Friday, July 31, 2009

Real Heroes of India

Another nice and inspirational forward for your reading pleasure!!

Suvendu Roy of Titan Industries shares his inspirational encounter with a rickshaw driver in Mumbai

Last Sunday, my wife, kid and I had to travel to Andheri from Bandra. When I waved at a passing auto rickshaw, little did I expect that this ride would be any different.

As we set off, my eyes fell on a few magazines (kept in an aircraft style pouch) behind the driver's back rest. I looked in front and there was a small TV. The driver had put on the Doordarshan channel. My wife and I looked at each other with disbelief and amusement. In front of me was a small first-aid box with cotton, dettol and some medicines. This was enough for me to realise that I was in a special vehicle. Then I looked around again, and discovered more -there was a radio, fire extinguisher, wall clock, calendar, and pictures and symbols of all faiths - from Islam and Christianity to Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. There were also pictures of the heroes of 26/11- Kamte, Salaskar, Karkare and Unnikrishnan. I realised that not only my vehicle, but also my driver was special.

I started chatting with him and the initial sense of ridicule and disbelief gradually diminished. I gathered that he had been driving an auto rickshaw for the past 8-9 years; he had lost his job when his employer's plastic company was shut down. He had two school-going children, and he drove from 8 in the morning till 10 at night. No break unless he was unwell. "Sahab, ghar mein baith ke TV dekh kar kya faida? Do paisa income karega toh future mein kaam aayega." (Sir, what's the use of simply sitting at home and watching TV? If I earn some income, then it will be useful in the future.)

We realised that we had come across a man who represents Mumbai - the spirit of work, the spirit of travel and the spirit of excelling in life. I asked him whether he does anything else as I figured that he did not have too much spare time. He said that he goes to an old age home for women in Andheri once a week or whenever he has some extra income, where he donates tooth brushes, toothpastes, soap, hair oil, and other items of daily use. He pointed out to a painted message below the meter that read: "25 per cent discount on metered fare for the handicapped. Free rides for blind passengers up to Rs50?. He also said that his auto was mentioned on Radio Mirchi twice by the station RJs. The Marathi press in Mumbai know about him and have written a few pieces on him and his vehicle.

My wife and I were struck with awe. The man was a HERO! A hero who deserves all our respect. I know that my son, once he grows up, will realise that we have met a genuine hero. He has put questions to me such as why should we help other people? I will try to keep this incident alive in his memory.

Our journey came to an end; 45 minutes of a lesson in humility, selflessness and of a hero-worshipping Mumbai - my temporary home. We disembarked, and all I could do was to pay him a tip that would hardly cover a free ride for a blind man.

He has got a first aid box on the left and a newspaper box on right (which had all hindi-english- marathi-gujrati and economic times)

He has got a tv on the top with cable (I was watching colors channel) and below that is a tissue box. On the left is the mandir types with "Only gandhigiri" written there, below that is a calender and a notepad and pen along with a blue fan (which is blowing towards the customer who sits)

"25% discount for handicapped !!" who on this earth can expect something like this from an rickshawala yaar!!

Its amazing there are ppl still alive like him in this world!

I hope, one day, you too have a chance to meet Mr Sandeep Bachhe in his auto rickshaw - MH-02-Z-8508

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Friday, July 24, 2009

From an INFOSCION to a POLITICION

This is a hilarious forward I got today, couldn't help sharing it to you all.........so, go ahead and enjoy it......

Nandan Nilekani's brief of his first day in parliament!

