The Promise Was Mine and I Have To Keep It.

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Don’t know why, but have always believed and felt personally that hospitals are the best place to meditate on oneself. It really helps you know yourself, evaluate onto the past and the present, the gifts and good we have with us.

Once a physician friend narrated an incident. It was a normal day as usual in the hospital and she was attending to the OPD patients. As she was examining a patient who was there as per appointment, a man dashed into the room running towards her. At first she got shocked but seeing the hospital attendants coming in behind the man made her at ease.

Man: {Begging} Doctor please help to examine me now as I have to leave now.

Doctor: We cannot do it. Kindly wait till your appointed time arrives. We have other patients also waiting outside.

Man: Doc I know I came out of turn, but kindly examine me now so that I can leave home. My sick wife is waiting there and I had promised her that I would be back for breakfast.

Doctor: What happened to your wife.

Man: She is suffering from Alzheimer.

Doctor: {Pausing for a moment} … Sorry to know about it. But if she is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, it is most likely that she will remember the promise you made.

Man: {Smiling} The Promise Was Mine and I Have To Keep It.

In today’s ever demanding world where can we find the same. Many times we don’t even keep up with the promises we make to ourselves, let aside the ones we make to others.

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​A fifth-Grade Classroom

Teacher: An abstract noun is a type of noun that refers to something with which a person cannot physically interact. Some examples of abstract nouns are love, hate, beauty, truth, dream, bravery. Can you guys name some other examples?

Emma : My parents?

The teacher stood speechless, stunned by the eight-year-old orphan’s response.

My Creator’s Life

Once an old friend of mine told me …

At times, when we look at the sad part of our life, all the broken and shattered pieces which lie scattered in our heart and we break down and give up and just want to end our life.

With all those lonely walks and secrets which cannot even be shared with the walls of our rooms. With no hope to get up the next day.

With all the broken trusts we have had because of trusting people.We try to run and hide to a place where no one can see us like a crab which hides inside the seashore holes when the tides come. And we just want to give up and close down.

But when I think back and try to recollect what made me stand up again? What gave me the strength to get up and face the world? What made me realize that my story is not yet over?

Its that person who brought me to this world. A person who saw me in all those broken times. A person who came and sat with me. He even hugged me tightly when there was a storm around me. He never let me stay in those crab holes forever. He brought me out and he stopped those tides.

He did not judge me for all that has happened in my life. He never gave up on me. He did not accuse me of leaving him and walking away in my own path. He held me close. He accepted me the way I am. He loves me for everything I am.

He brought me back to the green pastures and let me lay down near the quiet waters.

That’s why I can’t give up on my life. Because more than mine, this is his life. My creator’s life. More than my sad broken life. This is a life with purpose and that purpose is to live with him.

Success Redefined : Innovation & Diversification

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I met this person sometime back during my travel back home. Travel always teaches us many things, we just have to keep our eyes and ears open to embrace it. It was a tiring day at office and the excitement of going back home was pumping the energy. I was given a seat next to a simple looking aged person and at first instance thought it would be a boring journey but eventually became one of the most memorable one. After a few casual chat I got to know he was a senior guy in a MNC and was managing the ASPAC region operations. It was really cool to be sitting next to him and every word which came out of his mouth was awesomely simple but was dynamic in itself. But one thing which touched me over all was his reply to my questions, what’s your mantra to be a successful?.

At first he smiled and then after a few moments  said, to be successful in any field you need to love what you do and follow three basic principles which everyone knows and will tell you. Hard work, Knowledge & Patience is the basic ones without which nobody ain’t going anywhere. But in today’s world just the basic is not enough. You need to add the “tadka” (tempering) to it and that is what I would like to share with you. It’s my personal favorite and it did help me.

“Innovation & Diversification”

That’s it he didn’t say anything else. Just a smile to finish the things off the same way he started it. I kept it to myself the night but the next day discussed the same with my friend. We brainstormed on it and realized yes …

This though is not something new. This is what Steve Jobs did when he was in Apple … Mac … NeXT … Apple.

If you are the one who is hardworking and constantly gaining on your knowledge database and waiting patiently for success to catch hold of her, but she ain’t coming anywhere near. Then this was for you buddy. Innovate & Diversify !!!

Hope it helps…Cheers.

Beware . . .Your 4% furniture loan is actually 12%

So my friend, let’s call him X, decided to go buy furniture and fixtures. He went to HomeTown and bought stuff worth Rs. 76021.

And then there was a Bajaj Finance advertisement that told him, oh, pay only 4% and get this on a loan!

X has to pay one advance installment – Rs. 6589, today. X’s EMI is just Rs. 6589 for 11 months. That’s a total of 72479, which along with the initial payment  adds up to just Rs. 79068.

