Daily Life

  • Numbers and their Significance

    In the world of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger’s favourite subject is Arithmancy – A subject that involves the magical properties of numbers. In ancient India Anka Shastra had a close relation with Astrology & Mathematics. Anka Shastra talked about how numbers and their associated planets influenced human behaviour. To a layman, Anka Shastra & Arithmancy

  • Is it the best of both worlds ? Indians settled in the US

    After a lovely 2 month trip to the US its not just the jet lag that takes time to wear off – but also the US effect. Since my first visit to US in 1998 the discussion with friends and relatives always comes down to the Pros & Cons of US Vs India. It is

  • Breathe Right – Live Healthy

    Nutrition, Gym, Walking, Multi Vitamins, Yoga Asanas, running – the world is full of advise on how to be healthy and fit. It is rare to find a specialist who can teach you how to live healthy by breathing right. This Blog helps you get started. We are born with our 1st breath – and

  • Sacred Grove – A bit of the Himalayas near Bangalore

    Tucked away amidst lush green paddy fields and surrounded by hillocks in what looks like no mans land is this beautiful place called Sacred Grove. Managed by The Satsang Foundation, it is powered by the vision of Sri M. What is Sacred Grove  It is neither an Ashram nor a Resort. It is a centre for

  • 2021 Global Economy Trends – Highlights from Ruchir Sharma

    Whats the outlook for 2021 and where do we invest money? Simple, straightforward, logical insights from Ruchir Sharma  Here is a summary for you to absorb in 1 minute, detailed 1 hr Interview Link enclosed below.  2020 Economy had negative growth of 4% and stock markets had a 13% + growth. In 2021 this trend could

  • Simplifying Investing – A Layman’s guide to leverage compounding

    When it comes to life there are 2 rules that are almost universal Everyones wants to be HAPPY Everyone wants to be RICH While Happiness is a state of mind, being Rich is something that can be actioned. The Universe is constantly showering us with Richness – but we with our confused thinking are looking

  • Plum Cakes & Christmas – Whats the Connection?

    Christmas is all about Cakes – specifically Plum Cakes (Do you know that Plum Cakes have no plums in them?) Lets discuss Where to get the best Plum cake in Bangalore (Its a secret) The fascinating history of Plum Cake An overview of Cakes baked across the globe during Christmas But first let me share how I

  • Sourhouse – the best place for Sourdough Bread & Pastries in Bangalore

    Over the years I have struggled to get a good loaf of bread and fresh soft Croissants in Bangalore. The hunt ended when we  discovered Sourhouse. They make the best Sourdough and fermented products in Bangalore – there is no distant 2nd. Add to this their collection of pastries and dips – its a place

  • A simple narration of Bangalore’s history over the last 2000 years

    How many of us know the History of Bangalore? I got the first glimpse and interesting insights from Sushma of Yours Truly India when I was helping her conduct walking tours. That triggered me to research and come up with something that is easy to read in a Q&A format and studded with interesting highlights.

  • The search to find Pure Honey – Myths & Facts

    I have always been suspicious of the authenticity of large brand honey sold in retail stores. As I was researching on this topic I caught up with the founders of Honey and Spice – India’s first Online natural pure Honey company. The company was started in 2015 by a young couple when they were 25 years old.

  • When COVID comes HOME – Are you PREPARED

    COVID is no longer just a datapoint on Worldometer or an interesting topic for debate. Its round the corner and could knock at your door any day. Bangalore wakes up daily to see its worst fears coming true. We seem to be headed the Delhi & Mumbai way. After months of lockdown the preparedness as

  • Bharat Ratna for F.C.Kohli, NRN & AHP

    There have been 48 Bharat Ratna Awardees till date. The majority of the awardees (65%) have been Politicians and Activists. There has been only 1 Industrialist / Entrepreneur in this list and that is the great J.R.D.Tata Here is the break up of  the 48 Bharat Ratna awardees till date Independence Activists / Politicians /

  • Curd Rice Vs Khichadi? Who is the King of comfort food

    A time comes in life when the best meals are simple. In the competition for the best comfort food the four Semi Finalists were Rajma Chawal, Kadi Chawal, Khichadi and Curd Rice. After a very close fight the Finalists were Vegetable Khichadi and Curd Rice. The popular vote cast by Indians across the globe was

  • From Greed to Fear – An interview with COVID 19

    You have taken the world by storm. You have no competition to be the Time Person of the year. Tell us more about yourself. Who are you and why have you caused this pandemic?  I have no identity. I came suddenly and will vanish suddenly. You cannot catch me – at least for the near

  • Corona – Best Practise Vs FEAR, A Few Good Things to do

    Enough and more has been said on this topic. All news channels, WhatsApp groups, community messages have flooded us with ” What NOT to do” . I want to focus on “What You must Do” to stay fit and healthy – physically & mentally.  The 21 day lockdown may well stretch to 3 – 4