Continuing my tryst with capturing the life and times of Nandan Nilekani in his new avatar as a Cabinet Minister, here is what he had penned after his first day in the Parliament. The last entry stopped when the House was just about to begin. Let's see what happened thereafter….
The House was in pin drop silence. I was brimming with anticipation and excitement!!!! Manmohan had informed me that my introduction was one of the important points of the agenda. I hoped that I will be able to make my speech properly. After so many interviews and conferences, I was nervous today!!!! After the Speaker indicated that the proceedings of the House could begin, Manmohan formally introduced me to the entire House. He mentioned that as the head of the Unique Identification Authority of India, I was responsible to ensure that each and every Indian had a digital smart card as a proof of his existence.
Manmohan spoke about why I was selected and also some references to the various projects executed by me in Infosys were mentioned. The House listened with rapt attention. I was asked to say a few words and I did exactly the same!!! I thanked the Government of India for having given me this opportunity and I assured the House that I would strive to successfully deliver this project. The Speaker then formally inducted me into the House and before the proceedings could move any forward, there was a small commotion on the other side of the hall.
It was Minister of Textiles who had a comment to make before the next point on the agenda. He made a request that I should be attired in a more austere way instead of a flashy suit. It did not go well with the image of a minister who should live to serve the common man and should be less ostentatious in his habits. I stood up to reply. I offered my apologies to the Honourable Minister and assured that I shall be in a more acceptable dress next time. I felt that he was right. We also used to have corporate dress code in Infosys. So it's here as well!!!!
I sat down and felt somebody nudging me. I turned around and to my surprise; it was the former Indian skipper and one of my favourite batsman Mohd. Azharuddin. I remembered that he had recently won the elections. I smiled at him and mentioned to him that I used to like his game very much, shaking his hand. No Rolex, I noticed. Azhar told me that he would "fix" me an appointment with an Italian designer who had designed his dapper Kurta suit. An Italian designer in Milan doing Kurtas!!!!! I made a note of this and reminded myself to give this example to Friedman for his next book," The World Markets are flattened".
Since there was no doubt about the "Fixational" capacities of Azhar, I told him to give me the details and I would consider. The proceedings of the House went on with numerous bills being debated and passed as I sat as a passive audience waiting for my project's turn to come up. After the lunch break, it was the moment for me!!!!
MY PROJECT"S FIRST REVIEW CAME UP FOR PRESENTATION.
I was at sea. My laptop did not have any reserve power. I went to Manmohan and apprised him of the situation. I was sweating. He calmly replied that this would not be a cause of concern. I was flummoxed!!!! The Speaker asked me to explain to the House on what were my plans for the Unique Identity Project. I replied that I have a plan prepared for 30-60-90-120 days' milestones and I have presentation to make for which I need a power socket, a projector and a screen. I had no idea what was going to happen after this.
The next couple of minutes were a complete jolt for me. I was completely in a tizzy. Let me just summarize what happened. A Joint Cabinet Secretary Committee was set up to judge the feasibility of my request. The Under Secretaries for the Ministries of Power, IT and Broadcasting will prepare a Viability Report after scrutinizing National Security threats to my request. This was because the power socket comes under Power, laptop comes under IT and projector comes under Broadcasting. I have also been told to reconsider my timelines of 30-60-90 days and start thinking in terms of years. Probably, they are right. I did not have the foresight in this matter.
The summary of the issue is that I need to come up with a more inclusive, democratic, comprehensive long term plan for this project to be executed over the next five years. I have also been given a presentation slot 3 months from now (by which the issues related to the power cord etc will also be resolved). I am filled with mixed reactions. I was planning for a quick resolution; the management wants a strategic solution. I come out of the House and text Murthy.
"You won't believe it but these guys work just like us. I am on a NATIONAL BENCH for the next three months!!!!!!!!"
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Exit Load waiver give MF Companies a run for their money

Ever since SEBI directive came to waive off the entry load for all Mutual Funds, Asset Management Companies (AMC) are in a hurry to close their NFOs before the deadline of 01st of August 09. Most of the comanies are closing their New Fund Options on 31st July 09. Even though the directive says that the NFOs opened before 01st of August can continue to charge entry load for the same, but the AMCs want to play a safe game and to avoid any complications leading to further confusion among investors, they are closing their NFOs by the end of July.

Even when SEBI had waived off entry load for direct applications, the AMCs had resorted to a similar behavior, but their concerns were brought to rest when the no. of direct applications accounted for only single digit percentage of all. At that time, some of the organizations had gone on to express their displeasure, stating that their objective of entering the rural market itself will be defeated by this step taken by SEBI.

Anyways, for a lazy individual investor like me who finds it too much of a task to send direct applications, its a welcome step by SEBI and it will be a further help in increasing my market investments.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Income Tax Return Filing (ITR) made easy!!

