New learning – Diwali 2022 Blog no.6

Great Mahatria’s thoughts are always great source of learning. In the thought received today from his group, something that many of us believed till the other got clarified and us imbibed as a new learning by me this Diwali. As explained by the great man-

“Yesterday’s success does not deserve today’s applause.Today is a new day and today requires new success. Life is not from where to where; Life is from here to where. Independent of your past, you need to reset the entire axis, make today as the new beginning. Treat every today of yours as a new beginning, a new opportunity, as a new lease of life.”

Many of us, who have spent a lifetime in an organisation boast of having given our sweat abs blood in building the organisation, do not want to be evaluated on day to day and year to year basis but want to rest on our past laurels. Many of us also boast, “ We have nothing to prove after 30 years of working.” The above teaching by Mahatria amply clarifies this age old wisdom that we all seemingly harboured.

That’s what makes Mahatria so very relevant. He’s not only a spiritual Guru but a management guru also!

This Diwali i exhort all youngsters and starters to keep in learning new skills and treat each year as there was no yesterday. While some of us could survive, they may not be able to survive in an organisation on the past laurels or one off good performance

I will end this series with final blog on Diwali tomorrow.

Dhanteras – Diwali 2022 – Blog no.5

Dhanteras formally heralds the onset of Diwali celebrations. A festival commemorative of good health and prosperity, the day is marked by purchase of virtually anything. Those who can afford, generally buy gold and jewellery though purchase of any article, even a steel spoon, fulfils the spirit of the festival.

Naturally, the retailers, shop keepers and owners of business establishments attach a great deal of significance to this day that augurs well for their trade. Have you seen today’s Times of India? It’s at least 4 times thicker than a normal edition, having supplements replete with lucrative offers by the retailers.

As aforesaid, even a token purchase or I will go even a step further that even no purchase is alright as long we saturate ourselves in the spirit of Diwali. As is true with all our festivals, there are no hard or fast rules of celebrating them as long as we keep their spirit alive.

May this Dhanteras bring good health and prosperity to each one of us and give boost to the economy of our country!

Diwali – then and now – blog no. 4

In one of my earlier blogs written on the occasion of Diwali, I had recalled the nostalgia of Diwali celebrations in my childhood. While nostalgia is always sweet and overpowering, there’s indeed more awareness today, especially on the aspects concerning environmental pollution and a few things have changed for the better, I have no doubt about it. Let me indulge in a bit of nostalgia, along with the appropriateness of the ritual/ activity in today’s context.

(1) Actually, Diwali fever would set in from Dussehra holidays itself and we, as children, would burn crackers for almost a month, running up to Bhaiduj. I lament that month long celebrations have been reduced to just 2-3 days, but bursting of crackers is much more restrained leading to an environmentally clean Diwali.

(2) My mother, more so my grandmother, would make number of delicacies – sugared vadas, farsan, mathis, besan barfi et al. Alas, today there’s no system of slogging in the kitchen and most of the sweet meats are ordered from the market. In any case, health consciousness has led to sweets making way for healthier alternatives such as fruits, dry fruits and sugar free stuff.

(3) Exchange of sweets and gifts with neighbours was one of the most exciting events and we, as kids, used to look forward to thalis received from a few particular neighbour for their contents. Alas, when we hardly know who our neighbour is, this is almost a dead ritual today.

(4) Money was a constraint, but spirits were high. Today while the money is not much of a constraint, there are too many unsavoury developments around us that sag our spirits.

Let some of the enthusiasm and spirit of the past be interspersed with restrain in eating and bursting of crackers of today to have a heady mix during this Festival of Lights and hope!

Dhan Teras, chhoti Diwali, Diwali, Goverdhan Pooja and finally Bhai Duj! Hopefully, this extended festive period brings in best of happiness and health for everyone!

Let Diwali bring smiles on all the faces – Diwali blog no.3

As they say, “ charity begins at home” and we are glad to have paid Diwali bonus and given Diwali gifts to our driver and maid.

