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   After much deliberation... (October 12, 1990)

After much deliberation, I have decided to present my dog, Bolshoi the Boxer, as a birthday gift to Mr. Sharad Pawar. So I told Bolshoi about it: "From Wednesday you will be staying at Varsha."

"But I don't want to stay at Varsha, and, after all these years, you can't just give me away as a gift to just anybody," Bolshoi said. "If you want to give him a gift, give him a Videocon washing machine.

"A washing machine would look like I am bribing him and so fat I have not bribed any politician in my life, except once," I said. "In any case, it is for me to decide what gift to give to Mr. Pawar and I have decided on you."

"You have no right to decide about me, after all it is my life," Bolshoi said. "Besides, I don't want to stay with the Pawars for the rest of my life. I don't even know what kind of food they eat."

"Have you seen Mr. Pawar," I said. "You have. Then you know that he must be eating good food. You will not be starved, they are good people, they will look after you well."

"I would rather I was not looked after by politicians," Bolshoi said. "You yourself have bee saying that we should keept our distance from politicians and now you are putting me right in the house of a politician."

"Whatever I say does not necessarily apply to dogs," I said. "And think of all the advantages you will have being the chief minister's dog. You will be staying in his house, travelling in his special plane, being photographed with him on TV. At a later stage, once you have come to know things better, you may even help him out with his work."

"No, I don't want to hept any politician. Look what happened to Amitabh Bachchan, he started out only to help his friend, the prime minister, and now not only is his political and film career finished, but he is reduced to giving interviews to everybody."

"We are not discussing Mr. Bachchan and the rise and fall in his fortunes," I said. "All we are talking about is a suitable gift for Mr. Pawar on his 51st birthday. And I have already made up my mind, I am going to give you."

"How do you know Mr. Pawar would like to have me as a gift," Bolshoi said. "He may not want to have a dog, he may want something else, probably cash. Why don't you ask him?"

"Mr. Pawar will be happy to have you," I said. "He is too clever a politician to look a gift dog in the mouth."

"I still don't want to be given away to Mr. Pawar as a birthday present," Bolshoi said.

"I have made my decision and let there be no further argument," I said. "And why don't you look at the bright side of things, supposing it was Mr. Bal Thackeray's birthday and I was presenting you to him."

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