Good news for all the individual tax payers!!

Now you can fill your IT returns online and get instant Acknowledgment receipt also. No more standing in queues and no more paying commissions to intermediaries.

Just follow these easy steps to file your returns:

Step 1: Go to the site: "http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in"
Step 2: Click on the link "eFile-Income Tax Return" link at the top Left of the home page
Step 3: Register yourself once with the help of our PAN number. (Your PAN number will be your lifetime userId)
Step 4: From the Tab "e-Filing A.Y. 2009-10", select "Individual" (It will get you the ITR-1 Utility Excel Sheet)
ITR 1 Utility
:

Step 5: With the help of your Form 16, fill the details in the .xls (MS Excel) sheet.
Step 6: Once the sheet is filled, click on the button "Generate XML" present on the sheet. (This will generate an XML file based on the data filled in the ITR 1 form above. Save this sheet on your local machine/computer)
Step 7: Now go back to the site once again and Log-In with the userId & password generated previously.
Step 8: Under "Submit Return", select assessment year as "A.Y. 2009-10"
Step 9: It will ask you to upload the XML file. (Upload the file generated from the previous step, that you had saved on your local machine)
Step 10: Once the upload is successful, go to "My Accounts" -> "My Returns" menu. (Here you will get your digitally signed acknowledgement of ITR) By following these 10 simple steps you can file your ITR from the safe and cozy confines of your Office. Kudos to IT Dept. for this great system they have put in place!! Happy ITR Filing!!
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Life @ Bombay

My company's IT team has come of age; it doesn't allow me to send forwards. from my corporate email id (what a waste!!!); Whenever I send one, they send me a warning mail about it, with my boss in cc. So, To Hell with them, I have my blog to share all the forwards in the world that I want to.... Hope you guyz enjoy it as much as I did!!!!

Bombay has no bombs and is a harbour not a bay.
Churchgate has neither a church nor a gate. It is a railway station.
There is no darkness in Andheri.
Lalbaag is neither red nor a garden. No king ever stayed at Kings Circle .
Nor did Queen Victoria stay at Victoria Terminus.
Nor is there any princess at Princess Street .
Lower Parel is at the same level as Parel
There are no marines or sailors at Marine Lines.
The Mahalaxmi temple is at Haji Ali not at Mahalaxmi.
There are no pigs traded at Dukar bazaar.
Teen bati is a junction of 3 roads, not three lamps.
Trams used to terminate at Kings circle not Dadar* Tram Terminus (Dadar T.T.).
Breach Candy is not a sweetmeat market.
Safed Pool has the dirtiest and blackest water.
You cannot buy coal at Kolsa street.
There are no Iron smiths at Lohar chawl.
There are no pot makers at Kumbhar wada.
Lokhandwala complex is not an Iron and steel market.
Null bazaar does not sell taps You will not find ladyfingers at Bheendi Bazaar.
Kalachowki does not have a black Police station.
Hanging Gardens are not suspended.
Mirchi Gully does not sell chillies.
Figs do not grow in Anjir Wadi,
Sitafals do not grow in Sitafal Wadi,
Jackfruits do not grow at Fanaswadi
But it is true that you may get fleeced at Chor Bazaar!!!

AMCHI MUMBAI A City where everything is possible, especially the impossible.
Where lovers first love and then marry,
Where there is place for every Tom, Dick and Harry
Where telephone bills make a person ill, Where a person cannot sleep without a pill.
Where carbon-dioxide is more than oxygen, Where the road is considered to be a dustbin, Where college canteens are full and classes empty, Where Adam teasing is also making an entry, Where a cycle reaches faster than a car, Where everyone thinks himself to be a star, Where sky scrapers overlook the slum,
Where houses collapse as the monsoon comes,
Where people first act and then think,
Where there is more water in the pen than ink,
Where the roads see-saw in monsoon,
Where the beggars become rich soon,
Where the roads are levelled when the minister arrives,
Where college admission means hard cash,
Where cement is frequently mixed with ash.


THINGS TO PROVE YOU'RE A BOMBAYITE.


