Jawaharalal Nehru was sitting with V. K. Krishna Menon inside his residence at the “Teen Murti Bhavan”.
“Sounds Unbelievable” he said “Are you sure these people are not frauds? This may be some American conspiracy.”
“I don’t think so.” replied V. K. Krishna Menon. “We have cross verified their story. They have got many gadgets which are from the future. It is amazing the way they can describe every minute detail of this house Teen Murti Bhavan”. They know every nook and corner. And you know what? The lady who claims to be your great granddaughter looks just like Indiraji. I believe they are indeed your descendants.”
“Wow” said Nehru. “Send them right in.”
Krishna Menon goes out and comes back and announces “Sir, your granddaughter-in-law’s advisers, Mr. Ahmed Patel, Mr. Shashi Tharoor and Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer.”
Mani Shankar Aiyer immediately rushed to Nehru, fell at his feet and started sobbing with joy. “Now that I have met you, my life’s goal is achieved now, Oh great one.”
Nehru gets irritated and says “Please stop embarrassing me with your sycophancy.”
As a rattled Mani Shankar Aiyer stepped back, Shashi Tharoor whispered into his ear, “It’s alright Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer. It is still September 1947 and he has still not got used to your sycophancy.”
Mani Shankar Aiyer gets irritated and complains to Nehru. “Sir, Mr. Shashi Tharoor wrote a book about the British rule titled Inglorious Empire.”
Nehru tells Shashi Tharoor, “What an ignorant fool you are. The British Empire was the most glorious one in history.”
An annoyed Shashi Tharoor says, “And Sir, Mani Shankar Aiyer was collecting money for the Chinese soldiers.”
“Wow. you are a true gentleman.” said Nehru looking at Mani Shankar Aiyer appreciatively.
Now, Mani Shankar Aiyer grins and whispers in Shashi Tharoor’s ear. “As you said, it is still September 1947.”
“Where are my descendants?”, asks Nehru getting impatient.
“Just coming” says Ahmed Patel, “Actually they are fascinated with this Teen Murti Bhavan in its ancient form and are loitering around. They have only seen it as a museum. Here they are.”
Nehru gets up and hugs each one of them.
Ahmed Patel introduces “Your granddaughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi.”
“Hey, I am so pleased to meet you. You are of British origin, right?”
“No, Italian” replies Sonia Gandhi.
“Why did my grandson have to marry someone from a fascist country?” said Nehru irritated.
“But I studied in Cambridge” said Sonia Gandhi.
“But your English accent is not so good. Not an original English one” said Nehru.
“Sir, your great granddaughter Priyanka.” said Ahmed Patel.
“Hey, you look just like Indira. So happy to see you.”
“And your great grandson in law Robert Vadra” said Ahmed Patel.
Nehru looked at Robert Vadra and then back at Priyanka “What did you find special in this gentleman?”
Priyanka replied, “He has a good business acumen and a great sense of humour.”
“No Sir.” said Robert Vadra “I am just a mango man in a banana republic.”
Nehru looked at Priyanka annoyed, “Is this the sense of humour? You could not find someone better? Indira as it is made a bad choice in choosing a spouse and it seems it is getting worse with each generation.”
“Sir, your great grandson. Rahul Gandhi” said Ahmed Patel.
Nehru looked at him and asked him “What are your plans for the future of India?”
Rahul replied “Let me ask you the same question. What are your plans for the future of India?”
Nehru said now visibly irritated “Things are truly getting worse with each generation.”
Rahul Gandhi responded “Ek aisi machine banunga ki ek taraf se aalo dalo, doosri taraf se sona niklega.”
Nehru said amazed “Great, I never imagined science would advance so much in 70 years from now.”
Krishna Menon interrupts and says “Sir, let’s not waste time on pleasantries. They have come here on a mission and they have a very short time. Let’s start with the agenda.”
“Please go ahead” said Nehru and added “I am so happy to see that you have maintained my legacy for so long.”
