Friday, 30 August 2013

Retirement - The Second Innings

As soon as you complete 60 years you are to retire from the job & earn the title of Senior Citizen. You may be physically & mentally fit for continuation in that job but you don’t have an option to continue because of laws, rules & service conditions. In some organisations the age limit has been raised to 62 but there also there is no option for job holder to continue.

Take other side of this issue a judge has to retire after reaching the age of 62 but not a lawyer who may continue for another decade or so. Similarly a professor of medicine has to retire at 62-65 but a practicing doctor may continue for another ten years or so. Industry or business owners have no such compulsion. And let’s not mention the politicians.

Practice in other countries

Unlike ancient Vedic classification of life of a hundred years into four sections of 25 years each, the modern classification of ‘retirement’ originated in Germany in 1889. Several countries have since made retirement policies depending upon average life expectancy, medical facilities & general earning levels of employees etc. Generally life expectancy is more in developed countries & so is the retirement age. As per UNDP report of 2011 in India highest life expectancy is in Kerala 75.8 years & lowest in MP & Chhattisgarh at 61.0.

Retirement age of some countries taken out from Wikipedia is as under:

Country               Men            Women

China                    60               50-55
Denmark              65-67          65-67
Israel                    67                62
UK                        65                60
USA                     62-67           62-67
Norway                 67                67

By 2040 retirement age in Europe is likely to be 70 due to various factors as per their newspapers reports.

Given the general health improvement, medical facilities available & longevity age of 60 appears to be in need of increase to 62 - 65 in India also. But this is wishful thinking. Social, political & economic considerations have led to the idea of retiring an expensive senior & giving employment to a youngster. Population is too big to have unrest as 65% of Indian population is said to be under 35 years of age.

Second Innings

After retiring & earning the title of a Senior Citizen what do you do - proceed for Sanyas? You are not eligible there as prescribed age is 75. Then what about Vanprastha? Here you are late as it begins at the age of 50! And where are the jungles to proceed to & live as Vanprasthi?  Or now that you have retired you can say to your working colleagues:

तुम काम करते हो, मैं आराम करता हूँ !
तुम अपना काम करते हो, मैं अपना काम करता हूँ !!

But you got to take care. You better count your notes & coins & place them carefully for they are our best friends! You also take stock of your another best friend - physique from head to toe & join morning walks, jogging, laughter club, Yoga group & / or gym for physical fitness. Some change in lifestyle after the retirement is but inevitable.

Depending upon financial position & on inclination some friends have taken up full or part time jobs. Some have taken to travelling, pilgrimage, social, religious or leisure activities. Take advantage of internet & become members of social media sites & remain in touch with friends & colleagues & beat the generation gap with grown up children.
Read, write, lecture, surf, blog, travel, play, sing, act, dance, cook, walk, talk, photograph, shop, meditate – but keep the ball rolling as age is no bar! 

Keep Walking - Sea Beach, Pondicherry 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Pensioners suggestions on reducing Current Account Deficit

Present scenario of Current Account Deficit (CAD) has placed India in a difficult position reminiscent of economic crisis of 1991. Simply put imports are more & export are less causing the Deficit. This is akin to my pension budget going haywire near month end when beer & chips evening is reduced to chips only evening!

Major component of imports that causes a distortion in CAD is petro products or oil as production in India is less than demand. As any layman would suggest production should be increased to ease supply side Well production of petroleum has obvious limitations & can't be increased so lets examine the ways & means of reducing the oil demand so as to reduce CAD. Here are some suggestions / points to think over.

All India 5-day week

All of us feel pleased to see lesser traffic on roads on weekends. Most  of the offices are closed for the weekend & people are relaxed & wait for a TV show or a match, movie or social visits. In India the weekend is not a Saturdays+Sundays weekend as in developed countries. It differs in states, institutions & various organisations like banks etc. We have 0+Sunday weekend, 1/2 Saturday+Sunday weekend & we also have Saturday+Sunday weekend in some set-ups. Logic of having half working day in banks etc is not understood for it is neither here nor there. Why not declare all India services & all India establishments closed for Saturday+Sunday weekend? Pressure on fuel consumption of govt & public shall come down drastically I am sure. And one fine morning Bharat Sarkar will have to do it!

