Categories
Thoughts

Plight of Paying Guest in Metros

In terms of accommodation, I think that no demographic segment of Indian population has a shorter view (in terms of time horizon) than Single working women who are staying away from their families. Most of them are fresh out of under-graduate colleges and are uncertain if they want to pursue higher education (MBA) or not, how long they would be working, which city would they be relocating after marriage, would their parents/spouse allow them to continue to work or not. This coupled with the fact that their impending marriage is going to be very costly translates in a remarkable reluctance in owning assets or even furniture and improving the living conditions.
A lot of shady landlords recognize that and exploit the plight of these women. They would rent a 3-4 BHK room; put 4 bunker beds into each of the bedrooms and living room. They would convert the house into a chaul (cramped Mumbai style housing with no privacy or living space) and charge 3,500/- to 4,500/- rent from each of the girls. This translates into 50,000/–70,000/- rent collected from a 3bhk house (about 3 times more than what is the rent for a similar furnished apartment)
Government of India provides very lucrative deals for anybody constructing working women’s hostel. They would be providing 50% of the cost of the land and 75% of the cost of construction for free.
Even the permissible maximum rents that can be charged are quite reasonable.
1. rent for single room (without bath or kitchen) = 2,400/-
2. double sharing basis = 1,600/-
3. Dormitory: 1,200/-
However the hostel is allowed to charge extra for electricity, water, furniture, food and other services provided. Considering that about 60% of the cost are borne by the government and the fact that lower rent translate into higher occupancy, any NGO/organization can make a decent return on their investment. Details of this program can be found here and the list of hostels already operational.
What is more surprising is that the restrictions that government has imposed are also quite liberal and understandable:
1. The hostel needs a resident warden and a security guard.
2. The hostel would be open to all working women and cannot discriminate amongst potential applicants on the basis of color, creed, language, caste etc.
3. No women under any circumstance can be allowed to stay for more than 5 years.
4. At least 30% of the hostel at any given point of time needs to be occupied by women (single or married (with or without kids)) earning less than 16,000/- per month. Out here we are talking about take home salary (or salary declared in Income tax returns) so 16,000/- per month of salary (without bonus/commissions) would translate into about 2.5L CTC. This is actually a reasonably high remuneration for a fresh college graduate.
I wonder why in spite of all the lucrative offers, so many NGOs and organizations have availed this scheme.

Categories
life Thoughts

The Two of Me

There are moments in our life where we stare at defeat and difficult times.
We are at the crossroads – we do not know what to do.
At these times, our inner self seems divided in two – our I and You.
We stop , listen to both and we think……….
Then
Some of us follow the I
and
Some of us follow the You.
Two of Me
The Me – I

A fear hides in the heart
That dreams would die only as dreams
Unfulfilled ambitions yet
And soul would depart
Body would lay satisfied
But wanting soul would still scream.
Even then ,
No more dreams now I strive to pure
No new dimensions I try to explore
Too many constrains the free will found
It killed the dreams, I lived to bound
Past boundaries have punctured the heart
More failures may rip it apart
So I live now this vegetative life
Daily chores and no delight
No excitement in life for sure
But at least pain I bear No More !
The Me – You
You may fear to die,
You may not – I cannot say
But you fear to live
One by one you kill each day
Intense pain is better
Slow pain to death – Never!
Dormant life is sin for sure
So precious life is
Vegetation is no cure .
Attempt and action
Coulld bring joy
Could bring sorrow
But they bring an alive tomorrow
Dream and decision
May give pain
May give gain
But they make you live again.
Inaction is state of defeated mind.
A champion lives each moment
All the time.
Today you vegetate
By taming your soul
Tomorrow the body
With age will tame you old
Before you decay
Yourself you cure
One life, Do More !

