Brexit, Megxit or Exit!  


United Kingdom could exit (brexit)  European unionWhere is the British empire heading? The empire where once the sun never set seems to be imploding. Brexit and Megxit appear to be the symptoms of this implosion. If you look at the history of Britain, they ruled the world for a couple of hundred years. Their first setback was in what came to be known as the United States of America. Boston Tea Party, in the year 1773,  in US history marked the end of the stranglehold of the British Empire. In India, the so-called Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 was the beginning of the process of the countdown of the British dominance in India. It culminated in India getting independence in 1947.

In the year 1973, Britain joined the European Union- then known as the European Economic Community. The European countries realised that countries other than Germany, Britain and France were too small to grow strongly. The coming together created the European Union in the year 1993. It is coming together of the countries and creating a competing and robust face of the Union in the fast-changing world. It created a common currency Euro and made a border-free movement of goods and people. For the practical purpose, the EU is like a country, and the different nations are the states within that country.

The EU formation created a small movement in Britain. The movement supported by people who wanted Britain to come out of the EU. It was a group of older people who remembered the Empire and had never come out of the thought that the British were driven out of most of the colonies, world over. These people were probably blind to the changes that had taken place in the world. They failed to visualise that the world economic balance was now in equal proportions between the US and the Asian countries like Japan, China and India. Europe’s only chance to compete was being together, and hence EU was a relevant development. But the narcissist Britishers voted in the referendum in 2016 to come out of the EU. The poll led to the start of the British exit- Brexit from the EU. People forgot that it was easier said than done. The past glories don’t help in future; one has to work hard to succeed. Brexit has led to significant turmoil in Britain, cutting short the career of one Prime Minister and called for an early election in the year 2019.


The second event that is currently creating waves is Megxit. It is a request by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, to allow them to withdraw from Senior membership from the Royal family. The withdrawal, they feel, would let them spend half their time in North America. They also thought that it would give them financial freedom. The reason for this is the hounding of Meghan, who is half African American, by the tabloid industry in Britain. The most influential and respected family in the world, the British Royal family, could not prevent these racial attacks on Meghan, who was a model and an actress before her marriage to Duke of Sussex, Harry. Is this the beginning of the end of the British monarchy as we know it? Are things imploding in Britain at a speed that may be impossible to slow down?

The thoughts behind Brexit and Megxit are quite similar. It is about thinking that they are the best. It is a thought process of Caucasian, white people who believe that the bloody Indians need to be ruled. Yes, there are internal rivalries between the French and the Germans and the British. But oh, those Poles or those Czechs! They are meant to work on construction sites or something equivalent. As the colour of the skin starts becoming darker, thinking changes. A coloured Joffra Archer is excellent, as long as he takes wickets. The moment his form dips…

Royalty with Afro American background! How is that possible? Given below is the passage from Washington post about Meghan.

Ever since she began dating Harry in 2016, Meghan has been the target of coverage that can’t even be called forensic scrutiny, as that would imply a degree of accuracy. British tabloids were funhouse mirrors when writing about her, committed not to news but the distortion of her image. She has been routinely picked apart and reassembled as a vicious caricature, the list of her alleged faults and faux pas endless. Her crimes are amorphous, ever-changing and at times opposed; she was cast as a bleeding-heart liberal or a money-grabbing social climber depending on the audience. Many hoped the arrival of her son, Archie, would help the media show a kinder side, but that was not the case. 

No tabloid said any such thing about Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge; the Wife of Williams, Harry’s elder brother.  The nearest they came to harassing her was trying to take her photos with a telephoto lens when she was on a private beach taking a skinny dip. But everything was perfect about Kate because she was a white Caucasian female who fits the template.

Britain has already started discrete and sometimes not so discrete way of showing the displeasure about Pakis. Pakis is a term generally used for Indians, Bangla Deshi’s and Pakistani people. They would send all of them back to wherever they came from if it were possible; many of them are doing exceedingly well in Britain. I will give you an example of their thought process. A Rear Admiral, retired, from Indian Navy got down at Heathrow. His post preceded his name on the passport.  A lady at the immigration counter asked him, ” Sir, do you speak English?” He smiled and said in propah British accent, “Oh, Lady! It’s Tuesday today, isn’t it? I speak English on Tuesdays, French on Wednesdays, German on Thursdays!”

Brexit is also the result of such thoughts. Free movement of goods and people is excellent as long as those Poles and Czechs do not come and take away low skilled jobs. Britishers forget that they are a part of Europe. Albanians are gangsters and Hungarians are a necessary evil; that is how the people who voted for Brexit think. These are the same people who think that royalty cannot be from a mixed-race! If someone marrying into the Royalty is Caucasian from Europe, that is fine. But they can’t be mixed blood from anywhere else; be it China or Japan or India. Mixed African-blood? Oh, my God! It is not acceptable at all.

