Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Health is wealth

We hear from many people that "Health is wealth" and does not need any explanation. But similar to common sense being not so common, health is one of the most important aspects of our lives and yet the most neglected in our pursuit of wealth. At one time or another, I think we are all guilty of not taking good care of our health, giving precedence to building wealth. A.J. Reb Materi said "So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” But is this how we should be doing? Can we not have work life balance? It is very difficult to convince ourselves that we have to take good care of our health, so that we enjoy a good quality life while we are here.

I believe everyone should read this post (Link given below) by Charles Hugh Smith on his blog:

Health is Wealth: Prevention, Fitness and Strength

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When and where is the bottom in housing?

We are all interested in as to when this housing crisis will bottom out. I was reading today this article "Has Housing bottomed? Here's how to tell" on blog by Charles Hugh Smith, whose website I frequent regularly. His ideas are insightful and thought provoking (clicking on the title of this blog entry will take you to the article.) We have been among those who wanted to buy our first house, but so far never mustered the courage to buy. Though  we have been living in US for more than 12 years, we have always found more reasons not to buy. Probably the strongest reason might be that we have been living in Bay area, where the housing is one of the most expensive in the country. Experts say that you have to have at least 20% down payment before you can think of buying. You also read you should have 6 months of living expenditure in your savings.

One of my friends said that there is no point in calculating how much your house is worth, as long as you are living in it. It is of use only when you try selling it because of upgrading or downgrading or moving out of the State/Country. We always thought that we should buy a house because we would want to live in it. We do not know when we will buy a house, but recently once again decided that we still are not ready to buy as yet, not because the housing is still not affordable, but because it gives us freedom and mobility.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Responsibly irresponsible.

This was a post that I wrote on 18th March 2009. I think this is relevant even now.

When I read the comments by Nouriel Roubini in the article in Forbes today, it set me thinking. When we do individually, what we are doing collectively in the name of saving the economy, isn't it called being irresponsible? What we are going through now and what is being done to escape the reality is so full of contradictions that no one can for sure say, ultimately that we will be able to avoid the Deep Recession or Depression that we are already in. But at the same time we have to do something and the Government has to also do something.

We can not just watch what happens and think that this was inevitable. We are supposed to be responsibly irresponsible to get this economy out of this mess. We should not spend beyond our means but at the same time we should not cut down too much. We have to do the right thing collectively as a nation and the world. How is this possible? I think it is impossible because we are not like computers. We ultimately have to go through the pain anyway, like a disease which has to run its' course.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Why do we live in the past?

Why do we always live in the past? Because, we seem to not know, what lies ahead of us in our future?

We invest so much of our memories in the form of photographs, videos, Greeting cards, letters (which looks like in ancient times!), and now emails. We look to the past for answers for our future. In the process we never seem to live in the present, which might be the most important time of our life.

We fondly think of the old times when we had such a great time. We never seem to think that we are having a wonderful time in the present. We generally tend to worry about our and our children's future. Do we only look at the past, because we know for sure and can relate to what has happened? We cannot have that luxury of knowing what might be in store for us. We are always afraid of unknown people and unknown future. Our Knowledge is based on the past experiences and past history known to us.

I am sure that these questions must have been asked zillions of times from time immemorial. We look for patterns from the past and try to believe that they will repeat again. We tend believe in the circle of life. We look for the cycles. Astrology is called the pseudo science. In Astrology, they believe that the planetary positions dictate what is going to happen in the future. This same belief is applied to the stock market, to determine whether we are in a bull market or in a bear market. When our economy is in a bad shape, like it is now, we look back to what happened in the 30's Great depression, for answers, whether the cycle will be repeated. We look at Countries like Japan, which had to face similar problems and still do not seem to have gotten out of it.

The lessons of the past are valuable to shape our future, no doubt, but our present actually will set us up for our future. What we do today will determine what will happen to us tomorrow. This inability to grasp and understand about our past, present and future is, what I think is the cause of most of our worries. If we can stop worrying about our future, let bygones be bygones and start living in the present, then we might really be living our lives instead of just meandering through! I believe that 'If' we could do that, then we would be living fulfilled lives!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Live life like there is no tomorrow.