Divide India - In time zones

India is a large country in fact seventh largest country in the world by area with a maximum breadth of nearly 2000 km. The eastern state of Arunachal gets day break earlier than the farthest western point of India by nearly 40 minutes. Considering the size, India  can have 2 or 3 time zones. The daylight could be utilized for saving energy & thus saving oil / electricity. It is interesting to note that time zones in India were set in 1884 - Bombay Time & Calcutta Time & difference was 39 minutes! Later on Indian Standard Time IST came in 1905 which is GMT + 5.30 hrs. It can be seen that Dhaka is 30 min ahead of India & Lahore 30 min behind. Many countries have Day Light Saving policies India has none. Lets give a thought to it.

Hail the Shale

Shale gas is a natural gas found trapped in shale formations. US pioneered with the exploration called fracking - short of hydraulic fracturing- couple of decades back. In 2000 it was 1% of US natural gas production, in 2010 it was 20% & in 2035 it is expected to be 46% as per their Energy Commision estimates. China is reported to have the largest reserve of shale gas. It may be a game changer for Oil Sheikhs! US Energy Info Admn estimated that India held 38 trillion cubic feet good enough for the energy needs for 29 years! But govt policy in this regard is awaited & actual production may take five years time. Scientists have identified 28 basins in India as having shale gas. Policy guidelines & auction process may be hidden in files like gas in shale! Hurry up Babus!

Lord Surya & the Solar Power

Indians have  been sun worshipers since ancient times & now have to be reminded of his power! 80 to 90 % of India is under the sun for over 300 days in a year with enormous potential. Recently Germany came top in solar power production & it is not having that much of sunshine! India till Mar 2013 had grid connected solar power over 1600 MW as per newspaper reports. Expected to reach 10,000 MW by end 2017. As of now Charnaka Solar Park, Gujrat is the Asia's largest solar power producer with 221MW. Rapid increase in this field is order of the day. Solar powered gadgets need to be subsidized.

Wind Power is Clean Power

Here some good work has been done. India is placed fifth in Wind Power capacity in the world with Tamil Nadu topping the list of states producing wind power. Indian coast line stretches over 7500 km & southern India presents a huge potential of wind power waiting to be exploited. Hurry up folks!

Use IT Power to reduce Petro Bill

Yes use internet to order grocery & household goods, operate your bank account, pay utility bills, book tickets, book hotels, cinema shows, video conference, take up complaints on emails & get compliance on emails. No need to take your vehicles for such jobs & jam the roads. Save petro bills & help reduce CAD! Work from home be also allowed freely wherever feasible.

Cycle Days
In all metros every month or quarter or half-year there should be a cycle day in such places like Marine Drive in Mumbai, MG Road in Bangalore or Connaught Place in New Delhi. No vehicles be allowed on that day in that area. This should be fun & shall create awareness & emphasis on saving oil bill.
Let me have evening break now. Those keen on figures mentioned above may please Google it as these are mostly from newspapers.
Wind power  is clean power

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Senior Citizens are VIPs!

तुम काम करते हो, मैं आराम करता हूँ !
तुम अपना काम करते हो, मैं अपना काम करता हूँ !!

That's the definition of life these days of a Senior Citizen like me given by some learned unknown philosopher! But internet & a laptop come in handy to 'time pass'. During such a surfing time pass I came across an article in saying that Senior Citizens may become Very Important Problems! This led me to profile of the writer. Lo & behold writer is Ashok Goel a retired Chief Manager of Punjab National Bank like me!

Ashok Goel has started WebQuestionAnswers & has been continuously writing articles in it.  Through facebook I contacted him & had a long talk.In fact he is planning to launch a 'global question answer' website which is under construction & is likely to be launched in the new year i.e. 2014. It shall be on WordPress platform on no-profit-no-loss basis. One can become member of the set up for raising & replying to questions posted on this site in one's area of expertise.

I have happily consented to be a member of this website. I like to blog & for last two years have been doing so & but now a days receiving technical guidance from Ashok Goel. Several experts are also being roped in to cover variety of topics ranging from banking, health, social networks, travel to legal matters & so on & so forth. Advertising revenue that shall accrue is proposed to be shared with members according to their contributions on this web site. An easy to follow & share platform shall be made available to members.

Wish him luck and join him because it is social payback time Banker - cum -Senior folks!

