Gippy’s Galatta – Wodehouse Meet on Jan .6th, 2019

January 7th 2019.


Members who assembled for the Wodehouse meet were sad to hear of the news that Ms. Rupa Dore had crossed over and joined the celestial stars on 26th.December. Her bright Wodehousean observations were like her actual presence amongst us and she will truly be missed by all. In the wake of this event, sadly, Giri’s elder brother, Dr. Prem Dore passed away last week in Dubai. Giri Dore, the stoic that he is, has accepted the reality that life is. Our sincere condolences to him and his family and pray for the strength to bear the irreparable losses.

(From PG whose minutes of the Wodehouse are slow and take hours and days that turn the leaves of a calendar.)

Gippy’s Galatta



The mild onset of winter ushered a pleasant evening that put members in the Wodehousean mood. They recalled little known episodes from his novels. Like when the hero spots a thief in the afternoon and thought to himself that he knew robbers turned up only at night but did not know that they put up a matinee performance.

Discussions rambled on and soon humour flew out of the window when members narrated the woes of their cooperative society meetings and how thick your hide must be to survive that jungle. When things go wrong and they usually do when one realises that the type of participants are not very different from the characters of Panchatantra.  A member narrated how the affairs of a society (where his friend was a  resident) were referred to the Registrar of Coop. Societies, something that happens when a Committee is inactive or is infested with in-house inconclusive fighting over matters like daily maintenance of the premises, urgent repairs long neglected, bills unpaid and so on). The Registrar appoints an Administrator who is expected to take charge of the situation. In this instance the Administrator proved to be an oily character, an amalgam of Soapy Molloy and Percy Pilbeam, and soon things came to a standstill resulting in the Extraordinary General Body Meeting that had to be scheduled. Come Sunday morning and only a few of the seats were occupied as most members were averse to be even remotely involved with the affairs of the society. The Administrator had arrived and was hovering around waiting for the  Committee members. The hall was filling up and shortly the Committee turned up. It was as though the Chairman was leading a funeral procession in mourning. The General Secretary and the other  members of the Committee “with bowed heads and joined hands” filed quietly one behind the other with papers, folders and clip board in hand. There was palpable tension in the hall. The Chairman, after wishing a good morning to all, came straight to the point. “Friends, there is bad news. We have no cash for the regular expenses of our society. As we all know, our society is now in the hands of the Administrator who, it appears has been issuing cheques to various contractors whose bills were held up by the last Committee for shoddy or incomplete execution. In fact, there are no leaves left in the cheque book nor, for that matter, is there any cash left in the bank which has served a notice on our society. The Administrator stood up and defended himself saying that he was not aware of whose bills had to be paid and who should be asked to go home. At this stage, there was much agitated cross responses from the flat owners who, with their undigested breakfast, sat with eyes heavy, ready to drift into a short nap, now concertedly got up startled. The Chairman silenced the crowd by his stentorian voice, “We are here to discuss urgent matters. Buildings in C, D and E wings have no water supply while in other wings it is threatening to be a trickle and dried up situation.  We need water tankers immediately and we have insufficient funds. What do we do now? We have to raise urgent funds. This is to be discussed now.”

“What about the fire in the Club House? We want a report on how much was lost last week in the fire.” This came from a large group (from other wings unaffected by water supply) who had noisy full throated activists. “Yes, we want to know how the fire took place and the extent of the damage.” Meanwhile, the WATER group stood up and claimed their priorities. They were interrupted with “No. let’s have the full information on the incident of the FIRE  in our Club House”. And so, for the next 15 minutes there was a loud fish market scene with shouts of WATER and FIRE being fired like bullets. The Chairman intervened saying, “All right, alright. I will briefly tell you on the fire mishap. On Monday, smoke was noticed emanating from the Club House which was locked, as usual. The Fire engines went down by mistake to Grand Towers instead of reaching Grand Palace as our complex is known. Anyway, fortunately there were no casualties as the Club House was empty but, yes, the tread mills, cable pulley machines, abdominal crunchers, the wooden furniture, nettings, have been gutted beyond recognition.” “Sir, are you saying that nothing was saved from the fire?” The Chairman replied, “Let me finish. We are in the process of filing claims on the Insurance Company. Yes, a wooden cupboard where the sweepers kept their brooms, brushes and a garden rake was away from the fury of the fire and all that valuable cleaning stuff, I am happy to say, has been saved. No, at this stage, I cannot tell how the fire started. It may be a short circuit caused by some bundles of electric wires connected and wound up with black adhesive insulation tapes. But I am not sure. We will soon learn and let you know.” Neither the knowledge gained nor the wisdom handed out by the Chairman seemed to satisfy the FIRE group who uttered vague threats in a loud abusive voice while walking out in a huff.