  • 2010 – 2020 : A Decade of CHANGE that whizzed by

    A decade is a long period of time. How was the world in 2010? Many of us may have forgotten how rapidly the world has changed in the last ten years. Let’s take a look at some of the key changes and see if we are better off or worse. Smart Phone & the App

  • Secret Revealed – Where to find Bangalore’s best Chocolates

    Everyone loves Chocolates. Almost everyone I know barring one. While day to day after meals craving can be met with Lindt, 5 Star , Dairy Milk, Toblerone and Amul Chocolates – many of those will be at the bottom of the pile in a chocolate connoisseur’s ranking. So where do you get the best Chocolates

  • Healthy Carrots – History & Trivia

    Here is some interesting Trivia on Carrots. Our parents always told us to eat Carrots for healthy eyes and good skin. And we always knew that rabbits loved carrots. But there is a lot more to the story of this amazing vegetable. While the carrot is known as a bright orange root crop (Or Red

  • Joy & Anxiety of joining a US College (UCLA) – Our Experience

    A few months back I had written a detailed Blog on how to go about getting an admission for an undergraduate degree in US (https://vak1969.com/2018/12/16/undergrad-in-us-simple-tips-to-get-you-started/).  This Blog is a continuation on US College admissions and shares our experience and learnings on joining college for an undergrad degree. I just came back after settling my daughter

  • The Challenge of making 8% + Returns in an increasingly volatile and unpredictable market

    Aditya Birla Sun Life Focused Equity Fund a 3 Star Rated fund, a leading fund in its category  has given a 4.76% return in the last 1 year (2018 – 19). In the same period Nifty reported a 14.93% gain and Sensex reported a 17.3% gain. Aditya Birla fund did relatively well because in the same

  • Thank You Jet Airways

    In a few hrs from now Jet Airways will fly its last flight (April 17th – 10.30 PM). The era of a great airline which set high standards for the Indian aviation industry will finally come to an end. Hopefully a temporary one. I have fond memories of Jet Airways. it has been my favourite

  • Annadanam – The best form of Charity

    Annadanam Samam Danam Trilokeshu Na Vidhathe Annadanam is supreme and incomparable to any charity “So this is our life, let’s find ourselves. Let’s be kind to others, be good to people, do as much seva as possible to all living beings because there’s nothing better than seva. And, unless you do seva, your mind cannot

  • Horlicks – Energiser or a Sleeping Aid ?

    “Comforting, warming, fortifying since 1906,” is written on the promotional mug Horlicks launched in the UK last year. In Britain, the malted milk drink has long been linked to bedtime, a soothing aid to sleep. The story in India is very different – with a brand line “Taller, stronger, sharper” Horlicks has been positioned as a

  • Origin of the word POTLUCK

    We were first exposed to the concept of “Potluck” in the late 90’s when we lived in the US for a few years. It was common practise for Indian’s in US to get together over the weekend at one persons house. Cooking load was shared and everyone brought a dish. So we had variety and

  • The Origin of Jai Hind – Remembering Netaji

    Netaji would have been 122 years old today (Jan 23rd, 2019). While suave marketing over many years credits India’s freedom to Ahimsa – the truth may be very different. In an interview given to BBC in February 1955, B.R.Ambedkar explained the reason for the exit of the British in 1947. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and

  • Why is Makar Sankranti always on Jan 14th / 15th

    Sankranti means transmigration of the Sun from one Rashi (Constellation of the Zodiac) to the next. Hence, there are 12 Sankrantis in a year. Of these the Makar Sankranti is considered the most auspicious. This is one of the few Hindu festivals that is aligned with the solar cycle. Here are some interesting information on Makar

  • Have we changed for Better or for Worse in the last 50 years

    A LOT has changed in the last 50 years. Technology has improved our lives as we have got access to more resources and wealth. Today we have more options – there is abundant choice in a Global village. Conveniences, luxury and information is at our fingertips. But the question I ask is how have we evolved as

  • How to be Happy in 2019

    By now you would have received many Happy New Year greetings. You have been getting them every year for many years. But Happiness still eludes most of the 7.2 B people on earth. Here are 5 simple actions that you can perform everyday to inch forward on the road to Happiness.  Be Happy for what

  • Undergrad in US? Simple TIPS to get you started

    Indian students have always looked to US Universities for higher studies. In the past it was mainly for MS/Phd. But trends are changing. Of the ~ 186,000 India students studying in the US 12% are in Undergrad programs – thats about 22,000. Which implies that nearly 5000 students after their 12th head to US for

