Fresh Breeze

Place for out of bounds thoughts/ ideas.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

How India Sees The World

Picture Source: Forbes

I loved this cover page of Forbes India 27 Aug 2010 Edition.. It's funny but true that average Indian perception of World is very much the same.. But with globalization, technological advances and travel opportunities, the picture is soon gonna change and will probably add more colors.. Drop me a few words on the way your country views the world (and please be nice with words) !

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Promise Myself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.

- Wisdom of ages in this little masterpiece by CHRISTIAN D. LARSON

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The unsaid love

Where have you been.. Where are you now..
How have you been.. How are you now..

Don ask, for the memory path is too painful to tread.. I'd rather clench my eyes tight than allow a tear to roll down my cheek.. I'd better spread a smile than shook my head in silence.. For there's a family beside me whose happiness goes only as far as my ability to hide my grief.. At least for their sake, I have to stand tall..

There are times when you see destiny taking over the things despite your best efforts.. And I can't do much except hold the hand that's slowly slipping away from my grasp.. The same hand that helped me take my first step.. A pillar that always gave me strength to stand tall in rough weathers.. The strong shoulder that carried me to my favorite candy shop, is now no thicker than the bone itself.. The Pot belly that always happily acted as my best cushion, is now softer than the real one..

A prayer that never ceased to end.. A hope that refused to die down.. Eyes that alternated with gloom and glow at every visit to the ICU.. Energy levels that rose and dropped down with every news of fake recovery they whispered in my ears.. Nights that were full of screams and pain of the waiting room.. Days that were full of sweat and loneliness of the insensitive surroundings..

Finally, the morning that I never wanted to rise up to.. As the soul held on while the body slowly gave away, he battled bravely till I made a promise and kissed him goodbye.. The pinch of those thousand needles for long three hours after which the news came in.. And his soul united with the almighty..

The journey didn't end there and the dark night continued till the light of fire finally enlightened its path to heaven.. Though some time has passed since he left us, I know he's looking on me from above to fulfill my promise.. And I will DAD.. With all the love you always shared with us.. Even if it went unsaid....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dancing In The Rain


Dear Readers,
Life's been on a roller coaster ride from past few days. Neither fair nor unfair but just one of the times when I just want to shrink back in my old cocoon. One of the moments when I want to speak out but words turn up too heavy to come out. When I want to run away but pulled back by intangible forces around. And I just can't help but reassuring my faith in goodwill.

This stone has witnessed some of those lonely evenings in my life. Since I don't have much to pen at the moment, I let him do the talking. There's something special in it that always garnered my attention. Look carefully and you'll discover it for yourself.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Paying through the nose

"So Jan 10th is the last date for submission of investment proofs in your company, right?" asked a man in his mid 30s, staring right into my eyes through his thick glasses.

"Yes." I said with a pleasing smile, realizing that the time has finally arrived. This was my first encounter with a Chartered Accountant cum Financial Consultant, the mighty C.A. Ah, my savior from the gruesome tax man.

"Hmm so what have you planned so far? Got any insurance, funds, loans etc etc?" he leaned forward stroking his fingers against the table in typical Mogambo style.

"Ahh actually NONE." I smiled again to hide my ignorance or I shall I say shame for being ignorant.

I expected a rather blunt look from him. Swooshh!! as if Mogambo will lash his whip around my neck and hurl all his pet cheetahs and leopards towards me. "How can you be so stupid to not even claim the simple HRA and still sit pretty smiling at me?" I just wished he'll get a call and I'll get a breather before he'll utter these words. But hey what is it? Chamatkaar taoo chamatkaar. The roar reduced to mere groan and the lion leaned back in chair, completely relaxed, head thrown back. With a cunning smile outstripping his facial boundaries, two Uncle Scrooge style dollar signs quickly flashed in his eyes. Without wasting any time, he bombarded me with a flurry investment terms and options. After wooing me with fortunes of money wells and pelting with nightmares of hefty tax cutting, he finally concluded with a suggestion (or shall I say directive) to invest only through him.

Quite expectant of him, right?
"And Why Not." I thought. "For my ignorance is his livelihood!"

Picture Source: CFD

And I was not alone. I have seen people who are experts in every damn thing around but come matters of taxation and they start crying like a baby. "Whoever invented it must be hanged" is their last resort to save their face. But if you ask me, 'Tax Ghost' is not as dreadful as its image, atleast in a few ways:
1) First it makes you more aware of your financial statements (or financial wellbeing!)
2) It makes you invest. The most important lesson of assets and liabilities that is so hopelessly ignored by our education system.
3) It makes a lazy bum like me to get up and get working. Believe me a little bit of financial planning can exercise your brain far better than Sudoku puzzles and besides, it makes your pockets deeper.

I really couldn't get over the feeling of someone going through all my financial records and playing at might with it without me having a single clue about whats going on. So I decided to take a plunge into the richie rich world of Investment and Tax Planning. Thanks to Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad - Poor Dad", I was well armed with the strong concepts of Assets and Liabilities. The very idea of "Money yielding Money" was enough to pump up my adrenaline levels. With my basic ammunition ready, I was ready to take on the 'Tax Army' with help of internet, books, experienced friends and investment stall agents.

