Sunday, November 20, 2016

Demonetization: An Attempt to clean-up decades long Corruption and Black Money.

The move to demonetize Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency tenders by the union government of India on 9th of November 2016 (Tuesday), is a historic effort to clean up the decade's long corruption and black money. As Indian citizens, we all should be proud of the fact that we elected a government, which is capable of taking such brave decision for the long-term betterment of the country’s economy. Nevertheless, there’s a high possibility that a certain percentage of people might interpret this decision negatively in view of the fact that short-lived challenges are to be seen, which might have a profound negative impact and dethrone ruling party in the coming elections, not everyone happens to be aware of the decision’s long-term benefits. If unaccounted or black money isn’t eliminated, it would make the rich richer and the poor poorer. According to SBI, “Banks received deposits worth Rs. 53,000 crore since the government put out of circulation, high-value banknotes in an offer to drain illegal wealth. Nearly 14 lakh crore are held in Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes now – nearly 86% of the total value of currencies of all denominations in circulation” . Ultimately, government will possess an adequate amount of money to invest in infrastructure, education, agriculture, and all other sectors to build India economically stronger.
Above all, every honest taxpayer should appreciate this decision. In the present economic situation, black money has inflated prices in real estate, gold and a few other sectors, making it a challenge for a common people to invest. However the government’s attempt to curb black money will significantly lower the prices in such sectors. According to Finance ministry’s report in 2012, “real-estate accounts for more than 50 per cent of the current black money market”. Demonetization would not only repair internal economic issues, but also tackles funding to terrorism. Also, corrupted government officials and politicians who have earned in illegal ways will have no other option to put that money into usage.
Some opportunists are also using this as an opportunity to earn.
A 10% premium will help you earn up to Rs 60,000 in just a few months if you can use three family members’ accounts.
Just as the government is busy in dealing with this panic situation, a lucrative trade has cropped up where the salaried class are tapped by the tax evaders who are exploring many ways to cut their "losses".
If you are a white-collared private sector employee, agents are likely to approach you with the offer of putting at least Rs. 2 lakh in your bank account, but you have to return only Rs 1.8 lakh after two-three months.
A 10% premium will help you earn up to Rs 60,000 in just a few months if you can use three family members' accounts. The premium may rise to as high as 25% if you can get higher number of bank accounts involving more family members. Higher the sum, better the premium.
As a guarantee to return the money, the people who are depositing the money in the account are also taking a cheque drawn by the bank account holder mentioning the proposed sum. The cheque will be encashed at a later date, mutually agreed upon.
"The scheme is working mostly on trust factor and is a win-win for both. The possibility of cheque bouncing is too little as it is now difficult to withdraw large sums of money from the banks.
Some FAQ's
Is this the first time demonetization happening in India?
No, this happened 2 times already. 1947 and 1978.
Is it a sudden decision by PM?
No, it’s not an overnight decision, whatever happened (Jan Dhan Yojana for bank account to all, Convert post offices to banks, foolproof Aaadhar for all, Real Estate Bill, GST, Benami transaction Act, Income Declaration Scheme, paper gold, NGO and public trust scrutiny, sophisticated technology to Income Tax department and RBI, More powerful Income Tax Department, Rupees demonetization) and whatever is going to happen (hopefully more reforms on the way) are very well planned by people working under PM.
Will Black money in Gold, Real estate and Benami increase?
Like mentioned above, it’s not a single step. There are many plans in pipeline, eventually everyone will be paying proper tax to government very soon regardless of the mode of black money holding.
What are the options available for Culprits?
Either culprits can deposit the money to bank and pay 60% in tax OR burn the notes and its equal to paying 100% tax to government. So, in any case nation will benefit. Second case is much easier for and more benefit for our nation.
Should Aam Aadmi/small businessmen be worried about tax scrutiny?
No, cash deposit more than 10 lacs in a year in your bank accounts are intimated to taxmen. So, you don’t need to worry about deposits till 10 lacs. At, worst case you need to explain to the taxmen that these are your lifetime savings and pay taxes if demanded. No need to worry for being honest.
What will be the future of cash Transactions?
Government will force everyone (buyer and seller) to open bank accounts and use debit/credit cards. So, everything will be accounted and taxed properly.
There is lot of pain and there will be side effects.
Yes, we have credit cards and can survive with that in metros and big towns, we need to understand the pain people are experiencing in other parts of the nation. All of a sudden their hard earned money became worthless. But on other hand, assume this move as a therapy for a blood sucking disease (black money) which will not be cured by other means and someday it will kill that patient (our nation). So, therapy will be painful and will have side effects for few days. We need to bear this instead watching our nation pulled down by the blood sucking culprits day by day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Attempt to free myself from all stress & sufferings through VIPASSANA

This month I am done with one of the Great Course on Spiritualism, Dharma, Meditation & Self-realization and that is Vipassana.