But nothing is new in this thought process. In Hindu mythology, Gods have always been described with fair coloured skin; and demons are all the time having big moustaches and dark colour. In our society, if we meet someone who is good looking, our opinion about him/her is always fair, initially, pun intended. Similarly, if that person is fair-skinned, it is even better. We use derogatory terms describing people with a dark complexion.

The most surprising aspect in Meghan affair is that Royalty also faced significant issues at the hands of the press; the reason being the mixed-race of the Her Royal Highness Princess Meghan! Oh, sorry! I cannot say this, now she is only Princess Meghan. They have given up the title HRH now as an arrangement within the royal family as even the Royalty could not prevent hounding by the Hounds of the cousins of the Fleet Street!

A smallish nation like Britain cannot behave like this for practical reasons. Now they have almost a non-existent manufacturing base. North Sea oil will be important until petroleum products remain essential for the world economy. It is possible that after the exit from the EU, London may not remain the Financial Centre of the world.

Effects of Brexit can be challenging to predict, but there will be tough times. If the press can hound the Royalty, it can always create issues for the significant population of non-Caucasians living in Britain. Albanians. Czechs, Poles anyway will go away due to Brexit.

So, what next? Brexit-Megxit and finally Exit from the global scene? It is difficult to exist in this “bad, bad” world without collaborating with others. God save the Queen and Britain.

Out of curiosity, I saw the site You may also want to view it. I came to know many new things from the website about British Royalty.

Leave me alone!

Leave me alone; I am a private person. Who the hell is the world to know about my private affairs? My privacy is so important to me that I will not allow Aadhar interference. Finally, proponents of privacy won their battle in the Supreme Court, won the battle and ensured that Aadhar was delinked from many areas of our lives. The most surprising part is that financial institutes and banks have approached the Supreme Court to allow them to link their customers to Aadhar again. Why? Because they are idiots and do not know as the know-all gang knows. Mind you; I don’t want the Orwellian Big Brother watching me over my shoulders all the time.


I was wondering what do the likes of Google know about us. Well, I can briefly say everything. Majority of cell phones in the world are android based. Whenever we do something on the phone, Google has its hand in it. It starts from unboxing the new phone to using apps, what you bought on Google Play, everywhere else. Whenever we perform these acts, the app seeks permission to access contacts, location, SMS, photos and God knows what! If we say no to anything, we get a message “Your cellphone or the app will not perform correctly.” 95 % of the people are like you and me. So we mutter a few expletives but say okay buddy take access to whatever you want. I don’t care, but Google cares. They use these permissions to monetise whatever they can. Honestly, I don’t care. I have no secrets to hide. It’s not only Google, but others like Facebook also do the same thing. I am searching for something on the net, and maybe I go to Amazon. The next day, advertisements for these products are seen on my Facebook account, while I serf.

Coming back to Google, it allows you to download the data about you that it has saved. The file can be enormous in Gigabytes, depending on our activity. The link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve purchased through Google.

These days I hear stories about men willing to accept their wives all demands if they find that the wife has the husbands cell phone in her hand. I understand that it is because the WhatsApp has quite a few “secrets” many times. Once you come to know what Google stores from your “activities”, well it saves everything. You will not allow your wife to touch your phone. It will store the details of the area you were roaming with your buddies or GF when you were supposed to be busy in the office meet the deadline. You would rather be dead if she knew where you were! You may say that Pramod is in a mood today to write some funny stuff; it’s nothing weird. I am very serious. You don’t believe it. Let me tell you all the secrets. If your spouse is in IT, then she knows the stuff anyway. But rest assured that she is ignoring your sojourns.

Here we go.

Google has data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to; they also have the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created.

They also know the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day.

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Click on this link to see your data:…

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices.

Click on this link to see your data:

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10 lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your data:

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.
Click on this link to see your data:…

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic …

Click on this link to see your own data:…

Do you believe in me now? Or you still have some doubts. Okay. I will share details about what Facebook stores about you, discretely.

Don’t worry, and I will not write about it. Are you feeling a bit weak in the knees; are you feeling thirsty? Do you need to see your doctor? Don’t panic. The feeling was the same for us guys when a copy of Playboy magazine was found in our school bag in our younger days. But in those days, nobody knew that our friend, okay I will name him xxx, used to tell XXX stories after we completed our cricket or badminton!

Will Google use such data for nasty purpose? I don’t think so, at least I hope so. A simple response of Yes to the seemingly innocent question has led to this problem. It is tricky. Many people in the world use birth dates, abcdef, 111111 or such simple variations as passwords. Accessing your accounts with these passwords can be done by you and me too!

