My elder son, Darryl, said this morning: "I would like to have Rs. 25,000 to buy a ticket for the Miss World contest in Banglore."
"You think I am the Sultan of Brunei to give you that kind of money to go and watch some girls in bathing suits!" I said.
"There ar no bathing suits, they will all be properly dressed so as not to offend our culture," Darryl said.
"I am glad to hear that," I said.
My younger son, Derek, said: "Could I have Rs. 15,000."
"You also want to watch this Miss world contest?" I asked.
"No, who cares for Miss World," Derek said. "I want to watch Michael Jackson."
"You don't need Rs. 15,000 to watch Michael Jackson. Put on Channel V on the TV and you can see him. They have nothing to show but Michael Jackson, or Sunil Shetty imitating him," I said.
"You don't understand, this is live. For the first time, the youth of India has a chance to see Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk live at the municipal stadium at Andheri, thanks to Sabah Joseph of Whizcraft," Derek said. "I want Rs. 15,000 for that."
"Who do you think I am! Anil Ambani to give you Rs. 15,000 to see somebody sign and dance," I said.
"Mr. Anil Ambani is spending Rs. 1,18,000 to see Michael Jackson," Derek said.
Darryl said: "This is the first time that the Miss World contest is being helf in India. It is a great honour and we should all support it."
"I don't know," I said, "I would like to consult Mr. Pramod Navalkar before deciding whether to support the Miss World or not."
"The Shiv Sena is supporting Michael Jackson," Derek said. "For that they will be paid Rs. 4 crores, which will be spent on getting jobs for unemployed Shiv Sainiks."
"It is nice to hear that, and I wish the Shiv Sena all luck," I said. "But I cannot spend this kind of money."
"You can't spend money for Miss World or Michael Jackson?" Darryl asked.
"Now that you ask me, neither," I said. "Bon Jovie and all that is all right, or Lata Mangeshkar night, but not this. Before the new Miss World is crowned, the whole country would go bankrupt."
"If we do not support it, Amitabh Bachchan will go broke. The poor man has staked his whole future on it," Darryl said.
"Don't worry, he has got enough money," I said. "Besides, he is an NRI."
"It is not the money, it is the prestige that India will gain by hosting Michael Jackson," Derek said. "We will be like Manila."
"I don't think we want to be like Manila," I said. "In any case, I have no intention on throwing away hard-earned money on these fancy events."
"What will we do!" Darryl said.
"I'll tell you. Next year, I will get a pass for Darryl to see the Miss Femina show and another pass for Derek to see the Filmfare show," I said.