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   The wife was saying: "Do not expect any greeting card... (December 23, 1987)

The wife was saying: "Do not expect any greeting card from the Prime Minister this year, because of the drought he has decided not to send us any."

"When did the Prime Minister ever send us a card that it matters whether he is sending us any this year or not," I said. "The Prime Minister does not even know that we exist."

"Whether he has sent us card before or not is not the point," the wife said. "The point is that he is not sending us a card this year because he does not want to waste money on greeting us when millions of people in Rajasthan and other states are without water and food. We should be understanding about that".

"I am perfectly understanding and I am more concerned about the drought than all your maharajas and prime ministers and the chief minister of Rajasthan," I said. "All I am trying to point out to you is that whether the Prime Minister sends cards or almond chocolates this year or not does not apply to us. We are not on his mailing list."

"If we were not he would not have taken the trouble to announce in the newspapers that he was not sending us cards this years," the wife said. "It was very thoughtful of him, at least be appreciative of that."

"I am appreciative you don't have to tell me that, I said. "But the announcement in the newspapers, also on ration and TV, was not for us, it was for those friends of his who were in the habit of getting greeting cards from him and would not be getting this year. So that should not be some misunderstanding and they should not think they are out of his and his wife's good books."

"You will give your own interpretation to everything," the wife said. "If the cards were just for his half-dozen close friends, he would not go to the trouble of announcing to the whole world that he was not sending them. He could just pick up the telephone and tell them. After all, how many of his old friends has he got left. He announced because he wanted us to note that he would not be sending his usual greetings this year and we should not expect any."

"There you go again. What usual cards, we do not usually get them," I said. "The only politician who sends us cards is Mr. Murli Deora, and if you were to believe all the lies that they write about him in the newspapers these days, you would think he is not going to be a politician for much longer."

"Usual or not, this year Mr. Gandhi was going to send us a card, and, because of the drought, he is not sending it," the wife said. "If you had any feelings, you would also not send any cards and save money for drought relief."

"Different people save money for the drought relief in different ways," I said. "for instance, I have decided to save by cancelling my annual Christmas-New Year holiday to Lakshwadeep Islands."

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