The other extreme was a friend. We went and stayed with him for a couple of days; Jaya and I requested access to his wifi network. He collected our phones and laptop and went to his library at home. I said, “Don’t worry, I will punch the password.” He smiled and said, “I use a password which is 26 characters long”. Phew!

Is what Google and Facebook doing the right thing? They claim that they collect the data to make our experience personalised. Maybe! They ask for permission to access, and we give permission every time because it makes things more convenient. We use the Google map, and they need to know the location. But they save all the activity that we did. Many apps make our life easier. There is no doubt about that. So finally it comes to Privacy Vs Convenience!

All things have their plus and minus points. If you have no secrets to hide, if you easily handover your cell phone to your wife, you have no issues. But else…

You have already handed over the control to Google; mind you, I have not written about how Facebook watches you! Sleep well!



New challenges of the modern world! 

Western World and the Japanese have been handling the challenges with ageing population for some time. In India, this challenge has started coming up slowly. The current generation, those who were born around India’s independence in 1947is ageing well, trying to take care of healthand in general gungho about life in general. Technology is helping them in getting in touch with each other using WA, Facebook, Instagram and such apps.  

India has an old tradition of handling the aged relatives in the family. In my young age, in many families there used to be one or two grannies, lovingly called aajjies! In those times most of the families were joint families. From the “post-independence” generation, people started getting better opportunities for education. A small percentage of the population went to foreign countries and stayed back there. Over a period, this percentage started increasing. Computerisation made technology more democratic; more and more people began getting opportunities to work and live abroad. 

Along with this, opportunities for education and work, jobs became abundant. Pan Indian migration started in a big way. All these things resulted in the formation of nuclear families. The ladies too were not far behind. After education ladies became  career oriented in a big way. Steady and better incomes inculcated a new thought process in families. All this gave birth to a new term, space; everybody wanted their space. It has become the requirement of grandparents, parents and children. But this space created voids in the family. The effect of voids was not understood, initially. The family kept helping and supporting each other in the short term. Better medical treatments and diagnostics helped longevity. All these events together have now created a new requirement in society.  

What happens when someone in the family falls ill and needs long time support. The requirement of long-term support arose when people of the golden generation became old but could not handle many things, physically; and in some cases mentally. There are two distinctive supports available. One is palliative support, and the other is like home support. Those who are seriously ill with cancer, heart issues, renal problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary issues, cerebrovascular accident need palliative care; such treatment cannot be handled at home. But general ageing related issues can be dealt under home care.  

In western countries, especially in the US, palliative care facilities are available. In Japan, there is a shortage of such facilities. In India, these facilities, compared to the needs, are almost non-existent. In India, as a society, we are prepared to provide space to each other, but while this change happened, we had not budgeted for parents who can live longer due to improved longevity. The confluence of all this created turmoil in people’s mind about handling the situation. In the year 1981, Jaya and I were in Ottawa as Jaya was taking some training. During one long weekend, we went to an island on a lake with a Canadian friend of ours; he was almost twenty years senior to us. 

On the way back, the friend said, “Hey folks, is it ok if I take a bit of detour?” We said, “Absolutely no issues.” When we reached a destination, the friend said, “It is an old people’s home, my mother is here. I come and meet her every 2/3 months.” We were sitting at the back-side of the car and were confused. We did not know what we were supposed to do. But our problem was solved by his wife. In the parking lot, she said, “I will wait with Jaya and Pramod; you go and see your mother.” Problem solved. In 1981, our friend was ok with the idea of meeting his mother every 2/3 months, because she was within 50 km from Ottawa. As a society, we are not mentally prepared with this idea. The older people’s homes available are not providing facilities that people have at home.  

There is some progress in creating facilitiesBut compared to India’s population, this number is lowIt is about creating facilities; it is also about young and old getting mentally prepared for such arrangements. Hospices need doctors, trained nurses, and medical facility to handle day to day critical requirements. Whereas in older people’s homes, the need is to create facilities which suit all the pockets. Some may need fivestar facilities, and others may be ok with a couple of stars. But there is a significant need for affordable facilities.  

Some people will ask me why am I writing about all these things. The simple reason is it is a need of times like we have schools, colleges, gardens and so on. I hope people have managed to create a corpus which will last them till they are around. 

I will tell you about some facilities in India that I know. According to me, there is a worldclass facility but I will explain it in the end. Please let me know if you know about such facilities in India. In Pune, there is one facility developed by Paranjape builders called Athashri. It is well developed and within Pune city limits. To my knowledge, they have couple of locations. In these facilities, one can buy a condo or rent it from someone who has bought it. I have heard about similar facility in Talegaon near Pune. In Lavasa near Pune, similar facilities are there. I have read something about such facilities near Dehradun, and I am sure there must be more such facilities.  But they do not provide what is provided by Dignity Foundation.

