Friday, July 10, 2009

"Read to Digest" & an "Ode to Wodehouse"

There are many nostalgic memories from our childhood and growing years that keep us bonded to our roots. Siblings, pampering parents, loving grandparents, a doting aunt and a Santa like uncle ! As much as people are part of our childhood, we also have toys, dolls, clothes, gifts, books, school, park and many more that constitute our nostalgic constellation.

If I have to recall my memories from childhood or growing years, along with all the above I would also recall the little book. Readers Digest and the most endearing writer PG Wodehouse. While Readers Digest always occupied the prime position on our centre table, books of PG Wodehouse adorned our bookshelf...Prominently!
I still remember the feel of the pages and the depth of the words even in columns like ‘Humour in uniform’. I always felt that the letter ‘R’ cannot be more elegantly written than in the heading of Readers Digest. Whenever I recall the ‘Trojan horse’ which is gloriously placed on the cover page or the inside page, I feel a sudden surge of speed in me! Guess that’s the kind of momentum it gave me then too! Thanks to the ‘word power’ I feel that I can use just the right words for my thoughts. The valour and courage shown by real life characters projected in the feature pages, the beauty of life in simple examples and the vivid description of new places were so well presented that I almost feel as if I lived those experiences.
I can never grow out of the collection of ‘Wit & Wisdom’ from Readers Digest. I still have them strategically placed so that they rescue me whenever I am running short of either of these treasures.
The only humor that ever brings hearty laughter to me is the kind I am familiar with in ‘Life’s Like that’ or ’Humor in Uniform’! I still remember the twinkle in father’s eyes when he used to read out some lines or jokes...I don’t know if he has done it intentionally or not worked...he infected me and my sister with his love for reading. And he made sure that we actually ‘read to digest’!
The annual issues or special issues stand proudly in my father’s bookshelf along with HG Wells, Charles Dickens and all those prized penguin editions even now. The golden letters on red or black bound books written boldly...READERS DIGEST... glitter in my treasure chest till date.I am so glad that My father & mother gave us the priceless treasure...passion for reading and so many books.The other materialistic things dont count to us.
Growing up with Readers Digest is an enriching experience in my life.

PG Wodehouse....I wish I had met him to see how he could design sentences like the finest architect whose designs have visual appeal combined with a need. Gentle yet rip roaring humour, is the feel in every word. His portrayal of characters, actually bring those people alive. Bringing people alive is one art, bringing the whole period from 1950s vibrantly alive is another art of its own kind that I have seen only in my dear PG Wodehouse.
JEEVES....Man Jeeves...a fantastic depiction of a Valet with wisdom who is forever saving his brattish master Bertie Wooster, Lord Emsworth busy training his pig for country races, aunts trying to take control of bachelor nephews’life, train between Blandings Castle and London and those hilarious mix ups between characters...only PG Wodehouse can juggle the words like an ace swordsman.
It is through his books that I discovered the beauty of humour and usage of words! My father’s collection was from the initial editions that didn’t have any pictures on the cover page but his words were enough to create an image of Man Jeeves in my mind. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw later editions with caricatures of Jeeves matching my imagination ...exactly. Guess that is the art of using words that made an ordinary reader like me to see the same image as an artist.

To the artist of words...wodehouse... this is an ode!

Episode punch: Last two times I missed out on including my episode punches. The fact is that neither the letter to HRD Minsiter nor the Jaiho to all my gurudevs should be closed with a punch..they are actually matters of seriousness. But Readers Digest & PG Wodehouse....I can write 10 time a day for the next 1 year...and I will still have punches. Here is one that I liked a lot when I first read it when i was in college.

Secret formula
Some people must have been born with more ‘happy cells’ than others. Whatever happens, they look on the bright side. I too, have a secret formula for feeling happy. If I am walking in the street with another woman and someone remarks, ”how awful she looks,” I prefer to think that he meant her. If someone remarks, “isn’t she pretty,” I prefer to think he meant me.
In Paris where I live, many Chinese are embarrassed because they don’t speak French well. My French is not very good, but I don’t care if I make mistakes. When people say I speak French with a foreign accent, I reply, “charming isn’t it?”
This is a matter of how you look at what you have. A friend of mine won a tiny consolation prize at a government lottery. Instead of being disappointed, she used it to buy treats for her friends. If you can appreciate the value of having a consolation, you then understand that there are degrees of happiness.
Lu Chi Shih in Ming Pao, Hong Kong


Revathi said...