  • How Bangalore got Electricity in 1905

    Electricity is only 136 years old. Electricity generation at central power stations started in 1882, when a steam engine driving a dynamo produced  DC Current that powered public lighting on Pearl Street, New York. The new technology was quickly adopted by many cities around the world. Calcutta beat New York. The first demonstration of electric light in Calcutta

  • Dalia Vs Rice – A winner emerges

    Rice is the staple diet across large parts of South & East India. Traditionally, one has been educated that if you need to lose weight you need to shift from Rice to Rotis. A typical South Indian housewife may struggle to make rotis every meal, but now there is a simple solution – Dalia. (Bulgur or

  • A Few Good People at Mapletree – An Organic Farm

    You are what you eat. If you eat healthy you stay fit. But what happens if the vegetables and fruits you buy from the market are packed with deadly chemicals – many of them banned. A study by the Food Safety & Standards authority of India under the Agricultural Ministry discovered that the veggies in

  • What makes people born in Nov special

    In his bestselling book “Outliers” Malcolm Gladwell came out with a convincing theory of why people born in 1954 – 55 ruled the Tech world. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, Scott McNealy, Eric Schmidt, James Goslings and many more famous astrophysicists and scientists were born in that period. What you hear as a child

  • Beware – The Khoya in Milk sweets during Diwali may be adulterated

    Diwali is about letting go of the restraint and splurging on sweets. Yes the danger of excessive sugar is well known but there are bigger dangers lurking in the the lovely sweet box you just got as a gift from a leading sweet brand in the city. Last year, a survey done by SPECS (Society

  • Science behind Superstitions

    Do superstitions have a basis; what is the reason that they have been practised for centuries? These are questions that came to my mind after the recent Sabarimala incident. A little homework reveals that there is always some logic or scientific bias behind the actions and superstitions of the past. Yes, some of them may

  • Navratri 999 : 9 Dishes, 9 Colours, 9 Ragas for the 9 days

    Did you know that the 9 days of Navratri are associated with 9 different colours?  I am sharing not just the colours of the day but also the Flowers, Food and Raga that are considered auspicious for each of the 9 days. A Few Good Things wishes you a very happy Navratri & Durga Puja.  

  • My Soul has a Hat – Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945)

    A beautiful poem by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945) Poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist. One of the founders of Brazilian modernism. Shared by my friend – a Poet herself. MY SOUL HAS A HAT I counted my years  & realized that I have Less time to live by,  Than I have lived so far. I

  • From Technology Outsourcing to Social Entrepreneurship – The journey of Dr Sridhar Mitta

    As part of A Few Good People – This blog features Dr Sridhar Mitta, a pioneering visionary who not only established Wipro as a global leader in Technology Outsourcing but also built the foundation for the industry. Dr Mitta has influenced the lives of thousands and on this Guru Purnima I would like to pay

  • Graama Bhojanam – Fresh, Healthy, Tasty Millet restaurant at Jaynagar

    An experienced Iyer couple from Chennai (Who left his job after 30 years at HLL), a young entrepreneur just back after completing his degree in Hotel Management from Switzerland and his friend from the legendary Savera hospitality group, and a Ranji cricketer  – When these four people with diverse expertise get together something unique is

  • Navaratnas : 9 Must Visit Restaurants in Bangalore

    Bangalore is home to thousands of restaurants. Its tough selecting the best and most unique amongst them. The criteria I have used is based on Longevity, Consistency and Uniqueness. These are the Nine Jewels – the 9 Must visit restaurants in Bangalore. The first 5 are legendary  – they are part of Bangalore’s history. Many

  • JustBe Cafe – Eat, Meditate & Satiate in a holistic zone

    If you are invited for a treat to a place where the food is cooked Oil free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Color free – chances are that 99 of 100 people would make a polite excuse and wriggle out. I guess I was the odd one out when by chance I discovered JustBe. Its not

  • Discovering the passion behind Vaathsalya’s Millet Cafe

    After our Banahsankari/Jaynagar temple visits we stopped by at Vaathsalya’s Millet Cafe at J.P.Nagar for lunch. It is probably Bangalore’s only Millet cafe, that serves a wide range of dishes, and almost everything is made from Millets. We relished the freshly made healthy Thali that consisted of 2 Millet rotis, 1 Sprouted Sabji,  veg Sabji

  • Find Purpose – The Means Follow, 3 Rural Hospitals – A case study in excellence

    Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to visit divine forces at work in remote rural India. It is amazing to see the transformation that a few good people can bring around with their commitment and passion. There is no adulation, no positive strokes, no awards – the commitment is totally Service,

  • 500,000 Views – Launching the new Website for “A Few Good Things”

    “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama   I do it a lot more than once a year. If the travel bug bites you there is no antidote. My blog is a live example of the power of compounding. When I started in 2010 after attending a training on Digital

