P.G. Wodehouse from the book shelf. Last pages of ‘dirt music’ that I had just finished literally put me in despair for having picked it over. The book does keep a reader captivated throughout but with lack of suspense filled elements, its a sad thing to be with. The end pages were so plain that I had to just turn them over to shut the book up once and for all, I wonder how it even fell into the Man booker’s list. Nonetheless, it’s Tim Winton’s words, neat and simple, that deserves every appreciation despite the weak storyline it has.
‘Wodehouse books are European English. Quite difficult to understand’, my dad had said, once when I was flipping it’s first of pages during my initial reading days. Having that on mind, and since not being able to race with the words myself, I left it untouched. He had also added saying it was the best humour filled piece from the 20th century novels and explained me about the characters it had – the then rich English ladies and gentlemen, their family politics and so on. Today when I was reading one of those, he saw me and came over, re-introducing the characters, least concerned if I was interested or not.
He gestures for the book, runs his eyes through on the black inked letters. It was ‘Ring for Jeeves’ I had blindly picked, despite the unfascinating cover page it had, with some animated faces of the characters, funny. He begins reading aloud, word by word, pausing after each, like a preacher in the church and he once again has me listen to the description of the same Wodehouse characters, perhaps having forgotten that they had already been narrated earlier; he continues with their stories and the jokes he remembers from his past read and tells me that he’s finished each of the Wodehouse book for precisely three times, and that he would read it one more time if he wished to. He then takes his back off to get a couple more of Wodehouse books from his shelf and gives them away to me pointing at one of those as the best ever. Shows me middle of some pages to read that he had found utterly funny, goes out to sip into his drink, returns asking if I’m done, and with my approving nod and before I knew I’d be asked to explain him the joke, thing he always did after giving me something to read, wait until I finish, and then throw questions on it, there he was ,’What does it say?’, with a fatherly grin.
And like every single time, he’s never satisfied with the explanation he gets from my end and takes the book off my hand and reads out aloud to me, word by word, pause after each, like a preacher in the church. Despite the routine, the Wodehouse jokes couldn’t stop us from a big round of laughter.
Throughout the day he was deeply engrossed in me reading the Wodehouse books that In the noon when I was on the bed with the book on my hand, I had him stop by the window outside to talk of Woody, it was as though he’s shared his good times with the characters in it. Resumes walking step by step, his face still contended. And comes back again in the night while I’m having my dinner, stands for a while, inclined on the door rock, and begins to commence all over again.