The best of such facilities for me is one in Neral. It is on a hillock, with gradually sloping covered but open corridors. Golf carts are available for those who need them. The place is called Dignity foundation. 

The rooms that I saw were like a standard hotel room, with bath and toilet. It had a small cupboard and kitchenette too. They also provide round the clock nursing service if required. I know all the details because someone very close to us lived there for her last few years. They had an arrangement with Reliance Hospital if hospitalisation was required. When she needed an eye treatment, they sent their person with her for a couple of days to Mumbai for treatment. She used to paint, so they had provided her with a small room. Besides joint celebrations, they used to show movies and had many activities. 

When she died, the family suggested cremation in Mumbai. But their manager suggested that if there were no specific reason to do it Mumbai, they would arrange everything in NeralWe all went to Neral for cremation. After everything was completed, the manager suggested a small tour of the facility because some of the people had never seen it before. In the end, he took us to their dining area.

He said, “Sir, it is already 1.30 pm. The management has suggested that all of you should have lunch with us and know what kind of food the residents is served.” It was a standard home type food for lunch. But what impressed all of us was the gesture they showed and took part in the cremation as if someone from their family had died! We knew her last twothree years must have passed the way she wanted. It is not the facilities but the human touch that is important. After all, people who live there are far from their family.  

Nostalgia, the hidden button!  


It is impossible to know how our mind works. Nostalgia is the hidden buttonin the back of our mind. It remains hidden most of the times. But an event kicks in and presses the hidden button without our knowledge. The other day I got the cell number of my childhood friend Vira aka Virendra. I called him; he lives in Pune as I do. We chatted on the phone, gave and took updates of the old friends. The usual stuff of sharing addresses and photos was done. I did not realise that the hidden button was pressed.  

A similar thing had happened when I got in touch with another friend Sunil, a few months back. It shows and proves time and again that HE is the most celebrated designer of all time. Many times, we make statements like, “Oh, this is enough for memy brain is now full!” Well, our brain never uses more than 20% of its capacity. Our brain stores many things. In today’s terms, Onedrive offers one Terabyte storage capacity if we subscribe for office 365. I feel that our brain’s storage capacity could be measured in Peta or Yotta units. Many many things get stored in your brain, and the problem is that for some people, the brain is not able to retrieve the information. Please see the link about the details of Units prefixes.

Ladies generally have a high capacity to retrieve dates. If you meet some girl from your school days, she might surprise you with a statement like, “Pramod on 27 August 1963you were punished and kept out of the class for the whole day. I am sorry, I had complained about you.” Someones beloved might tell him, “You kissed for the first time on 13th January 1975.” Oh, yes, it is possible! But he doesn’t rememberHe was never a serial kisser a la Imran Hashmi. But still, he can’t remember the date!

I used to live in Dhobi Talao area in Bombay. Virendra also lived a few buildings away. In my professional life, I used to interact with someone who lived in the same lane, in Dhobi Talao; but I had never met him in the childhood.  

I have observed one interesting thing. When in a nostalgic mood, people tend to discretely add a bit of fiction to the facts of those days. I won the (inter) school athletic championship when I was in tenth grade. Okay, I am lying; remove the word (inter), it was only the school championship. I was reasonably fit in those days, but I had never practised running as an athlete. After I won the eight hundred meters final, I collapsed and puked. In the SSC board exams, I stood the SSC merit list. Ha, Ha! I am again lying. But I surprisingly got a distinctionIt was surprise to others, but not to me. Honestly!! No more lying, God promise!  

Now, after many years, I realised that I lived in one of the poshest areas in Bombay, thanks to quarters provided by the Police department to my father. It brought back more memories of those times. Virendra told me that an old friend of ours is now in deep depressionI had spoken to this friend six months back, for the first time in fifty years, and found that he was not very keen on my meeting him. During childhood, we never realise how life is going to treat all of us in future. During those times in Dhobi Talao, most of our friends were in a similar financial and educational situation. But how the dice will fall for each is challenging to predict. But in general, I have seen that in 80% of the cases, people continue to be what they were. If they are smart in childhood, then they continue to be smart later too. In a few cases, some who appear not so sharp in childhood become brighter than what they were. But this percentage is low.  

A friend from those days was quite smart, a reasonably good athlete, but he tended to go overboard. His trait continued in adulthood; he did pretty all right in life, success wise. But he died when he was around fifty-five. The reason was over drinking and smoking! I have seen a similar tendency in one of my nephews; he continues to go overboard though he is a senior officer in the armed forces!  

