Since I first read a book from start to finish, probably at the age of 9 or 10 or thereabouts, I have ripped through a gazillion books at a speed that’d make a tornado feel pretty silly. Out of all of these, no author has been such a delight to read as P.G Wodehouse has.
I first discovered P.G Wodehouse ( ‘Plum’ to hordes of adoring fans) when I was in the 9th standard.. Our school, which couldn’t be called a model school, no matter which way you looked at it, had a few redeeming graces. The library was one. And it was pretty full to the brim with P.G Wodehouse. I was an indifferent student back then, atleast in my estimation ( popular opinion was that I was a geek.. I suppose the glazed look in my eyes when I was daydreaming was mistaken for rapt attention). All those dreary hours in class I whiled away thinking about P.G Wodehouse’s stories, living in them, and having conversations with the characters. If my head had been examined back then, the verdict would have been ‘basketcase in the making”.
P.G Wodehouse’s world is impossibly perfect – boy loves girl, and girl always loves him back, and vice versa.. and all money troubles of young couples in love are resolved by the hapless Lord Emsworth ( who has one great love, his prize-pig.. which is incessantly stolen by all the scheming young couples to blackmail him and make him cough up money).. If ever a hero is jilted in a story, he is sure to find a better girl by the end of the book..and so on. In short, the stuff of fairy-tales.
However, I think this is a fairy-tale that would appeal even to fans of realism. His perfect stories are simply the backdrop for the famous Wodehouse brand of humour. Side-splittingly funny without being abusive, sarcastic without being bitter, mocking without being cruel..P.G Wodehouse is the grand old gentleman of comedy. He prods at the idiosyncrasies of his characters for us to laugh at, but gently. You can see he is indulgent to his flock of people.
I could write reams about P.G Wodehouse, but I’ll sign off after just one more burst of enthusiasm..for Psmith, my favorite P.G Wodehouse by far. Probably the one story-book hero Im never going to get over. From the time he introduces himself to a gaping parlourmaid..”My name is Psmith..the P is silent, as in pshark and ptarmigan”, I fell for him, hook, line and sinker. If only, if only Psmith was for real!