Yes it was 2004. We had a lunch break in college and I was away from everyone in the room filled with food and fun. I was reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice,when two of my classmates and now friends for life, both book lovers, found me. One of my friends gave me A Girl in Blue by P.G Wodehouse from her father’s collection. And I simply devoured it. In quest to read more, I started reading during the lectures.I know a lot of you have done so . That adds to the fun. Doesn’t it ?
And then after a long time came Blandings Castle. Those days were when you could at most save your pocket-money and buy second-hand books. But Indian reading at that was limited to Sidney Sheldon, Jeffry Archer and Dan Brown and there was no trace of Wodehouse books in second-hand book stalls (not even pirated). Libraries here, are paid too. You see, I had desperate times with books and my reading. And now when I can buy them, I have no regrets for overdoing
My best hope at that time was SALE. And Strand bookstore always used to have great discounts once in a while. I bought one book which had Pigs have wings, Full Moon and Galahad at Blandings. Can you imagine my happiness ? I know you can. I know you have also been there. I read it over and over until I could buy or get another book from somewhere. Lord Emsworth is a fathead and his obsessions over his pig is funny. If you are looking to start reading Blandings ,then Something Fresh is your first stop.
And then I start working and comes the whole collection of Jeeves. Jeeves is a gentleman’s gentleman i.e valet of Bertie Wooster. I think Stephen Fry is the best Jeeves. And did you read Stephen Fry’s take on Wodehouse. I think you will like it. My personal favorites are Carry on Jeeves, Thank you Jeeves, Right Ho Jeeves, Ring for Jeeves. Ok all of them.
Then there is selfish young man and jack of all trades,PSmith. I really wish Wodehouse would have written more on PSmith. And more of Ukridge stories too. You can start with PSmith in the City and then there is PSmith and Blandings together in Leave it to PSmith.
I had a phase when I started reading funny titles and the plots were as funny as titles. Pearls,Girls and Monty Bodkin, Eggs Beans and Crumpets, Big Money, Do Butlers Burgle Bank ?, The Girl on the Boat. I want to read more of Drones Club , Mr Mulliner and Golf Stories. And then there is writing. I want to write more essays on Wodehouse’s character.
Wodehouse and India is one of the topics I like to read on India. I find people who read Wodehouse the way he has written it and on the other hand I find well read people giving it a miss. Yet to understand,why ? WHO READS WODEHOUSE in India and why? There is an excellent post written on it. This article says that Wodehouse novellas contain that upper-class twittery that the caste conscious Indian middle-classes relate to very well. Perhaps!!
Wodehouse books are an escape and all you would want to do is bask into its madness. For me, Wodehouse is immortal