You think – I’m buying stuff worth 76,021 but it’s only going to cost me another Rs.3,000 or so to take it on a loan! That’s just 4% (3,000 on 76,000)

(Okay, there’s also a processing fee of Rs. 1,100 but that only takes the interest rate to about 5.4% which is still cool?)

Under The Hood: The Actual Rate Is Closer To 9%

But that’s not how it works under the layers. Think of it like this:

  • You get some money as a loan
  • You pay an advance EMI so you actually get a lower amount as a loan (76021 minus the upfront payment of Rs. 6589 = a loan of 69432)
  • This amount is paid back every month through a monthly payment of Rs. 6589 for 11 months.
  • We have calculated that the interest rate is actually about 8.7% a year.
  • We start with an outstanding loan of 69432 in month 1. There’s some interest that applies to it for the month, at 8.7%, it would be Rs. 502.
  • We paid Rs. 6589 at the end of Month 1. That would take care of Rs. 502 of interest and reduce the principal outstanding to by 6087.
  • The new principal for month 2 is 63344.
  • The interest for month 2 is Rs. 458. (At 8.7%) And then you pay 6589, so the interest is paid out and the principal falls to 57,214.
  • And so on till, after month 11, your principal outstanding goes to zero.

Now how did we get to 8.7% as the interest rate?

We tried using 4%. At 4% the loan would be fully paid off just around month 10. In fact, at 4% your monthly EMI would only be Rs. 5,000 – a full Rs. 1589 less!

We increased the rate until the outstanding became exactly zero at the end of 11 months. Which gave us 8.7%. That’s what you pay.

But isn’t 8.7% good? Not if it’s actually 12%.

Sure. But it’s not even 8.7%. It’s actually closer to 12%.

Because X had a processing fee of Rs. 1,100.

To get the loan he had to pay another Rs. 1100. Now let’s compare this to paying cash upfront. You would pay nothing – just the Rs. 76,021. Now you:

  • Pay Rs. 7689 upfront
  • Pay Rs. 6589 for 11 months

Using the same calculation as above, we realize that K actually paid 12% for the loan.

The finance folks here will complain that oh, you’re not ACTUALLY paying 12%, because the processing fee is just a fee and so on.

But it’s 12% really. Here’s why:

If you had Rs. 76021 and instead of taking a loan you kept the money (minus initial EMI etc) in a bank deposit or mutual fund, you would need an interest rate of 11.94% to actually pay this loan back at 6589 per month.

That’s why it’s 12%. The effective cost of capital, to you, is that much.

Note: It’s actually even higher if you have money in fixed deposits – because you’ll pay tax on the interest you earn, and cannot offset it against the interest you pay. It’s a mess and the salaried individual is the worst off in this debate.

Is Bajaj Finance making a killing? Well, they get the money from you. They also get a discount from the folks that sell you the furniture. And they pay out part of the “processing fee” as a commission to the agent. For them, net of everything, they probably rake in 15% or so. Which isn’t too bad, so one might just buy their shares. Also people love to hear 4% because it’s darn difficult to realize it’s 12%.

But What If You Don’t Have The Money?

This might still be useful because there are hardly any easy sources of loans that give you this cash at 12% or less.

We went to a Bankbazaar and put the amount in – for a 1 year loan of Rs. 76,000 you will pay just a little more (at 12.50%) per year. Notice that the numbers here look very close to the Bajaj Finance deal – only that the banks don’t pretend it’s 4%!

(They can’t. The RBI doesn’t allow them to. Bajaj Finance is an NBFC so they get to do these things)

(If you don’t mind the extra interest cost, banks love it when you take loans and repay them – they then give you future loans at 0% processing fees and/or lower interest.)

In reality, the 4% loan isn’t 4% – it’s actually 12%. But it still may be the lowest loan amount you can get if you don’t have the money. If you have the money, unless you’re getting a whopping 12% from it, it’s better to use your credit card, get some points, and pay off the credit card bill with the money.

Disclosure: I own some shares of Bajaj Finance.

Something missing . . . 

Last month was traveling to my hometown in Kerala. Happy feelings when you finally get the annual leaves approved and are heading back home. The journey was in the train and trust me there is no other mode of transportation as memorable than traveling with Indian Railways. My reservation was made for the side upper berth and I had an extraordinary personality as my co-passenger. She was a nun, who was also the principal of a reputed school in the state. 
The journey was beautiful and company of Sister made it indeed an awesome one. During our conversation Sister shared one of her experience, which made me think and thought of sharing the same. 