Categories
life Thoughts

The Full Cycle

Mari – Have you ever ridden a cycle in your life?
Sam – Yes
Mari – Do you still ride a cycle?
Sam – No
If we reflect upon our life and try to recollect the most cherished moments that we have experienced so far in our journey, we would discover that the majority of these moments were part of our childhood phase. Those indeed were the good old days! And if we dig a bit more into the cherished moments of our childhood, we would, without doubt find that a few of these incidents have a bicycle embedded in it.
The cycle and its cousins have a very special relationship with us. They touch and shape every stage of our life.
We might not realize, but the cycle; in its various forms influences us in so many ways——-
When we are born, a distance relative of the cycle – The Cradle surrounds us with its protection. The Cradle helps us to journey around the world even before our legs take up that responsibility.
With the passage of time, we grow out of the cradle and climb on the Tricycle. It is our first independent vehicle. It is we who control where to take it and with what speed to drive it. It is a friend which helps us explore the world, a friend which rides with us through impossible curvy and crooked places, a friend which takes many a falls with us but a friend which always is ready to go wherever our infant imagination wants to take us.
As we grow up a bit more, the tricycle becomes a thing of the past and out comes the Bicycle. The Bicycle is a big step in our life. When we dash on our bicycle, it gives us a taste of the speed, which is required by us to move ahead in life. When we fall down from our bicycle, it gives us a taste of the pains that life has to offer. When we complete our first bicycle ride without anyone’s support, it gives us a taste of thrill, freedom and confidence required to live.
Then as we grow up even more, we abandon the cycle and its relatives for the more comfortable means of commutation. The Cycle, from being a tool of discovery ends up being just a piece of decoration. And with time, the piece of decoration decays into a piece of debris for us.
Bicycle
We abandon the Cycle and throw it out of our house and out of our life. But the cycle, which was our best friend, is not able to come to terms with the fact that we have given up on the friendship. It desperately tries to come back to us, albeit in the form of a exercise equipment in the gym but there also it hardly gets any extended attention from us.
With time the Cycle realizes that it is not wanted anymore. It then waits patiently and watches us live our life. It watches and sees that the day has come when life has caught up with us, it sees the day has come when our limbs have began begin to fail us.
At this lonely stage of our life, when not many people want to talk to us, we can but only  sit down and reflect on our past days and realize that one friend is still waiting for us in the junkyard outside the house – Our old Bicycle.
But alas, when we could, we deserted it .Now, even though we want to, we cannot cycle anymore. Our body no longer has the strength to do so .We can only think about the time when we cycled and take pleasure in the vicarious thrills.
Our eternal buddy, the Cycle realizes our state. It stays aloof, as it is angry with us for we deserted it for years together. But eventually , for the sake of friendship it decides to come back to us and free us of our loneliness and helplessness — The Wheel Chair helps us to journey around the world even after our legs have given up that responsibility.
Mari – Have you ever ridden a cycle in your life?
Sam – Yes
Mari – Do you still ride a cycle?
Sam – No
Mari – Would you ride it in the future?
Sam –  I ………………

Categories
Humor Thoughts

Someone Stop that Commercial !