What is Vipassana?
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gautama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation..
(Taken from
I came to know about this technique during July 2014 from one of my senior. He had done this course at Dhamma Bodhi, the International Vipassana Meditation center at Gaya. According to him, it was a different type of experience. He had further told me that there is no need to do any rites and rituals during the 10 days course. One has to observe complete silence for 9 days with approximately 10 hours of meditation every day from 4.30 am to 9 pm at frequent intervals. The meditators are not allowed to write, read, talk even with gestures, touch others or look at anybody. Food is given thrice in small quantities.
The Crave for some extra sensory experience is yet another form of desire. I became curious to know more therefore started collecting information on the internet. Fortunately, I got the opportunity to do this course at Sodepur Vipassana meditation center, Kolkata in October 2016.
The Facilities
The Ashram is situated in a serene place with Ganges flowing nearby. When I entered the campus, I had a feeling of   natural calmness and peace.
The facilities were all pretty basic. Men and women were separated the whole time. There was a dining hall, where we had breakfast, lunch and dinner/ tea. Every student was allocated a seat in the beginning of the course. The meals consisted of simple vegetarian food and we all got our plate, cup, spoon and bowl, which we had to clean after every meal.
Every student had his own room in standard situation, however I have been offered dormitory with other 20 peoples. The rooms were basically little cells with a mattress and some space for the luggage.
The meditation was done in the Dhamma Hall. Again, every student was allocated a cushion to sit on during meditation. There was also a little room with a TV in it, which was used to show the teacher’s discourse (Dhamma Talk) in English to the foreigners.
There was a little garden/ path were we were able to walk around during the breaks.
The facilities will probably be very different depending on where you do the course.
The Timetable
The timetable looks really strict and terrible when you first look at it, but it’s really not that bad once you get used to it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really hard, but it’s worth it and there will be a moment during the course when you realize that it’s all worth it.
4:00 am Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions
11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break
12noon-1:00 pm Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions
5:00-6:00 pm Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm Question time in the hall
9:30 pm Retire to your own room–Lights out
So right after the course I wrote down everything I could remember and how I felt like. Some of this probably sounds really irrelevant to you. But this is what I found important the moment I walked out of the center.
Day 0
I smoked my last cigarette just before entering the meditation center. Anyway, I quickly found my way to the registration place. After the registration, we were asked to deposit our cell phones, money, books etc. at the counter. We could only carry our clothes and toiletries along with us to the room. We have to do our own work like washing clothes, cleaning our rooms/toilets etc.
At 7 pm, we were asked to assemble in a hall. The teacher told about the rules and guidelines to be followed for the next 9 days during the course then we went to the Dhamma hall to meditate for the first time (just focusing on our breath) and the noble silence started. No more talking from now on.
Day 1
I woke up on time and suddenly everything seemed so easy. I was focused, I wasn’t too tired and I didn’t mind the pain from sitting in the same posture all day. I also realized that even though I was surrounded by other people, I was here alone. I completely stopped caring about the other people and tried to get the most out of this experience.
Day 2
There was little pain in the body particularly in the knees. My mind was wandering. There were many thoughts with no clarity. In the evening, every day we were shown a video film. The film was about the experience we would have had during the day and a short guidelines for the next day. The discourse was very interesting. The teacher often told some funny stories having deep meanings. We laughed without making sound.   It was funny when we could not control laughing but we cannot make sound!!
