Gippy’s Galatta



Members had just seated themselves amidst the heat and humidity with frosted glasses in hand with a choice of crisp snacks from Chedda Stores (licensed to sell chikki, chiwda, and chakli) when a small bird, hovered respectfully in front of Wodehouse smiling in his niche, and alighted on the verandah sill. The bird was observing, as it were, the evening’s deliberations.  Now and then it was flying around as though exercising “to trim its belly”.  It then settled down after its exertion and was thoughtfully noting down tidbits “to give a bird’s eye view of the proceedings for the benefit of those who, for no fault of theirs, are not birds.” These were transmitted via avian telepathy to PG who has faithfully reproduced them below:

The discussions plunged the members into the historic role that America has been playing with its gun culture and trigger happy cowboys that enchanted the audience of those who were young and not so young who thronged the matinee shows. It was evident that the manufacture and sale of ammunition formed the backbone of the country’s business. The US honed this national skill and integrated it with business that has been lucrative at all times, as men  always fight or will be encouraged to fight in object-less opaque wars across the world. We cannot yet ignore the cardinal fact that America was ready with its resources to plunge into the second World War when Pearl Harbour was bombed. It opened a significant chapter in the war when the US halted Japan and helped a turn around that changed the course of world history. A land of opportunities, America proved to be a fertile pasture of prosperity for Wodehouse among so many with their creative talent. Here, the bird recalled that the author’s birthday was round the corner and how he was a devoted admirer of Shakespeare (whose volume of complete works he carried to his internment during the war) and had often quoted the Bard in the humorous prose.

Now the reception became erratic like a radio in stormy weather and the bird rambled from to one topic to another, quite irrelevant and unrelated. It spoke of amazing thoughts and crafted sentences such as:

v     “Shakespeare’s father was John, a name and a shadow, flitting through the corridors of time”.           

v     Happiness is not something to search high and low. “One need not search for happiness; one needs to stop for it.”

v     While in London Wodehouse did not post letters. From his 3rd.floor he threw them on to the pavement and the passers-by invariably picked them and dropped them in the post box.  Such then were the times he lived in.

v      Plum was at a dinner where H.G.Wells was also present. Plum writes how some people make irrelevant statements out of the blue without any context as when Wells said, “My father was a  cricketer.” Plum immediately replied, “Mine had a white moustache.”

v     A passenger on a steamer asks a chap, “Do you sing?” The chap  replied, “I used to sing in a choir until they found out where the noise was coming from.”

v     “Here in Vienna, there are a many truths as there are windows with people sitting behind them.”

v     Another writer observed, “But I tell you what: most of what comes out of people’s faces all day long you can just chuck straight in the bin. Everybody’s talking, you see, but nobody knows anything.            

Nobody knows what they are talking about. Nobody’s in the picture. Nobody has a clue. Clueless-ness is practically the order of the day.”

v     “I like the sound of Spanish, softer, a sibilance slipping into another almost surreptitiously like a lover’s arm around your waist.”

The bird then pulled out a tiny watch from its waist to see how the time was getting along and announced that it will soon be sunset when “light thickens and the crow makes wing to its rooky nest. Good things of the day will depart.” It bid a sweet good-bye and flew gracefully into the gathering dusk.


— PG.

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