Your episode punch was very inspiring ma'm. I used to get very dissappointed if I don't get what I
want. I show this dissappointment in my actions - getting angry, shouting, sometimes shedding a tear or two. now, I shall be happy with whatever I have and get.
This is the way your write ups take a toll on my life

You know who said...

its indeed nostalgic to recall those beautiful days of learning and growing.I appreciate your ability to connect all your childhood memories.Readers Digest & PG Wodehouse to be integral parts of those memories, only you can do this seetha.Each time I read your blog I am discovering a new you.

Teja said...

Maam I have seen a few copies of the Readers Digest and PG wodehouse books in the library.After reading your love for them I am going to read them to see why you like them so much.

Among Gangmei said...

Murty Maam
I caught you atlast.I got to know about your blog from shapong.I sat down to read all the thoughts that my dear english maam has in her mind.I can never forget those beautiful days when you would walk into our class with that ever ready warm smile.How made us feel as if we are most important people in your life.That kind of warmth and love I can never get from anyone else.Have you noticed that I am writing 'decent english',thanks to you.I am using punctuations also.I remember what you said.That punctuations are the most important marks that give importance to each expression.I have written those words in my mind and i keep reminding myself whenever I write something.
I am sure you must be wanting to know what I am doing now.I left my MBA program after the first sem.Delhi is too fast for me. I like the peace in my hills and I am back to family business.I cannot live away from hills and I cannot take the artificial life of the city.Nagaland if my life and my heaven.

What happened to your promise of coming for a holiday here?
I am going to read your blog maam and you will hear from me everyday.
with love for my most beautiful maam in the world

Ravi Kumar Nanduri said...

Your latest post made me bring down the Readers Digest from the attic this sunday morning.i have also grown up with them but your article made me feel the same way as you.only that I realized my feelings for Readers Digest have woken up after reading your feelings.Thankyou so much. I will work on making these little books as treasures for my children.Reading is the best treasure one can have.
God Bless you madam for waking me up to this responsibility.

ramya ravi said...

Literary geniouses are hard to come by these days.Those that do come belong to a generation of veneration. Commercialization of their art, make a quick buck and in that somewhere, the literature of it all is lost.Imagination is underrated and yet the most powerful tool the human mind possesses.When PG Wodehouse writes, we imagine the british tea time and perhaps imbibe.When JK Rowling writes,we construct in our minds,the castle,the broomsticks, and the fight over good and evil.When we read a joke in the Readers Digest,we laugh only because we have imagined the comic situation.And imagination helps us tide over any adverse situation. Moral of the story is groom the creative side.Hone your imagination and let it guide you.The right side of your brain will never let you down.In other words,you are right Ma,reading is the best habit one can develop,and it helps to have someone who puts you up to this habit.Its a strong message to people,everywhere.Read and Reap!

Ramya Ravi

abighna said...

hi maam.ur write up was inspired me.its great that u share ur experience of ur childhood days with us.i didnt know till know that u love to read readers digest and ode to wodehouse.maam u have good taste.
bye maam.

hv a sweet day

tghdt said...

ur article is gud.

Yohith said...

Ma'am a gud write up
childhood days r the only days in which we can be as naughty as we like b'coz they are the most beautiful days of ones life.
Ther's no person in the world who can forget his childhood days.Infact u remember your childhood very well.
Childhood days are the days in which we can be in the lime light.But as we grow up we start becoming independent & the focus on us reduces but still people love us.
I remember my childhood when i used to carry a plastic cricket bat and a plastic cricket ball in those days may be i was of 1yr old.Those days i was completely pampered by my grandparents my most dear uncles and my aunt.I was always with someone or the other i was never left alone even at times when i was sleeping.Later we shifted to hyderabad.My sister was born.I usually love small children very much.i was always with my sister.Then came the days of me goin to school i was first sent to pre-school.That was the first day when i made first friends(they were all tiny and cute friends).
We played together, ate together,faught together.Later i was shifted to another school i missed my friends very much but i did not have any feelings at that time as i was very young to know the value of friendship.
When i was in 3rd grade i was to act as the prince in cindrella and was to do a ball dance with cindrella.I danced without any shy n fear.But now its impossible i would feel very uncomfortable to do so.Whatever it is childhood are days days when we do not feel shy or get scared to do anything.I made lot of friends in this school.But unfortunately i had to shift to another school.But the good thing was all my friends were staying in the nearby locality.
I still remember the days when we are playing cricket i used to hit the ball outside our apartment and run climb the wall land with a bang on the other sideto get the ball and climb the wall again land with a bang and hurt myself then run up home put on the band-aid then run down to play again.

