The wife was saying this morning: "If the prime minister is coming today, why are there no policemen around."
"What does Mr. V.P. Singh need policemen for," I said. "Even in Amritsar he did not have policemen and you think he will have them here."
"I see no barricades along the pavements," the wife said. "May be the prime minister has postponed his trip."
"He has not postponed his trip, once Mr. Singh says he is coming, he comes. He is a man of his wors, though he changes his mind sometimes. And you should not decide whether the prime minister is coming or not by the barricades along the pavements."
The wife said: "Why are there no arches on the roads welcoming the prime minister to Bombay. They always have arches welcoming him."
"Mr. V.P. Singh does not need arches to welcome him," I said. "He is welcome him," I said. "He is welcome in our hearts, that is more important. As he always says, ‘Dil se milao dil.'
"Don't try your Hindi on me, I am not impressed," the wife said. "And there may not be arches, but why are there no giant cutouts. All prime ministers have giant cutouts of theirs put up when they come to Bombay. Remember the one of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, and before that of Mrs. Indira Gandhi in her nine-yard sari at Worli Naka."
"I remember," I said. "But why don't you understand, those cutouts were put up by Mr. Murli Deora, whose prime minister Mr. Gandhi was. You cannot expect Mr. Ranjit Bhanu to put up cutouts of Mr. V.P. Singh."
"I don't see what all that got to do with it, prime minister is after all prime minister. When Mr. Sharad Pawar becomes the prime minister, he will have giant cutouts, especially in Bombay," the wife said.
"Do not hatch your chickens before the eggs are laid," I said, "not that Mr. Pawar is a chicke. And, understand, different prime ministers have different arrangements when they will Bombay. For instance, when Mr. Gandhi used to arrive here, half of Bombay used to be at the airport to receive him. For Mr. Singh, there will be, besides his party officials, only Mr. Raj Babbar, Mr. Shatrughan Sinha and Mr. Ayub Sayed."
"Whoever there may be receive him, you better finish your work a couple of hours early and rush home, afterwards the police will be stopping all traffic to let the prime minister pass through with his convoy, going from function to function."
"You have still not understood," I said. "There is to be no stoppage of traffic, Mr. Singh travels like any ordinary citizen in his Ambassador."
"No, I have still not understood," the wife said. "What is the point in the prime minister visiting Bombay if nobody is going to know about it."