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   Last night, at dinner, my elder son, Darryl, asked for mixed vegetable pickle... (July 17, 1996)

Last night, at dinner, my elder son, Darryl, asked for mixed vegetable pickle.

"I don't think you should have pickle," I told him. "If we cannot help, at least we should stop patronising pickle kings who go about falsely accusing our prime ministers and leading godmen of cheating."

My younger son, Derek, wanted to know: "Does not eating pickle include mango pickle also?"

"Of couse, it does," I said. "What's so special about mango pickle that it should be exempted. These pickle-wallas have made millions by selling mango pickles to homesick Indian students in England, then tried to bribe holy men and honest politicians with the money."

"I can't have my dal and rice without a pickle," Darryl said.

"Well, you will have to learn to have it," I said. "Just because you can't swallow your food without a pickle, we cannot sit here economically supporting nefarious pickle markers to destabilise our government and our spiritual heritage."

"If I cannot have a nimbu achar with my dinner, I can't have dinner," Derek said. "I am going to leave this table hungry."

"I don't care if you go hungry," I said, "but you are not leaving this table till the others have finished their dinner. This is what happens by bringing pickles into the house, they corrupt youngsters."

The wife said: "I think you are being over-sensitive. If the children want to eat pickles, let them. In any case, it was you who brought all the pickles home.

"This is very unfair, you can't blam em for bringing the pickles home," I said. "When I brought them, I did not know what the pickle kings were up to. Only the CBI knew, and they were under pressure not to stop the public from eating pickles."

"How about garlic pickle. Can we have garlic pickle?" Darryl asked.

"No pickle means no pickle. No garlic, no ginger, no methi, learn to eat your food with Kissan's tomato ketchup or Maggo's hot chilli sauce," I said.

"Look," the wife said, "the pickle you are upset over comes form England. Our pickle is deshi, made by Mr. Bedekar and Indian mothers. It chouls be perfectly all right to buy and eat these."

"Yes, we eat their brinjal pickle today and tomorrow we get up and read in the papers that they are accusing the prime minister of taking Rs. 5 crores from them and not doing their work. I am not going to take any chances like that," I said. "From today, there is going to be pickle in this house."

"What do I do with all the pickle I have got," the wife said.

"Send it to the Tihar Jail, Chandaswami and Mamji may like to eat it," I said.

 
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