There is a saying in hindi "yeh kelne ke din char hein" which means childhood days r very less.But they are the most beautiful and desiring days of my life.I wish i wud get back to my childhood days and live that life again.

I usually never get disapointed when i do not get something.I only get disapointed when i expect that this is goin to happen but it does not happen.i'm not goin to get disapointed any more as failure is the steping stone to success.
and i want to tell every one reading this never get disapointed as the given life is very small and has no place for disapointment:-( which wastes a lot of time.
Do not worry be happy:-)

shobha said...

I completely agree with you. The Kannada version of Readers digest is KASTURI. I was enjoying each and every page of it. Even now I remember many of the jokes of Kasturi. According to me, the one who reads more and more books will always have something ineteresting to add in any conversation.

Biplob said...

I understand now why you brought different books with you when you came to class. Like your father, you were trying to attract us to books.I remember one day you read out some lines from PG wodehouse book,Blandigns Castle.we didnt understand what is so funny about it till you wrote those words on board and explained how words can be used differently.
Maam I managed to read 2 books in those 2 years that i was your student.Whenever I didnt understand something you told me to mark those pages and you explained in the school next day.but i passed out and went to college you also left shillong.I didnt want to trouble you on phone to explain me the beauty of those the only 2 books that i read because of you I still have.I will read them again now
Maam I am glad that I have a new way of talking to you now through your blog.

Rachna Sharma said...

No friend like a book.... any time anywhere they can transport you to a different world. As you rightly said it can bring characters alive or take you to a different era altogether, that is the power of the pen.Some authors have used this tool most effectively and have had a long lasting influence on our lives. I associate my early childhood memories of reading with Amar Chitra Katha, they made me understand history much better than any of my history books did and the Akbar Birbal stories were fine examples of wit and wisdom, later Readers' Digest of course a repertoire of literature to suit the requirements of readers of varied interests. Even today when I pull out an old book (that generally happens in the midst of packing) they bring with them the nostalgia which starts with the smell itself and as I flip through the pages before I realize hours have passed..... book is the best friend one can have and reading habit an ideal gift you can pass on ...thank you for rekindling the fire.

Aniruddha said...

Congrats for bringing the RD and PG as blog topic.

Since my childhoog I grew up with RD. The most interesting section was and is the Word Power. Still I remember the eagerness and small fights I used to put with my brother for reading that section first.

Also the condensed book section was the must to read and The Drama in Real Life could not be ignored.

One small information : The horse symbol on readers Digest is the 'Pegasus' the Greek mythological strong horse with wings.

PG is a dream for me. The minute details of daily life he captures can not be missed and the unhurting humor needs to be enjoyed over a period of time.

Now the RD is modernised with the New Brat Look and gone are the days when it was symbolising the taste of the reader and the princlple centred person. Now it is commercial full of advertisements. Still it is the ,oasis, in the commercial magazine jungle.

Another RD and PG fan


nandhini said...

maam you are a real leader ..... infact the best according to me....i liked the secret for happy life which u have written very much. it is really good of u to remember even an article which u had read yrs ago ...
it is really an inspiring peice and i promise u to take it to my heart and pass it to my next generation like you....
hats off to u...... :)

shyamala said...

I liked the "Read to Digest" caption. Its so apt to describe.I feel blessed for not only for both of us but for our children too... our father gave us "P.G.Wodehouse& RD" and other literary pieces as a legacy.I have read all his series including the "research work on his books" by an ardent fan PG.Till date my favourite is "Pigs have wings". You remeber we were in splits while reading it!!!
Agree with you totally where RD is concerned.
All your other articles are very interesting to go thru'.Proud of my little sister.

srila said...

hello mam,

today i hv almost commented on 2 of ur posts...first thing is I WISH I HAD A PRINCIPAL LIKE U and second I'M MORE THAN THIRLLED THAT U R MY SON'S PRICIPAL.
Your vision is excellent on the path towards makin childhood and parenting clueless as to how i can inculcate the habit of readin to my son.though he's jus 5 i feel its never too early to hold the book with those teeny tiny hands.appreciate ur suggestion.