The context of this article refers to advertisements broadcast-ed in India.It may not appeal so much to the International Audience.
A saint once told me that – “Son, none of us are alone! All of us have Cosmic Energy Waves around us which surround us at each and every moment of our existence”. I don’t know about cosmic waves , but one thing that I know of is that – I am surrounded by stupid commercials around me at each and every moment of my existence. Hoardings, TV, Radios, SMS,Internet, Sales call – they are everywhere.
And so deeply have these ads affected me , that nowadays , I cannot even dream without commercial breaks in between.
Spending a lot of time analyzing these commercials , I have discovered that their behavior is not as stupid and random as it seems , albeit it is governed by well defined laws.
So ladies and gentlemen, let me present before you the Three Laws of Commercials.
Law number I
For our protection first there is God, second there is …….Pepsodent and Dettol
You don’t believe me ? Let me explain.
Just have a look at the Pepsodent Commercial–24 hour security, 24 hour defense, dishum dishum and what not! You are forced to wonder how humans survived all those prehistoric ages without the protection of Pepsodent.”
Now onto to Dettol -Unfortunately, I came to know about the powers of dettol quite late in my childhood.
You see, when I was a little boy , I used to fall sick before every school exam and my teacher used to scold me , ”You dumb head .You stupid boy. Exams make you fret so much that you fall sick.”
Well…., Medical Science was not so advanced in my childhood days. Little did my teacher know that the cause of sickness was not my dumbness but the fact that I do not take bathe in Dettol Soap.
Leaving my sad childhood behind, let me move on to the next law.
Law number II Where ever you go, our network follows
As I already mentioned, these ads will never leave you.
On weekdays, my primary activities in office consist of answering emails, typing some code and convincing sales guys on my cell phone that I am in no need of pre approved car and home loans.
Imagine, after 5 days of such hard work you are enjoying a deserving, peaceful Saturday afternoon sleep and as you are about to fall into deep slumber ,it at this precise moment that your mobile gives an SMS blast. Sleepy and tired, you somehow reach out to your mobile –– Whoosh – “SMS on 54545 to know your Class X th result.”Tell me , why the hell would I want to know my 10th board result at this age ??!!!!
Actually if I reflect upon my marks, I probably did not want to know about them even at that time.
I mentioned about this SMS problem to my friend Sanjeev, and he is like –“What’s the big problem, dude ? Keep your mobile on silent mode while sleeping! ”.
Life …my friends, alas, is not so simple. You see, Sanjeev does not have a girlfriend .But I have. And she calls me every 5 minutes questioning me , “Where are you , what are you doing ? What are you not doing ? What took you 20sec to receive the call ?”
Phewwww…
Believe me my friends , the only thing more dangerous in this world than a GPS tracking enabled girlfriend is the Internet Pop UP ads . The Devil could not be everywhere – so he made them. These Internet pop ups have a tendency to pop up at the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong content. (Boys would know all about it : ) )
For instance ,when I surf the net and no one is around , the pop-up will always try to find the perfect bride for me. It has been trying the same for the past 5 years. But when I surf the net and my father is around, the ‘Matrimonial Pop Up’ is always replaced by the ‘Get Blind Date with Hot Mumbai Girls PopUp’.
One of two more of these Pop Up incidents ,and I am sure to thrown out of the house by my father.
Anyways , popping on to
Law Number IIIImpossible is Nothing.
Impossible is nothing for the ad makers. For them, the sun rises in the west. You have no idea what they will end up teaching you in their ads.
Let me give you an example,
Remember the surf excel ad ?
A young chap comes up in a cap and says “Stains are good ?”.
Young chap, you say stains are good!! . Obviously you have not met my mother!
HDFC Child investment plan
Remember , 4 year old, giving investment advice to parents ? “Papa grow up I want to be an astronaut. So do some investment” I wish I was so intelligent as a 5 year old. My family would have been so rich, and, I would have been an astronaut. Better to be on Mars than in this Mumbai traffic. Any day .
One more instance –
Radios are at another level. Before following cricket commentary on radio I used to believe that Sachin Tendulkar is the best batsman that India has. But now after following cricket on radio , I have realized that it is actually BSNL. Sachin only takes 1s and 2s , it is BSNL who hits all the 4’s and 6 ‘s.
”Aur ek laga ek aur BSNL Chauka ”
Those were the three laws, ladies and gentlemen.
I have figured out the laws that govern these commercials but I am yet to figure out how to escape these commercials. It does not seem like happening during my lifetime, In fact, I fear that even after death when I ask the Almighty upstairs -”God , am I going to get heaven or hell. What are my chances.? “ The Almighty would just stand there eating a Britannia biscuit and smile “Son , its 50/50”
 