1. You say "town " and expect everyone to know that town means south of Churchgate.

2 You speak in a dialect of Hindi called 'Bambaiya Hindi', which only Bombayites can understand.*

3. Your door has more than three locks.

4. Rs. 500/- worth of groceries fit in one paper bag.

5. Train timings ( 9.27, 10.49 etc) are really important events of life.

6. You spend more time each month travelling than you spend at home.

7. You call an 8' x 10' clustered room a Hall.

8. You're paying Rs 10,000 for a 1 room flat, the size of walk-in closet and you think it's a "steal."

9. You have the following sets of friend: school friends, college friends, neighbourhood friends, office friends and yes, train friends, a species unique only in Bombay.

10. Cabbies and bus conductors think you are from Mars if you call the roads by their Indian name, they are more familiar with Warden Road, Peddar ?Road, Altamount Road .

11. Stock market quotes are the only other thing*besides cricket which you follow passionately.

12. The first thing that you read in the Times of India is the "Bombay Times" supplement.

13. You take fashion seriously. You're suspicious of strangers who are actually nice to you.

14. Hookers, beggars and the homeless are invisible.

15. You compare Bombay to New York 's Manhattan instead of any other cities of India.

16. The most frequently used part of your car is the horn.

17. You insist on calling CST as VT, and Sahar and Santacruz airports instead of Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport .

18. You consider eye contact an act of overt aggression.

19. Your idea of personal space is no one actually standing on your toes.

20. Being truly alone makes you nervous.

21. You love wading through knee deep mucky water in the monsoons, and actually call it ''romantic'.

22. Only in Bombay , you would get Chinese Dosa and Jain Chicken.


Whatever People say and think about Mumbai but the conclusion is Mumbai is the best city in the World. It has got its own recognition where you can experience everything you want. It has got its own charm. You name it and you get it. It is the fastest city in India and one of the fastest cities in the World. Be proud to be a Mumbaikar and Be proud to be an Indian...!!!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A proud moment for India: Indra Nooyi named "CEO of the Year 2009"

Indian women have done us proud again!!
Indira Nooyi, the Chairman & CEO of Pepsico has been named the "CEO of the Year 2009" by Global Supply Chains Group (GSCG). Ever since joining Pepsico, she has been instrumental in various CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives by her company. She's also kept the cause of "Climate Change" in her top agenda and has contributed a lot for the same. She's a true Global Citizen, setting high benchmarks for the corporate world.

Its very heartening to see that the women of India are making us proud in all the walks of life; hope this helps in changing the views of our fellow countrymen who don't consider women on par.

Cheers again to Ms. Nooyi for yet another feather in her cap!!
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Air India to adopt the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Model



Cash strapped Air India has finally decided to enter the Low Cost Carriers league. Its planning to start low cost flights in domestic routes by the end of this SEptember, thus increasing the already cut-throat competition in the LCC market.
Air India already has its presence in international LCC market, with their Air India Express flights. With the drastic decrease in the premium fliers market segment, Air India expects to reclaim its falling market share.

Also, since the LCC tickets are majorly booked via online websites, Air India is planning to revamp its currently rustic Online Booking site to make it more user-friendly and attract more customers.

Its also planning to tweak its Frequent Flier Loyalty Program to enroll more and more customers. Jet and Kingfisher have already adopted the LCC models and have been very effective in tapping his market.

Until now, Air India was the only carrier that had no representation in the LCC market, but with the change in plans, we hope that this national carrier is on its way towards better days. Amen!
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Monday, July 06, 2009

Fed-Ex Delivers A "Hot" Rod to Pete

In one of the best games of tennis witnessed by the entire world, Roger Federer rose to the occasion to have his name etched on the hall of fame of Tennis, when he broke Sampras's record of 14 grand slams by winning the Wimbledon '09.

This final will be remembered as one of the best display of tennis skills by two great champions. It was the longest final ever, with 77 games being played. The match lasted over 4 hours, but neither player showed any signs of fatigue, which goes on to prove the high level of fitness of these players. The fifth/last set was longest in the history of wimbledon, spanning for 95 minutes, with the final score-line reading FedEx - 16, A-Rod - 14.