The Chairman took up the water shortage issue and this discussion went on for the next 3 hours with suggestions of some quick fixes with  the local contractors who could divert water supply from the adjacent complex which called for cash incentives and so on till the tankers and costs were ferried up and down with members doing mental arithmetic and sums, others on small pads to assess the immediate charge to be levied through the Administrator who was an interested observer in all the mess. The whole experience, no doubt, was a guaranteed headache which defied any extra strong analgesic  tablet.

A member said it’s time to hear something more interesting than unpleasant scenes in some wretched society. He narrated two bizarre incidents that re-affirmed our faith in human nature. In Switzerland an amateur cook abandoned his suitcase containing kitchen knives in a train. In panic the Swiss Police evacuated the entire train while the cook lay fast asleep on the platform.   In distant China there was a report of a crazy passenger on board a flight who tried to open the emergency exit of the plane for fresh air. The Chinese man was detained for 15 days although he explained at length that he felt stuffy.

Members expressed that life in a cooperative society was relatively peaceful in comparison with such unpredictable characters who perhaps should be kept within the covers of a Wodehousean novel, if not in prison.


— PG




Like the leaves of autumn the days of October fell thick and fast pausing reverentially only on October 15th. when P.G.Wodehouse, the Prince of Humour, was born who, with his craftsmanship in prose, reduced many “alleged humourists” to mere footnotes on the pages of English literature.  A member asked, in all seriousness, “Why is it that all famous men end up in stone?” Explain yourself, the others demanded. “There is a a memorial stone that will be set up for Wodehouse in Westminster Abbey. He will stand in the company of Shakespeare, Jane Austen amd T.S.Elliot. Wow! Here was an author who was needlessly hounded by British after the second World War and then conferred a knighthood on the eve of his death in 1975. Now he will be rewarded with a stone. Fame and stone go together, as it were.” Another member recalled the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns who lived and wrote in utter penury. The story goes that after his death his aged mother heard some sound outside her house and when she went out to enquire she was told that the people are setting up a statue in memory of Robert Burns. The mother exclaimed loudly, “O Robie !, you asked for bread and they are giving you a stone.”

These are festive times and Dassehra had just passed. It has been passing for centuries beyond centuries and the citizenry revel in it for weeks in preparation for diverse activities, one of them being the Ramleela celebrations in every town and village.  A member gave a vivid description of the typical folk operatic theatric performance. Mythological scenes from Ramayana are enacted using scarce (even appalling)  local talent and resources. Many are organised with a shoe string budget.  Let’s say the small town is Rampur in the middle of nowhere (railway station 8 kms. away, women trudging 2 km. daily for drinking water, undependable lighting, you know the rest. But life and enthusiasm for the fun of life are vibrant, seeking revelry in evanescent moments now re-living the glory of the past, now enlivening the present with mirth aided by bawdy talk. Anyway, on the appointed day the revellers assembled, in as noisy a manner as possible, on the large ground in front of a vacant warehouse, squatting on hired bed sheets. Noisy old women with grandchildren occupied the front rows while the rows behind were filled up with much expectations for the show to start. A large number stood patiently at the periphery for this was their program. The entire community contributed in diverse ways plugging all loopholes to make is a three hour success.

A look inside the green room (actually there is no green room; only a thick curtain on the stage and a faded wall right back) showed all brands of bright petromax lights (the type used for marriage processions) and wicks with flares. An orchestra of lights, some  jazzy and classy, others like poor relations standing apart having arrrived for the same purpose but divided by some sort of caste system.  The real interesting part was the dramatis personae. The actors are traditionally selected from the street and the lane. The local carpenter, the oil monger, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, besides the tailor, a teacher and an ayurvedic quack. A drummer and a violinist who could play a long trumpet like instrument to herald the Lord.

