My dog, Bolshoi the Boxer, was saying this morning: "If you are thinking of returning your Padma Shri like Mr. Nikhil Chakravartty, don't do it. Instead, transfer it to me."
I looked at him, rather sternly, then said: "I have no intention of returing my Padma Shri; in honour I have won it and in honour I will wear it. Besides, these things are not flats that they can be transferred."
Bolshoi said: "Of course, they can be transferred. What is your little Padma Shri, anything can be transferred. Even gas cylinders can be transferred."
"Perhaps, I do not know," I said. "But, in any case, you cannot have it. For one thing, Mr. Arun Shourie will not like it, sharing his national honour with a dong. Bad enough he has to share it with Mr. N. Ram."
Bolshoi said: "You are just involving Mr. Shourie into it because you don't want to part with your Padma Shri."
"You are quite right, I don't want to part with it," I said. "I don't see why I should give up my Padma Shri just because Mr. Chakravartty has given up his. What he does is his business, but I do not have to follow him. Come to think of it, he is not expecting me to, it is you who want me to give up my Padma Shri."
"I think you should," Bolshoi said. "Already, behind your back, people are saying that what M.J. Akbar is to Rajiv Gandhi, you are to V.P. Singh."
"Nobody is saying that, it is only your suspicious mind at work," I said. "V.P. Singh and myself, haah!"
"If you don't want to face fact, don't. Before you know it, you will end up as an MP and good buy to your job," Bolshoi said. "And if you don't believe me, ask Mr. Chakravartty, he will explain to you everything."
"I don't have to ask Mr. Chakravartty, I know his viewpoint. And, I think, it is very sensibble, very noble. But it does not apply to me, it does not apply to everybody whom the President is pleased to honour with a Padma Sri. If you were to read what Mr. Chakravartty writes in Mainstream, you will know."
"If you giver your Padma Shri to me, you can also write in Mainstream," Bolshoi said. "You will like that, I am sure."
"I will not like that, I will not like anything, and I am not giving you my Padma Shri, that is for sure," I said, "So now, let-us not have any further discussion on that point."
"Just one more thing," Bolshoi said. "If you do not want to give me your Padma Shri, could you ask Mr. Nikhil Chaikravartty to give me his Padma Bhushan."