May 30, 2020
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...And Finally

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...And Finally
What if C. Rajagopalachari, not Rajendra Prasad, had become independent India’s first President? What if Indira Priyadarshini had not married Feroze Gandhi, the man who gave her, her two sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren—and their party—a surname to kill for? 

What if Piloo Mody’s pro-liberalisation Swatantra Party had tasted electoral success? What if Gulzarilal Nanda, twice acting PM, had actually become prime minister?

What if Rajiv Gandhi had insisted he was much happier flying airplanes? What if Madhavrao Scindia hadn’t died in the chopper crash? What if L.K. Advani hadn’t resigned over the Jain hawala diaries?

What if V.P. Singh hadn’t fallen out with Rajiv Gandhi? What if M. Karunanidhi had not kicked out MGR from the DMK? What if Mamata Banerjee had not left the Congress?

What if Justice V. Ramaswami had been impeached by Parliament? What if the Rubaiyya Sayeed kidnapping hadn’t been such a cop-out?

What if Dhirubhai Ambani had decided to stay back in Yemen as a petrol pump attendant? What if Nusli Wadia had agreed to JRD’s offer to lead the Tata group after him? What if Sam Pitroda had decided that coming back to help put life into telecom wasn’t worth his time? What if Sudha Murthy didn’t have the Rs 12,000 at home to give her husband when he left Patni Computers? What if Verghese Kurien hadn’t been required as part of his scholarship deal to be sent to a village in Gujarat? What if Madhav Mantri hadn’t noticed that his sister’s new-born son had been switched and recovered the Sunil Gavaskar from the clutches of a fisherman? What if Nari Contractor had not been hit on the head by Charlie Griffith? What if Datta Ray had caught the Indian Airlines flight to be present at the selection committee meeting that named Ajit Wadekar, not Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, as the captain for the historic 1971 tour?

What if Azharuddin had replied "Nahin" when Raj Singh Dungarpur asked him: "Miyan, captain banoge?" What if Navjot Sidhu hadn’t stormed out of the team on the 1996 English tour and What if Sanjay Manjrekar hadn’t been injured, prompting the debut of Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid? What if Jagmohan Dalmiya had stuck to his family’s construction business?

What if his deep baritone had met the approval of All India Radio bosses and Amitabh Bachchan had stayed on as an AIR announcer? What if Shivaji Gaekwad had continued to serve as a bus conductor instead of seeking his celluloid dream as Rajnikant? What if Deewaar had been made with Rajesh Khanna as Vijay, and Naveen Nischol as Ravi, as Yash Chopra originally intended? What if the Rajneesh bug hadn’t bitten Vinod Khanna? What if Shahrukh Khan had stayed back to complete his mass communications degree at Jamia Millia in New Delhi? What if Mallika Sarabhai had become a management consultant after graduating from IIM-Ahmedabad? What if Bipasha Basu had become a surgeon, as she had intended to? What if some ultra-nationalistic immigration officer had refused to give permission to Mother Teresa to set up shop in Calcutta?

What if The God of Small Things manuscript had stayed with Rupa & Co and not been sent by an enterprising editor there to super-agent David Godwin in London? What if Arundhati Roy hadn’t taken up Phoolan Devi’s cause? What if R.K. Narayan had bagged the Nobel Prize before Sir Vidiadhar?

What if Annapurna Shankar had become a concert star? What if Ameen Sayani hadn’t hosted Binaca Geet Mala? What if M. S. Subbulakshmi had been born tone-deaf? What if the Beatles hadn’t discovered Maharishi Mahesh Yogi? What if Bally Sagoo hadn’t remixed Chura Liya? What if Hari Prasad Chaurasia had remained a wrestler?

What if Pervez Musharraf’s family had stayed back in Old Delhi? What if Salim and Javed hadn’t met? What if Saadat Hasan Manto had never left his beloved Bombay for Pakistan?

What if Vijay Amritraj had won at Wimbledon in 1973? What if M.A.M. Ramaswamy was allergic to horses? What if Narain Karthikeyan had failed his driving test? What if , at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, P.T. Usha had run faster than you can read Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil?

What if P.V. Narasimha Rao, in his infinite wisdom, hadn’t made Manmohan Singh finance minister in 1991? What if Sonia Gandhi hadn’t listened to her "inner voice"?

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