It reminded me of a friend who was very naughty in childhood but retired as a high-ranking army officer. After retirement, he did some excellent work as a professional engineer; he is also an outstanding bridge player of national repute.  

In my school, we had one skinny teacherIn our 11th grade, we had gone for a three days picnic to MatheranThe teacher had accompanied us. He told me that he and my father were classmates in collegeI felt closer to him for obvious reasons. Then I asked him, “Sir, why are you skinny?” He said, “Pramod, in college days during my B.Sc. some students troubled me with ghost stories. I was weak, even in those days. I was scared and fell sick. Since then, I have continued to be skinny.” I know of another case where similar ragging was done to a student during his college time. He lost his confidence so much that his family moved him to an institution. He never recovered from that shock. He died later at the age of sixty-three in the same state. He was an exceptionally bright student. 

That brings me back to the friend who is now in deep depression. His story was a little different. He was doing alright in his jobBut his daughter was born sick and continued to be ill and died in her teens. The problem with the daughter also depleted his finances severely. He is somehow surviving, and it is no surprise that he is depressed. 

Do I have any memories of any teen romantic stories? No, I don’t have them. I think all our gang was too busy playing sports and enjoying life in general. I remember the days when would come home from school walking in heavy rains. We enjoyed walking on the sea wall at Marine drive in monsoons, accompanied by powerful winds and equally powerful waves, which would drench us when they broke against the wall. We always had a shortage of money. So, whenever we could save money, we would cheat and drink cold Sharbat on Cross Maidan, or Sugar Cane Juice. Wow, we always had great joy in doing forbidden things.  

But friends don’t forget the pitfalls of going into nostalgia trips, especially in the golden period of life. If you tend to become nostalgic frequently, younger people will avoid your company. When they see you, they will mutter, “Now listen to Pramod Uncle! In our times bla bla bla!” You should be able to communicate with every age group. Keep updated with technology; try to know what new things are there in the world. The other day, I was talking to my grandson on his twentieth birthday. He is in engineering school. He said, “I skipped classes today so that I could come home.” I said, “You mean you officially skipped classes today!” He laughed.

Okay, if you have memory issues due to ill health, it is a different issue. Otherwise, you become like Vizzy. A quick nostalgic trip again! 🙂🙂 

Vizzy was Maharjkumar of Vijayanagaram. He used to give cricket match commentaryOnce while giving commentary in the ’60 s of the last century, Vizzy had become nostalgic and was telling some story that had taken place twenty years back. In the background, a lot of noise could be heard. After five minutes, the story was completed, and Vizzy said, “While I was telling the story, India has lost three wickets.” 

Don’t become Vizzy, but for that, you must remain busy!  


Open the Door for others!  


The term resonance is taken from physics to describe a subject-object relationship as a vibrating system in which both sides mutually stimulate each other. In contrast to the physics meaning of the word, however, in the social context, they do not merely return the received sound, but speak “with their own voice”. In mammals, resonance is about reciprocating to each other in the interpersonal relationships.

What does the term “Open the doors for others mean?” You are going from room A to room B. There is a door in between. The social protocol says that the males to open the door for ladies. But I feel that anybody may open the door. What the act shows is that the person opening the door has his/her heart in the right place. It is a small gesture but it shows that the person opening the door is thoughtful about the other person. While opening the door, the person forgets that he is a CEO or an owner of big business. A guest has come to you, and you show the courtesy. It is like courtesy shown by artists who get a standing ovation after a performance. The artist or the sportsperson could be world-famous. But they acknowledge that it is the crowd appreciating them gives them fame.

Another example of resonance is seen when a child is born. Immediately after birth, the nurse keeps the child on the mother’s chest; this is while other procedures get completed. That closeness forms a bond and creates a life-long resonance between the mother and the child. The heartbeats of both mother and child are etched on each other’s memories and stay there life-long. The emotional bond that forms during that moment runs until the end. Mother and child relationship is the ultimate of resonance created between two humans- and mammals in general.

Another close relationship is between husband and wife. Once the honeymoon period is over, the routine life starts. Life gets crazy and hectic — both of them doing their emotional bidding to each other. They do it by sending a quick message by sharing their opinion through eye contact, or a nod. It could be a quick kiss or by pat on the back. The bidding is telling each other, “We are not able to spend enough time with each other. But I love you.” The couples who do not understand this emotional bidding may run into marital problems which could lead to divorce. According to some studies, the couples who acknowledge 90% of this bidding lead a hectic but lovely life. But when this percentage goes down to 30%, the situation is in a tailspin.