  • Kolkata Shining – Well Done Didi

    I recollect that some years back Kolkata came to the news for all the wrong reasons – it was christened the “Dying City”. This after many many years under the administration of Jyoti Basu. From 1977 he held the CM post for 23 years without a break – a tough record to beat. But Bengal

  • A year after retirement at 48 – Changes & Learnings

    Nov 7th, 2017 –  I completed a year after I left the corporate world. A year back I had written this blog https://vak1969.com/2016/11/12/is-48-the-new-58-the-growing-trend-of-early-retirement/ – and a lot of people came back asking how the last one year has been. How do you spend your time ? Did you have second thoughts after a few months

  • Relocating to Bangalore – Think Again !

    Whats the trigger to writing this blog – When a 1 km drive from home to my daughters drawing class takes 30 minutes its time to vent your frustration. (You have to drive because there are no footpaths , the roads are full of potholes and choked with traffic) A lot has been written on

  • Soul Space @ Prestige Mayberry

    Building a house in India is a long project that can run into many years. In the US you can get a custom designed house in 6 months – in India it could take you 6 months just to do the interiors. Bangalore has been a happy ground for Trading Apartments and Villas as the

  • MBA Gold Medalist searching for a job in Booming Indian economy !

    The title sounds contrarian doesn’t it. The worlds fastest growing economy , stock markets at an all time high , positive spirits all around – and yet the job market for the youngsters seems to be spiralling downwards rapidly. In this Blog I am going to try and connect the dots between 3 things The

  • Thank You – India Railways and Mysore Police

    I have heard great things about the Indian Railways and its improved efficiency ever since Suresh Prabhu has taken over. The trains are cleaner, the platforms and the bathrooms are sparkling clean (At least in South India), Trains are punctual. A few days back I had a great experience – in the Chennai Mysore Shatabadi.

  • Axis Bank – ” Dear Madam Shikha – Your letter is not Re -assuring”

    Dear Shikha Sharma ; I logged in my mail and saw your letter after visiting an Axis Bank branch this morning. I have been a Axis Privilege Customer for the last 11 years. Initially I recommended a lot of my friends and family to your bank – but recently I am thinking on whether I

  • Is 48 the new 58 ! The growing trend of Early Retirement

    “All the world’s a stage” is the phrase that begins a monologue from William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” . The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play, and documents the seven stages of a man’s life  –  Baby or infant, School boy or child, Lover, Soldier, Justice or judge, Old man , Extreme old age facing

  • Thank you – Memories from Nov 5

    Thank you for being there. My 25 year corporate life  is like a Train journey –  you meet thousands who come and go as the train travels from city to city – some get off , new people come in and the train chugs along  …. but there are a few with who you connect and

  • The old order Changeth … impact on the next generation

    I started this exercise a few months back  during a discussion with my daughter about possible career streams that she could consider.  As I started researching I can only say that massive Change is round the corner … you can sense it. Lets look at a few things thats happening in the world My engineering college project

  • How Colours impact Humanity : Kushi Athreya (3rd – Spark Mentor Essay Competition, Battle of the Words)

      How Colours Impact Humanity? Kushi Athreya – 8th Grade , Sri Kumaran  __________________________________________________________________ Take a minute and imagine the world around you without colour , how boring and unexciting life would be!… Colours play a vital role in our daily lives and it is scientifically proven that our activities and responses are influenced by

  • How Colours impact Humanity : Anvitaa Anandkumar (2nd – Spark Mentor Essay Competition, Battle of the Words)

      How colours impact humanity Anvitaa Anandkumar, NPS Koramangla ____________________________________________ The world of colours takes its hold right at birth. The moment the nurses swaddle a tiny child in either soft blue or pink blankets, indicating whether it’s a boy or a girl. Whether the baby has red hair or brown, blue eyes or black.

  • Autobiography of a Pencil – Surabhi Jain (1st – Spark Mentor Essay Competition, Battle of the Words)

    Autobiography of a Pencil Surabhi Jain,  NPS Koramangla _________________________________ The End It is finally my time. I have lived a long life, longer than most of my kind at least. Now, I am but a fraction of what I used to be. My once lengthy body has been shortened to a stub and my head

  • My journey with Fatty Liver & Acid Reflux

    Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFL), Acid Reflux and Low Vitamin D are some of the most common ailments that Indians suffer from. Thanks to our lifestyle and diet. But in most cases, its never considered serious enough to be treated. I struggled with Acid Reflux and Fatty Liver for well over Ten Years . It took

  • PIO to OCI @ Bangalore FRRO

      This morning I submitted my daughters application to convert her PIO to an OCI. Lots of learning in the process – which I felt may be of use to others – listing the same below. You need to log in and complete your application in the online portal https://passport.gov.in/oci. Information that you will need

