Happy world daughters’ day

I just infer from media that today, being the fourth Sunday of the month of September, it is being celebrated the world over as international daughters day.

I think given the most recent development of the return of Taliban in the neighbouring state of Afghanistan and their first action as the ruling bloc being confining the women of the country to within the four walls of their homes, the importance of this occasion cannot be over emphasised. And while the development in Afghanistan was a foregone conclusion upon the return of Taliban to power, the continuous oppression of women in the patriarchal societies shows that notwithstanding the tremendous advancement in different fields, certain mindsets have resisted all these advancements.

I think a daughter need not be seen as a daughter as that immediately invokes a feeling of burden, marriage, paraya dhan, weaker sex, limitations et al. Every woman – be it a mother, a sister, a wife, a niece, an aunt, a colleague, a friend – is someone’s daughter and if it think on these lines then suddenly it becomes a totally different perspective and feeling.

A happy international daughters day to not only my but all the daughters of world.

I was born the same way as was my brother

Why he got all the love and I became a bother?

Why he got the best – gifts, education and life?

The focus on me was to become somebody’s wife!

Why he enjoyed the best of childhood?

I was put under all the restrictions you could!

I heard you once saying if I could be your second son

Life for you would have been a perpetually shining sun!

But if no daughter like me gets to see this world

How the humans will survive is a million dollar question!

Love me,nurture me and make me independent

Earth for sure will become a better planet!

Bluest of the blue chip

We are all witnessing an unprecedented boom in stock market – response to IPOs, Sensex at all time high level and record number of SIPs every month. More importantly, a significant portion of this fresh investment is by retail investors.

However, given the risk and uncertainty associated with the capital market, a large section of population comprising middle and lower middle class, housewives, senior citizens and pensioners etc prefer other more dependable class of assets namely real estate, gold jewellery, but mainly bank deposits.

We have learnt in our economics classes that people prefer bank deposits to other class of assets for they are liquid being easily encashable in the hour of need and above all very safe! People prefer to sacrifice higher returns for liquidity and safety.

We know about DICGC and increase in the deposit insurance limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs5 lakh. However, if the saving culture is to be promoted further, then the people, who settle for lower interest, TDS on interest but prefer safety of bank deposits should not be made to run from pillar to post when their bank fails or is placed under regulatory restrictions. If their lifetime savings kept in a bank are not safe, common people, not so investment savvy , shall continue to remain vulnerable to such unfortunate incidents and exposed to investment risk in spite of having zero risk appetite. Bank deposits can continue to have low rates and interest on them subjected to TDS, but they should be made secured like sovereign papers- foolproof against any default!

Sahirs are not born often


I have attended so many farewell parties and am now awaiting mine due shortly, but the song usually renders at such parties is that eternal romantic creation from film Hum Dono:

अभी ना जाओ
छोड़ कर कि
दिल अभी
भरा नहीं

It also proves the power of the writer’s pen as the romantic creation caters to the angst relating to parting irrespective of the nature of love – between lovers, friends or colleagues.

When we are in a reflective mood, thinking about the very philosophy of life, the chances are that more often than not the following song from the evergreen Yash Chopra film Kabhi Kabhie will come to haunt us:

मै
पल
दो पल का
शायर हूँ

And for conveying the feelings of the forlorn heart, which song other than the above movie’s title song be more relevant:

कभी कभी
मेरे दिल में
खयाल आता है

And when the love just starts to blossom and needs to be expressed, this evergreen hit from another Yash Chopra hit Daag is matchless:

मेरे दिल में
आज क्या है
तू कहें तों
मैं बता दूँ

And the contentment arising out of a consummated love is seldom conveyed more beautifully than this immortal number from Naya Daur:

मांग के
साथ
तुम्हारा

And the sensitivity of a failed love are to be expressed in this unique style as conveyed by lyricist in this superb piece of poetry from Gumraah, which is contrary to mindless revenge and violence ( blackmail, killing, throwing acid etc) that is being blatantly witnessed today:

चलो
इक बार
फिर से
अजनबी
बन जाए
हम दोनों

And this classic number from Pyaasa is the anthem for any unrequited love:

जाने वो
कैसे लोग थे
जिनके
प्यार को
प्यार मिला

One life that we have been blessed with is to be lived in a carefree and lively fashion, bereft of worrying about things not in our control and this emotion is beautifully expressed in this marvellous ditty again from Dev Anand starring Hum Dono:

मैं
जिंदगी का
साथ
निभाता चला

Another philosophical message in verse from Pyaasa summarises the futility of materialism:

ये दुनिया
अगर
मिल भी जाए
तो क्या है

🔸
And with Dilip Kumar dancing to the Punjabi beats of OP Nayyar in this patriotic song from Naya Daur, the entire body gets charged up:

ये
देश है
वीर
जवानों का

And the angst of the nation at unfulfilled objectives of freedom is best expressed in this pathos filled poem from the movie Pyaasa:

जिन्हें
नाज़ है
हिंद पर
वो
कहाँ है

The epitome of pessimism was actually used twice in two different films – Lighthouse and Pyaasa that read:

तंग
आ चुके है
कशमकश-ए-जिंदगी से
हम

🔹
The universal prayer that can be intoned by anyone irrespective of his or her faith is a lilting melody from Hum Dono:

अल्ला
तेरो नाम
ईश्वर
तेरो नाम

And upon partition of this country on religious lines, one poet had the foresight and courage to give the message of humanity in movie Dharamputra;

तू
हिंदू
बनेगा
ना
मुसलमान
बनेगा

🔹
The anthem of all senior citizens to dance to at their golden wedding anniversary is the only this evergreen song from Waqt:

ए मेरी
जोहराजबी
तुझे
मालूम नहीं

And whenever one recollects the first flame of romance burning in the heart, the song reminiscent is this love anthem from Barsat Ki Raat:

जिंदगी भर
ना
भूलेगी
ये
बरसात की
रात

This is an ode, a eulogy to a poet par excellence, who seemed to have his fingers on the nerve of the connoisseurs of Hindi/Urdu, more specifically, Hindustani poetry that’s slowly undergoing extinction. There are navarasas or nine moods ; but Sahir could use his pen to create hundreds of nuances by mixing the above nine moods, such was the power of his writing.

He would have completed a century, being born in 1921.

मुझसे पहले कितने शायर
आए और आकर चले गए
कुछ आहें भर कर लौट गए
कुछ नग़मे गाकर चले गए
वो भी एक पल का किस्सा था
मैं भी एक पल का किस्सा हूँ
कल तुमसे जुदा हो जाऊँगा
वो आज तुम्हारा हिस्सा हूँ
मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ

Sahir was not a momentary phenomenon- but who would live till eternity through his body of classic work.

Mumbai loses another jewel

Jet Airways is not quite a jewel. Once India’s largest airline with most modern fleet, best on time performance and unmatched in flight service, it slowly started losing ground to mainly Indigo and also to late entrants such as Vistara.

I think the fall of Jet should be made a case study as towards the end how it fell like nine pins should be a learning for other corporates who could be enjoying market leadership today but who could meet the same fate as Jet if the same mistakes are repeated. Kingfisher’s case by now we know as that company went overboard with luxury concept that was not compensated by matching revenues.

But the theme of this blog is not to analyse the reasons that led to failure of these rulers in the sky, but the manner in which Mumbai is fast losing its numero uno position as the airlines hub of the country to New Delhi. In another blog , I expressed my angst at Mumbai losing the spot of the second busiest airport to Bengaluru. It’s not about one India- in fact, Delhi is my place of birth and Bengaluru is pride of this country being the IT hub of the World with the giants like Infosys, Wipro etc headquartered here. It’s about the lost glory and more importantly- an economic issue rather than an emotional matter – the loss of opportunity for growth and development! First Air India shifted its hub from Mumbai to Delhi and we know how its properties, including the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point lost their importance. Kingfisher had hub at Bengaluru but had significant presence in Mumbai. Ditto Indigo. Vistara, a TATA venture, a group having nerve centre in Mumbai is based out of Gurgaon with hub at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.

While today’s newspaper broke the good news of Jet Airways under new ownership and management resuming its services from 2022, their decision to have hub in New Delhi was indeed disappointing.

It’s high time that government takes concrete steps to heighten its engagement with business houses and reassure them about business friendly atmosphere in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Other states are wooing Mumbai based industrial houses- special target of such friendly overtures is Bollywood. Mumbai bereft of Air India is fine – but Bollywood is the heart and soul of this city.

Oh lord bless the mankind

It’s time again for our favourite festival Ganesh Chaturthi. Celebrations have been rather muted since last year due to Corona pandemic, but thanks to the blessings of Bappa, we continue to celebrate his annual arrival for 10 days of gala festivity with a “ never say die spirit”.