Time was short but I was determined. My lunchtime was dominated by investment & taxation talks, discussions and quick paper calculations. One thing I must warn you especially in finance, "If you don't understand a word, don't keep mum. Speak out, Clarify, Question it." No matter how stupid it may sound that time, u'll be smarter by another inch next time. So there I was, firing questions here and there, important or trivial, sensible or weird, googling and calculating at the drop of the hat.

Slowly terms like returns, risks, policies, mutual funds, equity, debt, ELSS, premium, bonus, endowment, ULIP, coverage, term plan, money return, capital guarantee, form 12B, form 16, rebates, dividends, reinvestment, SIP, section 80c, section 80ccc etc etc started making sense to me. I don't claim for the oxymoron title of 'Amateur Expert' on the subject but at least mogambos do not scare me anymore. No grudges against any of the honest CA's and consultants around but my biggest reward of the year, I did it all this time.. MYSELF.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Snapshots From North India

Dec 1998, 5AM
"Pair of cotswool, Shirt n Trouser, One or Two sweaters, One thick jacket with deep pockets, One multipurpose striped muffler and Pair of woolen hand gloves. All topped up with a long cap flaunting a woolen star ball at the end."

Yes, I used to be this multilayered onion back in 1998 while riding my bicycle to maths tuition classes on those chilly winter mornings. With fog limiting the sight to just a few feet around, I never gave up the hope for meeting that someone special on the way. The romance of those mistful mornings is still a class apart. I relived those special memories during my recent trip to North India this Christmas. Here m sharing some of those interesting moments that I captured during my winter trip.

8 Degree Celsius

Remember your first smoke in childhood? Well I smoked that for long and even loved that to bits. Yes, I am talking about those harmless winter puffs that nature makes available to anyone who tries it at the right time and at the right place. Free and without any warning label or harmful side effects. It was winter and I was in North, so here I am, all set to try one at the railway station. Even though the camera failed to capture it, you can see the dense fog around me. And yes, its not 6 or 7 AM, its 10 in the watch!!

Idli in North

The way North Indian food used to be a special cuisine in South India a few years back, it was the same in North India for South Indian food (Specially Idli and Dosa). Both sides of the country used to tweak the original recipe to suit the palette of their native customers (just like pizza hut indianized its pizza in India). Over the time, I witnessed a considerable increase in authentic North Indian food down south. Same way, I discovered authentic south indian delicacies in north but the thing that surprised me most was that, North, while excelling in its punjabi cuisines even surpassed in its quality of southern delicacies. For example, this mouth watering plate of Idli was served with TN style Sambhar, thick white Coconut chutney (little sweet), green chutney with a flair of mint and spicy brown chutney with a twist of tamarind. Hmm south speciality restaurants do have a point to ponder here.

My Toy Shop

While searching for presents for my young nephews, nieces and little Cousins, I chanced upon this familiar little shop in a corner of the crowded old market. 'Yes, This is my toy shop' I yelled with joy as I jumped in to check it out. From supplying my first 'Ping Pong' bats to 'Business Board' game, this shop formed an integral part of my childhood. Its been years I'd been here but the memories are still afresh.

Though the shop board bore the brunt of time, the variety and quality of toys was still intact. The familiar key-run toys were now replaced with push button and battery operated ones. Soft toy section was dominated by 'Made in China' labels while flashy hi-tech gadgets made their way to the showcase. As usual, I didn't return empty handed from it and continued my relationship through gen next.

Til ka Taad

Til or sesame is believed to have warming properties. So as soon as winter kicks in the North, til makes it way to all the sweet shops round the city. It comes in the form of Gajak, Revadi, Til laddoo, Til biscuit and the list goes on.

The only classification it used to have earlier was 'sugar based' and 'jaggery based' but now I discovered some 40+ varieties with names like 'Chini Agra Biscuit', 'Gur Agra Biscuit', 'Chini Roll', 'Gur Roll' etc etc.

Jingle all the way

When I touched down in Bangalore, Christmas was just over but one can clearly make out the festive mood that had set in. Santa Caps, Christmas trees, Chinese lanterns (China again!!) and Hanging stars were everywhere to be seen. Here's one well decorated Christmas tree that I found in Pizza Hut.

Even though I missed out on the melodious carols of the season but I did manage to get hold of this snowman as soon as he came out of his igloo.

So here's wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2007. Have fun, drive safely and hey, don't forget to make those sweet smileys on back of those dew drenched cars.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Merry Christmas

Jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh, what fun it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh, what fun it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh

Dear Readers,
Its Christmas time again and Santa is busy loading his sleigh. So don't forget to hang your Christmas Stockings beside your bed. I'm going on vacation tomorrow and will be back by 26th. So here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. May all your wishes come true.
Love, Divs

Picture Courtesy: Christmas traditions
Jingle: Carols