They say that this is one of the ways in which you live your life to the fullest. I thought about this and I guess some times tried to incorporate this philosophy into my life. But I think our lives and minds are so complex, that we can not live our lives this way. We have to feel bad some times and also feel good some times.

I think as to how fortunate I am that I am able to do so many things that many of my fellow human beings who are not able to for many reasons. I guess it is how we look at our life and the perspective that we have, which defines our lives. How we react in a given situation depends on our attitude.

If we think seriously what happens when we try to live our life like there is no tomorrow. We will probably throw caution to the winds sometimes at least. We may not plan for our distant future because there is no future other than today. May be we will try to enjoy life that much more because we know that there is not much time for us in this world. Probably we would want to do what ever we have in our mind without procrastinating. We will be more forgiving to others on their mistakes. I think may be we should live like there is no tomorrow but also plan for an extra gifted day.

But this is only in theory because in reality we believe that there are many more tomorrows in our lives. But we do not know really know that there will even be a tomorrow in our lives because of the uncertainties. In fact we may not even have the next moment. So should we be saying "live life like you do not have a next moment"? Then it would make our life hopeless where as life is all about hope and how can we live without hope. These are some of my random thoughts about how we should live our lives.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How to be Rid of Ear Pain While Flying!!!

I have always had this problem, whenever I travelled in a flight. By the time I landed, I used to experience excruciating pain in the ears which would be severely blocked as well, I could not hear properly and used to take at least a day before I was rid of the pain. I tried a few remedies like using a mint or trying to sip water in small quantities during descent. Nothing seemed to have worked in finding a lasting solution to this nagging problem. Then I found a product called "earplanes" which I tried. This took care of my problem most of the times. I always carried it on my trips to India.  But I was never completely cured of this problem. Just before this post, I wanted to see if there were any solutions to this. There were a few sites like metafilter and Yahoo answers with no real solutions other than the psuedoephedrine, which also seems to be an expensive drug. There was also a mention of "earplanes".

A couple of weeks back we were going to Orange county for our Son's college orientation and I forgot to take the "earplanes" with me. I was dreading the pain that was in store for me. Half an hour before the plane was to make a landing, on a whim, I wanted to try deep breathing exercise to see if it calms down my worries. I started doing this deep, deliberate and slow breathing, which I learnt while doing Yoga. Miraculously, I experienced no pain at all. My ears weren't blocked and I stepped out of the plane as if I hadn't even been airborne. Since then, every time I fly (which I have been doing more frequently now-a-days), I have been doing this deep breathing half an hour before landing, when the Pilot announces that the Plane is on descent. I have not experienced the ear pain again so far. I wanted to share this information so that it will help others, in finding a cure to their problem. As they say the world's most precious things are always free and we do not have to pay anything. I believe it will work for others too!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feeling good!

I have started this new blog of mine about cleaning up of our Trails and Parks. I believe that we can do what we want to do. Then I thought why not I do something, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us. Let me see where this leads me to ultimately. But at least I have started doing something which will make me feel good about myself!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

You can be happy now!

I was reading this article in Marketwatch and thought might be of interest to my friends or anyone who comes across this blog. Being happy does not need any reason. If you need reasons then probably it becomes difficult for one to be happy. My Father used to say "Peace of mind is not something you can go and buy in a shop." If it were for sale then the person with lots of money would be the happiest. So be happy because you can. Yes you can!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

When will this great recession end???.

This is the question that is almost in everyone's mind these days. The Federal Reserve chairman Mr. Ben Bernanke was on record, at the recent congressional hearings, that the economy would be out of recession in 2010. Based on that statement New York Times asked about 11 experts to give their opinions as to when this painful recession would end. Their opinions are linked in this blog headline.

Every one of them, seems to echo similar sentiments, but in a different way. The earliest call was for it to end this year and the longest call was to last for 3 years, though not with any confidence.

James Grant, the Editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer and the author, most recently, of “Mr. Market Miscalculates.”, said "Today’s low prices, painful though they may be, are the market’s own shovel-ready stimulus. Before you know it, the stock market, and the residential real-estate market, too, will be on their way back up again — just don’t ask when."

