Valentine’s Day – For one and all

In the peak of my youth,

I lived life with joy and abandon gay;

All the festivals were occasions to rejoice,

But alas! There was no Valentine’s Day!

But where was the time for such passion,

Between the degree and job life was tight;

Hardly had I tasted independence,

I was already married and had a wife.

With time, Valentine’s Day acquired importance,

And the youth brigade made it a great occasion;

I was already middle aged and a father,

Bereft of such vivacious joy and passion.

Why was I born a few decades too soon?

Is my pet peeve;

That gets all the more aggravated,

On Valentine’s Day eve!

But if age is indeed a number,

And expressing love knows no bounds;

Who’s better Valentine than one’s life companion,

To celebrate love why this day but all year round!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Job losses

Employee attrition in all forms- natural or forced, opportunistic or circumstantial, employee initiated or employer driven – has been a topic under my special focus and the posts by me covering this aspect have evoked passionate response. However, when we see marquee names like Google, Amazon, Twitter etc laying of thousands of people at a very short or no notice and that too at foreign locations where a few sources don’t even have a shelter of their own, the problem back home here in India seems rather insignificant. I have seen parents taking a lot of pride in announcing hiring of their wards by Google, FB. Twitter and Amazon, but the recent spate of layoffs by these gains is extremely worrisome.

If laying off employees is solely due to company not doing well financially and it’s product line becoming obsolete, something that’s beyond the purview or control of employees, it’s understandable, though any good corporate would try its best to make such performance/financial linked severance to be sweet and smooth to the extent possible. When companies do well and assume marquee status, laying off employees for the reasons such as improving productivity, reducing operating cost, automation of processes etc could be myopic. Companies, who treat their staff and employees as an important resource, an important input, value their contribution and take care of them by re or upskilling them to prepare them to deliver the desired benefits. It takes a corporate number of years and some serious investment through training and financial outlay to prepare it’s ready to deliver manpower and laying it off under the slightest of the pretexts could be myopic, as aforesaid.

Meanwhile, I understand that Indians laid off by large companies in US are exploring alternative opportunities and many of them are getting rehired too. For the rest, I am sure their skills will stand them in good stead here in India. I dread the prospects of people getting laid off at an age when they should be delivering peak performance and securing themselves socially and financially.

Budget 2023

My limited take on the historic budget based on the seven principles of Amrit Kaal and ticking all the boxes are as under:

(1) I am leading a comparatively comfortable retired life thanks to the forced investment in life insurance due to tax incentives. There’s no incentive now to save and a person will have more money in hand to indulge in higher spending.

(2) As my job is not pensionable, I was thinking of moving part of my retrial benefit into HV insurance product to get a fixed monthly interest free pension after initial lock in. This opportunity is now gone.

(3) I would celebrate happy occasions by sending small gift remittances to my daughter who’s abroad. Amount remitted up to Rs7 lakhs in a FY attracted no TCS. The new provisions will attract a TCS of 20% on such remittances. 

(4) As I preferred forced saving, during my work life, I opted for old tax regime, which I proposed to continue post retirement. The Government is determined to push everyone to new tax regime. 

To be honest, while I am reading lots of analysis and hearing panel discussions, on the personal front, I am not feeling too enthused🥲.

A slightly different perspective on this Republic Day

It’s rather ironical that all the important incidents and developments are not analysed from the perspective of their impact on the interests of our country, if any, but are viewed with a myopic lens. Let me cite three current events that are catching all the headlines.

Unprecedented crisis being faced by our neighbour- crisis of food, energy and likely default of international payment obligations- is a matter that’s strictly internal to that nation. If more than 250 of their rupees are required to buy 1 USD, obviously it needs a serious introspection by its economic think tank. India has had no role – neither in the current crisis being faced by that country or the efforts required by them to come out of this quagmire. It should only be treated as an eye opener for all of us, especially for an increasing  propensity on part of a few of us to dole out freebies! 

Hindenburg report on Adani group needs to be taken cognisance of by the bankers, regulator and the government and if certain course correction needs to be carried out, the same should be done promptly. By creating sensation and scare, no purpose will be achieved other than a temporary setback to India juggernaut that’s rolling fast post Covid recovery. In one of my earlier posts, I had suggested that such big conglomerates with borrowings in billions and trillions should be treated as systematically important borrowers on the lines of systematically important banks that are too large to be allowed to fail. These groups should necessarily follow certain more stringent debt equity, liquidity and asset cover ratios and there ought to be a stricter oversight on them collectively by the financing banks, regulator and other statutory authorities so that external reports like the one received on Adani group do not create any surprise or panic.

SRK’s Pathaan seems to be breaking box office records everywhere and the movie reaffirms SRK’s position as undisputed King of Bollywood. I think movies serve a limited purpose of entertaining us and this new trend of riling the image of the stars and building up frenzy on social media for their boycott is quite unnecessary and not in line with our spirit of accommodation and open mindedness. People should have choice as to what to wear, eat or watch and those having a different view can present their perspective sans any bulldozing. 

While we all lament about the need for more balanced reporting and discussions on the issues that could be of general interest, I think we can stop lamenting and instead suitably moderate our reaction to such events. On the issue of national security and interest, we should all be together without exception. This will be a very proper celebration of the spirit of our Republic Day.

Twist in the tale

Saw an interesting post on social media, which I have tried to convert into a narrative that clearly brings out twist in the tale. The narrative reads as below:

A widower with a grown up son, and in need of company, starts dating a young girl, whom he had met through his son only. The old man had become fascinated by the young lass and he could charm his way into the young girl’s heart! As a matter of sheer coincidence, the young son of the old widower also takes fancy to an elderly woman, a recently widowed lady, who happens to be the mother of the girl, seeing his father. Of course, the two affairs move in parallel without the knowledge of each of the parties involved therein. And on the D day, a rude shock is in store for not only four individuals but their friends, relatives and acquaintances as well. However, matters by then have gone too far for anyone to be backing out!