  • The French Revolution – Explained with a few Questions

    France is a Tourist paradise – lots of history and culture blended with scenic beauty. I have been to Paris twice and have been fascinated with the French Revolution. When I saw that this was a chapter in the Class 9 CBSE curriculum – summarised the French Revolution in a  few simple FAQ’s as this

  • Emotions – Journey to self awareness

    The face is the reflection of the mind. If you are angry, joyful or afraid – it is very visible on your face. So what is Anger, Joy & Fear – 3 key emotions. Which brings us to the question – What is an Emotion? A very simple explanation would be – Its a physiological reflex reaction triggered

  • Hop Skip & Jump – 3 Key Phases in your life

    Have you seen how in a marathon all the runners jostle together as a crowd for some time and then a few start taking the lead. My observation is that is exactly what happens in life – and I have seen three distinct phases in which it happens. The first break out happens when you

  • A few Good People

    Have you ever thought how many people you have interacted with since you were born. From school, college, work, people who you meet in your building , gym, at the club ….. I am sure that number would run into thousands. Hold that thought for a minute. Most people take pride in saying I am

  • Understanding Creativity

    This ROOT-WORD of Creativity is  CREA which comes from the Latin creare which means to CREATE.  Once you know the meaning of the root its easy to figure out what other words having this root mean. Here are some words using the same root ,  Creant : CREA nt (kree’ ant) adj. Creating; having the urge

  • Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 7

    Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30

  • Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 6

    Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30

  • Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 5

    Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30

  • Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 4

    Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30 minutes

  • Deciphering Real Estate Pricing in India

    You see a full page Ad for a beautiful Apartment complex – looks so inviting, and the price does look competitive at Rs 6000/- sft. You do the Math for a 1800 sft 3 BHK flat and say 6000 * 1800 = 1.08 Crores – thats manageable. Most NRI’s & first time buyers fall for

  • Deciphering Petrol Pricing in India

    Crude prices have come crashing down – but what we have seen as benefits trickling in is a fraction of what the reduction inc most has been. How is this possible when petroleum prices are supposed deregularised and are supposed to follow market economics. A Barrel of Crude consists approximately of 159 Litres. In a

  • Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 3

    Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 –

  • Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 2

    Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30

  • Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 1

    Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 –

  • Contradictions, Oxymorons and some thoughts from a jet lagged mind

    Thanks to the jet lag – I have been up since 1 AM. So don’t be surprised if this blog entry confuses you. Its going to be a desultory piece talking of Contradictions and Oxymorons and more. I first got introduced to the word ” Oxymoron” in Class 8 while reading about the sinking of

  • Creative Writing – A Project for your Child

    The ICSE board had an interesting section on Creative writing. While most exams gave you a topic to write in the class 10 ICSE exam we were given  picture and asked to write about it. It was a wonderful exercise as one could stretch  ones imagination. Right there in a class of 30 you could

  • Flipkart Vs Amazon – Who will finally be KING

    I have been a loyal Flipkart customer since it started shop selling books. I loved the experience – it worked all the time. they exceeded expectations in delivering , refunding , the call centre picked up the phone in 2 rings – I love them and have strongly endorsed them over the last 7 years.

  • Axis Bank & Axis Direct Sites – Poor User Interface

    We often see award ceremonies for best Banks from ET / Business Standard / Business India etc. Happy CEO’s gloating over their trophies ( which in most cases is linked to the ad spends you have made with that media group). I wish there would be an award for Online Bank Sites on ease of

  • Buying a new Flat in Bangalore ? 8 Points to Check Out

    Real estate in Bangalore has given excellent returns since 2000. And with Acche Din promised the near future looks bright. If you buy at pre launch from a good builder at a good location, chances are that you can see  75 – 100% appreciation in 4 – 5 years. However given the lack of regulation and

  • What drives Success ? Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

    A friend yesterday asked me a simple Question  – “What are the skills needed for a teenager today to be successful in life?”  –  My first response was quick and simple – aligning success to the Corporate world  – Be a specialist , Make your presence felt – Build your BRAND – Communicate right ,

  • Good Monthly Pension Scheme for Retired People

    Government of India in the Union Budget 2014-2015, announced the revival of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana. Excerpts from budget speech by Honrable Finance Minister are, “NDA Government during its last term in office had introduced the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) as a pension scheme for senior citizens. Under the scheme a total number of

  • POPFLATION – Sky High Inflation due to Population, Lifestyle & Migration

    A few events in the last few weeks triggered me to write this Blog. 1. I have stopped buying vegetables and Grocery since my dad came to stay with us 18 months back. Last week I happened to step out to buy veggies on a Sat. I packed my two bags with the usual items

  • Back to College – Surat Transformed

    What a transformation in 22 years. Both our college – REC Surat (Now NIT Surat) and the city has transformed beyond expectations.  It feels like yesterday in 1992 when the final results came and we were all overjoyed to have completed our engineering degrees. There was always the fear of what would happen in FM6

  • North of the Narmada!

