It is now some weeks since I started posting a weekly extract from the book that appears as if it may change my life, 1111 Letters for All Occasions. I am becoming very grateful indeed that I have found it.
As an insight into the lives, loves, morality, interactions and struggles of 1970s India, 1111 Letters is a rare document of no small historical importance. Thanks to New Light Publishers of New Delhi, we are able to delve into the lives of everyday Indians in a very special and insightful way. Many readers of this blog have been delighted by the colourful and charming vignettes unveiled by this most special of books, to the point where I have been asked to present a lecture at the University of Michigan on the contemporary culture of 1970s India as seen through 1111 Letters for a not inconsiderable emolument. This is expected to be the start of an extensive lecture tour and I have, as a consequence, retained an American Agent to look after my interests.
Needless to say, I retained his services through a letter I wrote him that closely followed the template given in 1111 Letters.
However, I promised I would share an extract each week with you and, regardless of my other obligations, I shall be true to my word. Today, we investigate the section titled ‘Club Correspondence’ – a scathing attack on inequality in every way and a quite riveting correspondence. I apologise for the extract being a little long and complicated, but club membership was obviously not easy in days of yore.
I confess that the last letter in this series made me cry.
To join a social club you need some social correspondence with the Secretary of the Club before you are admitted and become a member. Some such letters are given below.
Can I join your club? What are the qualifications necessary for becoming a member of the Chelmsford Club?
Reply to Above
A brochure is enclosed herewith giving all the necessary information for the new members.
I am quite new to New Delhi and I think I know no member of the Chelmsford Club. Then, how can I be introduced?
Reply to above
Please attend our Club dinner tomorrow night and bring the papers along duly completed.
I will have you introduced.
Reply to Reply
I regret that I shall not be able to meet members of the Chelmsford Club tomorrow as I am flying to Bombay tonight.
Please make it later.
Come to our club any evening at your convenience with the completed form.
Please ring me for an appointment.
Sending a form
Kindly find enclosed herewith the Application Form of the Chelmsford Club duly completed and introduced.
Please enrol me as a member.
I am placing the form before the Governing Body of the Club in their next meeting.
I will inform you of the result some time next week.
Please intimate me the decision of the Governing Body about my enrolment as a member.
I am glad to inform you that you have been duly enrolled as a full member of the Chelmsford Club.
I regret to inform you that the Governing Body has not been able to accord you membership of the Club. Your cheque for payment is returned herewith.
Reply to Reply
I fear the Chelmsford Club continues to be a Whitemen’s club with Whitemen’s mentality as in the days of the Whitemen’s burden.
The black must bear the burden of the White.
Next week: Letters to the Editor