Stephen S. Roach, the Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, said "it looks to me as if this recession won’t end until late 2010 or early 2011."

A. Michael Spencer, an Emeritus Professor of Management at Stanford and also the Winner of the Nobel prize in economics in 2001, said "Not too soon." He also added "If governments are quick and clear in their intentions and intervene in a coordinated way in both the real economy and the financial sector, we will probably have an unusually long and deep global recession through 2010. If they don’t, it is likely to be worse than that."

William Poole. a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis from 1998 to 2008. said "I believe, though without great confidence, that the recession will end in the second half of this year. "

Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive of Google, said "ECONOMISTS hesitate to predict the future for good reason. But when looking at our economic decline, we can all agree on two things: we did not get here overnight and we will not recover tomorrow."

George Cooper, the author of “The Origin of Financial Crises: Central Banks, Credit Bubbles and the Efficient Market Fallacy.”, said "while the technical recession could be over by the end of the year, the broader credit cycle will likely remain a significant drag on economic activity well into the next decade. Either way, we have a long way to go."

Niall Ferguson, a professor at Harvard and the author of “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World.”, said "So far in this recession, remember, we have had only two consecutive quarters of declining gross domestic product. At the moment, I find it quite easy to imagine two consecutive years of contraction. And I don’t rule out two more lean years after that. "

Alan S. Blinder a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, said "HERE’S the hard truth: Nobody knows when this recession will end."

Marcelle Chauvet, an associate professor of economics at the University of California at Riverside and Kevin A. Hasset, the director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said " RECESSIONS end, and this one will, too. But the sad truth is, the probability of leaving a recession once you are in one is about the same each month — about 8 percent. It is as if God rolls two dice each month, and the recession ends when he rolls a 10."

Carmen M. Reinhart, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, said " After the most severe banking crises around the world in the postwar period, the economy has taken an average of four years to return to its previous peak in personal income. After the Depression, it took the United States 10 years. "

Nouriel Roubini, a professor of economics at the New York University Stern School of Business, and the chairman of an economic consulting firm, said "Even if appropriate aggressive policy actions were undertaken — monetary and fiscal stimulus, bank clean-up and credit restoration, mortgage debt reduction for insolvent households — the growth rate would not rise closer to 2 percent until 2011. So this recession may last 36 months."

When we read all of their opinions, it seems as if no one is sure as to how and when this will end. Everyone seems to be saying with confidence though, that this will be very painful while it lasts. How ever long this lasts, we will all come out of it together, hopefully sooner than later, in this once in a lifetime Global Recession.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fear is the key.

Last week I heard from one of my friends, a comment from someone at a party that he/she would not like disciplining children. I do not understand this concept of not disciplining children and letting them learn things on their own. When we are at home, we have some liberties, and freedom. But when we go out we want to present our best face to others. We try to be nice, wear presentable clothes and be on the best possible behavior. When we tell others that we do not like to discipline our children, what are we conveying? We may not mean it, but are we trying to say, that we care only about ourselves and not others?

We can give our children the freedom to experience, understand and develop on their own, but some parental oversight is warranted. There are certain things in life which are to be taught. If there were no rules, regulations and laws in Society, imagine how difficult it would have been for us to live our lives the way we are used to. Similarly, I think there ought to be rules and regulations in our personal lives to help us in our daily life and also to achieve our future goals.

So what makes us follow these rules? - The fear that there are consequences for our actions or inaction. Without this fear it is very difficult for us as a Society to enforce discipline. I guess this fear stems from the basic nature of life, without which any species cannot survive for long. I believe children to some extent are a reflection of how we live our lives.

Take the case of Nadya Suleman, who was in the news recently for her octuplets. She is young, unwed, unemployed Mother of Six children, living with her parents. How did she decide to have 8 more on top of the 6 she already had? What would have prompted her to take the decision to bring more children into this world, when she was not able to support herself and her children on her own. Would she have done this if there were known consequences for her actions? In US you have freedom to do what you want to do. But, what about personal responsibility? Isn't she being irresponsible to do what she did? Yes, I believe so. No one is trying here to tell her how to live her life. That is her life anyway. But we do tell people that they should not be cheating, stealing, killing and so on... How come there are no rules about Responsibility? Where is her personal accountability in all this? Whatever happened to the Doctor who performed these procedures for all her 14 children and his responsibility, morals and ethics? Something is wrong somewhere, which allowed all these players in this sordid drama, to do what they did. This is a tragedy for everyone involved in this episode, especially her aging parents and all 14 children.