A jeweller in Chennai has gifted his employees, numbering around 50, cars and motor cycles. It’s a great gesture indeed and our own limited charity pales in front of this large hearted gesture by this jeweller.

UP government has declared Diwali bonus for all state government employees and more importantly, included temporary and daily wage employees also.

MSRTC has declared bonus of Rs5000 for 87000 employees.

I hope all of us whether householders, businessmen, bureaucrats or having some financial capability support our dependents, servants, drivers, employees this Diwali so that this Diwali brings happiness on all the faces without exception.

Diwali 2022 – Blog no. 2

Went to a superstore, a well laid out and spacious store, but it was overflowing with people doing Diwali shopping. The billing counters, number of which had been sufficiently scaled up, still had long queues. Diwali shoppers were carrying cartloads of goods home.

I have also been scouting for a new car. Whichever dealership I have visited, everyone is giving us a standard response – “ waiting period is 6 to 8 months!

Traffic on the roads seems to have beaten the pre Covid levels and huge jams can be seen on the main roads. Diwali is certainly contributing to this chaos, albeit the sweet one.

And we are told that many reputed sweet shops have requested their patrons to place Diwali orders in advance, as they may not be able to accept last minute orders.

Diwali has certainly galvanised the economic activity. Let’s hope that this Diwali all of us enjoy happiness and prosperity.

Diwali ignites hope

Diwali is around the corner and one can feel the festivity in the air. More so this year, for Corona seems to have taken a back seat and looks to be on its way out.

Every retailer and e-tailer worth his salt is going one up on rivals to offer greater discounts and more lucrative offers. And consumers seem to be going on buying spree as if there’s no tomorrow. Be it traditional sweets, chocolates, dry fruits, bakery products, gifts, automobiles, hand phones, electronics or clothes – virtually every sector is enjoying unprecedented patronage by the consumers.

There is a flip side too. Inflation, especially of food products, continues to be a cause for concern. Appreciating dollar only seems to be adding to the country’s oil import bill. And the political atmosphere around, with Gujarat and Himachal elections on the cards, is anything but pleasant.

But Diwali has ignited hope for a better future, one that’s free of not only Corona virus but also the virus of hate and enmity that seems to be affecting the society, though apparently there’s no reason for this. Let’s hope that this hope ignited by the Festival of Lights is not squandered but encashed upon to spread lasting happiness, prosperity and unity.

This is the first of the series of blogs that I intend writing during this Diwali festive season.

Happy 80th birthday Amitabh

He was awkwardly tall and lanky and his slim figure only added to his awkwardness. He had a deep bass, but probably the audience hadn’t heard a voice like him before, so he had to struggle for acceptability. While the trio of Dilip, Raj, Dev and the next set comprising Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra, Sunil Dutt, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor were dominating the scenario, a new phenomenon called Rajesh Khanna had stolen the heart of the youth, becoming the nation’s first superstar. Under such circumstances, Amitabh had to struggle and struggle hard and then with a combination of hard work, talent and luck, Zanjeer happened and a young angry man, the new superstar was born, who was destined to rule like no one before him. And after more than 5 decades of almost unhindered reign, the megastar, who turns 80, continues to be the busiest and the most visible star. He’s hosting the umpteenth season of KBC, emerging as the most popular and the strongest brand ambassador, virtually selling everything and has filmmakers especially writing roles for him.

And he has led no ordinary life. His unconventional looks were accepted after a long struggle, he changed the texture of Hindi movies from romanticism to high action and he defeated death. After the unfortunate accident on the sets of Coolie, the superstar fought with death for months together with his millions of fans praying for his recovery. In fact, for a few seconds, death seemed to have won ; but he fought back with indefatigable spirit – the one he demonstrated in his umpteen movies while fighting the fiendish evils.

