Larder raider

NEW DELHI DEC. 25. As a child, the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, used to steal sweets in the house and so the elders used to keep them under lock and key.

This was disclosed by Mr. Vajpayee's sister, Vimla Mishra, in a short film on the Prime Minister, screened on the occasion of his 78th birthday at a cultural extravaganza at the India Gate lawns today.

"I used to be given the responsibility of keeping the keys to the room safely so that Atal would not steal it. Yet, he managed, but I never used to mind," Ms. Mishra said.

The film also showed Mr. Vajpayee reciting his poem: "Gairon ko gale se na lagaa sakoon, itni rukhai na dena (Do not give me such harshness that I cannot embrace strangers)".

Mr. Vajpayee, who was present at the function, was greeted and garlanded by the Vice-President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, and the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson, Najma Heptulla.