Sebastian Moon and Bonzo for the Good Conduct Award announced by Mister Anstruther, Thos comes out with flying colours. He walks several miles so as to fetch a newspaper for Bertie. When Sebastian gets a nail in his shoe, Thos carries him on his back all the way back home in hot sunshine. He loves Greta Garbo and proposes to spend the remainder of his life trying to be worthy of her.

Eventually, faced with Jeeves’ cunning, Thos loses his cool and the Good Conduct Award. Sebastian Moon, himself in love with Clara Bow, speaks disparagingly of Greta Garbo. An argument takes place and all hell breaks loose. Aunt Dahlia wins a bet and Anatole continues to serve her household.

The spiritual advancement of clergymen

Thos also puts in an appearance in The Mating Season. In this narrative, he has been left behind under Bertie’s care and is delighted at being accompanied by Miss Cora Pirbright, his Hollywood heart-throb, to see a picture. He manages to get fifty of her autographs, expecting to get sixpence apiece from the boys at his school. Eventually, he manages to fetch a bob for each of the autographs.

In order to avoid Aunt Agatha landing up at Deverill Hall and discovering BertiePGW MatingSeason masquerading as Gussie, Thomas is persuaded to vanish from his school at Bramley-on-Sea. He is charmed into spending a few days at the Vicarage where Corky is staying. The Vicar is none too happy, but Corky feels that it is good for clergymen to have these trials. Such encounters make them more spiritual, and consequently hotter at their jobs.

Of course, Thos runs the risk of getting some juicy ones on the old spot. Bertie belives that Aunt Agatha would be more hopping mad than anxious at her cub’s disappearance.

‘Thos,’ I said, ‘makes rather a speciality of running away from school. He’s done it twice before this, once to attend a cup final and once to go hunting for buried treasure in the Caribbees, and I don’t remember Aunt Agatha on either occasion as the stricken mother. Thos was the one who got stricken. Six of the best on the old spot, he tells me.’

A bright future for Thos

Imagine his plight when Esmond Haddock ends up defying his aunts, five in all, thereby sealing the prospect of his taking a saunter down the aisle with Corky.

‘Why did you sigh?’

‘I was thinking of Master Thomas, sir. The announcement of Miss Pirbright’s betrothal came as a severe blow to him.’

I refused to allow my spirits to be lowered by any such side issues.

‘Waste no time in commiserating with young Thos, Jeeves. His is a resilient nature, and the agony will pass. He may have lost Corky, but there’s always Betty Grable and Dorothy Lamour and Jennifer Jones.’

‘I understand those women are married, sir.’

‘That won’t affect Thos. He’ll be getting their autographs, just the same. I see a bright future ahead of him.’

This is one case where one is apt to concede that Aunt Agatha is more to be pitied than censured – for having to manage someone like Thos, who ranks so very high on the Richter scale of Roguishness.


Gender disparity in endeavours of a roguish kind

Many a mom would confirm that bringing up boys is a far more daunting task than that of bringing up girls. Kids in Plumsville conform to this rule but Wodehouse paints his sweet little girls with a somewhat delicate but deadlier depth of character.

Allow me to come back to the ranking of Clementina and Peggy Mainwaring, in whose case, the jury awarding the ranks is still out. The reason for the jury being baffled is that the so-called delicately nurtured kids happen to be discreetly naughtier than their male counterparts.

Admittedly, their public behavior is above reproach. While being treated onPGWodehouse their birthdays or being given a lift in a car, they are at their best behavior. But leave them alone and they are found to be lacing ink-pots with sherbet or going AWOL. Stealing and relishing cigarettes comes easily to them. To make a guest lecturer nervous by simply giggling and staring is their natural tendency. When it comes to delivering mischief, they appear to deploy subtler methods. When playing a prank, they appear to be more delicate in their approach.

Not so for the kids of the so-called sterner sex. Their roguish tendencies manifest in a straight forward manner, in full public view. If they use paraffin to douse a fire, they simply look you in the eye and own up. If they nip the theater career of an aspiring actor in the bud, they tick him off openly. If they seek protection money from their would-be fathers, they do so unabashedly. Yes, their methods as well as the outcomes are pretty rough.


