Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Telegraph Blogging

There are several promising writers out there, who just haven't taken time to create a blog(either through blogger or wordpress), design the the layouts, theme, give a name and start blogging regularly.

They probably are looking for something, like an on-the-go blogging platform that doesn't have any registrations, can just type whatever comes to their mind and quickly share that article to others through a link

So I happened to discover something exactly like that. It's by the famous Telegram app , and the site is called http://telegra.ph .  One can just open the link, scribble/write anything they want, even upload any pic and just hit publish. As simple as that

Give this one a shot. It's pretty interesting and here's my first "Telegraph'ed" post

http://telegra.ph/A-telegraph-Story-11-29





F1 2016 : An Eventful Season

 
The recently concluded F1 2016 championship was probably the most exciting seasons compared to the previous years. F1 had always seen a single team dominating from start to finish, while the championship and the constructors was pretty much decided halfway through the season itself.




Ferrari used to finish a consistent 1-2 atleast till the late 2000's when Michael Schumacher was at his peak and just drove away the title. Rubens Barichello gave him solid support in the second place as Ferrari seemed to be invincible.Naturally most of the audience and fan support was rooting for a Ferrari win as always.


But the F1 bosses thought otherwise. They felt compelled to change the rules of the game, so that it'll stop Ferrari's domination and give other teams an equal chance at the podium and pole position as well. This was the chance for teams like Red Bull , Brawn GP (which was later renamed to Mercedes GP) to showcase their power as well

Sebastian Vettel, a young champion who took over from Michael Schumacher began his domination in F1 as he put the relatively newly formed Red Bull to the top. The young kid in the block , Vettel showed immense confidence and he was seen as the face of future F1, or probably another Schumacher in the making. Unfortunately post his move to Ferrari, given the lack of his car performance, even podium finishes seems to be a rare occurence

This was followed by yet another phase of new champions, namely Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes GP), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP), Kimi Raikkonen(Ferrari), Daniel Riccardio (Red Bull) and the youngest driver on the block , Max Verstappen. Barely 17 years when he took the wheel at Red Bull, even the commentators can't stop raving about this energetic , deterministic Max who just doesn't give up, even when F1 seems to keep penalising him constantly for wrongful overtaking or causing collisions

Source : motorsport.com


The recently concluded F1 season as I mentioned started off with all the wrong ideas. F1, in the name of reinventing the wheel began imposing crazy rules in the game that caused drivers to be completely put off and lost interest in one of the most happening session in the game, Qualifying. They continued this debacle with a radio ban which prevented teams to even communicate even an issue in the car, much less a strategy. Thankfully both of them were lifted and the race was brought back to the original format

Though we had seen a complete domination of Mercedes ( a literal fight to the finish by Nico Rosberg vs Lewis Hamilton in the last lap of the last race), it has also seen some spirited fights by the other teams such as Force India, Renault and of course Red Bull and Ferrari. Ferrari has seen a rapid decline in their performance , owing to poor strategy, incorrect tile selections and lack of speed that couldn't match the Mercedes GP. However the final 10 laps by Vettel, coming back from 7th position overtaking Riccardio,Raikkonen and even Verstappen to finish third has given much promise to the long lost Ferrari fans

Let's hope for a much louder/noisier, faster F1 in the years to come !

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Demonetization

On the 16th of November, the PMO's office called for a press meeting at 8PM in the night. Though it was at odd hours (post closing of all trade markets, banks, financial institutions etc), people quite naturally assumed this should be yet another speech by the PM to spread awareness on Swachh Bharat or development of smart cities across India. But within minutes of him taking the mike, he got to the point. A sudden action that spent chilling waves around every Indian in the world and could have a long lasting effect on the economy and the way things are done in the country.


Unlike other "Developed" countries, India is largely a cash based economy, where more than 3/4 of the trades, business was dealt primarily in cash. Be it buying vegetables and groceries from a departmental store, cutting your hair at the nearby salon, paying college/school fees, bill payments or even a massive land deal, it was always a Cash in Hand policy. Even a multinational giant like Uber was forced to come up with a "cash" payment ( not available anywhere else in the world)  for their services to make people drive. This cash based economy however aided easier and quicker payments through the system and getting things done (both legally or illegally) . At least one was sure that all they need is a right amount of "Cash" to get things done, literally anywhere.

On a personal front, I have always preferred an online purchase/ netbanking transaction for all services and payments. This is primarily because of ease of return or raising dispute claims and getting refund back to bank account instantly. A cash on delivery option makes you dial through their support centre, ask them to add your bank account and 7 days later, you may or may not get a refund.

List of payment services I use:
  • Uber - Paytm Wallet
  • Recharge : Paytm/Freecharge/Mobikwik/ICICI Pockets/Payzapp/Tapzo (Basically anything where I get a nice cashback)
  • Food : Netbanking/Paytm/Freecharge through Swiggy and Zomato order
  • Petrol : Cash
  • Online Shopping : Netbanking
On the onset I have always been a bit skeptical about the "promise" of a great nation ever since the government change. I have constantly given my voice against raising of taxes, addition of new taxes such as Swachh Bharat, Krishi Kalyan tax, multifold increase in train fares etc. More importantly the long bill at restaurants primarily because of excessive taxes have given me great displeasure several times ( especially at times, when the tax component was more than what I actually ate ),

However this outstanding move by the government ( in collaboration with RBI) can be a bold, decisive move to attack black money hoarders . There are several voices for both pro and against this immediate decision.

