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Wodehouse and Me
Monday, July 21, 2008
Half a decade ago, when someone mentioned the term 'P G Wodehouse' to me, the then ignorant me conjured up visions of a paying-guest accommodation in the woods. A couple of years later, I came across PGW's books in the library but did not bother to flip through the first few pages to get a feel of the type of book it is. It was judging by the cover then. The graphic on the cover resembled a painting and I thought it was a book meant for kids and shunned that library shelf which contained the PGW books.

However after another couple of years, most of the people I met happened to be intellectual, knowledgable people. When intellectual, knowledgable people happen to be bibliophiles discussing the greatest books of the century there is 95% probability that PGW's books make their way into the discussions. However it was a college friend who told me how humorous the books were. Driven by curiosity and an urge for humour, given the fact that people like me have a poor sense of humour, or so, it seemed, I went to the library and picked a copy of "Right Ho, Jeeves". The moment I finished the book, I began to love it. The next time I borrowed three books in the Blandings Castle series. I had become a fan of Wodehouse.

The next time, I purchased "Big Money", a book that fits neither in the Jeeves series nor the Blandings Castle series but into that of other books. Goach, a PGW fan, had mentioned in one of his posts that all stories of PGW rock and so I had no hesitation in buying "Big Money". The worst part was that i could not complete it and I am still only halfway through it even after about one year of reading it.

In the meantime, during my frequent haunts at Odyssey and Landmark, I came across a few low-price editions of PGW, published by Jaico. The Gold Bat, The Pothunters, The Head of Kay's.. all unfamiliar titles that I remembered not seeing them in the list of titles in the first few pages of the PGW books published by Penguin. The back cover revealed that they were the school stories that PGW wrote early in his career. 65 rupees per book, 195 for three. That's less than the cost of one PGW book published by Penguin. Not to lose out on such a profitable bargain, I bought all the three.

Boys in boarding schools form the main characters in the school stories. The aforementioned three books have exactly the same plot-- the protagonist loses one or more of his very valuable properties and goes out in search for it. The part after he sets out in search of his property resembles a thriller novel with a suspense element interspersed with dark nights (what's suspense without dark). It is an all-boys story devoid of pretty girls and boy-meets-girl-and-romance-follows sequences. Cricket finds an important place in these stories revealing that PGW was interested in cricket in those days when cricket was in infancy. The list of books reveals that PGW has written a lot of similar school stories. In the meantime I found that my cousin has omnibuses of KPN and Rathi Meena....err...Jeeves and Blandings. Can't wait to lay my hands on them.

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Property of Sheks @ 11:00 am  
  • At 1:37 pm, Anonymous sayali mishra said…

    Dude,why this sudden new found obsession with Wodehouse?

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Name: Sheks
Home: Madras, TamilNadu, India
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