The person who wants to open the door for others is likely to be an open-minded person. That person will never be lonely. She will have more friends. The small things they do in day to day life, show their traits. But in such persons, the thought comes from within the heart instantaneously. I will share a simple example. The other day I was walking on a road. A person about fifteen years senior to me was trying to cross the street. From a little distance, I observed his difficulty and hesitation. The moment I reached him, I asked him, “Sir, is it okay if I help you to cross the street?” He was waiting for someone to help him. He was sending a signal to society in general. His message resonated with me. If you ask why I helped him, I have no answer. It just came from within my heart. I am born that way; I have been into such small acts since my childhood. Honestly, it is no big deal. Maybe I like to open the door for others.

Those people who follow the game of Cricket will understand what I am saying next. A bowler bowls a ball and Rohit Sharma swings his bat. There is a sweet sound of the leather hitting the wood. In a few moments, the ball is flying in a high trajectory, falls deep inside the stands where spectators are sitting, and why does this happen? Why does it look effortless?  It is because of the timing.

To resonate with others, we need to connect when it matters. The act nurtures both us and others and also earns trust. Just as in cooking, timing is everything. In daal Tadka,  it is when you give Tadka that brings the perfect taste. When you make a fluffy omelette, unless you provide the right time for it to become fluffy, you will not achieve the result.

Same is true while opening the door for others. You are climbing the stairs, somebody in front of you has hands full. On reaching the lobby, you sneak ahead of that person to open the door! Are you going to let him put all the stuff down so that he can open the door himself? You sneak ahead and open that metaphorical door. But he wants to go to the floor above you. Are you going to bang the door because you feel cheated? He did not ask you to open the door in the first place. When you open that door, don’t expect him to thank you! He may even thank you, but that is beside the point. Are you performing a kind act so that the person says thanks to you? You do it because you are an inherently good person. Such behaviour by more people makes society kinder. People resonate with each other! Like when we talk of the resonance of sound in Physics, the timing makes reach the crescendo at the right time. Holding a door open at the right time represents tending to a perceived need and meeting expectations.

All people want to be understood and appreciated. By connecting in this way, they trust that you know them, and are looking out for their interests. You are attentive and willing to open doors for them. The power of resonance will keep you happy and healthy and open doors for you.

Friends, look for an opportunity to resonate in every interaction. The world is full of good people, but let people understand that you are contributing to this goodness. Such behaviour is infectious. Keep opening the doors. More and more doors will open for you automatically.


Kar Chale Hum Fida! कर चले हम फ़िदा! 

कर चले हम फ़िदा is a serious song from the film Haqeeqat sung with high emotions by Mohamad Rafi!

I have used it as a marketing gimmick to attract your attention, you will say! You are not wrong, but the subject of the blog is similar. How to prepare for our final journey! The Rafi song is based on the war that we had with China in 1962. Don’t be surprised if your eyes are moistened when you see the video!

The subject for the blog is equally serious, but I have written matter of fact things about our assets that we leave behind when our journey ends. No need to have moistened eyes, we are all going to end our journey at some stage, and it is not a big deal!

We all go through ups and downs in life. But over a period, we keep on accumulating assets. We all hopefully end up with some cash- it could be in the form of money, FD’s and other financial instruments like Mutual Funds or Shares etc. We might end up having homes, flats, land and other such properties.

Though we don’t know the day and time of our final journey, it is a good idea to prepare for it well in advance- when we handover stuff to the next generation. You must be wondering about what is Pramod talking? To start with, it is essential to make your WILL. I have seen two opinions about the WILL. Oh, do you think I am going to die? What is the hurry? I have only one child, so does it matter if there is no WILL? Yes, it does matter. God forbid, but you may have the only child who is more bothered about your assets than you. I know of stories when one of the spouses expired; during those emotion-filled days, the child had taken away all the assets from the remaining parent. I am not going to use legal terms, but it suffices to say that you must have your WILL. Everything should (or WILL) go to the remaining spouse on the death of a spouse. After the death of the second spouse, everything needs to be distributed as per WILL. Don’t forget that the WILLS do get challenged; then it needs to be resolved. But the WILL is the document which supersedes all the other things like nomination.

Okay, you have made your WILL, but are the documents perfect. Let me tell you from my experience that the papers are far from perfect. In banks, everything will go wrong if it has to go wrong. We have so much faith in the system that we believe entirely in whatever is printed. It is not; banks make simple mistakes. We have been banking with a public sector bank since 1976. I get excellent service. But there are errors galore.

I went to a financial institution where they asked me to submit a cancelled cheque and the first page of bank passbook, as the cheque did not bear my name. While submitting various documents, I was dumbstruck. The bar code on the cover indicated my account, and I had carried the cheque book for that account. But the first page of the passbook showed all the details of another account; Jaya and I have this account in common. The records printed inside were as per barcode data. Luckily, the person saw the bank account details, noted them down and said that there was no need to submit documents.