Send in your consents on this address.
The road ahead is clear!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Introducer in Cafe

Our branch is situated in a commercial area dominated by offices but a few shops & eateries are also there. In the basement of adjoining building, there is a restaurant called Village Cafe. Internal decoration of the Cafe has been done on the pattern of an Indian village. Cane chairs & tables topped with bamboo hut like ceiling have been installed. Partitions in between tables are also of bamboos. Number of photos depicting rural life & green fields have been hung on the walls. Even waiters are dressed as farmers with turbans &  waistbands etc. In low & dim light, soft filmy music is played & it is difficult to make out faces of couples necking & petting each other through the bamboo screens.

A few days back the owner of the Cafe started live dance show from 6 to 7 every evening. Ticket was costly of course which included coffee or a cold drink on complimentary basis. If you could tip the waiter appropriately before the show he would make your cold drink a good cocktail with Vodka or some such.

Ashok, who is an officer & a bachelor gentleman on rolls of our branch was among the first audience of first show. You know Ashok has a flair for liaison with such establishments. Always dressed in fancy clothes he loves costly perfumes. Perhaps that is why he came first with detailed news of the show. He said that the shows are getting great response & in fact there is a business opportunity here for a banker in garnering of sale proceeds of tickets!

Now all this I was sure must have been informed to our Zonal Manager by him presenting himself as a great business go-getter. That's why he is in good books of ZM &  has been able to ward-off his transfer for years. I suspect he might have sent complimentary passes of the show to authorities as well.

But once given green signal he managed opening of accounts etc within no time. Sales proceeds started coming. He even managed  to introduce & open fixed deposits in the names two dancers Ms Lolo & Ms Lily. That's why this bugger Ashok is in good books of all including authorities you see.

The evening dance show was booming & crowds swelled everyday. But how can a growing business like this one be tolerated by police & income tax people? Sitting in office I got the news that the Cafe has been raided by police & tax people. During the raid they found inter-alia, a few fixed deposit receipts in the names of Ms Lolo & Ms Lily the dancers in the evening show. It was also rumoured that Ms. Lolo & Ms. Lily were actually having different real names & that they were from outside the country!

Ready for the show!
It is also understood that the police was looking for the person who introduced the accounts of the dancers in the bank.

Anyway would you like to see the evening show tonight on complementary pass? Ashok has informed that some new dancers have joined now.


Visit to Chitrdurga Fort, Karnataka

Chitradurga Fort is located in the district named Chitradurga in Karnataka. It is situated on the crossing of Bangalore-Pune national highway 4 and Sholapur-Mangalore national highway13. Approx distance from Bangalore is 200 km & toll road is good. Train connection is also available.

Average elevation of the city is approx 2400 ft. Population of the town is less than two lacs. Best time to visit is September to March. Budget hotels are available.

A section of fort wall in early morning mist

On the entrance wall of the fort

Main entrance for the VIPs & side entrance for others. Wooden doors were also fixed here which are no more now. For side entrance one has to bow first & then pass the guard

The impressive fort, spread over 1500 acres is built on rocky hills overlooking a flat valley created by Vedvathi river. The name 'Chitra- durga' or 'Chitrakal-durga' means a picturesque fort. Because of hilly & rocky terrain it is also known as Giridurga. Other local names are Kallina Kote or stone fort, Ukkina Kote or steel fort as it was considered impregnable & Yelu Suttina Kote or seven circles fort as it was surrounded by seven walls / hills called Chinamuladri range. Highest hill here is 3200 ft. Britishers called it as Chitaldoorg.

Folklore links the history of this place to Hidimbasura a demon who lived in Chitradurga hills & had terrorized the inhabitants here. During exile of Pandavas, Bhima killed him in a duel & brought peace. He then married Hidimbi, sister of Hidimbasura & they had a son named Ghatotkach. A temple in the fort is named Hidimbeswara temple.

Not an easy entry with guards above the wall

One of the many gates

Hidimbeswari Cave Temple on top of the rock. On the back is a cave & front portion has been beautifully made out of same rock

Inscriptions found in & around Chitradurga mention this place as a part of Maurayan Empire of third century BC. Subsequently it has been ruled by Rakshakutas, Chalukyas & Hoysalas. During the rule of Vijaynagar empire covering entire south India, Nayakas or Paleyars or Paleghars were appointed as regional independent governers. It was one such Paleghars Matti Timanna Nayaka who established himself as first ruler here. Nayakas ruled till 1779 for about 211 years. During this period the fort achieved prominence & was consolidated & strengthened.

Hyder Ali attacked the fort in 1760, then in 1770 & finally won it in 1779 when Muslim officials serving under Nayakas betrayed. Subsequently Tipu Sultan lost to British in 1799 & the fort remained under British garrison till 1809.  After this it was handed over to royal Mysore family of Wodeyars.