The mighty soft power of kids

In whichever narrative they appear, the kids exercise great influence on the adults as well as on the proceedings. By winning prizes, they ensure that their fathers get the courage necessary for them to squeeze their bosses for a raise. Making or breaking matrimonial alliances is the work of a moment for them. Wreaking vengeance is an art they appear to have perfected. Supporting their fathers and controlling the career prospects of artists of all hues comes naturally to them. When seniors devise a Good Conduct award, they leave no stone unturned to prove their mettle. When infatuated with celebrities, they devote their lives to being worthy of their affections. When in the company of clergymen, they end up making them more spiritual, thereby making them hotter on their jobs.


Some lessons from the kids in Plumsville

The poet who said ‘The Child is father of the Man’ was not too much off the mark. Whatever their rank on the Richter scale of Roguishness, there is much we can learn from the kids in Plumsville.

  • Notice a colleague sulking because of not being able to squeeze the boss for a raise? We can get her to deliver a speech which is heartily applauded and appreciated. Or, wait for her kid to get a gold medal at school. See how her confidence level shoots up.
  • Competing for a coveted promotion? Like Prudence Baxter, we need to ensure getting noticed by a Jeeves-like senior who is good at spotting potential and is willing to place his bets on someone with our limited abilities.
  • Just like Oswald, let us learn swimming and surviving skills at an early age. When pushed into a lake of troubles, let us develop a capacity to be able to reach the shore on our own. If we keep waiting for a Bingo Little to dive in and save us, we might just sink without a trace.
  • Want to teach a lesson or two to a nasty colleague? Let us develop a supercilious gaze. When he gets up to make a presentation, tell him his tie knot needs to be adjusted. If possible, giggle. Stare. Keep staring till the time he fumbles.
  • When discussing our favourite silver screen divas, let us be open-minded.
  • Despise a politician or a boss? Let us find out the nearest lake with an island in its middle. Leave him marooned there. Let nature do the rest.
  • Let us try to be like a Boy Scout, dishing out acts of kindness to those who matter. When we goof up like Edwin, like by using paraffin to douse a fire, let us own up. We could earn respect and admiration.
  • Do we happen to know someone who could do with a higher Spirituality Quotient? Let us unleash a kid on the person for a few days. We shall be rewarded with excellent results. Kids provide this unique but much under-appreciated service at home to many amongst us.

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Bingo Little Junior and Prudence Baxter earn a negative ranking on the Richter scale of Roguishness. However, there are several others who deceive us with their apparent innocence – Kid Clamentina, Oswald and Peggy Mainwaring, to name the ones we have covered in the last post.

Here are a few more who deserve to be considered.


Bonzo, the son of Aunt Dahlia, has a sound reputation as a pest. But if Thos sets a gold standard in devilry, Bonzo is merely a good, ordinary mischief-maker. His proud mother compares the two as follows:

‘Whenever it comes to devilry, Bonzo is a good, ordinary selling-plater. Whereas Thomas is a classic yearling.’

When Bonzo is in love, his nature gets altered. He tries to lead a finer, betterVeryGoodJeeves life. When tempted to climb on the roof and boo down Mr Anstruther’s chimney, he refuses to oblige. When prompted to burst a paper bag below the chair of a resting old man, he merely walks off in a huff.

We get introduced to him and also to Sebastian Moon in The Love that Purifies (Very Good, Jeeves).

Sebastian Moon

Sebastian Moon has goggle eyes and golden curls. He has a breezy candidness about him. Few years junior to both Thos and Bonzo, he happens to have long nourished a deep regard for Miss Clara Bow.

Except for his presence in the short story mentioned above, more details of his escapades are not available.


Kid Blumenfeld

Here is a dish-faced kid who, despite his tender age, controls the theatrical productions of his father.

A king maker

In A Letter of Introduction (The Inimitable Jeeves), he wrecks the career aspirations of Cyril Bassington-Bassington, much to the relief of Aunt Agatha and Bertie. He is a stoutish infant with a lot of freckles. He has one of those cold, clammy and accusing sort of eyes. He looks at you as being an unnecessary product brought in by a cat after rummaging through a trash can.