Categories
Poem Thoughts

The End

Imagine a day when Mother Nature would be disturbed beyond the brink  ,
when Environment would refuse to sustain us any more
and extract its revenge on us.
On this last day ; everything would end, We all would end.
On this day , anyone of us could be left behind to live a few moments
more and suffer the agony of our mistakes a little longer than others .
On this day , anyone of us could be left behind to
remorse the destruction which
we all caused to our planet.and the destruction
which the planet replied to us……………….
<poem>
For there might still be a green grass bed
Hence I keep dragging my feet ahead
Burning wind beats my skin to death
Air in my lungs sting with every breath
But I keep dragging my feet  instead ,
For there might still be a green grass ahead.
Longs my soul for a flower
Just to rest my eyes;
Longs my soul for a bird chirp
Just to bless my ears.
The forests I still can see
But Concrete grows now for Trees
The lakes I still can feel
But its now dry and Dump-Sealed.
The color of rivers once blue is now so red
Still swim in them the humans but now as dead.
But I do not swim yet;but drag my feet instead ,
For there might still be a green grass ahead.
And now it seems so simple
How we missed it then ;  I dread —
” If trees do not give us food
Industries would  never give us bread “.
And now my time draws a die
No one around but yet I scream ;
Not for help —-
But with  Hope
that now I shall be clean.
But with  Prayer in my heart
That if by chance some human alive walks across my bones
Before he dies , he covers me up just with a few stones.’
But with with Joy in my soul
For in the new place I shall now tread
There might still be a green grass bed.

Categories
Thoughts

Coffee's Priority

From a forward email:
A professor of philosophy came into his class with a glass jar, some rocks, pebbles, sand and a cup of coffee. Then he asked his students if all the ingredients would fit in the jar. Looking at the entire ingredients, most of them replied in the negative.
The professor proceeded to fill all the rocks in the jar. Then he took the pebbles and poured them in, while shaking the jar. They fit in the gaps between the rocks. The professor then looked up and asked what the students thought of it now. They had started smiling. The professor then proceeded to fill in the sand. It too, fit in between the pebbles. Then finally, the professor poured in the coffee, a perfect fit. One of the students got up and asked him the meaning of the experiment.
The professor replied – “The jar represents your life. The rocks represent your basic needs, the pebbles your secondary needs and the sand is tertiary needs. If you want to have everything in life, learn to prioritize correctly. If you go for your basic needs first, like family, friends and happiness and then for secondary needs as job and salary, you may be able to get even your superficial needs as societal position, recognition etc. Prioritize them wrongly, and your life isn’t enough to hold all of them.”
After a round of applause, another student said – “But professor, what about the coffee?”
“Oh that,” said the professor with a smile, “that just shows that no matter how full your life may be with your needs, always find an evening for a cup of coffee with a good friend. It fits in with everything.”

Categories
Humor Thoughts

Of Beards and Bristles

From the time I can remember having hair on my chin; I have always sported a goatee with a mustache (or at least tried to). I was trimming it recently when all the comments I have received on it came back as a flashback. Very often have I been complimented on how it enhances my looks. Sometimes it also ends up people calling me ‘oi french-cut‘ or ‘hey frenchie‘(with the pun intended on their part). What really brought a smile on was the fact that a couple of people remember me because of this beard style.
During my work experience as an engineer, I had to frequently negotiate with Korean suppliers. They couldn’t pronounce my name so whenever they came to my section, they would ask anyone with a sweeping gesture over their lips and chin to indicate me. It later became a standard joke in the department to use that gesture for me.
I was once having a flaming-tequila shot with a friend in a pub. The bartender gave me my shot and said – “Bhai sahib, araam se warna dadhi jal jayegi.”(Go easy or your beard might catch fire). It was some time before my friends could stop laughing.
The latest one was from a restaurateur who saw me after at least two and a half years. I used to haunt his joint often in the earlier days, but I wasn’t sure he would recognize me after such a gap. When I walked up to him and asked if he remembered me, he grinned, shook my hand and said -“Amitabh ki dadhi wale khud ko Amitabh samajte hai, par hum to asliyat jaante hai na.”(People sporting Amitabh’s beard might think they are Amitabh, but I know the real person behind it). Old friends remembering you…it feels nice, it always does.