Outside the crowd was impatient. Behind the curtain one could see some discordant scenes:

Ø      Jaikumar (Hanuman) wearing bifocals, quarrelling with Shukla (the organiser, principal financier of the show, playing Ravan) complaining that his mace was heavy and how was he (Hanuman) expected to hold it up for the length of the entire show. To which Ravan gave no reply but stared angrily at Bharadwaj (Laxman) who has been imbibing liquor far beyond his medical advisor would permit.

Ø      Last minute touch-up for Lord Rama who tried to look regal and resplendent, his costume pricking and poking him in diverse places like in-house mosquitoes.

Ø      A fair, tall graceful reed like person, Mr.Ashwin (playing the role of Sita) sat on a wooden box smoking a beedi, a picture of one who is at peace with himself.

Huge applause followed the rise of the curtain amidst much action on stage and in the audience. Many elderly grannies stood and reverentially bowed before the deities compelling their little ones to do likewise. The audience participated lustily, in scene after scene, bellowing outrageous anger against Ravan and Surpanaka encouraging the titan Hanuman and the Lord himself in the eternal struggle for justice. There was chaos with uproaring laughter as wrong lines were spoken carelessly They enjoyed the improvised crude music in the background accepting the fact that if the Gods themselves were put to such trial and hardship, what then of mortals like us !!

Not all go to the NCPA or Prithvi as the nautanki is still favoured by “We the people” who decide the festivals, their dates, their celebrations and the levels of noise, no matter what the Supreme Court orders.

Members could not agree more.


— PG

Gippy’s Galatta – Prof. K M Kundnani

My Dear Shoots and branches of our Hyderabadi Family Tree. I am annexing herewith a newspaper announcement recalling Prof. K M Kundnani.

The revered ” Guru” was a professior at D G national College, Hyderabad ( Sindh ) Ramanna and Premanna were his students. ( Perhaps Vichanna also ). He triggered a re-incarnation of his college after partition , in Bombay in the fifties . It carries the Name K C College . It has also a Branch called K C College of Management Studies. I had the good fortune to conduct many Mgm.Training Programmes for this renowned institution- See Annexure 2 ( 2 Pages )

Love and Cheers!

Gippy’s Galatta



by Gippy Doré





August was a pleasant month of cool breeze with showers that washed bright the leaves of sturdy trees standing amidst craters and potholes. Nature, ever reliable, cleansed the roads and the skies to the relief of tired lungs. The evening at Dore’s place was tinged with that Wodehousean bliss that is vain to seek elsewhere in the theatre or the movie halls, the shores of the sea or the desolate gardens.

A member spoke in despondent tones of the decline of this historic city, once vibrant with the classy touch of the cosmopolitan and the international, now groaning under the decay of neglect with broken bridges and shaking stairs (a decline that would have been the delight of Gibbon) under a siege of corruption and chaos. “Calm down, buddy”, responded a member. “All this is a temporary phase. Now it may look bleak like the morning darkness before daybreak. But with the rising sun “Westward look!, the land is bright.” The quote was lost on our friend who ranted about the skyline that is disappearing, the renovation that looks like rape and so on. Thoughtfully, refreshments were served and the mood changed with levity to laughter.

A member observed that these days the medical fraternity pushed patients into recklessly into hospitals. Now fit as a fiddle, bouncing on the jogging tracks, next day down with heart blocks but safe with some surgeon and his shiny knives. Stretched out like a leaf floating on water while stents, whether needed or not, are placed in his veins and arteries. The bewildered patient knows not what’s happening as various tests are run up and down, as apron coated doctors move about with clipboards in hand, with one eye on his bank passbook and the other to reassure his declining confidence. After a clean up of his purse he is discharged with a list of medicines and follow-up dates all tidily filed in an attractive folder.  Eternal vigilance, friends, is the need of the hour. Caution: Beware of doctors and lawyers.

