A year that wasn’t

Syed Zafar Mehdi

What if England had pipped New Delhi for the hosting rights of CWG 2010?

Thousands of crores from state exchequer spent on the Games could have been pumped into many nationwide social welfare schemes and in the development works. The large-scale embezzlement of money by powerful Games committee officials may not have happened. The ignominy and shame could have been averted. India may not have got such a disastrous PR in international press. The ugly showdown between Shiela Dikshit and Suresh Kalmadi could have been avoided.

 What if PR diva Nira Radia had not mediated between DMK and Congress?

The phone transcripts may not have leaked, and those hotshot journalists could have escaped the scrutiny of their own fraternity. Perhaps D Raja would have found it difficult to grab the coveted telecom portfolio, and pull off the biggest swindle of all time. The multi-billion 2G scam may not have rocked the country. The debate over media ethics may not have taken new dimension. Ratan Tata would not have felt the need to move apex court, claiming right to privacy.

What if there were no reality shows?

The enormously talented “stars” like Rakhi Sawant, Rahul Mahajan and Veena Malik would have got no takers. We may never have seen Dolly Bindra’s angry-old-woman avatar. Swayamwars would not have caught the frenzy of showbiz world. Youngsters may never have differentiated between sur and taal. Dance academies would not have suddenly got so over-crowded. We may never have seen top celebs having hot coffee with Karan, and firing verbals volleys. 

What if cupid had not struck Shashi Tharoor at 54?

The charismatic politician may not have got into controversies and perhaps would have retained his ministerial berth. His public showdown with Lalil Modi, and the war of words could have been avoided. His image as a seasoned diplomat and respected writer may not have taken a beating. He would still have been blue-eyed boy at South Block, rather than slipping into oblivion.

 What if Lalit Modi had stayed as full-time biz honcho?

The billion-dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) may never have become a reality. Indian cricket’s clout would not have touched a new high. A breed of small-town talented young cricketers may not have got a better opportunity to make a mark. Modi would not have faced the interrogation by CBI for large-scale financial irregularities. He would not have become the favorite whipping boy for all and sundry.

What if Sachin Tendulkar had retired after World cup 2007?

He would not have completed 20 years in international cricket and registered staggering 50 centuries in test matches. Saeed Anwar’s record for highest individual score in an ODI would perhaps never have been broken. His purple patch that came after 2007 World Cup would not have happened. We may not have seen the veteran fight it out in IPL with young players from across the country. The “ICC Player of the year” would have eluded him forever.

What if court had not delayed the final verdict in Ajmal Kasab case?

The uneasy suspense could have been broken. Justice could have been done to the victims of Mumbai carnage. The astronomical expenses incurred on him from taxpayers’ money may have been saved. A strong signal could have been sent to terrorists across the border. Politicians may not have used it as an issue to woo voters. P Chidambaram would not have to confront the irksome question on his trail.

What if Sanjay Dutt had won the Lok Sabha elections on SP ticket?

He would have taken a sabbatical from films, and donned the khaadi. Like other filmstars-turned-politicians, he would be spending more time in his farmhouse than his parliamentary constituency. His attendance in Parliament would be dismal. He would be following his mentor Amar Singh on his padh yatras and Page 3 parties. The sibling rivalry with his sister and Congress MP would have taken a new dimension.

What if MS Dhoni had not tied the knot with his Welham girlfriend?

One of the country’s most eligible bachelors would still have been up for grabs. Tabloid gossip columns would be filled with the juicy rumours of his link-ups with rookie models and established actresses. He would be tired of giving clarifications on his relationship status. Deepika Padukone, fresh from her split with Ranbir Kapoor, would have again fancied her chances on captain cool.

What if there had been no building collapse in Delhi?    

MCD would not have swung into action and ordered demolitions of illegal and unauthorized constructions across the city. The vicious nexus between property dealers and MCD officials would not have come to fore. It may not have become an emotive issue for politicians to lock horns with each other. The loss of innocent lives could have been avoided.