Sometimes we need to have fear without which we lose our bearings. Being fearless is good but not all the time. What is happening all around us with people losing their 401Ks and all other savings, is because of the fearless greed that engulfed us. Many people believed that the housing boom will last forever, just like in the last tech boom many thought with "irrational exuberance", that we entered ‘a new economy’.

I am not advocating being fearful irrationally, but I believe we could have avoided much of this pain, if as Individuals and as a society, we were fearful of the consequences of our actions. It is no longer a virtue to be fearless!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

There is no free lunch.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt said "Buy America" Provisions in the latest Stimulus jeopardizes US Exports. I could not agree more. In the larger interests of everyone I think, any kind of protectionism is bad. When smaller, developing economies had problems earlier, they were told by us that they can not be protectionist. Then, how can we say that we need to do that, now that we are in difficulties. I believe, that this will set a chain reaction around the world, which will have disastrous consequences. This certainly is not in our interest.

But when he said, that Government should not interfere in the Business of running the businesses, I could not entirely agree. These are two different things and can not be clubbed together. What Government is trying to do, is to enforce some rules in the Business, because they themselves are not ready to do that.

Remember what Alan Greenspan said “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief.” One thing which divides all the Human beings is the element of greed.

All these Madoff Ponzi schemes, Housing bubbles, would not have happened, but for this greed. Goldman Sachs CEO was drawing 100 Million in one year. This is something so ridiculous, that we cannot even dream of seeing this kind of money all our lifetime. If the Government does not impose sanctions on how to compensate their Executives, who will do that. Public is so disgusted with this, but they cannot do anything. All this Bailout money that is being pumped into the Economy belong to us. When someone in the Private enterprise invests money in the Business, they will dictate the terms for doing so. It is not as if the Government is making it mandatory for all the businesses in US to follow this diktat. What is being said, is if you need our money, then you need to cap your executive salaries at 500K. I believe that this is not telling businesses how to do business.

Mr. Immelt's premise that you can not attract the Best and the Brightest when you have caps in salaries is erroneous and reeks of protectionism in favor of his fellow businessmen. If the caps are enforced for Bank of America, will the CEO Ken Lewis leave because he does not get enough salary? Where will he go, if he leaves? How many Bank of America's do you have in this world, and which are not in trouble and do not need bailout money. Once these Businesses start making profits and return the Bailout money, I am sure they will go back to their old ways of paying in hundreds of millions of dollars in executive compensation.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Yes, we can screw up and admit it too!!!

How refreshing to hear these words from one of the most powerful people in the World. I believe it takes not only courage but also conviction to say that they blundered. It is such a change from the days of our former Presidents, from whom we never heard an apology for the monumental blunders that they committed. I think as Human beings we let our egos get the better of us, in admitting mistakes. Very few among us believe in the saying "To err is human".

"I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes," Obama said.

I felt good today, that Politics is, after all not the last refuge of a scoundrel ,but can be home to Gentlemen too!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tribal/Clan Mentality

A couple of weeks back I woke up, like the rest of the World, to the news of Ramalinga Raju, Former CEO of Satyam Computers, involved in the curious case of the missing Rs. 7000 Crores. I come from the same city of Hyderabad in India from where Satyam had its famed head quarters.

Before this, he was one of the most Respected for his pioneering work in the field of IT infrastructure in India. He had everything going for him. All of this respect and admiration from his fellow Indians vanished overnight, after this news broke. This rivalled with the "Bernie Madoff" scandal as one of the biggest scams to have hit us. Scores of people must have become paupers overnight, because of the crash in Satyam's stock, after this single event. By now many people working in this company must have been having sleepless nights as to when their jobs will be on the chopping block. Many might have contemplated and some might have even committed suicide because of the turn of events.