Categories
Thoughts

The Busiest Man

Finally finished my MBA. Now I am at home doing absolutely nothing, waiting for my joining date, which is some time from now. I had decided to use the time productively, learn a language or get fitter or at least take a trip around. But then, finally decided to give it up for the lazy comfort and pampering at home…be a complete vella.
During these slow, sunny, idle days, I was having a conversation with one of my friends over coffee. Incidentally, he is as vella as yours truly. He struck up the following note –
“Can you guess who is the busiest man?”
“In India or around us?”
“In India, the world…whatever.”
“Umm…the waiter, the PM…or not, the police. Maybe the bellboy. Politicians, definitely politicians.”
“Nope, it’s the vella public.”
“I believe vella people are defined as jobless.”
“My point exactly. The person with no job is the busiest man.”
“Like the happiest man is the one without the shirt?”
“Huh? I can’t draw that analogy, but ok. The point being, the vella is someone whom everyone takes for granted. Hence, he is assigned the most time-consuming, non-productive, boring and frustrating jobs by everyone around him. It takes up his entire time, and at the end of the day, he has nothing to show.”
“For example?”
“Like…you doing nothing, get in line for the telephone bill, today is the last day. Or, go and receive relative xyz from the airport. Or to top it, drop your cousin for his tuition and then get the exam form for him from the bank across the city.”
“Nice, but do you know who is giving us the dirty looks and wants to get busy?”
“Who cares…ok, who?”
“The waiter. We have been here for over three hours over jus two cups of coffee. I think he is reaching his breaking point. Let’s go.”
“Ok. As it is I have some work to do.”
“What, actual work or the vella style?”
“What can I say; I am a really busy man.”

Categories
Thoughts

Lying

One of the easiest things in the world is to lie and pass one as someone else. If the interaction is brief enough and if the other person is not paying too much attention/significance to the interaction then any person with even an iota of IQ can also get away with it. However just because one can do it, should you do it?
Over the past 1 month or so, I have spent 20-30 hours over phone trying to coach a kid on CAT interviews. He wants to pursue MBA because he intends to use those skills to get into healthcare management, where he believes he can contribute significantly and get a lot of satisfaction. However being an engineer from an unrelated field, he wasn’t sounding very convincing in the mock interviews. Hence he was literally pressurized and forced to change the storyline of “Why MBA” to finance where he seems more natural and presentable. He says just because “I am good at something that does not mean I want to pursue it as a career. Healthcare might not be the most glamorous of the sectors (relatively speaking), but then with my qualifications and dedication I am sure I will never have problems of bringing food to the table.”
IIM Interviews are a chance for which many people would be ready to kill for. During interviews and discussions where one is being evaluated, everyone blemishes the facts or is economical with the truth. However just because everyone lies, does not mean that he should also become phony. I am not questioning the moral or ethical standards because I believe they tend to change/evolve with time and based on the context. What I am asking is that if the stakes are too high, then is it ok to let go of one’s beliefs and conviction in order to make a favorable impression?
PS: He went with the finance story.

Categories
Thoughts

Tractor vs Bus

Recently I had a debate with a friend over what is good for the society multipurpose machines or vehicles or efficient specialized machines and vehicles?
My friend’s assertion was that society is better off if we use experts, specialists, machines and equipment. 1 bus for commuting, 1 truck for transport, 1 tracker for ploughing the fields would consume less fuel, time, give more comfort and be less costly for the society than having 4 tractors doing all the above purposes. A tractor is a multipurpose vehicle which can do almost anything under the sun, but that does not mean that it should be regularly used to do it. After all its common sense that the wheels designed to function in mud and fields would consume more fuel on tarred roads.
My assertion was that there are 2 costs associated with any machine Capex and Opex. It is well known that most agricultural families might have needs that require them to work in the fields, transport produce and passengers. However they might not have the financial means to own 3 different vehicles for these specialized tasks. Also even if they can, they won’t be able to fully utilize them and hence making it expensive for the society.
For Opex, one has to take a leaf from the Queuing Theory. Multipurpose vehicles can adapt to the needs of the day. They can be deployed on the fields on one day, as trucks on another and as busses on the third. This way there will not be shortage in any of these varied areas and hence the rental that a farmer has to pay for these equipments would also be manageable. Finally the cost to the society is rental + operating cost. End of the day it’s the economics that guide these decisions in life. As long as village economy feels that their needs are not so large to justify specialist vehicles they won’t have one.
The debate could not be conclusive because soon we drifted to the professional services space. We questioned that for a company/team/project is it better to hire generalist or specialist. When is the tussle between expertise and flexibility which of the two should be given precedence.
Hence I am writing this post to ask for opinion from the readers.