    Some history facts from school days have stuck in my mind. One of them is the 634 AD victory of Pulakesin – II the great Chalukya King over Harshavardhan who ruled almost all of N India. A pitched battle was fought on the banks of the Narmada and Harsha lost. Since then the Narmada river has been

  • Soft Skills Training – An investment with ROI or a Robbery ?

    I recently read an article by Rajeev Peshwaria in Forbes titled  ” The Great Training Robbery: Why the $60 Billion Investment In Leadership Development Is Not Working” . The timing was right – we had just completed a bunch of training for our team and while everyone enjoyed the sessions the verdict on what its

  • Turncoat Quotes on May 16th

    Look out for these quotes from the famous turncoat politicians of India by May 16th lunch time.     We are a democratic country. We have to go by what the people of the country  decide. The thumping majority for BJP and Modi Ji makes it clear that the people of the country do not hold

  • Nandan as MP – Right person at wrong place OR Wrong person at the wrong place ?

    I recently saw a video on the legendary Karna. He was noble , a great warrior and known for his generosity. But greatness was not in his destiny since he made all the wrong Choices. When I look at the Bangalore South MP election to be fought between Nandan and Ananth Kumar I am reminded a

  • IIM (Intrusive, Irritating, Marketing)

    Even in the Internet era when you pick up the morning newspaper the 1st thing you want to see is the Headline.  Unfortunately you don’t get to see it.  As you lift the newspaper from the floor you see a bunch of flyers falling down , the 1st page is normally a full page ad

  • Old at 30 ? Not fair – Sd Personal Computer

    Since when can you call a 30 year old – OLD ? In the prime of my youth I am being written off.  And people say I am dying , dead – and I am  all of 30. I was actually born thanks to the brain power of the two Steve’s in 1976. Apple 1

  • Multi Brand Retail – Yeh AAPne Kya Kiya

    Arvind Kejriwal is probably the only leader who since Independence has made such a powerful impact in such a short time. He has always come out as one with strong conviction , courage, logic and tenacity. He has overnight become an ideal for many and the last hope to change the political mess in the

  • Bangalore more expensive than US !

    Its True. I just came back from a 1 week US trip and realised that life in US is a lot cheaper than in Bangalore. Houses are Cheaper – Roseville is a lovely town – 2 hrs drive from SFO. Intel & HP have large establishments here and its a short 20 min drive from Sacramento

  • TAMBRAM Marriages – Changes in 4 Generations across 100 years

    Tambram’s (Short for Tamil Brahmins) are a small minority in T Nadu. I guess less than 5%. A section of the Tamil Brahmins migrated to Kerala many centuries back and established themselves with the Kerala Kings in the Palghat region. This community called Palghat Iyers (PI’s) is a nice blend of Tamil & Kerala traditions. By

  • Young & Restless – The Real India

    I recently had an opportunity to interact with a team of 400 + people who sell high-end phones. A young team whose average age is 22 – 25. Most are graduates – some even engineers & MBA’s. They come from lower middle class families, struggled in life, value money and are waiting for an opportunity

  • Its Raining – viewing from a different lens !

    Mon night I had a 1030 PM flight to Delhi. Between Nov 15th and Dec 12th I am spending 2 nights at home so I was in a real groucho mood when the driver comes in at 7.30 PM and says – its pouring, traffic is jammed lets leave early. Bangalore traffic is a mess

  • Sachin Fever !

    Sachin has finally retired ! 200 Tests , 100 Centuries , Maximum Runs , humble & down to earth , a great guy loved by all – All of this is true and unquestionable. Thank you Sachin for what you have done for Indian Cricket. But what I question is the mad sycophancy that one

  • Even a man wants a HUG

    Do you recollect the last time you gave or got a nice,warm HUG. It feels so good. A smile can be phony, a handshake can be cold & official and a Namaste can be very artificial – but a HUG has all the positive connotations around it. You HUG only your dear & loved ones.

  • Navratri return gifts – a project by itself !

    Navratri is round the corner. Its Durga Puja in Bengal and Garba/Dandia in Gujarat while in S India its “Golu”. What happens in S india is interesting –  every women invites her friends and relatives for ” haldi / kumkum”  – the visitor is treated to a high protein meal of  ” Chundal ( Chick

  • Leadership Vs Dictatorship – A fine line between the two

    Its interesting to watch “Diplomacy” .  Nobody supported the US in its dominating brute force to bomb Syria. UK Refused , The G 20 refused , UN refused , the Polls showed that the majority of people in US oppose a strike against Syria – and then suddenly Mrs Clinton wakes up and appears with

  • Oh for a silver lining in this sea of negativity

    We have been a lucky generation. We started our career in 1992 when the engine of growth just started revving up. But for a small blip post the Lehman crisis its been great sailing with strong tailwinds for most people of our generation. However the sea of negativity that has been all pervading and accelerating

  • In a world of our own !