A member described a one-day Seminar that he attended. The subject of the day’s deliberations was: “Scaling the walls of Corporate Excellence.” He was deputed by his company to attend the seminar and had resigned to confine himself for at least 6 hours with crashing bores from audience and faculty alike. He never did enjoy these seminars but his boss sent his nomination with the fees and here he was in a 4-star hotel where participants were received by a silk-saree-clad lady with folded hands and a sweet smile. They were escorted into a large hospital-bed size lift which opened to the flower decorated hall with many round tables covered with immaculate cloth, with small drinking water bottles, writing pads and ball pens. On the platform, two or three tables were joined to make a long table that was covered with clean white cloth with 5 water bottles and 5 flower vases placed at equidistant intervals. Each had a name plate kept nearby in case they forgot their names. This promised 5 speakers who, by the end of the day, would show the participants how to scale the slippery walls of corporate excellence without any ladder. A short character was adjusting the mikes by speaking out “One, two, three” as if memorizing numerals. The participants, many dressed in 2-piece suits (some in 3-piece), trickled in cautiously fiddling with their ties and looking around for a good seat or an inconspicuous seat from where one could make an easy unseen exit if required. Some ladies, well dressed in dark business suits, sat huddled together for comfort and general feeling of safety. Those seated were going through the bulky seminar folders packed with Xeroxed copies of articles from various past management magazines that are available so plentiful these days. There was a bustle as the speakers arrived and the Seminar Coordinator took the mike and commenced his well prepared speech introducing the subject. He scarcely spoke two sentences when the mike screeched in loud agony and greatly upset the audience that was slowly settling into a passive listening mode. Not so with Coordinator who was used to such antics of mikes everywhere. The short character adjusted some controls and the speech resumed. He explained that the first speaker was Dr.Bhoothalingam from some University in Bhopal, next we are fortunate to have with us (so he said) is Dr. Jambunathan from Jabalpur University followed by Dr.Jagadeesan from Jadavpur University, Dr.Sreedevi from Srikakulam and Dr. Hyder Ali from Hyderabad Chamber of Traders. Bhoothalingam had a loud penetrating voice like a peripatetic fruit vendor. He kept the audience alive with many jokes that sent ripples of laughter up and down the hall. He boasted of how he turned around Trickle and Solidified Honey Corporation which built up spiraling sales and smiling profits. Diversifying is vital, he thundered, as he spoke of how different types of honey from the slopes of every mountain range were exploited, including one from a flower that blooms once in seven years at a height of 5 thousand feet near Mahabhaleshwar.   He concluded saying, “So, dear friends! That is that and this is this.” (whatever that meant.) The next speaker Dr.Jambunathan proved to be a stunning bore. He spoke slowly and referred to various slips and notes. It appeared he had some success with a hardware outfit called “Dainty Scissors and Handy Hammers” which may have been a thrilling subject for tailors who worked with scissors and carpenters who loved hammers. The demand was from every household and every village across the country. It is the product that you sell, my friends that takes you to heights of excellence, he explained. There was not much interest in the participants who were unlikely to be thrilled by either of the products.  They looked forward to the short break where at last they stood in queue for the diuretic coffee and sandy biscuits. The rest of the day’s activity was much the same drivel where high sounding buzz words dwarfed the ability to think. Post tea break lectures were worse, passages were read out, audience yawning and looking here and there for signs of lunch. After lunch many chose to quit. A group entered the lift to go down and pressed the wrong button which took them to the basement where brooms, brushes, broken buckets were lying with sundry items collected over the years. They extricated themselves by reaching out to basement and then to the ground floor that was marked by “0” with a sigh of relief for fresh air.

Today, being rakshandhan it was a time for sisters to tie rakhis on the hand of brothers. Few may appreciate the valuable sentiment behind this wonderful festival and the token that brings a sister and a brother together even for a set of coloured threads embellished with an incarnate flower or other symbol. A member recalled an article in the previous day’s Asian Age which told of the first rakhi that was tied to Lord Krishna. It appears that Krishna cut his finger by accident and to stop the flow of blood Rukmini sent her servant to get a cloth for bandage. Sathyabhama herself rushed out to her room to get some bandage. But it was Draupadi who immediately tore her saree  and bandaged the bleeding cut. This was the first rakhi. This gesture was not lost on Lord Krishna who, years later, covered Draupadi with unending yards after yards of cloth while she was being disrobed in the Sabha. Of such is Divine Grace and a festival that comes around year after year.


— PG.







Members arrived with their monsoon gear and for a while there was much animated talk on the new weather pattern that defies reliable forecasts. The daily weather report still gives delightfully vague statements like “One or two scattered showers, heavy to very heavy in some parts, accompanied by thunder and lightning in isolated parts” and so on. Cleverly crafted by some legal expert and hemmed by excellent principal and subordinate clauses. Dore said that reading such a forecast before stepping out is of no use as he for one could not say whether he stands in that part of the city where there will be isolated showers or heavy to very heavy rains. So he looks up the sky and opts to decide to take his umbrella giving the benefit of doubt to the weather blighter.