Having been taught by his mother to be brutally frank while expressing hisPGW Inimitable_jeeves opinions, he tells Bertie that his (kid’s) father happens to be richer than him (Bertie). He has no hesitation in telling Cyril upfront that he is fish-faced, thereby inviting a scuffle between the two.

The father believes that the kid has the IQ of an average audience’s, and can be relied upon to certify the suitability of any play. Conversely, what he does not like will be too rotten for anyone.

This is how the scene unfolds at a rehearsal.

‘You got to work good for my pop!’ said the stout child, waggling his head reprovingly at Cyril.

‘I don’t want any bally cheek from you!’ said Cyril, gurgling a bit.

‘What’s that?’ barked old Blumenfeld. ‘Do you understand that this boy is my son?’

‘Yes, I do,’ said Cyril. ‘And you both have my sympathy!’

‘You’re fired!’ bellowed old Blumenfeld, swelling a good bit more. ‘Get out of my theatre!’

Thus ends the artistic career of Cyril, much to the delight of Aunt Agatha. Jeeves is equally contented, having taken the liberty of gifting Bertie’s favourite purple socks to the lift attendant.

A fancy for Aberdeen terriers

The kid also puts in an appearance in Episode of the Dog McIntosh (Very Good, Jeeves).

When Blumenfeld Sr comes over from New York to check if there are any plays worth buying, the kid is brought along to put his seal of approval on any good play he comes across.

Bobbie Wickham, in her keenness to get her mother’s dramatized version of a novel of hers, allows the kid to walk off with McIntosh, Aunt Agatha’s Aberdeen terrier, left in Bertie’s charge while she goes off to Aix-les-Bains to take the cure.

A sense of Noblesse oblige restrains Bertie from dashing off to the Savoy and demanding the pet back. As always, Jeeves comes up with a solution – a look-alike replacement is arranged for the kid, whereas Bertie rescues McIntosh after sprinkling his trousers with aniseed powder. Aniseed has an aroma which appears to speak straight to the deeps of the terrier’s soul. The innocent subterfuge works. Peace prevails.


Seabury of the Butter-slide fame

Seabury puts in an appearance in Thank you, Jeeves. He is described as a smallish, freckled kid with aeroplane ears. He has a supercilious gaze which leaves you wondering what you had done wrong.

‘In my Rogues Gallery of repulsive small boys I suppose he would come about third – not quite so bad as my Aunt Agatha’s son, Young Thos, or Blumenfeld’s Junior, but well ahead of little Sebastian Moon, my Aunt Dahlia’s Bonzo, and the field.’

If you run into him, he is apt to demand protection money. If you decide not toPGW ThankYouJeeves pay up, things could happen to you. There could be a lizard in your bed, crawling up the left pyjama leg when you slip between the sheets for some well-earned sleep.

Unpleasantness ensues between Master Seabury and Master Dwight Stoker when the latter refuses to part with a sum of one shilling and sixpence for protection. A brawl follows. Lady Chuffnell behaves like a tigress out to protect her cub. Pop Stoker kicks in on behalf of his progeny. Diplomatic relations between the two families get severed, thereby putting the sale of Chuffnell Hall in jeopardy. Prospects of Chuffy proposing to Pauline Stoker nosedive.

Another romance which gets threatened in its embryonic stage by Seabury is the one between his tigress mother and the renowned looney doctor, Sir Roderick Glossop. Having failed in his endeavours to extract a sum of ten shillings from his future stepfather, Seabury plans something in the nature of a reprisal.

‘He wouldn’t have the nerve to do the dirty on a future stepfather, would he?’

‘Young gentlemen are headstrong, sir.’

‘True, one recalls the case of my Aunt Agatha’s son, young Thos, and the Cabinet Minister.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘In a spirit of ill-will he marooned him on an island in the lake with a swan.’

‘Yes, sir.’