I can not understand why we do what we do. I am at a loss to understand why Mr. Raju did what he did. May be this can not be explained in simple terms. May be Greed is one of factors and that alone can not explain this. This in itself is a big topic for discussion. But what surprised me most was the news item that some of the supporters were conducting pujas(Prayers) for what is happening to him, because of his actions.

This is really perplexing as to why someone has to support someone else, simply because they belong to their Clan/Tribe/Caste/Religion/Region/Family/Sex/Friends/Country/State, even if they knew that what the other person did was totally wrong. This mentality of supporting someone because they are like them or belong to them, even if they know he/she was not right, is inexplicable/unexplainable. This idea that we have to support our kind under all circumstances is not good for the society as a whole. We cannot build good societies based on these narrow and trivial foundations. What is wrong has to be condemned by everyone and what is right has to be supported no matter even if it is done by your opponent. May be this will happen in an idealistic world but not in the real world. But at least we should hope to build such a society all over the world.

In a Society where you are measured as to how successful you are (how rich you are) and get respect based on that, irrespective of how you made that money, these things are bound to happen time and again. This has to come as a systemic change and will not happen overnight. To succeed by hook or crook, to get ahead in life any which way, becomes the norm. No one has respect for others' time. Always it is the self interest that matters. In general discussions people always say that the Policticians are spoiling our country. But where do these Politicians come from? They are not from the outside world as they happen to be from the same society, unless your country has been invaded and occupied. To expect that the Politicians do good for your country, but we do not change our attitudes, is expecting miracles and miracles do not happen often.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life and Death

Recently one of my closest friends lost his Mother. She was a strong willed person and I have always liked her. It feels very bad when you lose someone close to you. We do not understand this till it happens to someone we love like a close family member or a close friend. Everyday we read, watch and hear about people dying. We just take them in our stride and carry on.

We are told that Life is precious and we should live it to the fullest. We are told that there are 2 things we cannot escape in life, one is taxes and the other is death. Yet no one wants to die. We all want to prolong our life as long as possible. Does it mean we do not want to face the reality? May be. So much of efforts go into taking care of the terminally ill. My father used to say, we are all going to die one day or the other. It is just a matter of when and how, not if. Yet, all our life, we try to accumulate so much money in our life, which we do not ever need. We come alone and leave alone. It is so difficult for us to let go of things that we like and the lifestyle that we live. May be that is the way our species tries to survive and thrive.

I do not know what happens to us when we die and I guess nobody knows. In this period between our birth and death, which we call our life, we have so many problems to worry and cry about. We feel ecstatic when we succeed and crestfallen when we fail. Yet, I believe that our life is not complete without all these experiences. It is a wonderful life!

Are we in a depression or deep recession or a combination of both Repression/Decession???

The more I read every day about what is happening around us, the more I am convinced that the next few years is not going to be easy, for all of us. Those who are optimistic about the economy are being called delusional and may be rightly so, looking at all the data that is pouring in every day.

I was watching the CNN show Fareed Zakaria GPS last weekend, which is very interesting and is a must watch for me, whenever possible, in which there was an interview with a Financial Historian and Author of "The Ascent of Money" by name, Niall Ferguson. His opinion was that we now are teetering between Depression and a Deep, deep Recession ( Similar to Japan in the 90s) and said given the choice we would be better of with the latter. I could not agree more.

To confirm what is going on I stumbled upon an article in, "Welcome to the Depression", by Bennet Sedacca, the link to which you will be taken, when you click on the title. It is depressing to read what is going on, but do we have a choice in this? We are all in the same boat or a Roller Coaster together and let us be ready for the ride of our lifetime!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Being happy is a habit too!

It has been a long time since I wrote in the blog last. I think, You stop doing it for sometime, then you lose the habit. That is it! I can blame it on the habit as the true culprit! Like they say "Old habits die hard", may be "New habits die easy"!!! It is all in the habits that we imbibe, as we evolve in our life.

I was thinking the other day as to what makes us happy. I was not sure. Is it what we do? Is it what we accomplish? Is it how we live? Is it what we eat? Is it what we see? Is it what we hear? So many questions that have no answers. May be all of them together.

