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Posts Tagged ‘Valentines Day’

ashokbhatia

Residents of Plumsville are aware of such couples as Piggy-Maudie and Joe-Julia. To lovebirds that are young at heart and have matured over time, lining of the stomach plays an important role. At times, the prospect of an alliance between their respective children reunites them. PGW RingForJeeves

In ‘Ring for Jeeves’, we get to meet Mrs. Spottsworth and Captain Biggar. They are also young at heart but not as advanced in age as to merit consideration either to bodily afflictions or to children’s marriage prospects.

The two get introduced to each other while on a hunting spree in Kenya. Much later, they run into each other in the coffee room of the Goose and Gherkin, one of the wayside inns in England. A day later, they happen to be staying together at Rowcester Abbey, a property Mrs. Spottsworth is considering buying.

Of chance meetings which are ‘meant’

Mrs. Spottsworth exudes…

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Residents of Plumsville are aware of such couples as Piggy-Maudie and Joe-Julia. To lovebirds that are young at heart and have matured over time, lining of the stomach plays an important role. At times, the prospect of an alliance between their respective children reunites them. PGW RingForJeeves

In ‘Ring for Jeeves’, we get to meet Mrs. Spottsworth and Captain Biggar. They are also young at heart but not as advanced in age as to merit consideration either to bodily afflictions or to children’s marriage prospects.

The two get introduced to each other while on a hunting spree in Kenya. Much later, they run into each other in the coffee room of the Goose and Gherkin, one of the wayside inns in England. A day later, they happen to be staying together at Rowcester Abbey, a property Mrs. Spottsworth is considering buying.

Of chance meetings which are ‘meant’

Mrs. Spottsworth exudes an aura of wealth. She is as rich as she looks. At the mere mention of her name, the blood-sucking leeches of the Internal revenue Department ‘raise their filthy hats with a reverent intake of the breath.’

Her first husband, Cliffton Bessemer, died in a road mishap, leaving behind sackfuls of the green stuff, which got further supplemented when her second husband, A. B. Spottsworth, made the obituary column, when, while hunting in Kenya, ‘thought a lion to be dead, whereas the lion thought it wasn’t.’

Colonel Cuthbert Gervase Brabazon-Biggar had the privilege then of picking up the mortal remains of her second husband and of getting those shipped out to Nairobi.

She remains in touch with both her husbands through a Ouija board. Broadminded and considerate, they keep egging her on to marry yet again. They assert that a woman, irrespective of her bank balance, needs a mate by her side.

She is intensely interested in psychical research and looks forward to enthralling spiritual manifestations, that too with a dash of impatience. She does not believe in chance. She believes that even chance meetings are ‘meant’.

Of cavemen and clubs

Mrs. Spottsworth is a romantic at heart. When ‘a night complete with moonlight, singing nightingales, gentle breezes and the scent of stock and tobacco plant’ brings the two lovers together, she tries her best to kindle the passion which happens to be dormant in the bosom of Captain Biggar.

The latter even gets persuaded to put on a pendant around her shapely neck, driving knives into his trembling frame.

Do you remember the day we met in Kenya?’

‘Oh, rather,’ said Captain Biggar.

‘I had the strangest feeling, when I saw you that day, that we had met before in some previous existence.’

‘A bit unlikely, what?’

Mrs. Spottsworth closed her eyes.

‘I seemed to see us in some dim, prehistoric age. We were clad in skins. You hit me over the head with your club and dragged me by my hair to your cave.’

‘Oh, no, dash it, I wouldn’t do a thing like that.

Mrs. Spottsworth opened her eyes, and enlarging them to their fullest extent allowed them to play on his like searchlights.

‘You did it because you loved me,’ she said in a low, vibrant whisper.

Kind words and melting looks

Despite being cold shouldered, her female instincts do not lead her astray. She knows that when a man chokes up and looks like an embarrassed beetroot every time he catches her eye, he is bound to be passionate about her. To bring that passion to a boil, few kind words and a melting look or two would be quite sufficient.

When an opportunity presents for her to dance the Chesterton with the ninth Earl of Rowcester and rousing the fiend that slept in Captain Biggar, she exploits it. The latter walks out in a dark mood, giving the frogs on the open lawns an impression that ‘it was raining number eleven boots.’

When her diamond pendant gets purloined, she merely expects justice, not vengeance. When Captain Biggar is held to be the prime suspect, she starts losing her faith in human nature.