    8th , 9th , 14th , 19th – thats what I hear every morning as I enter the lift to my office. Its 8.30 AM  as hordes of hassled people jam into a lift juggling their bags , tiffin boxes still managing to talk on the phone. One lone voice and a smiling face greets

  • Food – Eat to Live or Live to Eat

    Have you ever weighed the amount of food you eat in a  day ? Across Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner , a few snacks , some Coffee , Tea – add it all up – it will be about 3 – 4 kgs/ day. Thats about 1000 Kgs a year. Assuming you live for 75

  • Educational Apps for Kids

    I see a lot of Tablets & iPads being sold. If we believe the predictions of one of the large market research firms 2014 will see approximately the same no of tablets being sold as computers in the country ( ~ 10M). At home , in a airport , on a train – almost everywhere

  • Simplify – Layman’s guide to peace & happiness

    Its Tax Time and after three weeks I finally managed to compile all the information that is needed to get the job done in a thick 2 inch file. I got wiser after an IT Enquiry a few years back &  play it safe by  compiling every bit of information of the last FY. An

  • Simplifying Home Entertainment – Wireless Streaming

    Indians have limited entertainment opportunities –  eating out , visiting  a Mall , watching a movie are probably 3 of the top entertainment activities for an average Indian metro family. Movie tickets in India are expensive in most of the new Cineplex – a show at PVR can cost anywhere from Rs 250 to Rs

  • Perception = Reality, True or False

    Many years back I was fortunate to spend a year at a leading FMCG company on a Brand Project. Coming from an IT world selling PC’s & Servers it was a rare insight into the world of Brands . I carried back two key messages on Marketing from the GM Marketing (who is now the

  • A few ideas to start your Business.

    For someone with a little entrepreneurial ability there are many exciting business opportunities. Most people tend to be repetitive & follow existing models that lacks innovation. This Blog lists down a few interesting ideas that can be developed as a successful business – so all the intelligent bored housewives, Gujjus, Sindhis …with business in your

  • The agony of being 2nd !

    Wed March 28th  – 1984. A day I find difficult to forget. It was the finals of the school TT competition. We were in the fifth set –  the first 4 matches were close, very close , all the matches had run into deuce  : 29 – 27 , 26 – 28, 25 – 23

  • Are we really a Global Village?

    I ask this question after it took me nearly two months to find a pair of cycling shoes. Let me step back and set the background. Spinning  (RPM) s a great group exercise – 1 hr of Spinning can help you burn 800 – 1000 calories. A few months of regular spinning can help you lose weight

  • Brilliant, Down to Earth people – A dying Species

    Recently I had an email debate in our building Yahoo Group with a very intelligent person – who stuck to his point even when he knew he was on the wrong track.  And I asked myself where does this behavior come from ?  One thing led to the other and here I am trying to

  • Wealth Managers – do they really grow your wealth ?

    18 Months back my wealth manager sold me a financial instrument. It was a structured product from Deutsche Bank and was linked to the growth of the Stock Index. While there was no written commitment I was assured of returns that would be much higher than a bank FD – lots of upside , no

  • Who says Inflation is 7 % ?

    The latest issue of Business India has a cover story that talks about workers in Hero MotoCorp demanding hefty annual salary hikes that would translate to them earning about 1 Lac /month in next 3 years. I hope it happens. Corporate India, the rich  (the 42,000 people who officially earn more than 1 Crore / year)

  • What would you like to be re-born as ?

    A data point I recollect is that there are more women on FB than men. As I start this blog something tells me that it will evoke strong reactions from this majority. But then you write on something you feel strongly about. It all started with a simple question in our small group of 4

  • Can we ignore 200M + People ?

    News channels yesterday were debating on two key topics – Narendra Modi winning a thumping 3rd term and the sad rape of the college girl in Delhi. Todays TOI reports that Delhi has more rapes than the other 3 metros put together. Delhi is the capital of the country, every second month a high profile

  • Bequeathing an Inheritance by Leveraging the Power of Compounding

    I am worried ever since I wrote my last post. ( How much is enough to Retire?). You start work at around 22 , the initial 10 years are low salary , long hours hardly any savings. The next 5 – 6 years go in buying a house, paying the loans and finally when you

  • How much is Enough to Retire ?

