With the dawn of the early 10s, after the onset of my adolescence, I found myself retreating to a relative’s, frittering away the start of my summer vacation. My father, akin to most parents that burdened themselves with the betterment of their children, proffered that I do something worthwhile throughout the day, in exchange for whatever I had fancied later in the evening. We ended up settling on reading for at least three hours, as barter for my entertainment. Shortly after, he recalled having packed a couple of Wodehouse's books and suggested that I give them a read.
During my years as a preteen, my father being the ‘Plummie’ he is, would call out to me amid his reading and verbalize lines of dialogue hoping I would understand and appreciate Plum’s (the affectionate nickname for PG Wodehouse) wit and quite possibly internalize some of it. I would chuckle at the ones that I did understand and even when I didn’t, I would still be left in awe. Of the internalization, on the other hand, I am not certain.
Out of his portable inventory, I had picked ‘Do Butlers Burgle Banks’, the novel that got me acquainted with Plum. I was never unaware of Wodehouse's existence, I couldn't have been, not when his name was painted all over the house like forest foliage.
Let me spare the details of the novel, for if I begin, I'm afraid it isn't within the power of this article to make me stop. Yet, I can't help but share a line from the book that’ll forever be etched in my memory, ‘Charlie felt nude without a gun on him’. This line was the sole reason for my embarking on a Wodehouse binge. I remember it being outrageous, and never expected to find such a line in a book, of all things.
Throughout the spring of my time with Wodehouse, my father and I would regularly go out to buy his books one after another. The entirety of my summer that year was marked by my achievement of getting through the entirety of his Mr.Mulliner series and immersing myself in a couple of his Wooster & Jeeves instalments.
Over the next few years, the stamina I had had slowly died down, but never did it die out completely. It was lying dormant only to be rekindled by his, 'Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit' which I had come across during my higher secondary. Every once in a while, I would furtively try to get to reading it under the table during class, but my attempts were futile. School was too distracting. Of late, with no paucity of time, I have gotten back to reading his oeuvre and re-experiencing his masterful wordplay.
PGW is a fun read, well suited for young adults but it is only with age and experience can we genuinely appreciate his genius. A good place to start would be his Jeeves and Wooster collection. Give any of his stories a lick and I assure you that it won't be your last.