The reason why Dore has to step out, rain or shine, is the stubborn silence of his land line for the last three weeks and the telephone company has been doing nothing about it. He met the telephone company linesmen, supervisors, managers and several others up in the hierarchy but they were all  frank in sincerely saying that nothing can be done about it as the diligent digging of several kilometers around by the Metro underground rail project had struck a fatal blow to the phone cables below and many a junction box has been ripped apart. The end result was that over 1500 phones were laid to rest and so severe has been the damage that there is no saying when the lines would be restored. Every morning and nightfall Dore says a silent prayer and lifts the receiver to check if the patient is showing even feeble signs of breath or recovery or any faint mutter or murmur but the silence persists. Wodehouse, in his place, would have said, “Tombs are chatty in comparison.”

A member observed that, in the last decade or so, hair care and hairdressing has been a preoccupation for thousands who are challenged by falling hair and growing bald silently at the back of the head. It starts with a circular patch, the size of a rupee, quietly increasing (owner unaware) until it reaches the size of an average papad noticed by the family and neighbours. This sets off a crisis and a hectic search is launched for a quick cure. The member said that his next door neighbour received by VPP  a large size pack at a rip-off price in response to an advertisement in the back pages of a magazine in praise of a hair oil that guaranteed excellent results. The neighbour was maha-impressed by a warning in the instruction pamphlet to take care when rubbing the oil on the head not to touch it lest hair may grow on the palms. He purchased soft gloves and commenced the treatment. Daily he checked whether there was any growth by standing in his balcony in the bright light of the morning with a mirror, moving it to different angles to get the light and shade effect. By the end of the month he realised that he was the victim of a fraud but the seller could not be contacted as there was no such shop at the address given. Not one to to be defeated easily he researched into the world of wigs. Now wigs, it appears is an old device and much in vogue in India and abroad. Human hair was collected from the heads of corpses, stored and processed for making wigs even from the mediaeval times. Reference was made to an extract from Charles Nicoll’s treatise on “Shakespeare on Silver Street”  where the immortal Bard’s lines were quoted:

“The golden tresses of the dead,

The right of sepulchers, were shorn away

                      To live a second life on second head….”

Strange thing, this love of people for hair, for promotion of healthy tresses  and classy clinics for tonics and treatment. At this point, a member narrated how his friend had sported a wig after buying it at a fairly exorbitant price and was, in fact, using it for quite some time. Was his friend comfortable using the wig? “Not quite.” He admitted. It appears however that even the wig was not comfortable though seated imperially on the crown. This was evident when during a ride in a car on a windy day while negotiating a bend round a circular garden, the wig dislodged itself from its HQs and took off in a North-North easterly direction and vanished without even a vote of thanks. Relieved of the foreign body sitting on his head, he did not go for a replacement. He merely wiped his head and thanked God for small mercies.

Then there are those who dye their hair and the market is crowded with  modern clinics and expensive stylists with their patents and promises. Anyone who holds out a hand of hope is always welcome to the young and the old. All these in the trade of hair, skin and products of beauty are prophets of hope. PG recalled how in a factory the GM’s steno-secretary one Mr.Nathan who had a basket of white hair on the head went ahead and dyed his hair with the darkest shade of black and turned up for work. The GM who on a normal working day dictated more than 20 letters by noon did not send for his secretary as he was under the mistaken impression that the chap did not show up, even though he was seated as usual in the general office. Late afternoon and the GM was restless and on enquiry was told that Nathan had come in as usual. Nathan was summoned and the GM was aghast to see the unrecognizable revised avatar of his steno-secretary, half smiling and half smirking, after “the alterations and repairs”. The GM, amused but also quite upset, shouted “What! Do you want to join Hollywood now?”  Much laughter around defused the situation.