When a woman loves a man with every fibre of a generous nature, it can never be pleasant for her to hear this man alluded to as a red-faced thug and as a scoundrel who can’t possibly get away but must inevitably ere long be caught and slapped into the jug.

The Biggar Code

On his part, Captain Biggar has loved her from the very moment when she, a combination of Cleopetra and Helen of Troy, had briefly popped up in his life. But his code was rigid on such matters. A pauper like him could not go mixing with wealthy widows. Tubby Frobisher and the Subahdar in the old Anglo-Malay Club at Kuala Lampur would not approve.

The Biggar code not only forbids poor persons proposing to rich widows. It also encourages a white man to shield young and innocent women from the seamy side of life. When it comes to alerting poor Jill about her affianced, Bill, cooing to Mrs. Spottsworth like a turtle-dove, Captain loses no time. The code also enjoins one to be honest in one’s dealings – whether by way of chasing defaulting bookies or by returning stolen pendants. If one values money, it is only to ensure that one can feel in a position to express one’s love for a woman with a magnificent bank balance.

He has a penchant for expressing himself in Swahili as also in some languages of the East. When craving clarity of mind, he is wont to do yogic breathing exercises and practice ‘communion with the Jivatma or soul.’

Breaking the code jinx

The code jinx is broken by Mrs. Spottsworth by confirming to Captain Biggar that one of the code’s main proponents, Augustus Frobisher, has already gone ahead and married a woman who has much more money than herself.

Captain’s plans of wandering out into the sunset alone get scratched. Jeeves’ services get relied upon for announcing the banns in The Times, the Telegraph and Mail and Express.

Unlike the narratives which capture the characters of Piggy-Maudie and Joe-Julia, the main protagonists in this case do not get united owing to one of the juicy schemes of Jeeves.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/piggy-maudie-and-a-seasoned-romance

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/joe-julia-and-a-seasoned-romance)

 

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Here is a juicy tribute to P G Wodehouse from a fan of his, Mahesh Verma. He is a banker by profession, a columnist by choice; a father of two lovely daughters and a husband to an amazing woman! Every alternate Wednesday, he writes a column known as ‘Trivial Travails’.PGWodehouse

“Albert Einstein probably didn’t realise that his theory of relativity did not really affect those who are not relatives and consequently tie the knot on T-1 from Valentine’s Day, and his theory of relative disappointment (“Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed”) also does not hold true for those brave ones who are not falling prey to the triskaidekaphobia – the morbid fear of the number 13!

So while M&M celebrated vanquishing the fear of that number in their exotic residence in The Hague, M&V celebrated overcoming that dreaded number 13 in their not-so-exotic residence in The Wave.

And as February 13th blended into the 14th, the Shakespearean fans reminded the non-believers: “Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.”

So while the world celebrated what is popularly known as Valentine’s Day (a day dedicated to extortion, as per Jay Leno) a few of the dedicated bunch mourned the passing away of the Master, some 41 years ago. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE born on October 15, 1881 left for his Master’s abode on February 14, 1975.

Almost like yours faithfully, Wodehouse also was employed by a bank and also disliked the work and also turned to writing in his spare time. But while he switched to comic fiction, creating characters like “the feather-brained Bertie Wooster and his sagacious valet, Jeeves; the immaculate and loquacious Psmith; the feeble-minded Lord Emsworth and the Blandings Castle set”, this plebian started with writing for the school newspaper and graduated to the Reader’s Forum and switched to the column, ‘Trivial Travails’, writing about the handsome Atticus and the Trinity and the society at large – where some display their assets while others display what, unknown to them, have become liabilities over time.

While Wodehouse moved in 1934 to France for tax reasons, this poor banker moved to Muscat in 1985 for pecuniary reasons. While the Master used a mixture of Edwardian slang, quotations from and allusions to numerous poets, and only some critics considered his work flippant, nearly all critics (and boy, are they out there!) consider the TT to be flippant despite the quotations from numerous poets and references to the acute and obtuse.

But flippant or not, the alternate Wednesdays keep coming and so does the TT – at least till some more time to come. C’est la vie – such is life! And across the oceans, on the night of February 14, Leonardo DiCaprio had a date with Kate Winslet, at the Royal Opera House in London. Yes, they have a Royal Opera House there too, though nowhere as elegant and beautiful as ours in Muscat. But I digress…was in the process of telling you that Leo and Kate did what they couldn’t do during their Titanic days.

