My Journey with P.G.Wodehouse


My first ‘virtual’ acquaintance with P.G Wodehouse (a.k.a Uncle Plum) dates to around ten years ago, when I was lauded as the best writer of my school by my teachers and I tried to foray into novel-reading. Once, while ransacking my mother’s book shelf, I asked her to suggest me a novel that had supreme language, was comic and thriller at the same time…and something that I could like the same way I liked G.K Chesterton, Leo Tolstoy, Dickens, Doyle etc. She came out with an old book with almost mustard coloured pages, cover of which had an image of a monocled man with a pistol in hand aiming at some other strange looking man and a rich looking lady wearing pearls. I instantly shunned the idea of reading it and told mom that I was in no mood to read detective stories after finishing six Sherlock Holmes books. And the topic went into a long abeyance.


The first encounter

After ten years, I thought of giving it a try and forced myself to read just five pages of that same withered book. And fifteen minutes later, I knew I could beat any dipsomaniac in addiction. Initially what seemed a tough read had already left me awestricken fifteen minutes later. This first book was “Leave it to PSmith”, that had some of the finest strokes by the inimitable genius P.G Wodehouse. He was a true erudite Briton who reflected on the bona fide British customs of 18th and 19th century and carved out images of humour in places where no other author of  so-called best sellers of today can. Dark plottings, imposters, pride of affluence of Lady Constance Keeble, scepticism of the ‘Efficient Baxter’, perspicacity of pernickety PSmith and of course the most adorable innocence of  Lord Emsworth,  can be woven into a wonderful plot only by needles of language, farce and most importantly ‘timing’, of which P.G Wodehouse, the most read and more crucially most loved writer of Britain, was the master. Next on the roll were ‘Something Fresh’; ‘Uncle Dynamite’; ‘PSmith in the City’; ‘Picadilly Jim’; ‘Code of the Woosters’ and ‘The Mating Season’, which made me fall in love with the myriad and versatility of characters, to name a few- Jimmy Crocker, Bertie Wooster, Aunt Agatha, Fink Nottle (who has a fetish of collecting ‘newts’), Uncle Fred, Stiffy, Spode (the tough guy) and most importantly the insuperable human expedient to Wooster, his butler, Jeeves! I can now comprehend why Britain is still gung ho! about P.G Wodehouse’s most marvellous creation- ‘Jeeves’.  There is absolutely nothing that a publisher could try to expurgate and there is everything that a true ‘Classics’ lover would appreciate or rather savour. I now go slower so that I don’t soon finish all his more than eighty equally good novels early, like a gourmet; I only want to savour them for as long as possible.

And they changed my life forever and ever…

It’s not just about the ephemeral hilarity for the minute , P.G Wodehouse’s novels are more addictive than valium, are not just levitating, but are actually ‘propelling’. I read Leave it to PSimth when the next few years of engineering seemed abysmal and when I had only groaned everyday about how bad life had been to me for precedent years. Not only did this one novel levitate my sunken spirits, it bolstered my faith in ‘beauty of vicissitudes’ yet again. I now find myself far ahead of who I was some three years ago, far above of people who try to inflict pessimism, by far more self-assured and far higher in terms of my language proficiency.

Not only did my academics improve once again but overall I became a better person, the child in me who had sunken knee deep in sorrows rapidly recuperated and most vitally I realised that life is too short to be withered away in trifles that occupy us most of the time and that the only panacea to life’s miseries is to wear the Wodehousian glasses to look at world in order to enjoy the vastness, to laugh for a while at our own selves, to wait for a jiffy and saunter in the gardens wet with dew in the early sunbeams, to adore the stars and flowers, to cease all hasting and to sieve out downbeat sways and related people by viewing them both from a distance as a story that life unfolds and God authors; to adopt the task of munificence and to recline and dream more often, for those who create correct ‘filters’ can never descend in quagmires of pessimism and dishonesty.

Grab your cup of life!

I recommend PG Wodehouse to every person on this earth, for in a world full of reasons for disappointment and sorrow, here comes a rescue of unconditional optimism that is so infectious and so much like a panacea. So when you are looking out for a refreshing change from daily miseries and those little disappointments of life, grab a Wodehouse book and explore the beauty of humour in life’s little experiences, soon you’ll find yourself grinning away those previous discomforts of life. I am proud to have not given a try to the trendy pulp fiction, particularly the ‘unearthly’ romances and straight forward language full of slangs that enthral most of my friends. I chose a class that my mom guided me to, and I openly admit I adulate P.G Wodehouse and my mom’s taste for art, thanks to Almighty, I wouldn’t spoil her legacy. I would like a quote by the ‘television love of Britons’, Stephen Fry, the actor from ‘The Jeeves and Wooster’ TV series to serve as the coda to my this little part of the pack: “You don’t analyse such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendour!”


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Abhirup Bhattacharya
Abhirup Bhattacharya

Nice article Pragya 🙂 You have really amazing writing skills. 😎

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