It was a normal day as any other day and Sister was on her routine rounds of classrooms. As she was walking and came past to this class of grade 2, the class was seen unattended by any teacher and kids were all over the place. Seeing the commotion Sister entered the classroom and asked the kids to be on their seats. When enquired it was understood that the teacher was ill and no substitution was provided. Sister though to keep the kids busy till a substitution was arranged. She asked all the kids to take a plain paper and draw anything that came into their minds. Every one started with the activity and soon the class seemed to be under control. 

After a few minutes Sister had a quick glance on the drawings of the kids. They were all artists, one was drawing a scenery and another a Barbie doll. But one girl caught her attention. She seemed to be drawing her family. In the picture though was only two people. Sister asked the young girl what was she painting. And the reply was her family. But in the painting the girl and her mother were only there. Sister thought she might have lost here father and hence did not ask her anything more. 

Few days later Sister had an opportunity to visit the same class due to the same reason of teachers unavailability. This time again she asked the class to paint a picture. To her surprise this young girl drew the same picture again and that too without her father. Due to the curiosity on finding the real reason Sister went and checked the school database and to her surprise she found the girl had a father and he was a well-known businessman of the town. 

Sister immediately called her father and asked him to be available in the Principals office before the school leaves for the day. The immediate reply from the father, “Sorry, today I am very busy will try to come tomorrow”.  Sister replied , “Then please find the transfer certificate along with your child when she comes home today” and hung the phone. 

Within an hour the father was in principals office. Sister showed him the painting and asked him, “What is missing in the picture? “.  The man could not find anything wrong. He said, “It’s all fine,  nothings missing in this” . Sister replied , “Sir you yourself are missing”. Hearing this the man was shocked. Sister asked the girl why she didn’t draw her father in the family painting, her answer was “I FORGOT, I have not seen him in past six months. He comes after I am asleep and goes out before I am awake”.

That incident actually made a dent in me and made me think are we indeed actually missing somewhere. Family is the only place where we are honored and respected,  no matter who we are in the outside world and getting forgotten there is a disaster in itself. 

The Love of a FAMILY is LIFE’S greatest BLESSING – Anonymous. 

The Paradox

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Albert Einstein famously remarked in a conversation with Warner Heisenberg, “You know in the west we’ve built a beautiful ship, and it has all the comforts. But actually the one thing that it doesn’t have is a compass and that’s why it doesn’t know where it’s going.”

This paradox of our times was propounded by the Dalai Lama when he said, “We have wider freeways but narrower viewpoints. We have taller buildings but shorter tempers.” Will Smith said that we spend money we haven’t earned on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.

And it’s phenomenal how the same technology that brings us close to those who are far away takes us far away from people that are actually close. 30 billion Whats App messages are sent per day, but 48 percent of people say that they feel lonelier in general. The paradox of our times is that we have more degrees but less sense. More knowledge but less judgement. More experts but fewer solutions.

It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said that the irony of our time is that we have guided missiles but misguided men. Have you ever found it perplexing that you’ve been all the way to the moon and back but you struggle to start a conversation across the road or across the bus?

It’s amazing that Bill Gates was known as the top earner of 2015 with a wealth of $79.2 billion but one in four CEOs claims to be struggling with depression. Do we actually thrive on this paradox? Is it that this paradox actually makes the media interesting, it’s what makes journalism interesting, it’s what makes politics interesting, it’s what makes television interesting? Is this paradox actually what we feed off and what we live off and what we talk about and discuss in our circles? Doesn’t it seem that we’ve tried to clean up the air but polluted our soul, we’ve split the atom but not our prejudice, and we’re aiming for higher incomes but we have lower morals? So how do we bring a change?

Well, it starts with us, each of us pressing pause, pressing reset, and then pressing play again. Taking a moment to become more conscious, taking a moment to become more aware, taking a moment to really reflect on the consequence, the implication of a misplaced word of an unnecessary argument that we all know we didn’t need to have, or to speak to someone just slightly differently in a different tone, in a different voice, in a different empathy, with a different perspective. Just to really connect with people on a different level.

This, thinking out loud, started from Albert Einstein when he actually said that the problems we have today can’t be solved with the same thinking that we used when we once created them. We need to research alternative teachings and dig deep down into these ancient books of wisdom. We need to go back to understanding if there’s anything written in those creased pages of time that can actually reveal more knowledge and more wisdom of how we can transform our experience of life today. Otherwise, this paradox means that every step forward we take, we’re taking three backwards every time.

PS: In the hours spent mindlessly surfing social media on my phone, I came across this jewel. The text above is actually from a video, and I could have paraphrased it, but it could not have been worded better. This is the original video : https://youtu.be/ZZ4-4RKx8r4