Mani Shankar Aiyer said “Yes. But there came some men along the way who tried to disrupt your legacy. Your immediate successor, a commoner discontinued some of your socialist economic policies and brought in the green revolution and milk revolution.”
“What?” said Nehru, “Socialist economic policies is the only way. Tell me who is this person and I will ensure he does not become my successor.”
“Not to worry.” said Mani Shankar Aiyer “We got things back in control soon. However, in 1991, another commoner became Prime Minister and he completely undid your economic reforms. He practically removed the government control of business. This over time led to private enterprises in forbidden areas like telecom, aviation and television. We now have more than 20 types of toothpaste.”
“What?” screamed Nehru. “Such a waste, these 20 types of toothpaste. This should never have been allowed.”
“There is a solution to this.” said Mani Shankar Aiyer.
“What?” asked Nehru.
“Please take the Hyderabad issue to the United Nations.” replied Mani Shankar Aiyer.
“How does that help?” asked Nehru.
Mani Shankar Aiyer replied “Once the matter goes to the UN, the UN will order a ceasefire and Sardar Patel’s hands will be tied and he would not be able to bring Hyderabad State in the Indian Union. The man who will destroy your economic legacy is already born in the Hyderabad state. If the Hyderabad state does not accede to India, he never will get an opportunity to become Prime Minister and challenge your legacy.”
“Interesting.” Said Nehru.
“And there is something else.” Continued Mani Shankar Aiyer. “I know you are planning to reorganize the Bombay State into 2 separate states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. But this state Gujarat will always pose challenges to your legacy. Right now, there is Sardar Patel. Later, in 1977 another Gujarati will become PM and jail Indiraji. And in 2014, a commoner will emerge from Gujarat who will practically threaten to erase your legacy by 2019.”
“What?” screamed Nehru.
“But, there is a way out.” continued Mani Shankar Aiyer. “The Nawab of Junagadh wants to join Pakistan. Let him. That will practically make the Saurashtra peninsula a part of Pakistan. Jinnah is of Gujarati origin. So just like you allowed Jinnah to walk away with Balochistan and Sindh, let him walk away with the remaining parts of Gujarat. This will ensure, nobody challenges your legacy for centuries.”
“Interesting” said Nehru. “Can you please do one thing? Can you please go to Birla house and try to convince Mahatma Gandhi and then ask him to convince Sardar Patel? Krishna Menon, can you accompany them?”
“Why Birla House?” asked Rahul Gandhi. “Don’t we go to Raj Ghat to meet Gandhiji? And why is Gandhiji staying with Birlas and Ambanis?”
As Nehru looked on confused, the group left to meet Mahatma Gandhi.
Along the way, the group chanced upon a middle-aged gentleman with a 2-year-old toddler.
“Hello Sir” Krishna Menon greeted the gentleman and looking at the toddler he added “Walking around with your Grandfather?”
The toddler looks around and fixes his gaze on Mani Shankar Aiyer and keeps looking at him judgmentally.
Mani Shankar Aiyer gets irritated and asks “Why are you staring at me? What do you think I am?”
“Idiot” replied the kid and everyone burst out into laughter.
Priyanka Vadra said “What a sweet baby. What is his name?”
“Markandey” replied the grandfather.
“Let’s go.” said Krishna Menon and the group proceeds.
At the Birla House, Gandhiji looked at the group and said “I don’t get it. What is your problem if that kid from Hyderabad wants to promote free enterprise? Government should focus on governance and not interfere too much with business.”
“And what about Gujarat?” asked Mani Shankar Aiyer.
“What about Gujarat? You want me to give away Porbandar and Sabarmati to Pakistan? Not that I am attached to either. But just making you realize what you are asking for.”
“Sir”, interrupted Mani Shankar Aiyer. “Do you want your killers to rule India?”
Gandhiji replied “If I am going to be killed, so be it. I have already forgiving my future killers. I bear no ill will towards anyone. And let the people of India decide whom they want to govern them. I do not want to dictate this decision.”