Well, these days if no one is around to make you laugh, you are advised to keep a pet. In his novels Wodehouse used a variety of pets (often to the discomfort of the characters around) from Eustace the monkey in Uneasy Money to a snake and an alligator (Wilfred) belonging to Lotus Blossom. Was this yet another masterly stroke of the author in calling upon his imagination to practical use? Well, it appears that reality is not far behind. In Melbourne a crazy fellow kept a one metre long crocodile as his pet but left his house open. The reptile wandered round the streets on Christmas Day and settled outside a Mall leading to some lady stumbling over it with her shopping bag. The croc was sitting quietly on the footpath and it seems the Police are frantically looking for its owner.

The bizarre tastes of our fellow men, in the end, make up the puzzling fabric of life and laughter.


— PG.

Gippy’s Galatta





By Gippy Doré




Heavy rains had prompted the rescheduling of June 30th. meeting to July 1st. and here we are fortified by the choicest oily snacks compatible with the rainy weather.

The highlight of June was the visible proof of the indefatigable energy shown by Giri Dore who is neither defeated by age nor by excuses of this and that. Giri Dore conducted a business simulation programme called TABU (Taste of Business) for PG Management Trainees to give them valuable insights and learning skills without clichés and jargons. Driven by updated mathematical devices, the program covered 8 cycles tackling business challenges, Tsunami like demonetisation, petrol price pin-pricks, GST, among Trumps immigration blocks and other political uncertainties.  The faces of the participants lit up with high wattage smiles as their applause echoed “Giri Dore is our Uncle Fred in Springtime”. The class, shaken and stirred like the ingredients of a cake, alas could not get a wink of sleep during the entire session.

Members lamented on the surprising state in education where students scored 100% marks in all subjects, even in English and Marathi. This is like “stagflation” where we see only inflation in marks and stagnation of the intellect. What absurd evaluation standards!! At this rate we should be having shoals of Shakespeares and Shaws. How long can we watch such buffoonery? Another member opined that this may perhaps be a contributory factor in the vast number of mediocre authors in our country. Write one or two novels and get a bookstore signing program. The writers’ world is glutted and the Literary Festivals organised at Jaipur and Delhi are contests of egos amidst the feverish promotion of their books.

The discussion veered to writers who imitate Wodehouse. The popular novel “Jeeves and The Wedding Bells”, a homage to P.G.Wodehouse, by Sebastian Faulks was mentioned and while some condemned any such attempt a few felt that there was nothing wrong if it was an honest attempt to write like the Master as truly sincere readers in deep and respectful appreciation. While reading through the novel a member observed that there were many pages where the humour, though contrived and imitated, was quite funny and readable. It was like reading in a garden where sunlight and shadows of leaves intermingled with a penumbra revealing the false and the fragile.  The ring of the fake coin was loud and clear. Wodehouse, with an indulgent smile, would have observed, “We all have to be something in life”.

Yes, everyone has to be something in life. The suburban burglar and house breaker found a sympathetic corner in Wodehouse’s heart and pen. In Los Angeles a burglar routinely targeted homes while the residents attended funerals. While the mourners were busy in cemeteries he carted off their belongings. Police were after the culprit, Brett Patrick Rogers and nabbed him when he was busy packing inside an afflicted home.

In North Carolina, one Jesse Graham, a fugitive dialled 911 by mistake which promptly led the Police to track him down. Wanted for some offence in New York the Police were searching high and low until he made the fatal mistake. Of such is the surprising world of the petty thief and the pickpocket.

A British ex-soldier suspected of around 40 burglaries in France spent 5 months on the run in the woods before being caught. He amassed a vast trove of treasures, including laptops and jewellery. Police found the burglar living a Spartan existence, with bottled gas for cooking and a stolen TV.

Of such is the kingdom of burglars.

— PG.










Gippy’s Galatta

G. C. Dore Business Game At Siemens Kalva- Mumbai  :

Mr. Giri Dore oldest CT ( 83+) conducted a business game (TABU= Taste of Business ) for the latest batch of CT’s on the 6th and 7th of June 2018 at Kalwa, It had all the adventures and upheavals of today’s business world, like demonetization, inflation, Brexit, GST etc. The game covers 8 business years. The trainees made losses in the first 4 years but bounced back into sunshine of profits in the next 4 years. The Programme concluded with music played by Mr. Dore on the Hamonica.


