My readers by now are well aware about my fascination with P G Wodehouse writings and I continue to read his compendium of work on my kindle. It’s like a thesis and I am reading it at a leisurely pace.
Apart from his mastery over the use of language and expression to create a situation that’s neither fully ironical nor satirical, his ability to create subtle humour out of day to day situations is really something wonderful. In the process, if there’s a situation with which you identify yourself, it adds a layer of familiarity.
After finishing the acts of Bertie Wooster, I am currently reading another of his popular character Psmith. This is a long winded story about a family of Jacksons having four sons and a daughter and all four brothers are cricket aficionados and good players in their own right. They are sent to famous boarding schools/ junior colleges that are well known for their cricketing abilities apart of academics.
To cut the story short, the youngest of the Jacksons, Mike, who’s playing wonderful cricket and appears to be ripe for county cricket, is summoned by his father to be informed that he has lost all his wealth and that Mike can not pursue his education and cricket further and instead has to join a bank in London.
From campus to brutal professional world of banking, the transition is sudden and abrupt. The young Mike is feeling like fish out of water inside the bank office, where he’s asked to go to despatch section and learn about receipt and delivery of letters. On his way to office in London on day 1, he comes across a college ground and immediately thinks about playing some cricket on weekends and holidays.
The above took me back to the year 1983 when I was going to Delhi university, pursuing my master in physics. The first semester ended on 10th December and the second semester was to begin on 5th January after a short winter break. In between around 15th of December, I got an offer letter asking me to report at a bank’s divisional office at Connaught Place on 28th December. Was I happy? In fact , I was totally crestfallen at the thought of transiting from cool, intellectually stimulating campus life to big boring world of banking. The thought that my further studies were going to end abruptly really sank me to the extreme depths of sadness. And on my first day at the bank, like Mike, I was a fish out of water and again like Mike asked to sit in despatch section. From young, educated, ambitious and disciplined folks at DU campus, the loud, boisterous and invective using bank staff, it was a transition most forgettable that I have not been able to forget till date!
Such is the irony of life; but how you see the lighter side of such an irony is what PGW tells us in his inimitable manner!
This extract of his work transported me to an event that happened 40 years back but whose memory is still fresh in my mind, like it was yesterday. This is the power of pen.