11 May 2008

Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden

Since the age of five I've been known to my acquaintances as an avid reader. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to read every book that hits the bestseller list. I haven't yet read anything by Khalid Hosseini(had to google this) or Jhumpa Lahiri, although I do enjoy the occasional Ayn Rand and Paulo Coelho. I'm one of those leisure readers. I feed on stuff like Jeffrey Archer, JKR, Dan Brown, etc. and come on, you do so learn stuff from their books too, like I would never know about the KGB(when I was about 12, I think) if it weren't for Archer or about Jesus' alleged marriage(*sniggers* no comments! All I can say is I never read the Bible, but I've read the DaVinci Code thrice...) if it weren't for Danny boy.

So getting back to my social circle's perception of my reading habits, I invariably got a couple of books on my birthday whether I'd asked for them or not. Don't get me wrong, I'd never complain if someone got me good ol' O.Henry, but there was this time when, not on my bday, just a random day, I got a bunch of books from my family physician(you got it right, even my doctor knew how much I read). She was cleaning out her book collection since both her kids had moved out and there was no one to read them anymore. I jumped at the Mallory Towers(gimme a break, i think i was nine!) but when i came to the P.G. Wodehouse I was stumped! I mean who would land a Wodehouse on an unsuspecting nine yr old!!!! Anyway, I read two pages and shoved it into the back of my book cabinet.

Five (or maybe more) summers later, whilst cleaning, I came across that darned Jeeves once again. Remembering my agony of that long gone summer night, I was close to discarding the book, when I decided to give Bertie a chance. The first story contained a wild child, angry geese, English noblesse of the early 1900s, and, in Wodehouse's own words, the ever-sagacious Jeeves all wrapped in P.G's unique style of the subtlest of humour.
I was smitten.

I remember the rapidity with which I finished that book of short stories (Very Good, Jeeves).
I also remember considering wedlock with Wodehouse (Quite impossible, for one, he's dead+his literary genius might make up for his lack of aesthetic appeal, but still, I didn't know him personally...) but settled for spending the rest of my life with his works. Now I haven't been able to get my hands on a lot of his work considering how much they seem to cost, and with me living on the pocket money of a 19 yr old. I usually adore e-books for their convenience but, in the case of Pelham Grenville, they don't quite work the magic a bunch of yellowed pages can.

Lucky for me, I recently found out that the father of my father's colleague has the collected works of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse!!! My dad, very thrilled, gets me the Golf Omnibus as the first installment of my summer reading very generously shoved into his bag by Mr. Menon (God bless you!). My spirits rose and fell with equal velocity. Golf. And me. Right!

I read the back cover, I read the Foreword by the author and bit by bit my apprehension grew. Of all the damn books ever written, why one on golf. The only exposure I've had to golf is the cheap imitation of a computer game! I then got to the first story, then the second, and the charm of Sir Wodehouse was back, my very own Knight in Shining Armour wielding a pen (well it IS mightier than the sword you know). I am now through half the stories in the book, a mix of the experienced Oldest Member of the club giving the fledglings advice on everything from Golf etiquette to wooing young women from the upper echelons of Olde English Society, delivered warm with a seasoning of Grenville's bits of irony. Now I may still not know the difference between a Mashie and a Niblick (wait I think they're the same thing) but I sure know that Wodehouse is the best companion for a rainy afternoon and a cup of tea, oh and also, NEVER make small talk on a golf course!


plutosangel said...

nice to see you on blogger
Working hard or hardly working?? :P

plutosangel said...

oh btw in case u cant figure me out from my display name, I'm one of the girls who live above u.. the younger one :P

Alisha said...

nice blog u got here ya!...will keep visiting....!
do visit mera wala...though i rarely update:P


WhiteMoonWatching said...

thanks guys...

@aalia...b/w the two i guess...i never was an extremist ;)

@alisha....willl do...definitely...

Melinda Johnson said...

I love everything Wodehouse - my boys and I used to listen to the audio tapes while carpooling and howl.

Years later, I still love using quotes from his writings in my daily conversation, and see the confused expressions on the listener's faces.

Wodehouse on golf, love, or even bicycling, ("I dont think I have ever seen anyone pedal with a more sinister touch to the ankle work.") is all I need to brighten my day.

WhiteMoonWatching said...

@ melinda- so sorry, i just saw ur comment
i completely agree with the brightening-your-day bit

neeraj said...

From one Wodehouse lover to another, this post of yours warms me to you more than any other. And I suddenly realize society does not look kindly at me to talk in such a manner to a stranger, worse ,a girl, since it is my first time here.

I recently read 'Damsels in Distress'. Do read it, will warm the cockles of your heart. I'll probably mail you my copy if your reply is as prompt and nice as mine.

Till then, cheers!

p.s I used to love Mallory Towers too! (I was nine, gimme a break)

WhiteMoonWatching said...

wow, thank you so much, neeraj. i'm so sorry the reply wasn't prompt. i haven't got damsels in distress yet, but i'm collecting the Arrow edition of all his works. such pretty covers!