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   It is the birthday of my youndger son... (March 19, 1990)

It is the birthday of my youndger son, Derek, on Wednesday, and the wife was sying: "For his birthdayparty, why don't you get a magician to perform, bringing rabbits out of hats and all that. The children will love it."

"Good inde," I said. "But where do I find a magician at this late hour?"

"Why don't you ask your friend, Mr. Bal Thackeray, he is magician," the wife said.

"Now, whatever gave you the idea that Mr. Thackeray is a magician," I said. "He is a political leader and cartoonist, but not a magician."

"Oh, yes, he is, the best magician in Mahrashtra," the wife said. "On Wednesday, he is going to show magic to Mr. Sharad Pawar."

"Oh, chamatkar," I said. ‘That is not magic. I mean, nobody believes he is going to do any magic on Wednesday. Even Mr. Pawar does not believe he is going to do any magic."

"Of course, Mr. Pawar believes he can do magic, that is why he is so nervous and is offering Mr. Thackeray all kinds of deputy speakerships and giving tea-parties," the wife said. "I wonder what chamatkar he is going to do to Mr. Pawar. Make him disappear!"

"Gogia Pasha cannot make Mr. Pawar disappear, what Mr. Thackeray is going to do. Have you seen Mr. Pawar's size!" I said.

"You just don't want your son's birthday party to be a success," the wife said. "Other fathers would have brought magicians, conjurors, acrobats for their sons birthday parties to entertain his friends. All you do is get Go Cool ice-cream."

"Look," I said, "it is not that I don't want to get a magician to entertain our son's guests, it is just that Mr. Thackeray is not a magician. In politics they make all these claims, chamatkar and whatnot. Didn't he earlier say that the Shiv Sena flag would be flying over Mantralaya. And didn't Mr. V.P. Singh says he will have all the names of the Bofors men in one month. What happened!"

"If Mr. Thackeray says he can do chamatkar, he can," the wife said. "I know you do not subcribe to his views as a politician, but you do not have to doubt his abilities as a magician."

"Look, on Wednesday, by the time he finishes his chamatkar in the assembly, he will be tired. You cannot expect him t come to our house after that and do more chamatkars for a children's party."

"If not Mr. Thackeray, get his assistant, Mr. Manohar Joshi," the wife said. "He also does chamatkar."

"Very well, I will ask him," I said. "However, if after Mr. Thackeray has done his chamatkar, Mr. Manohar Joshi becomes chief minister, I don't think he will have the time to come."

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