And before the likes of a certain Mr Singh start thinking things, one needs to clarify that the stars of Titanic fame won the 69th BAFTA awards: Leo won his first Best Actor’s award for his role in The Revenant while Kate got the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Steve Jobs’ secretary. And the coveted Academy Fellowship went to Sir Sidney Poitier, the Sir of To Sir, with Love fame.

The British Academy Film Awards are generally considered to be a precursor to the Academy Awards (or Oscars) and the bookies are now busy rejuggling their odds and ends on Leo and Kate. Don’t know about DiCaprio and Winslet, but I am hoping that Asif Kapadia does a repeat of the BAFTAs and wins again for the best documentary Amy – based on the late singer Amy Winehouse. And the same evening, the BAFTA’s host Stephen Fry’s comment about the costume design award-winner Jenny Beavan’s appearance created havoc in the world of the Twitteratis. After users tweeted him their distaste, he angrily responded in a number of updates, reminding people that Beavan is a close friend of his and she was aware of his intention.

He wrote: “Will all you sanctimonious … … … … … (expletives deleted to protect the continuity of the TT). Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet”. He also shared a picture of himself and Beavan, with the caption: “Jenny Baglady Beavan and Stephen Outrageous Misogynist Swine Fry at the #EEBAFTAs after party”. But he subsequently deleted his account expressing his happiness at being free from Twitter, a platform he referred to as “a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended”.

Maybe someday, I too will delete my Twitter account after I get to host some award function or the other! But in all fairness, let the man be… . Stephen Fry is a genius, not only because he is the quintessential perfect Jeeves and his Moab is my Washpot is an absolute gem of an autobiography, but because he is!

Give the man a break – if we can’t joke with a friend or about a friend on stage or in print, then we might as well sell our souls to the critics. Right, Mr Singh?

And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:
Do you know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?
Do you know that hell also hath no fury like a woman conned?
Do you know that hell actually hath no fury like a woman tagged in a Facebook photo that makes her look fat??
Till next fortnight… .”

(Notes:

  1. This article appeared in The Muscat Daily on the 17th of February, 2016.  (http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Stories-Files/Valentine-s-Day)
  2. Permission from the author to re-blog it here is gratefully acknowledged.)

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February is the month of celebration of some of the greatest romances we come across in literature. Here is one some of you may like to revisit.

Plumtopia

220px-TheClickingOfCuthbertP. G. Wodehouse gave us many romances that linger long in our affections. Each February at Plumtopia is dedicated revisiting the Great Wodehouse Romances to mark the anniversary of his death on St Valentine’s Day, 1975.

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Cuthbert Banks and Adeline Smethurst

One of the delights of a Wodehouse romance, is the inventiveness with which he steers his heroes and heroines toward their first meeting. Some of these introductions happen ‘off-stage,’ especially in the Wooster narratives, but elsewhere we are privileged witnesses to some truly memorable meetings. Among his fruitiest is the moment when golfer Cuthbert Banks interrupts Raymond Parsloe Devine’s lecture to the Wood Hills Literary and Debating Society, in order to play his ball – with a niblick – from on top of the table.

‘I have dwelt upon this incident, because it was the means of introducing Cuthbert Banks to Mrs Smethurst’s niece, Adeline. As Cuthbert, for…

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PGWodehouseP G Wodehouse passed away on the 14th of February, 1975. Some of his fans celebrated the occasion by coming up with some unique posts dedicated to his memory. Here are some that you may like.

 

By Kishore M. Rao

Plum Pie
(or KhichDee, a hotchpotch Indian dish)

Galahad At Blandings,
Has many happy landings,
In fact, Over Seventy,
For many, that’s plenty.

A Gentleman Of Leisure,
Looking for some pleasure,
Pleads with goofy earls,
Saying, “Bring On The Girls”.

The Woosters and the Bassets,
Try to warm their well Frozen Assets,
Bobby makes hot water bottles squishy,
That’s certainly Something Fishy.

There’s Ice in the Bedroom,
Gussie may become a groom,
Even if it’s as Mephistopheles,
And it’s time to Ring for Jeeves.

Your counsel relieves,
Thank You, Jeeves,
Sometimes here and also there,
Blandings Castle And Elsewhere.

Jeeves, Meadowes or Purvis,
You always get Quick Service,
Always swiftly and with style,
That’s Service With A Smile.

When it is Cocktail Time,
The mood’s very ‘sublime’,
The men come in tons,
For A Few Quick Ones.