In due course, both the ladies get pregnant and give birth to a girl ( father + young lass) and a male (young boy+ mother of the lass) respectively! Now let’s look at the complexity of relationships arising out of the above liaisons:

The old widower is grandfather to the male child and the young lass is his grandmother. The young lass is also the the young boy’s step mother! The young boy is actually a step brother to the girl child, though his wife is her grandmother, apart from being her sister-in-law too!

It gives one shivers to merely think what if tomorrow the newly borns fall for each other and marry! 

New hope in a New Year

We all know that an optimist sees half a glass of water as half filled, while a pessimist sees it as half empty. This is an age old take on optimism and pessimism. However, when such concepts are redefined citing newer analogies, the impression is more profound. And if something like what’s stated below is come across just when we are at the beginning of a new year, the impact is most powerful. It reads:

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

Like the example of glass, where both see the same, albeit with a different perspective, in the second example, both stay awake till midnight, albeit with different objectives.

To sum up, our actions and reactions are common- we see the same things and similarly stay awake for the same period – it’s how we perceive or respond to them is more important.

First fortnight of 2023

We are already past the first fortnight of the year 2023 and the euphoria of celebrating new year and making resolutions would have subsided by now. So, it’s time to review the pluses and minuses, which may set the path for the rest of the year.

I welcomed the new year like everyone else, but for a change abstained from making any resolutions. For one, as it is, post my superannuation, I am leading a life of a recluse doing nothing much. So, howsoever hard I tried, I couldn’t really think of anything beyond my personal well-being, health wise. My creaking knees that I have been ignoring for long, received my attention and I joined a therapy based on certain pressure points. I was advised to go for at least 10 sessions before I could feel any discernible effect, post which, I could review the need for further sessions. This week I will be completing 10 sessions and I must admit that the things have really not shown any improvement and the time, effort and money are seemingly gone down the drain. But I am happy that an issue on which I have been procrastinating since long, has ultimately received my attention and notwithstanding the outcome, I have at least acknowledged the problem rather than sweeping it under the carpet.

And my learning from the above incident can be extrapolated to any situation or problem. Important thing is to identify, acknowledge and act irrespective of the outcome, because trying is everything – success and failure are outcomes that are, strictly speaking, not always under our control.

My resolution for 2023, therefore, is to identify, acknowledge and act – the matter may be grave or trivial ! 

Memories refreshed

After nearly 28 years of working in Axis Bank, I superannuated in May 2022, but Axis is very much part of my persona. Therefore, meeting old friends and colleagues, especially if it’s a nicely and thoughtfully organised get together in one of the most happening places of the city, the pleasure increases manifold. And when your old associates give a hint of your presence in the office being missed, the feeling is euphoric, in a way reaffirmation of you having demitted office on a rather happy note.

Thanks to all my friends and colleagues who organised yesterday’s get together, took time out of their busy routines and chose to invite ex colleagues like me to join their celebrations. It was a memorable evening comprising some great food , drinks and discussion on the past anecdotes and memories that had a tinge of nostalgia around them. I am not going to forget the occasion in a hurry.

Professional journey can be long and arduous,

And you meet thousands before you lay down the office;

When old colleagues celebrate the past association,

It gladdens your heart no end and fills you with a feeling so inclusive!

Welcoming 2023

Why do we welcome a new year with all this enthusiasm?

An infant gets an year closer to childhood; a child to teenage; a teenager to youth; a young person to adulthood; an adult to middle age; a middle ager to the age of superannuation; a superannuated to old age; and ultimately an old person to the only truth in this world! indisputably, each next stage of life brings an additional bit of tension and responsibility from the gay abundance of infancy and childhood to the heavy baggage of the old age!

From the above, a person essentially should be circumspect about a passing year and welcoming a new year as in a way, he’s moving towards the eventual reality. I think we welcome a new year because for once, we cannot control or stop time from elapsing and secondly, we don’t want the unsavoury experiences of the year going/ gone by to be replicated in the new year! So a new year is all about new hope and new achievements and unbridled happiness that might have eluded us in the past!

On the above note, let me wish all my friends and readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year 2023. To end this on a poetic note:

2022 was welcomed with gaiety and enthusiasm

Without realising we’d witness wars, Covid and tragedies galore

While we wished things to improve for better

The things only got worse and our woes from less to more!

Losing the nightingale and thespian were big tragedies,

But they had at least lived their age;

Loss of so many others under different circumstances,

Caused deep misery and a feeling difficult to salvage!

Hope the new year 2023 is better

With more happiness, prosperity, success, achievements for one and all

While some of the things will be inevitable as before

Let each one of us take one baby step to better the things overall!

Bye bye 2022

2022 for me was the landmark year

To retire at 60 and live life without fear

Now that 2022 is about to go into oblivion

I have the same old feeling of haze and confusion

New resolutions and goals will be listed

But the earlier ones are pending to be dusted

And what’s going to be new about the new year

Will all the problems evaporate and disappear?

Will the world become a better place to live?

With no war, no hatred but only love to give

But each New Year’s Eve kindles such hope

But as the year progresses these all elope

The same age old problems continue to haunt

And year end leaves nothing to flaunt

Bur mere wishing and hoping will change nothing

Unless all of us join hands and do something

As we hold each other’s hand and form a human chain

The problems will start vanishing not to appear again

As we bid adieu to 2022 let’s pray to almighty

In 2023 we shall unite and become mighty

And when common man rises and makes himself heard

Devils on this hearth have no choice but to get conquered!