The Chitradurga fort is said to have 19 large doors, 38 small doors, 35 special entry points & four secret inlets. There are seven enclosure walls & outermost wall has four entrances. Besides temples, the fort has scores of watchtowers, a palace & a number of water-bodies. The fort could sustain water supplies for indefinite periods due to their system of pooling rain water judiciously in large 'kere's & 'honda's or ponds at strategic places.

Another story associated with the siege of the fort by Haider Ali is that of a brave lady Obavva wife of a guard Kalanayaka. During lunch break she was deputising for her husband & noticed enemy soldier crawling out of a secret opening called 'kindi'. She coolly took her Onake - which is a long & thick wooden club used to pound paddy, killed the enemy & moved him aside. When Kalanayaka came back he saw several enemy soldiers lying dead & Obavva standing there with blood soaked Onake in her hand. Both continued their assault & were about to finish enemy soldiers when Obavva also fell. The reason of her death remains unclear. The little secret entry or crevice has been named as Onake Obavva Kindi.

Obavva with Onake in her hands & a small entry at the bottom called 'Kindi'
Rocks & big boulders form a natural boundary of the fort. Gaps in between them had been filled up with stones & bricks to make unauthorized entry impossible.

Swing for the King. Stone poles were used for swings

Oil tank. Oil was stored here for lighting & for torches. Moder day plastic & polythene spoil the show. 

This pit was used for mixing colour with water for Holi
While going in for battle soldiers bowed here

Such natural crevices were used as secret passages

Inside the fort

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Visit to Tungbhadra Dam, Karnataka

Tungbhadra dam is located near Hospet in Karnataka. It has been erected across river Tungbhadra as multi-purpose project. The dam was completed in 1953 under the supervision of Chief Engineer Dr Iyengar. Dam is approx 325 km from Bangalore via NH 4 & NH 13. 

The river Tungabhadra is made up of two rivers namely Tunga & Bhadra which originate in Western Ghats referred to as Varah Parvatha in ancient texts. They independently travel distances of 150 km & 170 km respectively & merge at Kudali. After this confluence Tungbhadra travels a further distance of over 500 km before merging into river Krishna at Gondimalla in Andhra.

There is a beautiful park, musical fountains & a deer park. Nice spot for family outing.

Some photos.

The Tungbhadra Dam looks picturesque from a distance

Another view of the Dam

Beautiful garden at the top

Bust of the CEO Of the project Dr Iyengar

Have a break

View from the road NH 13 to Hampi

View from the road NH 13 to Hampi. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Roaming in Karnataka - Some Photos

This tribal lady from Satara met in a Dhaba on NH 4 near Sira where she was begging. She refused tea, coffee or food & wanted cash only. Waiter informed that she was perhaps addicted to alcohol.
During June, July & August we stayed in Bangalore and had trips to nearby tourist places by car. On the way several photos were clicked of which some are here. These do not have any sequence of places or dates but are random shots mostly on mobile phones. Have a look.

Shelter for all. On the path leading to Badami caves. From main road to caves approx 500 meters distance is like this - littered with trash & with roaming pigs. Needs cleaning up. Why such encroachments are allowed by the local administration near historical monuments?

On NH 4. Statue of a saint on gate top.

Caught in the net! On the banks of Tungbhadra. 

The chariot is getting ready for procession. Near Aihole.

Farmer's day begins

Near Pattadakkal. Mother & daughter duo wanted to know if we had soap for increasing the fairness of skin!
Despite monsoon showers, passengers sitting on top.

Monsoon clouds near Tumkur byepass

Three in one rope

Another lotus temple coming up on Hampi road

Paddy season - work in progress. 

Free for all highway to Hampi
Spreading the net in Tungbhadra in Hosepet

Good luck for hard day ahead

On way to Badami. Looks as if stone slates have been placed carefully one upon another!
Going into the capital city of Vijaynagar - Hampi
Room with boulders in view - in Chitradurga
More stacks of stone slates on road to Badami
Rock near Badami. Resembles face of my boss! Guide said name 'Badami' comes because of resemblance of colour of rocks with that of Badam -  the Almond kernel.
Save petrol ride bullock cart

Protected monument of  the Huchchappayana Math erected in the year 1077 near Pattadakkal.  As you can see it is in use as cattle yard also. Archaeological Survey of India needs to do a lot of work including education of villagers. 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Make your own rules!