Day 3 to 5
There was a flow of energy going through my body, which I was again able to just observe. I felt really peaceful and happy all day. I thought a lot about Dhamma and how all of this would affect my life in the outside world. I realized that Vipassana gave me the one thing that was missing in my life: hope – me too, I could also become a truly happy persons. All the things from the past that were haunting me, I could be able to let them go. Of course, the path was long and hard, but at least I saw the path now. The afternoons were really painful, but for some reason that didn’t bother me. Most of the time I was talking with myself and sometimes scolding or appreciating myself.
Day 6
One new meditation technique was introduced. We were asked to observe the sensations all over the body from head to foot. For the next remaining days. We have to do “Adhistana” i.e to sit without making any movement for one hr. each time for three times a day. It was like a challenge for all. There was severe pain in the knees and at times I accepted defeat. At other times, I got determined not to accept defeat and I completed one hour sitting like a wood. It is said that Gautam, the Buddha got enlightenment by doing Adhistana.
I remember an experience on the sixth day afternoon. Still I am puzzled whether that was an imagination or something transcended upon me to teach me a great lesson of life. We were asked to focus on the subtlest of sensations in our body. It required complete attention and focus. Suddenly I saw - My physical body has totally collapsed and divided into trillions of cells. Repeatedly I was asking where ‘I’ is, there was severe pain in my mind and I could hear my throbbing heartbeat.  I could not control my tears. What for I am so proud? What am I?
I got disconnected from these thoughts after the bell rang. I came to my room and I can’t say about the intense emotions that I was going through. There was no complains, no regret but only realization of the truth of human life. Uncontrolled tears was flowing from my eyes. I didn’t resist it.  A great feeling of relief and cleanliness within have dominated me.
Day 7 to 9
I felt a strong desire to surrender. There was detachment towards everything. No desire to speak or express anything. As if I am letting everything and everybody go free as their will. There is no want to control anybody. There was a strong sense of acceptance. I felt as if all the divine qualities have taken rest in me. Time and again, I felt my heart is so pure and clean, I was feeling a “aha”. There was a flow of pure love towards nature and human beings. I asked for forgiveness to all whom I have hurt and done harm. I looked at the stars and felt happy. I again and again expressed my gratitude for making my life so beautiful. Without any reason, I was smiling. I was feeling so happy that I wanted to celebrate it with my family and friends. True inspiration was flowing constantly.
During these days, I saw some dreams which again taught me some good lessons. At times, I woke up in the midnight and cried. We were not allowed to write so I could not write my experiences. We were not even given enough time to think so there is no question to recall your memories. Almost every emotion anyone can think of crossed my mind. In short, it is said that every emotion and every feeling is related to a sensation in our body. Good sensation gives us pleasure and we want that experience again and again. Likewise bad or painful sensations related to emotions like fear, guilt, anger etc. gives unpleasant experiences. We resist it. The technique says neither to get attached nor avoid such sensations. Just be detached and understand its momentariness. All will pass away as per the law of Impermanence. So, if negative thought arises, transform it to wisdom.
Day 10
Our silence was broken. We talked among ourselves. We were smiling and laughing. The Ganges passes nearby. We went there and had a photo session. We thanked the teacher and the Sevika.
For me, this was a unique experience that gave me the realization about the significance of   human life. It introduced me to myself.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Being Father and Fatherhood