So, I started going through all the passbooks and FD’s for details. What errors can be there? We have filled up all the forms and given instructions. To start with, we had an FD created for a specific reason. The interest was to be deposited in an account. From this account, a standing instruction was there to pay for something yearly. After this years payment was made, I found out the interest was being deposited in another account. So, it made me check all such instructions. Luckily, there were no other errors.

I  had opened the account in 1976. At that time, my address was different. But later after Aadhar card came into the picture, we had instructed the bank to change the address as per our Aadhar cards. That process is still going on after a month. When I checked last week, Jaya’s address was corrected, but Priya’s correct address was changed to Jaya’s address. My address is yet to be fixed. Now Priya’s address needs to be recorrected to match her Aadhar card address. I asked for the passbook that is mentioned above. I got it back with more errors! I give up! No, I don’t give up. Mistakes can cause a mess after us.

Then there was a question of Jaya’s surname spelling. They had wrongly put it as Panwalkar or Panwalakar. On all the FD receipts, I had to get it corrected. On a couple of FD receipts, the spelling was correct. I asked them why the spelling was correct? They had no explanation. Computerisation Ki Jai Ho! Ultimately even in computerisation process, raw data is required to be filled up by someone manually. Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo! The dying soldiers are giving the message to their colleagues! We also need to handover the correct instruments to the next generation. Otherwise, after we are gone, this process can be tricky.

About assets like homes, land the story is different. All these assets have government documents like registration papers or 7/12. If these are not available, then disposing of can become cumbersome. Documentation for properties should be such that if you have a customer, these should be “Saleable” immediately. That means all the documentation is in the right place.

I have heard of many horror stories. A friend who wanted to sell his parent’s home after their death found out that the corporation tax for more than 20 years was not paid. I know of stories, where someone had bank accounts, where only that person was the signatory. Such errors can cause a headache for the next generation. After the death of the husband, his wife has also continued the same policy. Fortunately, there are no disputes amongst their two children. But keeping the correct documents is very important.

About banks, now for many of their activities, the software lets you see and make changes online if required. So handover the baton to the next generation as smoothly as possible.

I will share one experience with Jaya’s credit card; she has a card from India’s pioneering company. Her card bears the name Jaya Panvalkar. Sometimes time back government had declared that Aadhar card should be linked to Credit Cards. There was an online process. My card was linked in a zip. When I tried to link Jaya’s card, we got a message, “Name not matching”. We checked the Aadhar and the Credit card again. Everything was matching. Then I went online to check. Jaya’s name was registered in their records as J P Krishna. We talked to them on the phone and then sent all the relevant documents like Passport and Aadhar copy! Later we went to their bank branch and showed them all the documents. From their side, they also sent a mail for correction. Nothing happened, and we kept on getting a reminder every alternate day.

Then one fine day, they sent an email, “Your card will be blocked after one week if you fail to link Aadhar card to the credit card.” We immediately wrote, “Thank you so much for blocking. I have already got a credit card from xxxx.” Next day, there was a mail, “We have checked our records, now you can use the card again.” No apologies or no Sorry!” They know that if they accept the error, they can be taken to the consumer court! I went online to see the changes they had made. It was changed to Jaya Panvalkar, finally.

Addendum: My friend Subhash suggested that I should also specifically say that we should have minimum possible active accounts. Close the dormant ones! Perfect!

Are you stupid? 

My favourite Magazine was and is MAD! Who can forget the Crow Vs Crow stories? I always remember the Spy Vs Spy series. What a satirical humour it had! MAD would have stories on life in general, and one must read their political satires at least once in a lifetime. It is still alive in its new Avatar the print copy can be available only by specific methods! I am SAD like in MAD!  

I remember a perfect caricature “story” from this magazine. A skinny and very dead man is lying on the ground. A goon is standing above him with a smoking gun. A typical stupid character asks the goon, “What is happening?” The goon replies, “He was underweight; that is why pumping lead into him!” My friends, this is stupidity. Definition of stupidity is not as stupid as you might think! After searching on the net, I came across one of the best definitions of stupidity. Stupidity is overlooking or dismissing conspicuously crucial information!  

I have read a book by Dr Atul Gawande. He is a practising surgeon in the Boston area and has written a brilliant book called “Checklist Manifesto”! Please read this exciting and intelligent book. According to him, the checklist concept started in the aviation industry and later on spread in other areas. It is about how to create and read the checklist to avoid stupid mistakes. World’s worst aviation accident occurred on the Tenerife islands. Two jumbo jets rammed into each other on the ground. One was travelling very fast as ATC had cleared it for take-off, and the other one was rolling towards the take-off area. The pilot of the second aircraft was busy reading the checklist as it was going slowly! Six hundred people died in that accident. Now I need not say why I liked the definition of stupidity! 