There’s Joy In The Morning,
With Jeeves in the Offing,
When the plot really thickens,
There’s Love Among The Chickens.

Young Men In Spats,
And A Damsel In Distress,
Are duly advised right,
By Uncle Dynamite.

Butlers may buttle and zip,
Sporting a Stiff Upper Lip,
Jeeves, but it’s tough when,
Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen!

The Coming of Bill,
Accompanied by Jill,
The Reckless starchy
Indiscretions of Archie.

The Clicking of Cuthbert,
Who chases every skirt,
With The Girl On The Boat,
Will certainly get your goat.

Intrepid young men,
Like Sam The Sudden,
And Bill The Conqueror,
Do their youth squander.

When The Small Bachelor,
Experiences Heavy Weather,
He tries, plans and gets,
Eggs, Beans and Crumpets.

When you are delirious,
Read Nothing Serious,
Just some morale boosters,
Like The Code Of The Woosters.

Let’s Meet Mr. Mulliner,
Who’s got Spring Fever,
From The Girl In Blue,
How?! I have no clue!

Show someone off a bridge?
Please consult Mr Ukridge,
And also Picadilly Jim,
(You surely know him).

But let us all be totally frank,
Tho’ there’s Money In The Bank,
You will agree it is rather funny,
That Big Money is Uneasy Money.

When exceeding the budget,
And in need of The Little Nugget,
Make enquiries, with thanks,
“Do Butlers Burgle Banks?”

Why is love synonymous
With Bachelors Anonymous?
For the answer forthwith,
Just Leave It To Psmith!

And If I Were You,
(That can’t be true)
I’d get into Hot Water,
With the Earl’s daughter.

I’ve got The Heart Of A Goof,
Do you demand further proof?!
I found the real reason,
It’s The Mating Season!

(You may like to count the number of Wodehouse’s works covered in this composition!)

By Sukanya Lakshmi Narayan

An Ode to Plum

What does one say of Plum, this Valentine
In honour of humour , in his every line
No words of praise can ever be enough
Its a task that’s dauntingly tough.

His characters, for us are alive and kicking
They have us in splits, sometimes rollicking
Bertie Wooster leads a privileged life
But its the hardest job to find him a wife.

Aunt Agatha eats bottles for breakfast
Dahlia is loud but surely steadfast
Jeeves is his valet and angel saviour
Saves Bertie and friends from many a quagmire.

Lord Emsworth and his beloved Empress
Kid Clementina is no less a princess
Sisters galore, and Gally the brother
McAllister , gardener, efficient like no other.

Ukridge, Psmith, Mulliner and Baxter
Even Cat Webster has so much character
Regaling his fans, his characters befriend
And to us, laughter , and joy, always send.

 

You may also like to check out the following posts:

 

By Honoria Glossop

https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/on-this-day-p-g-wodehouse-died-on-valentines-day-1975

By Ragini SGH

https://ragsie15.wordpress.com

By John Dawson

Gilbert Wilkinson illustrations

https://www.facebook.com/PgWodehouseIllustrated

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Rashtrapati Bahavan

The denizens of Delhi have cast their vote and shown the way,

Indians now have a new App downloaded, keeping voter fatigue at bay;

 

Considerations of caste, creed, sex and religion no longer count,

A clean image, humility and performance on the job alone count;

 

The age of the political party no more entices, nor does a dynasty,

Use of religion to polarize voters is an attempt which turns nasty;

 

What counts is the delight and empowerment of the common man,

Absence of graft, delegation of powers, with corruption facing a ban;

 

Transparent political funding, good governance not a myth but a reality,

Tangible returns from the citizens’ franchise, a non-criminal polity;

 

Better life, time-bound delivery of services, safety on the road and street,

Hopefully, the new government lives up to its promises and does not retreat;

 

Meer slogans and jingoism would not do, nor skillful media management,

Gone are the days of a rag-tag coalition and an underhand arrangement;

 

For all other politicos across the country, the writing on the wall is clear,

Be transparent, be sincere, be innovative, and hold the common man dear;

 

Sixty-seven years after independence, on this Valentine Day,

Mother India has been rewarded with the AAP App bright and gay;

 

The crucible of democracy has yielded a new ray of hope,

Upholding the torch of the Constitution, in the darkness of ignorance we no longer grope.

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/a-16-point-agenda-for-the-16th-lok-sabha-of-india

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