Being Father and Fatherhood

On September 21st 2015, we welcomed our son into the world (yes, this post is a little bit late :) ..

"Fatherhood” is often considered as a ‘phenomenon’, something which transcends a Men’s very being to another level.  In this column I want to share with you how fatherhood has changed my life. Although this is very personal, I believe there are many lessons that anyone can take away.:

A sense of awe. It was when I saw my son "Ansh" for the first time that I truly understood what a miracle life is. To hold this little human being, with his little fingers and tiny feet, left me in awe of just how truly amazing life is. And this sense of awe has changed how I view my everyday surroundings, in particular nature.

Awareness of my own mortality. I remember driving home from the hospital, on my own, a few hours after he was born. I had so many emotions rushing around inside of me, but one of the most intense was a sense of my own mortality. I had never felt so alive, but by the same token I had never felt so vulnerable. I drove home particularly careful that night, knowing that my life now had a new meaning.

Meaning. I don’t think having a kid is a prerequisite for living a meaningful life, nor do I want fatherhood to be the only thing that beings meaning to my existence. But what fatherhood has done is to help me understand what a wonderful feeling it is to live with meaning.

Connected to the world. I have always considered myself to be a bit different, and this has at times left me feeling unconnected to the world around me. But he has connected me to the future, and for this reason I now care more than I ever have about the fate of the humankind and the world we live in. Whether the issue is the environment or politics, I realize that what we do on this planet today will affect the future for our sons and daughters, and then their sons and daughters one day.

A Couple of Photos:

As my Son grew and developed during the first years of his life, my heart expanded and filled with love like I've never known before. His smile is enough to brighten a miserable day and hearing him say ‘pa-pa' made everything right in the world. His unconditional love and trust made me strive to be a better man..

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Small Wonder – The Making of The Nano

The book this week “Small Wonder the making of the nano” by Philip Chacko, Christabelle Noronha and Sujata Agarwal gives a good insight into the how the Nano transformed from a dream of Sri Ratan Tata to a reality. The $2500 car that world has never imagined.
The book talks about how the concept was born in Ratan Tata’s mind, then how it got a tag of 1 lakh, how the team was formed, who all were the main contributors, what all small innovations were done, Also the issues ranging from a perfect engine to shifting the plant from Singur to Sanand.
The book has Ratan Tata written all over it, If one hasn’t read the book it’s hard for anyone to imagine the amount of involvement of the Tata Motors Chairman Sri Ratan Tata in the small car project. How he led the development from the front, sometimes acting as a leader, sometimes as a team member.
The book does a good job in highlighting the contributions of other main members as well such as Ravi Kant and Girish Wagh. It insists that there was no path breaking technology innovation that lead to nano at a price tag of 1 Lakh but small innovations and economical engineering that lead to Ratan Tata’s promise to be kept.
The writing is simple and not much technicalities of automobile industry is included which is good from a reader’s perspective. The Singur episode has been described in a non judgmental manner. We can only imagine what it takes to shift an automobile plant from one place to another thousands of miles distant and without producing a single vehicle, Tata Motors employees had to actually do it.

The book is a good read and every one interested in automobile or not should read it. It is as much a book on a small car as it is on human conviction, team work, hard work, commitment, sacrifices, leadership, facing adversities and many more human qualities.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Letter to my wife.. The Dream of my Life..!!

A letter to my love, my friend, my wife and my partner – Nitu…
I know it's the day before our 1st Anniversary - some things can't wait just for a day.
12 Months - that's how long we've been with one another. 12 months feels like a lifetime - so much has changed - our lives altered in subtle - and not so subtle ways by the gentle currents of each other. In the time I've known you, we have both changed for the better - we compliment and act as one another's confidant, friend, partner and lovers.

We've also been through our times of trial - little things like misunderstanding at home - and much bigger things from your health, to finances, to not knowing what we were doing or where we were going?? We both know that this past year has been probably the one most challenging one filled with trials and tribulations.

Despite the trials - we have made each other stronger. You have changed who I am in such fundamental and subtle ways, that I attribute much of who I am now, to you. You have made me happier, stronger, and more empathetic. You have also given me the cherished gift of your love, your tears and support in all these days.

You have given me more than just your love, you gave me our first son ‘’Ansh’’ - who might as well be a tiny clone of myself, who despite my willfulness and strong personality makes my heart jump each time I hear his laugh, each time I hug him.
“Ansh’’ is almost 2 month old! All parents gush about how smart their children are - but we both know there's something special and unique about him. I cannot verbalize or put to words my thanks to you for him. He's a gift you've given to me.

Times change - people change. We have times when we just don't know what will come, and times when we wish what had come had not. We have persevered over the hard times we've faced until now, and those hard times we face now, we face together, as one.. I must admit that I could not be able to give you enough time in all these days.. but it is only due to my job and work.. Hope you will understand..

You, and your gift - our son, have given me more than a reason to just keep working, just to keep moving from day to day. You've given me a reason to truly live, to truly push myself beyond anything I could have imagined years ago. You've given me a place and arms to cry in, to laugh in, and to grow in. You've given me a view of life, of living, of loving I never dreamed of having.

I am also sorry that I cannot always give to you all the things you so richly deserve - I'd give you anything, I'd buy you anything if I could. I am sorry I don't have anything I can give you today other than my words..!

So, my gift to you is this - my expression of how much I truly value you, cherish you and how grateful I am - in spite of all the hard times - the good times, the memories, our Son and most importantly our love.

Thank you for being who you are.
Thank you for being with me.
Thank you for loving me.