Sasikumar Menon

Gippy’s Galatta





 By Gippy Doré



    The highlight of the meeting was Giri’s narration of his visit to Dubai and the re-union with his two brothers. This was an event that he had been looking forward for long with much anticipation as they resembled the gang of Three Muscat-eers.  Dreaming of Muscat grapes and Muscat wine (famed for its sweet floral aroma) the three Musketeers planned an itinerary covering visits to inns and taverns.


     the gang of Three Muscat-eers

    The journey to the International Airport at Mumbai was as expected, painful, slow and traffic bound but Dore’s mind was elsewhere. Would there be attractive airhostesses on the flight? During the last five decades, Dore saw a steady decline and fall (resembling the decline of the Roman Empire) of the beauty and charm of the air hostesses on his numerous flights. In fact, the last few flights were infested with staff that, at best, were toothless ayahs leaving him wondering whether he was on a flight or in a crèche. At the airport there were, in the words of Wodehouse, such people as are found at such places; bizarre characters, staggering with outlandish luggage on unruly trolleys in long queues, waiting for boarding cards. When Giri boarded the plane these same characters were struggling with their heavy bodies, hoisting heavy hand bags into congested overhead holds. A black leather bag weighing more than 30 kgs. was being swung up and hoisted over the delicate necks of those seated below, the owner then collapsing like a ton of bricks into his seat. Finally, a semblance of peace settled like a sediment when all were seated with safety belts fastened which was followed by the usual hand-rest-elbow-edging with the neighbour.

    The boring flight safety drill was about to start when Giri saw that the airhostesses were not only charming and “see-worthy” but were frankly “compatible”, he in comfort and they being “pat-able”. They did not have rings on their fingers or bells on their toes but were comely and attractive. The safety drill commenced and the girls, one at each end, stretched out their arms horizontally pointing to where the doors lurked. Their gesture was as if drawing attention to the risk that even walls have ears. Then came detailed instructions on how the mob should save themselves should the plane land in water. The girls were displaying yellow life jackets that looked buffoons’ T-shirts and Giri wondered if these life jackets lying under the seats since the turn of the century would ever open up in normal situations, let alone during an emergency when 300 struggling passengers have landed in water. Recalling Keats’ famous lines “Ever let the fancy roam, pleasure never is at home: At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth, Like to bubbles when rain pelteth”, Giri fell asleep lost in anticipation of Dubai’s taverns, tambourines and the lyre. When the plane landed and he was winding his way through the streets of Dubai he saw the opulence of a place where commerce flourished like weeds in the wild. It was a “sunny place for shady people”.

    In the large house where the re-union took place, the evening lamps were “shining, yellow as honey, red as wine, while harp, and flute, and mandolin made music sweet and gay”.

    The get-together of the three brothers was loud and noisy and conversation flowed free. As Wodehouse wrote, if ever there were three persons dying to speak to each other, these three were those three.  Giri’s brother Prem is 89 years old. He and Giri had “travelled” over the map of Sindh (now in Pakistan) with grins and giggles at all the spots and places familiar to them. The map was in Sindhi script. The younger brother Raj was too young to read from right to left. So he preferred the company of the goblet.

    In Dubai, Giri met one of his ex-Management Trainees ( Mr Ayub Sheikh, a trainee 30 years ago). Ayub was greeted (on his birthday) and arrived at the Dore house for lunch. It turned out that Ayub is one of the Maha-Millionaires of Dubai. After his training in Mumbai (at Siemens, by Giri), he moved to Bahrain, where he rose to the cliff of CEO – Bank of Bahrain, the richest bank in oil country. Ayub was totally down to earth, modest and affectionate. Giri could read the road signs in Dubai since the first script he learnt in Sindh was Arabic-based Sindhi. The meeting of the three brothers was an ode to God’s Grace. It was trip into seven decades of the past and vibrant in the present. Few can be so lucky in this world. So much for Giri’s adventure into the past.

    Two of the members announced with delight of the visit of the stork that elevated them to the status of grandfather. Cakes and confectionary followed with rapturous cries of joy as members demolished them saying, “Its tasty, exceedingly.” “Its delicious, exceedingly delicious.”  Members wished many more of such visits from the stork.

    An interesting discussion followed on names given to the new born and their importance. Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” There’s plenty said staunch Wodehouseans and there was a narration of the havoc played on being bestowed by an incompatible name that brought much sorrow. With a change of name, fortunes altered and life became livable. Life is lived beyond the fringes of logic. Members nodded with approval.


    — PG.