Naming his movies is not important for the collage of his work will make him immortal, the Mahanayak of the century ! And was he free from controversies is a topic that we should not allow to spoil the happiness of the occasion. Let’s just wish the Mahanayak a happy 80th birthday and a long and healthy life so that he continues to do what he does best – entertain millions of his fans with his all round work!

Economics Is a very complex subject

Is the current state of the Indian economy good, mediocre or bad? Why are the policy rates being upwardly revised repeatedly? Has the entire benefit being passed on to the Bank’s depositors by banks? Has savings momentum increased perceptibly as reflected in fortnightly aggregate bank deposits number? Isn’t increase in policy rates, passed on by banks to their borrowers, significantly increasing the cost of credit and hence overall input cost contributing to price increase and inflation? Is rupee depreciation in relation to dollar good for Indian economy or not? Why is there current account deficit? When a common man can’t, how can governments spend more than what they earn? If GST and tax collections are so robust, why the same is not reflected in macro indicators? Is the cost of administration ( includes governance also) becoming prohibitively expensive and eating into developmental outlays? Has the monsoons been good and sowing  targets achieved? Is the food security cause for concern and if not, why export of certain specific items is banned? 

I wished I comprehended this subject called economics in it’s true perspective! I request the subject matter experts to pool in their expertise for some simple solutions to some of the questions raised above instead of giving individualistic opinions that only add to the prevailing chaos! 

Let the modern day demons be killed this Dussehra

Dussehra commemorates victory of goodness over evil. I am not sure if in our lifetimes another avatar of Lord Vishnu will take birth in human form to slay modern day Ravana, but let’s resolve to kill the evils that are at least in our control:

(1) Let’s conserve nature, more so water, and avoid wastage in all forms

(2) Let’s keep our cities, towns, villages, neighbourhoods clean.

(3) Let’s make India free of outdoor defecation and provide access to clean toilets to all

(4) Let’s get over the political stereotypes of religion, cast and gender and treat everyone as equal and the Indianness as the common faith

The above are simple dos that are not preachy in nature, being already followed by the author in letter and spirit. If we kill the above Ravanas namely pollution, shortage, dirtiness, communalism and casteism, several other demons will automatically commit suicide.

This Dussehra apart from burning the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnaad, let’s also bury the hatchet of aforesaid evils.

Happy Dussehra!

You win some, you lose some

A news item that caught my attention and surprised me was that in Q2 ended 30/9:2022, Honda has overtaken its erstwhile JV partner Hero Motors by selling more number of two wheelers. Of course, this can be sliced and diced further, which for me is a mere conjecture at this stage for want of further details. My guess is:

(1) Hero must have sold larger number of bikes than Honda, but Honda would have overtaken it given the combined numbers of bikes and scooters. In scooters, Honda has, for years, ruled the market with Activa.

(2) Hero would be continuing to uphold its position as the world’s largest two wheeler company, given its sizeable export market. 

However, there’s another way of looking at it. It’s a multinational giant beating a homegrown venture in its own backyard. Of course, I do not subscribe to this rather coloured view. When we talk of global economy, it means removal of all barriers and consumers’ right to access the best at the most competitive pricing. When our Sensex has so much dependence on inflows from foreign investors and when we invite behemoths like Apple to make India their manufacturing hub, then we cannot be talking of protectionism of any form to domestic companies. 

Also, while one does feel for Hero, which so far has managed the show quite well without Honda, we should not forget that in the passenger car segment, number two position occupied by Hyundai is being seriously challenged by Tata Motors and M&M. In any case, these Indian companies are already ahead of giants like Honda and Toyota. During my recent visit to Johannesburg, it gladdened my heart to see Mahindra’s vehicles competing with world’s leading brand and doing reasonably well. 

To sum up, you win some you lose some, but it’s important to maintain level playing field. Companies should continue to invest in technology and product innovation and not make the mistake for taking consumers for granted. 

Knowing the marketing muscle of Hero, I will not be surprised if the rank order changes once again in Hero’s favour in one of the coming quarters! 

All the best Hero! All the best free market!