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   My dog, Bolshoi the Boxer, was saying... (December 2, 1990)

My dog, Bolshoi the Boxer, was saying: “If the government is going to crib about a few crores of rupees for Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s security, I will guard him. Tell Mr. M.J. Akbar to announce my offer.”

“What offer!” I said. “You want to makde a laughing stock of Mr. Akbar. You can’t guard yourself, and you want to guard the former prime minister.

“I don’t want to guard the former prime minister. But since the government is acting cheap about it and says it cannot afford to spend money on protecting him, I am offering to do so,” Bolshoi said, “I consider it my duty.”

“Duty and all that is very fine,” I said. “I also would like to do my duty. But you have to be in a position to do so. If a black cat crosses the road, you don’t pass by there for hours, and you want to replace the Black Cats.”

“I am not scared of any cats, black, white or purple, except in the dark,” Bolshoi said, “Besides, I am not going to protect Mr. Gandhi from cats, I am going to protect him from terrorists.”

“You have not seen a terrorist in your life. You will not be able to recognise one if you see him,” I said. “Please, understand, the job is not meant for you. If it was that simple, the government could have hired a few dogs and presented them to Mr. Gandhi.”

“It is not a question of a few dogs, it is the right dog,” Bolshoi said. “I have looked after you and your family all these years, no terrorist has dared come hear you. Why should I not be able to looke after Mr. Gandhi and his family. Unless you want to be selfish and keep me here, protecting you.”

“My life is nothing copared to Mr. Gandhi’s, I am sure,” I said. “However, I don’t think the government woul find you quite adequate for the job. Mr. V.P. Singh is a very practical man, you know that. He will reject you.”

“He will not, when he comes to know that I am not charging anything, except board and lodge at No. 10. Janpath, plus air-fare to Delhi, he will instantly agree,” Bolshoi said.

“I still don’t think so,” I said. “However, if you like, you could offer your service to Mr. Buta Singh. After all, the he also requires protection, though nobody is puttting up case.”

“Very well, then, tell Mr. Akbar to announce my offer for the protection of Mr. Buta Singh,” Bolshoi said.

“Come, come,” I said. “Mr. Akbar may have come down in life, but not that down. He may be Rajiv Gandhi’s spokesman, but not Buta Singh’s.”

 
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