The wife was saying this morning: "Those poor, poor film stars, they have been on strike so long they may not have any money left. Why don't we give them some money?"
"You must be totally out of your head if you think we are going to finance film stars," I said. "Do you know how much money Amitabh Bachchan has been getting for his films Ė one crore rupees. Not to mention the salary and perks he is drawing now as an MP."
The wife said: "Raj Babbar says that for every one person living in Ashiward, there are thousands of film hands living in hutment colonies. Their families must be starving now, we can give them some food."
"Let Raj Babbar give them food, then and let him put them up in his house. I understand he has got two houses," I said. "I sympathise with all your Dharmendras and Mithun Chakrabortys, but I am not going to part with any of my hard-earned money for them."
The wife said: "Every day I come to know you better and better. For poor Hema Malini, who you have always said was your favourite, you can't spare a 100 rupees. And yet, when the textile workers were on strike, you wanted to give away our money. Then it was all the time Datta Samantji, Datta Samantji. I am so glad your Datta Samantji fell flat on, his face."
"He is not my Datta Samant," I said, "and, in any case, the strike of the film stars and the strike of textile workers are two different things. Besides, some of these film stars can be on strike for the rest of their lives and still have enough money to live on. Do you know that Smita Patil has made so much money that she is prepared to work free for Shyam Benegal for his Manthan II."
"I wonder what poor Shyam Benegal must be doing. At this rate, he may settle dwon in Moscow, making a series of films on Indian leaders, or may be start making films with the blacks in America."
"Let us stop worrying about the Benegals and all these film people and concentrate on our own lot," I said. "The chief minister is not worried so why should we worry."
The wife said: "You don't want to worry about anybody, you have become very selfish. It will serve you right the next time you go to a film star, asking for his autograph, and the refuses you."
"I have never in my life asked a Hindi film star for an autograph, except once, Mandakini, and that was because you wanted it. I have never been so embarrassed in my life," I said.
"Then what are we going to do?" the wife asked.
I explained: "We do nothing. Our job is to go to the cinema, see their films, and pay our money to the government for its taxes."