Two interesting bits of information. Ganesha means lord (Esha) of multitude of people ( gana) and no doubt his popularity with masses lives upto its name. Secondly, there are 108 names ( some texts say 1008 names) of our favourite lord. Based on his 8 most popular names, I have composed a prayer to be offered to the Lord for the benefit of the entire mankind.

Oh Gajanan, the elephant God
May you trample all the evils residing in me

Oh Vignahaharta, the obstacle remover
May you clear hurdles enroute my journey

Oh Vinayaka, the son of Gauri
May you keep the childlike enthusiasm alive in me

Oh Bhalchandra, the moon faced baby
May you keep the innocence of a baby preserved in me

Oh Ekdanta, the one-tooth God
May no one ever show teeth unjustifiably to me

Oh Vakratunda, the God with curved trunk
May I negotiate curves in my way successfully

Oh Lambodara, the lord with huge belly
May I always be hungry for more knowledge

Oh Krishnapingaksha, the lord with dark, smoky eyes
May all the clouds of darkness covering my eyes be removed

Ganpati Bappa Moriya! May the next year’s Ganesh Chaturthi be grander and Corona free!

It’s a woman’s world

While speaking Hindi, non-Hindi speaking people often get confused with genders and wrong usage of the qualifying verbs. For example – Roti khani hai but chawal khana hai making roti a feminine and chawal a masculine. Chawal khana hai but it’s derivatives khichadi snd kheer again become feminine causing confusion amongst non-Hindi speakers.

However, notwithstanding gender usage and in general, a bias against everything feminine, today I received a beautiful post on WhatsApp that highlighted the importance of feminine in our lives. As it goes, it says that first we need Vidya ( education) and then Lakshmi ( wealth). All of us basically want Shanti ( Peace) in our lives. From dawn to dusk ( Usha se Sandhya tak) we work for Annapurna ( food). At night we want to sleep and see sweet dreams ( Nisha mein nindiya lete hue sapna dekhna chahte hain). Whether we chant the main Hindu mantra, Gayatri manra ( Om bhoor bhava savaha) or read Gita or do Puja, Aarti and Vandana with Shraddha ( devotion) , we are still in the feminine mode. Post further goes on to describe other Bhavnas ( emotions) – Khushi ( happiness), Karuna ( empathy), Kshama ( forgiveness), Jaya ( victory) etc. And for us, Indians, the planet we live on is Dharti mata and the country we live is in Bharat Mata. Therefore, while speaking anything of substance, a non Hindi speaker need not worry about the gender use – it’s a woman’s world!

I think it’s a great post that places the women at a pedestal that they deserve to be. All our emotions, feelings, experiences are not feminine for nothing!

Keep it tight folks

Our battle with Corona virus continues. As the nation and our Mumbai prepare a careful opening up after recession of the second wave, there are disturbing trends of number of daily cases going up! And mind you this development is worrisome reckoning the 80% of the city and around 50% of the country population have received at least one dose of vaccination

Economy seems to be reviving. Business is flourishing in meeting the pent up demand. Festivals are adding to the positivity and optimism of the pre Covid normal times. But if our carelessness and casualness become the cause of the third wave, it will be most unfortunate as no one – citizenry, businesses, economy, health infrastructure, education- can afford third wave and another round of lockdown!

Wearing mask below the nose or worse below the mouth is like wearing mask for Police to avoid fines and not not for our and our fellow citizens’ protection. Partying hard and in large hordes like there’s no tomorrow can actually result in no tomorrow for us! Going on shopping and travel sprees is understandable, but not without proper protocols. And can the mass protests, yatras, festive gatherings and other such occasions that are resulting in crowding be avoided for some more time?

I am myself preparing to travel overseas. Though fully vaccinated, I am not going to lower my guard even for a minute even if it entails continuous masking for 17 hours of journey/transit! I am not a preacher but for a change all of us will have to become one – leading a change that defeats Covid!

September has come

In the matter of emotions and nostalgia, global warming should not play a spoilsport. We have always learnt and been told that our country is unique in the sense that it has been blessed with all the four seasons – summer, autumn, winter and spring and many of us have experienced the fine nuances associated with each season in our lifetimes. Even coastal cities like Chennai and Mumbai that have equitable weather round the year due to their proximity to the ocean , experience these 4 seasons even if briefly. Global warming has indeed change the seasonal patterns, with shorter and more severe summers and winters and virtually non existent spring or autumn due to sudden transition from cold to hot and vice versa, but as aforesaid, nostalgia and memories are not slave to scientific explanations or unsavoury realities.