    During my brief stint in one of the Big 3 head hunting firms I  met nearly 200 + candidates hunting for a change . There was a common theme cutting across most of them. 80% of them were 40+, bored with their job, felt they were getting a raw deal and that their potential was

  • Sale Sale everywhere but not a drop of Service

    In one of their bestsellers C.K.Prahlad & Gary Hamel had talked about a framework where every successful company created their core competency from a set of 3 parameters. You need to be good at all 3 but to be truly world-class be the best in at least one of these 3 parameters. 1. Innovation  2.

  • The Grass is Green…. the other side

    They say that the grass is always green….. on the other side. A very old adage that is very very true. This is a tale of two smart, young men around 30 years old. I have interacted with both  and there is great similiarity between them. Both are  logical, data oriented, great at analysis & number

  • Gaining Momentum, Losing Altitude

    When my niece was graduating from REC (NIT) Surathkal I urged her to join Wipro or Infosys. Explaining that it was a great place to learn in your formative years Vs joining a MNC. Her response was that MRC (Mass Recruitment Companies) are the last option in  campus and only those who do not get

  • Shhhhh ! Quiet please Parents

    We are very fortunate to have an excellent Bharatnatyam teacher in our complex, Mantri Classic. Amrita is a dedicated, passionate teacher. She conducts classes literally gratis and we would not hesitate to pay her 10 times her fees for the value she delivers. Its rare to find someone like her in todays commercial world. She

  • Invasion of Chota Bheem

    Fortunately we have two TV’s at home. This Sunday one was booked by my wife & elder daughter watching a cookery program on TLC followed by a song & dance show. On the other one I was shifting channels between NDTV, CNN IBN, Times Now & KTV – trying to avoid the Ads when my

  • A tale of two cities ……

    I am back from a trip to Kolkata. A trip I made after nearly 2 years. Traveling to Cal (I still prefer calling it that way) is always a welcome change. A tamilian born in Durgapur I have fond memories of this part of the country. As I landed at the Netaji airport – I

  • Losing Weight when you are 40+ : Part 2

    A quick summary of what we  discussed in Part – 1 of the blog.  1. Set Goals  2. Join a good Gym 3. Get a good Trainer 4. Try a variety of activities  (Not just running on treadmill) 5. Be Regular – 6 days a week 7. Be patient and finally 8. The Importance of

  • Losing Weight when you are 40+

    The mind has amazing powers. As I start writing this blog I recollect a few lines from an elocution piece I narrated in Class 8 (1984). The topic was a humorous piece from Readers Digest titled “Confessions of an Obese woman”. Here goes ” I cant bear to watch the spectacle of that sister of

  • Flax Seed Curry Powder – Tasty Healthy Recipe

    I am on a health trip these days ( Look out for my next Blog on Staying fit post 40 – Coming soon). My Nutritionist advised me to take a few spoons of soaked Flax seeds every day. Thats when I did a little bit of research on Flax Seeds. This tiny grain packs a

  • Sare Jahan Se Acchha

    Its our 66th Independence Day. The ladies in our building put together a nice 1 hr program to celebrate the occasion. The kids had to sing ” Sare Jahan Se Accha  Hindustan Hamara …..”. My 5 Year old was part of the group and she has been practicing hard for the last few weeks. Last

  • An Apple a Day ….

    An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. We all grew up with this age old adage. Its indeed True – most nutrition consultants will advice that an Apple is the ideal fruit (Compared to fleshy fruits like Bananas, Mangoes, Chiku, Lychee etc which have a lot of fat) I am on a  6 month project to

  • 50 Shades of Grey !

    Its Appraisal time (My Company follows a Oct – Sep cycle). I am getting ready for a discussion that always comes up as an ” area of improvement” –  consistently in the last 20 years. Here are some lines that I picked up verbatim from my Appraisal reports. “You  are too DIRECT”. “Life is not

  • Jet Airways – I Love You – I hate You !

    Dear Mr Naresh Goyal ; I have been a loyal Jet Airways customer for the last twenty years. Damania, East West , Deccan, KF have come & gone but Jet Airways has survived. When it started we were proud of Jet – here was an Indian airline that was world class. I remember a presentation

  • 20 Years of Corporate Life

    This month I complete 20 years of Corporate Life. I started working in 1992. That was the year Narsimha Rao rolled out the reforms in India ( I specify Narasimha Rao –  he was the man who did the job with Manmohan & Chidambaram – but all credit today for India’s reforms goes only to

  • Enjoy an iMac for an additional Rs 11 / day

    I divorced my PC and got an iMac My first experience with a PC was in 1989 during my 2nd year at engineering when we were working on Fortran Programming on an AT 286 system (1 MB Ram / 40 MB HDD). I started my career selling PC’s at Wipro and over the last 21