If you come today, it’s too early. If you come tomorrow, it’s too late. But between that tomorrow and today there will be many tomorrows: Shekhar Gupta meets Dr Raj Kumar with Swami Nityananda watching.

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It is not widely known that the Kannada movie legend Dr Raj Kumar won only one national award in his long and illustrious career, but it was not for his acting prowess but singing.

Dr Raj Kumar won the award in 1993 for his rendition of Nada Maya in Jeevana Chaitra but the Raj song that really rocketed into the national consciousness was the only one the non-English speaking Kannadiga sang in English.

For the 1978 film Operation Diamond Racket.

In the song’s lyrics—“If you come today, it’s too early. If you come tomorrow, it’s too late”—G.K. Venkatesh and Chi Udayashankar packed profundity that would go way above the head of a sober Nityananda.

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It was matched somewhat in 2002 by the US secretary of state Donald Rumsfeld.

That quote—“because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know”—was the object of great mirth and derision.

It even became the topic for a documentary.

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42 years after Raj Kumar and 18 years after Rumsfeld, has the journalist Shekhar Gupta humbled them both?

“Tomorrow never comes is right. But that there will be a day… there will be a tomorrow that will never come. But between that tomorrow and today there will be many tomorrows. So when that tomorrow… when that time comes that tomorrow will not come until then you have a lot to do.”

The former Indian Express editor was speaking in a video on the website The Print.

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Gupta’s sooth-saying has already sparked memes including one built on the James Bond film Tomorrow never dies.

And appropriately enough, in the time of a lockdown, it has also inspired spoofs.

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