As it’s a matter of heart and emotions, September will continue to herald end of fiery summer and onset of autumn and on first September, the immortal tune of “ Come September” will continue to uplift the mood and spirits. It’s about celebrating world’s ( and our) resilience and never say die spirit in the face of worst of all problems – Covid, terrorism, communalism, natural disasters, poverty, starvation, unrest etc.

As I wrote earlier also that “ Come September” is just a melody with no words and I am no lyricist to fit rhyming words into the meter of this melody, but I have just attempted two stanzas and my request to all my readers is to try to sing these words to the tune of immortal melody to fend off all negativity and worries.

Come September

Let’s spread happiness and kill the gloom

In this world, our beautiful world – Repeat

There will be problems galore

And disasters and furore

But we can overall all this with aplomb

Our beautiful world

No two days are alike

And a new bright day after each night

Let’s live each day with dreams in our eyes

Our beautiful world.

I am a very bad singer, but I attempted to check whether these words indeed fit into the Come September tune and meter and though I don’t have the guts to share the video publicly, I can forward it on WhatsApp id of my readers requesting this piece of junk at their own peril 😀

Fine Arts know no bounds

Undivided India was home to certain gems and these gems got distributed on the either side upon partition of India. A few chose to move to newly created Muslim majority nation of Pakistan though quite a few chose to stay back in secular India. Yet there was one thing common to both sets – they got love, admiration and adoration from their admirers on both sides of the border and they went on to form what we today call “ shared legacy”. There was Mallika-a-Tarannum ( or Queen of singing) Noor Jahan , who was already a big star by the time partition happened. She was loved as a singer as also an actress and our nightingale Lata remains her fan till date! Mallika Pukhraj and Mehndi Hasan were other two greats who were continued to be loved by people and their performances were eagerly awaited by people on this side too! Many who chose to stay back continued to earn adoration of people on that side – Sehgal, Lata, Rafi and of course, Dilip Kumar, who was awarded the highest civilian award, “ Nishan-e-Imtiaz” by Pakistani government. His death recently got as much and even more coverage in Pakistan as in India. Of course, all the above represent a fast vanishing breed that was born in undivided India and was thus truly eligible for being categorised as shared legacy. But this didn’t stop with the ageing and demise of the members of the above breed and several artists born either just before or post partition in either India or Pakistan continued to be adored in both the countries. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Khan trios, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh constituted this elite group.

Music, literature, other performing and fine arts know no boundaries and work of high class and passion will be like a free flying bird knowing no bounds. When the world seems to be in the throes of one problem or the other, fine arts and their exponents provide much required diversion. These artists and their art are in fact bridges that can to and extent cover an increasingly widening chasm between two neighbours.

Rented vs owned

Pandemic has taken huge toll on economic activity, especially on retailers. A prolonged lockdown ensured that people remained indoors and shops shut. People were mostly ordering – initially only essentials but subsequent all kinds of goods – from the comforts of their homes and e tailers and those delivering at homes managed to survive and in fact, a few of them increased their sales. Stand-alone shop owners and those having shops within the malls bore double brunt – no sales due to closure and zero footfall and overheads in the form of rental and staff cost. Many retailers laid off their staff and started negotiating with their landlords for relief in rentals. But closure of large number of shops all across bears testimony of the above steps making only limited impact.

Some of the marquee names have survived this onslaught and one of the explanations being offered is their premises being on ownership basis rather than on rental. This took my thought process to the age old commerce lesson on capital versus revenue expenses. Capital is not free but comes at a cost – in fact, even if it’s acquired free or is available to be used, it has a carrying cost or the loss in the form of income that it would have otherwise fetched if invested in other classes of assets. On the contrary, revenue costs are met out of generated revenue and in that sense it appears more prudent as long as revenue is sufficient to cover the cost.

In the end, the only conclusion is that as long as the business is flourishing, it doesn’t really matter whether you are paying rental or servicing capital. This pandemic has shaken businesses again to think about merits and demerits of rented versus owned. In pandemic, those operating businesses out of rented premises clearly seem to be suffering more, but it’s not all hunky dory for owners too! They may not have any outgo on account of rental, but a locked premises is like a white elephant – only eating without delivering anything in return!

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