“Sir”, interrupted Mani Shankar Aiyer. “This hateful ideology aims to create Congress free India.”
“I have anyway been requesting Jawaharalal to dissolve the Congress since we became independent. Good that at least someone has taken the initiative.” replied Gandhiji.
Turning to Ahmed Patel, Gandhiji added “You are from Gujarat. Do you realize that if Gujarat goes to Pakistan, you will never be in position to advice Jawaharalal’s descendants?”
“Oh, I never thought of that.” exclaimed Ahmed Patel. “Mani Shankar Aiyer and his stupid ideas.”
“Sir, I would request you to think over your decision again.” said Mani Shankar Aiyer.
Gandhiji became a little angry and replied “This division has led to so much bloodshed and you still want to divide people further? If I had known how low Jawaharalal’s descendants would sink in their greed for power, I would never have made him the Prime Minister. And will you please stop misusing my last name Gandhi to fool the people of India. Now I need to prepare for my prayers. So please leave me alone. Else I will need to rethink my decision to make Jawaharalal the Prime Minister of India.” The group scurried away from Gandhiji’s presence in the next few seconds.
The group returned to their Timecraft. Their pilot was waiting for them.
“Can we make one more halt in 1980s before going back to 2019?” asked Priyanka Vadra.
“No.” replied the pilot. “This Timecraft can only sustain two journeys through a wormhole. We have already made one. And besides, I have bad news for you. We have a technical snag. One of the three engines has failed.”
“What? Are we stuck over here forever?” asked Ahmed Patel worried.
“No” replied the pilot. “We have 2 options. Option 1 is we need a spare part to make the broken engine work again. But that spare part will not be invented till 1948. So we have to wait till then.”
“The second option is that the Timecraft can still travel with 2 Engines but then it will be able to carry less load and we will need to leave one person behind. We will need to make a separate journey some another time to get this person back.”
“That’s difficult” said Sonia Gandhi “We have already spent a fortune just for this single journey. We cannot afford a second one, unless we return to power in 2019.”
“Let’s leave the pilot behind.” suggested Mani Shankar Aiyer.
“And who is going to drive the Timecraft through the wormhole?” asked Shashi Tharoor.
“We have already spent a fortune on this stupid idea of yours to travel back in time. Now please don’t give any more of your stupid ideas” said Sonia Gandhi looking at Mani Shankar Aiyer.
In the meantine, a Chaiwala with a steel kettle and some steel glasses approaches the group. “Saheb, Chai?” he asks Mani Shankar Aiyer. Now Mani Shankar Aiyer loses his temper and screams at the Chaiwala, “Get lost, you neech chaiwala.”
The Chaiwala takes the insult personally and creates a scene. Soon a mob collects and sympathises with the Chaiwala. The people in the mob surround Mani Shankar Aiyer and close in on him menacingly but stop and respectfully step back and bow their heads as Mani Shankar Aiyer starts abusing them in polished English.
Sonia Gandhi looks at Ahmed Patel and says “Thank God it is 1947 and not 2019. Are you thinking what I am thinking?”
“Yes” says Ahmed Patel “We cannot afford such risks in 2019. Everyone onboard! ”. In a few seconds, the Timecraft takes off with one passenger less than when it had landed.
Some time later the Timecraft lands back in new Delhi. Shashi Tharoor takes a deep breath and says “Such a reassuring smell of pollution. We are back in 2019.”
The next evening, the pilot is having coffee with his friend at a restaurant in Chennai.
The friend asked him “Who among them do you think gained the most from this time trip?”
“Of course, me.” replied the pilot. “I did some research by walking around and got more ideas for my sequel to the book Twisted Threads.”
“Wow, nice.” replied the friend and asked “I heard some rumours about the third failed engine. But wasn’t the Timecraft supposed to have only 2 engines.”
“Yes” replied the pilot “It was a twin engine Timecraft.”