People have been forced to go without cash for days, stand in queue for hours , go in search of working ATM's for several kms (and not finding one). Even Google had to place shortcut links that could point to the nearest "working" ATM ( I think that's a first). My own office , housed inside a major tech campus doesn't have a single ATM functioning ( there are 5 machines and all are zero in cash)

Yet all this inconvenience is for a greater good, instilling a fear in people who have amassed a huge sum of wealth without paying the due taxes for the same. Financial experts say this is the start of a financial revolution in India , which eliminates to remove black money , tax evasions and the illegal benami/hawala transactions (which is generally dealt in several hundred crores)

The decision to announce at 8 could be a strategic one, so that it leaves no time for people to quickly convert the black into white through various small transactions. But on the other hand there's a sizeable "daily wage" earning population that's been impacted pretty badly.

I had a chat with an Uber driver and much to his dismay , I had selected PayTm as mode of payment.. This was his view : Cab companies usually pay once a week , that too directly in his bank account. Before the demonetization , a large % of his passengers paid in cash and inflow was pretty healthy for his food, fuel , personal and other maintenance expenses. Now suddenly his cash flow is completely dried up , given 10/12 passengers pay through PayTm , he has absolutely no time to stand in ATM/bank queues for hours as he may miss a lot of ride requestss. Missing ride requests will also give him a blackmark and rating downgrade that can cause him to lose his salary. So he's on a lose-lose situation as he's left with no cash in hand for fuel, food or to give his family, have to accept all rides that comes even if its PayTm and at the end of the day he has nothing in hand.

Yet, all the inconvenience aside, this should signal for a new change in the country. Though the black money hoarders have found ways to convert this to white money for a fee of 20-30% , a large section of the society knew,its a decisive blow on all their illegal savings.  I can also say for a fact that, no other prime minister or politician in the country could ever come up with such a daring move that can signal an end to terrorism funded initiatives and black money hoarders.

Be it engineering/medical colleges, dubious housing registrations or even political donations will have a major blowout and may ultimately have to admit storing black money (unless they decide to burn all the money away).

The first casualty in this raid was St.Jospehs College of Engineering who was found to have 8 crores of money as black and was asking their staff to deposit small amounts into each of their bank accounts, and later retrieve it. But thankfully it was found and IT officials seemed to have recovered the same, sending clear warning signals to many such dubious institutions.

Though media channels seem to promote the negativity and troubles faced because of demonetization, I'd urge my readers to hang on for a bit, support this brilliant move and this should definitely turn out for the better in the near future.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Dear Zindagi

Everyone has a letter that they send, the one they never complete, nor have a destination address. A letter, you intend to write to the future you, talking about life has been to you. Many a times, it may have let you down, made you feel this is the end and there's no coming back. Yet, you find yourself rising up every time, every single time. Probably you realize life is fair after all. All those defeats and failures had a purpose. Life changed you for the better. It made you stronger. A strength that makes you overcome anything and look at the bright side.

 My letter to my life would probably convey a mixture of anger, love, happiness, sadness and every emotion that’s there. A life that has seen so many ups and downs, so many wonderful moments that can be cherished and even miracles that wasn’t least expected. Life had thrown me problems that I felt I couldn’t solve, yet minutes later I was staring right at the solution. Life’s lessons gave me the courage to do things, things I wouldn’t even have dreamt that I could 

So here goes my letter:  Dear Zindagi,

Just by saying you played an integral part in everything I have achieved or even tried to become could be an understatement, as the whole concept of me was defined by you. A route you laid for me to follow, which I faithfully followed, having complete faith in what you had in mind. Sometimes the going was tough, but there was a guiding light that kept telling me, you just have a few more things to cross. You gave the passion to follow what I wanted, to get what I wanted and even letting go of things that I never needed.  I am also blaming you completely for the things I desperately need and yet for mysterious reasons, you never gave me that gift. It would have been an entirely different life that I always wanted. Having said that, the life I’m leading right now is an interesting path, not exactly equated to what I wanted earlier, but I’ll take this any day.

Money may be important for few and may have been their primary passion. But having known me, you’d know people and relationships are more important to cultivate than monetary assets. Thankfully you didn’t disappoint in me this category. I am bestowed with some amazing people, who since have played a very key role. If I now look back and think, how I came to know each one of them, I may not even recollect. But I am thankful to have run into their paths.

Everything has a lot of if’s, a two letter word for futility. If I had got that job, if I had got that item, if I had done something else to make it all better and the list goes on. But in a way I am thankful to you for guiding me to do the right things at the right time (though not always). I still haven’t forgiven you for many things, that you could have made me do it right.
So a final word to you. Thanks for being there, quite literally, but don’t throw me any more surprises. Just take it one day at a time and we should be good for life 😀😀

I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda
Do check out this upcoming teaser of the movie Dear Zindagi