Then it dawned on me that being happy and feeling good about your life is a habit too! Just like we do physical exercises for being healthy. But we reap the benefits only when we are consistent. This can only be done when we are persistent and persevere. We need to motivate ourselves into doing this over a period of time. What we are doing here is to train our body to get into a better physical shape. Similarly may be we can train our minds to be happy most of the time, if not all the time. Happiness is in enjoying what you do or don't. Most of the times we feel bad that we are not doing this and that. Why is it that we always to look at things "half empty" and not "half full". For the last holidays we did not go out of California for the first time in many years and really relaxed for 2 full weeks. You can look at this and say we wasted our time by not going anywhere. Why do we have this mindset, that we should be happy only when we do something and not happy when we don't do anything at time. I thought it was relaxing not going out anywhere and just lazing around. I think we should be able to enjoy the inactivity which we indulge in sometimes and not feel guilty. Earlier I used to feel bad that I was not waking up early enough. Then one of my colleague-friends suggested that, may be I should just take it for what it is and be cool.

My father used to say " a healthy body and a healthy mind". I think there is some element of truth in that. Like we train our body, we can train our mind too.

I read somewhere when we base our happiness on some accomplishment we can never be happy. We work hard to achieve something and then we feel happy. But after that event we look to achieve something else and wait for that event to be happy again. This goes on and on till the end. There are moments of happiness when you get something, interspersed with the struggles and frustrations in the periods in between. Why can't we just live the life being content and happy with what we have? We can, but then someone says, "when you are content and happy, then you will not progress in life". I do not for a moment believe, that "no one can be successful if he/she is happy and contented". I believe that you can compartmentalize, where you can be successful and also live a happy and contented life.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life in Perspective

What do we achieve by doing what we do? Ultimately nothing. I think there is no achievement in reality. It is all abstract. We set some goals in life and when we reach those goals, we feel we have dome something and it gives us the satisfaction. What happens to people who do not have set goals or simply do not want to achieve anything? Is their life wasted simply because they do not have any goals.

If we literally take a game of soccer there are only 3 or 4 players who make the most of the goals and yet there are so many players who contribute to the game. But the credit is given mostly to the goal makers.

Likewise the people who do not have set goals in life also live their lives as they want to. They do not live up to others or their own expectations or perhaps they do not have any expectations at all! I think life just happens and we live on. We do not need to have any goals, expectations to live. But to make it more meaningful, our smarter Ancestors must have defined Success, Money, Fame, Love, Sport, Music etc,.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

2000 year old Ajanta Caves in India.

I have been out of India since 1998 and living in US ever since. Just before coming to this land of opportunity, I went to the "God's own Country" Kerala. I was amazed at the greenery in that State and thought I should come back sometime, though I could never do that again. When I was reading about this article in "In the Holy Caves of India" today, I felt that there are so many places I missed out in my country of birth while I was there. Hopefully I will see at least some of them in the remainder of my life!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

One door closes while another door opens, but for different people.

One of my friends started working from today, whereas another friend of mine stopped working from today. While one started working after a gap of about 6 years, the other stopped working after a gap of about 6 years. While one was looking to break into work, the other was looking for a break from work. Both had their reasons for doing or not doing what they wanted to or did not want to. I am happy that both of them could do, what they wanted to. I wish both of them the very best in life. Ultimately we all want to be happy in our life and that is what we wish for our friends.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The importance of Elementary Education in USA

I am sure everyone agrees with me when I say that the most important resource of any Nation is its People. Children are our hope for tomorrow. We try to get the best for our Kids. But when it comes to school education we take what we have. Why do Policy Makers and Law Makers here in US, do not look at the quality of education for Elementary schools. Why does the Elementary School Teacher as a Profession not attract the brightest talent? Because there is not much incentive for anyone to do it like some of the glamorous professions like Software, Medicine and Sports. What is Government doing to correct this? What is the Society doing to make the Law Makers understand the importance to attract some of the best talent into Education? At present there is no attraction to be a School teacher and this should change. For starters, Why can't the Salaries bumped up for the School Teachers so that there is an immediate incentive to go into that Profession, when we can spend billions of dollars on democratizing Countries like Iraq. How much would it cost to do this? I do not know. But I am sure it will not cost even half of what is being spent now on charities for other countries. Probably there should be some movement towards this and only then the Politicians try to do something. There may be someone already working towards this goal. At least it does not make it to the front pages of Newspapers as of now. This is not something which can be glamorized and sensationalized. Leaders from Business like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who have the money to spend should take lead in this and Political Leaders like George Bush(Sr) and Bill Clinton can mobilize people and money into this cause.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Is India the new land of Opportunity?