Also, with this win, Roger Federer has regained the no. 1 position. Pete Sampras was seen enjoying each and every minute of the game; even though his record was broken, he was happy that it was done by someone as good as Roger. Andy played the game of his life and proved that he had a heart of a lion. With the track record of 18-2 in favor of Federer, people were not expecting much of a fight from Roddick, but the ex-no. 1 proved all the tennis pundits wrong by raising his game up several notches and giving Federer a run for his money.

The final scoreline: "Roger Federer(2) bt. Andy Roddick(6) 5-7,7-6(8/6), 7-6(7/5), 3-6,16-14"

This final will be remembered alongwith the epic battles of Bjorn Borg & John McEnroe...............and also as the greatest finals of the Open era.

With this win, Federer has proved to his critics that he's the greatest tennis player ever. Its to be noted that it took Sampras 12 years to win 14 grand slams, but Federer won 15 in just 6 years. This just goes on to prove the difference between the level of tennis played by FedEx & the others.

After the game, Andy Roddick was quoted as saying, "Sorry Pete, I tried to hold him off"

John McEnroe, 7 grand slam winner quoted this win as, "Roger's achievement is more difficult than what Tiger Woods has pulled off. He's runnig, he's playing on different surfaces. Doesn't tiger just have to play on grass."

Pete Sampras, 14 grand slam winner & ex-record holder was quoted as saying, "In my book, he's the greatest of all time. He has his critics and people point to Rafael Nadal beating him, but for me he's the greatest. He is a legend and an icon"

Finally, describing his win, Federer said, "These are not goals you set as a little boy...This is an unbelieveable moment".

In my view, Federer sure is one of the greatest players of all times, and the greatest on grass court for sure, but I still doubt his performance on the clay court. His very banal record agains Nadal on clay court raises the question whether we can declare Federer as the greatest or not.........

But for now, let's enjoy one of the greatest player's leap into history...........
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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Patna better than Mumbai to start business


I came across this interesting article which I feel is a must share with you all....

This may come as a big surprise to some of you, but a World Bank study says that Patna is ahead of Mumbai when it comes to the ease of starting a business.

According to the World Bank ranking announced on Tuesday, Patna is second only to New Delhi in this regard, but way ahead of Mumbai.

Of the 17 cities that figured in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation's 'Doing Business In India 2009' report.

Of the 17 cities considered, Patna was ranked 14th, above Chennai, which stood at 15th position, while Kolkata was at the bottom of the list. Mumabi was place 16th, way below many Indian cities.

Starting a business measures the necessary steps to enable a small or medium enterprise in general commercial or industrial activities to operate legally in 17 Indian cities -- including permits, inscriptions, notifications and inspections.

The report further said doing business is the easiest in Ludhiana, followed by Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Jaipur and Guwahati.

It is easier to pay taxes in Ludhiana, Jaipur and Noida, while it is difficult to do so in Chennai, Kolkata and Patna. The report ranks the cities based on seven parameters - starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

Strangely, the World Bank rankings do not take into account the macroeconomic conditions, infrastructure, workforce skills or security.

The report said that it is easier to start and operate business in India than it was three years ago in many large cities of the country.

It said starting a business is the fastest in Mumbai and Noida, while in cost terms, business start-up is least expensive in Patna.

Paying taxes records all taxes and mandatory contributions that a medium-sized company must pay as well as measures the administration burden of paying taxes and contributions.

According to the report, that it is the easiest to export and import goods from Bhubaneswar, while it is most difficult from Gurgaon.

The report also said that compared to economies world wide, cities in India lag most in the ease of closing a business and paying taxes.

In India, where more than 90 per cent of jobs are in the informal sector, regulatory reforms can help businesses operate efficiently in the formal sector, it said.

"Reforms that cut red tape, clarify property rights, and streamline regulatory compliance, can yield big payoff for firms and workers," World Bank group financial and private sector development acting vice-president Penelope Brook said in a CII function.

Source: http://business.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/jun/30/slide-show-1-patna-better-than-mumbai.htm

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