A butter-slide is laid as a trap. Stealthily followed by Mary, a parlour maid of a somewhat frivolous nature, Pop Glossop takes a toss with some heaviness. A rift ensues between the two seniors. The tidal wave of an injured motherly love scores over the affection felt by Woman Chuffnell for Sir Roderick Glossop.

Eventually, the mother realizes her folly and laments her having been too harsh on the looney doctor, who, in act of unparalleled magnanimity, had blackened his face to merely amuse the fiend in human shape – Seabury.


Edwin the Boy Scout

Like many of his contemporaries listed above, Edwin plays a key role in shaping events in the life of Bertie when he lands up at Steeple Bumpleigh on an errand of mercy for Uncle Percy. Even otherwise, when Edwin tries to catch up with his acts of kindness, human life is imperiled. We get to meet him in Joy in the Morning.

Edwin is a small boy with a face like a ferret. He is a conscientious Boy ScoutJoyInTheMorning who insists on keeping his score of charitable acts up to date at all times. The list of his charitable acts includes cleaning up cottage chimneys using gunpowder. If a chimney were to catch fire, he rushes in to douse it with paraffin, thereby making the whole cottage go up in flames.

When he finds a brooch meant for his sister, Florence Craye, he loses no time in handing it over to her, claiming it to be a birthday present from Bertie. The sister returns the true love of her life, Stilton Cheeseright, to store and decides to get married to Bertie, leaving him all of a twitter.

In order to get de-Florenced, Bertie decides to deliver a forceful kick to her favourite brother in her presence. Edwin educates Bertie on the behavior of ants, ex-members of the Hymenoptera family. Upon stooping down, he does receive a juicy one from Bertie. However, rather than getting annoyed, Florence is appreciative of the act, because Edwin has been pasting press clippings on her latest book ‘Spindrift’ upside down in an album of hers!

When he finds burglars on the lawns in the middle of the night, he promptly tackles them using a Scout’s stick. UncleWodehouse characters Percy gets biffed on his trouser seat. Bertie gets sloshed on the back hair, leaving him with a golf ball sized contusion.

When he decides to mend an egg boiler, a hapless egg kept in position flies off like a bullet, catching a prospective egg consumer like Boko on the tip of his nose which continues to bleed for a few hours.

Yet another act of kindness he does is to place a hedgehog in Bertie’s bed. While doing so, he notices a policeman’s uniform on the bed and promptly reports the matter to Stilton, who has been missing his own after a swim in the river. Bertie comes very close to getting pinched, being saved at the last minute by his Uncle Percy. The latter refuses to sign on the warrant authorizing Bertie’s arrest, ticking off the officers of the Law who forget their sacred obligations and bring trumped-up charges right and left in a selfish desire to secure promotion.

This revolting exhibition of fraud makes Stilton resign from the Force, thereby removing the barrier between himself and Florence. Bertie avoids the peril of walking down the aisle with an ace spiritual reformer in his life.

Ogden Ford, the darling of kidnappers

Here is someone who could give all the other kids a run for their money. He is fourteen years of age, round andPGW PiccadillyJim overfed. If there is a spoilt and unpleasant brat who is overindulged by his wealthy parents, it is Ogden, the supreme fiend in human shape. Here is a juicy description of his.

Years of grown-up society and the absence of anything approaching discipline had given him a precocity on which the earnest efforts of a series of private tutors had expended themselves in vain. They came, full of optimism and self-confidence, to retire after a brief interval, shattered by the boy’s stodgy resistance to education in any form or shape. To Mr. Pett, never at his ease with boys, Ogden Ford was a constant irritant. He disliked his stepson’s personality, and he more than suspected him of stealing his cigarettes. It was an additional annoyance that he was fully aware of the impossibility of ever catching him at it.

He thinks nothing of ticking off his step-father. Forever in the eyes of kidnappers, he loses no time in introducing numerous vices to the boarding school he is sent to. We meet him and his mother, Nesta, in two narratives – The Little Nugget and Piccadilly Jim.

Both Edwin and Ogden compete with Thos for the top ranking on the Richter scale of Roguishness.

(To be continued; caricatures of characters courtesy www)

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