I know India is still a developing country and may be 25-50 years to go before it can be called a Developed nation. But is this the beginning? May be it is. This "In a Twist, Americans Appear in Ranks of Indian Firms" news item in is newsworthy because, the fact all these years has been, Indians standing in long lines for visas in US embassies and Consulates. I am sure US will continue to be a land of opportunity for Indians and People from all over the world for many years to come.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Once a Politician. Always a Politician.

It is revolting to read news items like this when Politicians say whatever they like. A former Chief Minister of Kashmir says India will burn if a Terrorist is hanged. What an irresponsible statement? I always thought that Dr.Farooq Abdullah was one of the few saner, moderate modern faces of Indian Politicians. Just because he is no longer ruling, he should not be shooting his mouth off like this. I am appalled at the sad state of affairs where an important leader in India feels that India will be up in flames if a Terrorist is hanged. Why can't our Politicians forget that they are Politicians for a moment and think like Statesmen about the Country? Perhaps it is too much to ask for from them.

India has been slowly burning any way for a long time because of the short sighted approach by our Politicians and Society alike to our longstanding problems. There are fires all over India waiting to be put out. But for our Politicians, Media and Society at large, a small problem is always relegated to the back burner till it becomes a major fire.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Money grows on Tree of Ideas!

It has been proven yet again that it is the idea that makes money but not money itself! There is this good story in about the latest money spinner in the news "YouTube" and one of it's founders. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Great Expections or Least Expectations?

When we expect something and it does not happen, we feel bad. But we want to feel good. So, is it good personally, to have expectations? May not be. If we want to feel good, we should not have any expectations. It is like going to a Movie with no expectations. Even if the Movie is average, you feel as if you have watched a good movie. If you have great expectations about a Movie, even if it is good, it may not survive the expectations. I am struggling with this thought as to what is good for an Individual. To have expectations, fail to meet those expectations, feel bad, try to come out of that phase, try that cycle again and again till success is achieved. The other choice is to simply not have any expectations, do what you need to do and let the destiny be the Master. I don't know. I am sure many of us don't know. I am not sure that everyone does not know. At least I am not one of those who knows. I know that is something not to be proud of. Can someone enlighten me on my ignorance? I really feel that ignorance is bliss as of now.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It is all in our habits.

I have been thinking about this for some time. Why is it so difficult for some of us to do things which are, for others, very easy to do. We are all prisoners of habits and I guess it is very difficult for some of us to change these habits. It starts with when we wake up in the morning and ends with the time we hit the bed. What we do in the interregnum is what we are used to doing all along. We try to resist any changes in the patterns we built in leading our daily life. Even the way we think is also the result of the old habits. They say "Old habits die hard". We all die one day but the habits that we build up in our lives never die on their own till we are gone. We have to kill them and it is never easy for us to do so. We all want to be good, look good, feel good, eat good, live good, yet when it comes to the supposedly good habits it is always very difficult for us to cultivate and replace the bad habits. Does that mean "New habits die easy"? I believe it is very easy kick off new habits, because they are not habits till they are old. There is an article on Old habits at, for which I have given a link in this post.

My Father used to tell me that I have to be disciplined in order to succeed in life and once your habit patterns are formed in the early part of life, it will not be easy for me to change and unless I made changes, I will have to suffer later. I realize now, that, not only is discipline very important early on in life, it helps us in dealing with the situations more confidently. Self Confidence is also the way we perceive about ourselves and I think that too is a habit. May be this can go on and on, but I need to stop it somewhere, lest this becomes my habit. I don't want to add to my repertoire of habits! But I am not sure if I am succeeding in that goal, because not doing something is also a habit!!!