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   In the old days, if you wanted to go to Dubai in your visa application to the UAE government you had to explain why you were going there. (September 5, 1993)

These days, if you have ever been to Dubai, you have to explain to the police why you have been there.For instance, the other day, the police picked me up, put handcuffs on me, and took me to the CID office at Crawford Market.

All along the way, people stared at me and wondered which of the 13 bombs I had exploded. At the CID, I was made to sit directly under a 100 watt EC bulb, while five police officers interrogated me.

"When were you last in Dubai?"

an officer asked, loosening his collar."I do not exactly know, but it was the time India lost to Pakistan with Javed Miandad hitting a sixer off the last ball of the match bowled by Chetan Sharma," I said."We are not interested in Chetan Sharma," said another officer, wrapping my knucles with a police baton. "Tell us who you met in Dubai."

"Ouch" I said. "I don't remember that. I met a lot of people, guys who used to work in newsapers here and went to Dubai to work in The Gulf News because they got 20 times the salary they were getting here."

"Tell us about your meeting with Dawood Bhai," said a third officer, pulling me up by the hair on my head and punching me in the stomach."Ooof," I said. "If by Dawood Bhai you are referring to Mr. Dawood Ibrahim, we never met. Why would he meet me, I am not a film personality!"

"We question you, you don't question us," said a fourth officer, hitting me behind the ears with a rubber hose so that it would not leave any marks. "Nobody goes to Dubai to watch India losing cricket matches. You all go there to meet Dawood Ibrahim. Tell us, what deal you made with him."

"Aagh. I am not a film star, I am not a builder, I don't stay in Mahim, I am not a fisherman, what deal can I make with Dawood Bhai!" I said."Ah, ha so you are admitting he is Dawood Bhai to you," said a fifth officer, putting a red hot iron bar under my armpit.

"How many guns did he present you with?"

"Eeeow. He did not present me with any guns, I promise you. I have absolutely no fascination for guns, I am not the macho type," I said."Why is there no entry in your passport about your visit to Pakistan?" asked the first officer, pulling out the nails from the two large toes of my feet."Ooh ooh, ooooh, aiee," I said. "I did not go to Pakistan. There was no reason for me to, I saw enough of the Pakistani cricketers in Sharjah."

Fortunately, I was allowed to go home, probably because I told them that I would hire Mr. Ram Jethmalani, and not Mr. Mahesh Jethmalani, to defend me. And, on reaching home, I told the wife: "Remember those pictures I had got back from Dubai. One of them had me standing in a group next to a short man with a moustache and thick black hair, wearing a velvet jacket and a shiny suit. Destroy it." The wife said: "Destroy your own evidence."

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