Posting as Branch Manager always gave me pleasure. Pleasure of independence, pleasure of running the show with little innovations here & there, getting accolades directly from clients & sometimes even from The Baldy-the boss, which is not easy.

Things keep happening in the branch due to customers, due to staff,  due to auditors & if not anything then due to half-yearly or yearly closings. At times it seems the annual closing comes faster than half-yearly closings! At times you forget the marriage anniversary & get kicked. But overall you enjoy more in the branch than pushing files in HO!

Some rules are listed below for you. In case you follow them then please say thanks with beer. Because that’s my rule! Otherwise please make your own rules!

(1) BM kept an almirah inside the cabin in which he kept pens, pencils, white papers, plastic buckets, computer stationery etc. A clerk will request for a pen & BM would keep him waiting, find the key of the almirah, open it, take out the item, close the almirah & throw the item on face of clerk. In turn clerk will do the same to the customers.
Rule: Reduce cabin size to exclude almirah!  

(2) In one branch in Assam, work load was less. In NE states PNB is known as Punjabbank as if it were a small rural bank & footfalls are considerably less. After a visit to a client we both landed in Station Club for lunch & beer & then headed back to the branch. No sooner had I settled down in my seat that boss appeared from nowhere for inspection!
Rule: Beer with boss or else!

(3) Come annual closing & auditors land like migratory birds! They would  finish invariably on a Sunday. Now to open branch on a Sunday you need services of guard & of course keys. The guard had left for his village on previous evening 30 kms away & was supposed to be coming back. Second set of keys was with officer whose wife was running fever & they were on way to see a doctor. Meantime auditor was breathing on your neck.
Rule: Learn to lift the shutter!

(4) On such a Sunday with the auditors, the boss also joined in to know the status of audit camouflaged under courtesy call. On the instance of auditor he joined for lunch also. Madam called the boss & reminded about lunch at home and also discussed the menu boss/auditor was having. It turned out that Kadi Chawal was her favourite. Express delivery of packed Kadi Chawal was organised for Madam.
Rule: Keep Menu cards of restaurants’ handy!

(5) Branch was having two ATMs one of which was installed in a technical college about 7 kms out of town. A student operated & found no cash in it at about 7pm. At about 8pm he complained to his father who happened to be General Manager in the bank. At about 9pm GM thundered on phone that ATM was not working. At about 10pm cash was delivered to the student.
Rule: Keep KYC diary!

(6) Postings in branches situated in a tourist town say Agra, Shillong, Rishikesh, Goa etc makes life interesting. Weekends & holidays get evaporated in a jiffy. Here is the catch - this pleasure must also be enjoyed by our boss The Baldy & his family. And Madam must have local handicrafts or world famous saree, & a bottle of feni for saab etc. These things have cost too & you are shy too & your purse is thinner too! You won’t ask & she won’t remember!

Rule: During holidays flee from the town!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Visit to Nandi Hills, Karnataka

Bangalore & nearby towns of Karnataka are situated on Deccan Plateau. Average elevation is 3020 feet above sea level.  Due to this elevation Bangalore enjoys breezy & equable climate all through the year. Temperature rarely goes below 12 or over 30 Celsius. Rains normally occur during the evenings here. Because of several small & large hills, monsoon rivers & lakes dot the plateau to the delight of tourists. Nandi Hills are such an example near Bangalore.
Dense morning fog has engulfed the hills
Nandi Hills or Nandi Durg is located in Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka approx 60 km from Bangalore City. It is 20 km off NH 7 near new Bangalore airport. It is nearly 1480 m above sea level.
Mornings are cold & misty here. Good place for outing. Plan for morning but don’t forget your jacket.
This place is source of rivers like Penner, Ponnaiyar, Palar & Arkavathy.
The name Nandi Hills originates from one or many of stories.
*Yoga Nadeeshwara performed penanace here,
*During Chola period it was called as Anandgiri,
*Tippu Sultan made a fort Nandidurga here,
*Because the hill resembles a sleeping bull &
*Because of 1300 year old Dravidian style Nandi temple on the hill.
 Some photos.
Tail lights of the cars flicker
Morning Mist on the hills

As you go up

Entrance to the fort

Road disappears in fog!

Mystery morning mist

Fog thickens!

On the top

Morning mist all around

A couple of curves are really tricky as you go up. Caution suggested.