There are different kinds of stupidities in the worldthese can be scientific stupidity, military stupidity, literary stupidity, and so on. Example of military stupidity depends on the result. A group of soldiers may act when they know that they will never succeed in achieving the target. If they reach the goal, the act is called bravado; otherwise, it is stupidity!  

But there are many reasons why people behave in such a manner. There are two areas where you are made stupid. First is the act of a magician. His acts are such that he misdirects your attention and does his act in such a way that we feel that he is a magician. Such actions are for entertainment purpose. The other ones are frauds, cons or hoaxes. The people do these acts with the intention of cheating and are designed as malicious acts. Today’s so-called online scams are about the stupidity of the people. When people are robbed of their money by such actions, people realise how stupid they were. A professional in Pune paid Rs Sixty-five lacs (Six and half million) to register and create an online profile on a dating site. 

By now you must have realised stupid persons are not idiots. They are people like you and me. During one of the conferences, a lady got up and asked a question, “It may be a stupid question…” The speaker was a smart guy. He said with a smile, “Questions are never stupid, but people are! Please go ahead with your question.” 

What are the factors that lead to stupidity? First is being outside your typical environment or changing your routines — such circumstances lead to missing out on things which are easily known.  We behave in a different manner when we are in a group. The third is being in the presence of an expert or if you, yourself, are an expert. Fourth is doing any task that requires intense focus; the focusing activity can lead to odd situations. The fifth is the information overload that can lead to missing important information: six, physical or emotional stress, fatigue. If you have worked continuously for a long time, you might overlook essential signalsSometimes we work overnight on some project. You take a break for a couple of hours, take a quick nap. You wrongly feel that you are fresh again. It is the beginning of making mistakes. Rushing or “false” sense of urgency can lead us to make mistakes.  

Do not forget that in real life, more than one such situations always exist. If we are not careful about them, we tend to make blunders. Our favourite modern gadget, the cell phone, is a cause many such mistakes where lives are lost, we make accidents. It can lead to injuries and deaths. How many times have you heard people dying while crossing the road and simultaneously talking on a cell phone? The latest fad in India is to take selfies while standing at the edge of a valley. People have died showing themselves standing on the seashore to share live feed with friends- and suddenly a huge wave comes and takes you with it.  

How many horror stories we hear from the medical field? A patient gets operated on the left eye instead of the right eye. I will share one story shared by Dr Gawande in his book. Before any surgery, a hospital operation theatre would make a checklist. In one specific surgery, an antibiotic injection was required to be given 1 ½ hour before the surgery. The surgery was likely to cause a massive infection. The start time was nine a. m. On that particular day, the operations were getting delayed. Nine a. m. surgery got postponed to 10.30 a. m. The nurse did not keep track of the delay, and she gave the injection at 7.30. By the time the surgery started, it was three hours instead of a 1 ½ hours gap. The operation took three hours instead of two hours. By the time the patient was brought into the recovery room, the effect of the antibiotic had already tapered off. In the evening, the patient had a high fever, went into rigours. Nobody could find out what went wrong. The doctors checked the checklist, and everything was in order. Since it was an emergency, all were under stress. The nurse had done double duty on that day. She was physically and mentally tired. On rechecking everything, they found the reason. Antibiotic was given three hours before the surgery instead of 1½ hour. The patient went into septicemia and died!  

How many such stories do we know? Many patients do not come out of the operation theatre; they are killed inside by stupid mistakes.  

We are driving on highway. The radio is going full blast, and your friend calls you to check if you have taken the right exit. At the same time, your friend sitting next to you asks you the same question about the exit. The first thing we should not do is not to pick up the phone. The second thing would have been to put the radio offtry and stop where we are allowed stopping. Then maybe check your GPS or call your friend. Multitasking is difficult even when we are sitting in our home or office. Trying to multitask at 100 km speed is not at all easy. We are driving at 100 km speed, and radio waves are going into your ear. Then you are trying to speak on cell phone plus listening to what your friend in the car is asking you.  

I need not elaborate on what can happen; we become overconfident. We are acting the way the pilot of the jumbo jet acted. People in a rush forget their passport at the security check. Some people forget stuff like musical instruments worth millions of dollars in trains, on the flights. I had forgotten a pouch containing a camera and some cash in a wellknown hotel lobby in Santa Clara. I realised after about twenty minutes. I rushed back, but it was gone.  

The importance of looking for crucial information need not be emphasised; it is necessary to pay attention to it. It’s conspicuous like it’s right in front of your nose and yet you either overlook it or you dismiss it. How not to be stupid, what are the causes of human error? Most stupidity is ignored or swept under the rug if the consequences are not severe. So, friends, let us not be stupid; it can cost heavily!