The teacher and The Guru!

A couple of days back, we celebrated Guru Pournima. (Full moon night to revere the Guru) It was celebrated with enthusiasm, the latest version. Every sadness, joy, reverence, fear is displayed by us, these days in the only way we can. Forward a label or a sticker and throw in a couple of emojis. We are not supposed to or are allowed to write anything in our own words. We are afraid that we will be stigmatised if we do not find an appropriate thing to forward or publish. Some poor souls can not find the “original” forward; hence they push a forwarded forward. Come on, Pramod! When I was in school six decades back, my teachers had taught me to push forwards. They had such foresight; they knew that social media would take over the world.

Coming back to the title, a Guru means an influential teacher or a popular expert. A teacher means a person who teaches, especially in a school. On Jaya’s school WhatsApp group, there was a bit of a discussion which was confused about who is a teacher and a guru.


My school was Ram Mohan English School, Girgaum, in Bombay. My education was in Marathi till 11th grade, after which I went to Elphinstone College and then Engineering at COEP, Pune. The photo above was shared by my classmate Ashok, and it made my day. I have seen enough things in the world now, but I can proudly say that these teachers were as good as any. They are from left Joshi sir (Sanskrit), Naik sir (He was the head-teacher and taught us Marathi), Sabnis Teacher (Science- we used to call lady teachers “Teacher”), Kundaikar Sir (Maths), Mayekar Sir (English). They were outstanding by any standard, but importantly they were great human beings too! They would accommodate over-energetic students like me, though I ranked first in punishments.

I could write pages and pages about these dedicated people, but I will write only a couple of incidents. Mayekar sir was a Professor of French at Wilson College, but due to some health reasons, he moved to our school. He was simply terrific in his language, both written and spoken. His handwriting was out of this world. When I was in the 11th grade, he once called me to his home on a Sunday. I went there with apprehension. When I reached there, he said, “Panvalkar, I will guide for a few Sundays because I feel that you are good at English.” He simply wanted to help and guide me. He had foresight about me. I had never dreamt during those times that I would become a blogger writing stuff in English. Whatever hints he gave in those days, I was too busy noticing them, are surely helping me. Though Marathi is my mother tongue, the language in which I communicate normally, I think, and write in English, as if English is my first language.

Other teachers who guided me in life were Wadke teacher- I used to interact with her during extra-curricular activities like sports. Somehow she took a liking for me and was like my mother to me. She was the epitome of softness. Her daughter Mangal was my classmate. Dr Satynarayna, my HOD in the Metallurgy Department at COEP, my guide for M E, taught me how to make decisions fearlessly. He ensured that I completed my M E in two years and joined the industry.

Unfortunately, we remember all these souls only on Guru Pournima day. We also make an error in understanding the difference between a teacher and a Guru. We interact with teachers for a small duration. But Guru is one person who is in your life and is around all the time. The Gurus are of different varieties, the Osho variety of 92 Rolls Royce fame. He was also famous for his commune with a “free” life. You and I may not agree with his thinking, but hundreds of thousands of disciples tell a different story. The Gurus have been controversial, they have lived in five-star hotels during their travels. In my view, nothing is wrong with that. It is how they improved the lives of their followers. Pandurang Shastri Athawale was one such Guru of fishermen living in northern Maharashtra and Southern Gujarat coast. We find that the language used by him in sermons is primary. But it was meant for the fishermen who were having a troubled life as they were caught in binge drinking. Osho used to give a high level of sermons because people involved were from different categories. Many Gurus like Satya Saibaba who have done wonders for the society with the help of his followers. His “Gora” followers from many countries come to stay in his ashram and would offer their expertise free e. g. surgeons would go and perform free operations. There are, of course, frauds who have cheated people of their property, and we hear many cases of sexual exploitation of women. The cross-section of Gurus is very similar to our society. There are greats, some are good, and others are bad to horrible. But one thing is common in them. They are continuously in touch with their disciples.

I was lucky to have one such Guru in my life, Mahesh Kothari. He was CMD of Exedy India Ltd. We met in 1981 and were regularly in touch with each other until his death in January 2017. I was his business associate and advisor. When we became close and family, it is difficult to say. He never told me, what I should do in life.

I have traveled with him from Pune to Aurangabad many times, and he used to love driving. He would always share the driving time with me. We have had many chat sessions with only two of us, at the guest house. He would never tell me to do something in any specific way. He would share his experiences, he would explain many things, and for me, they were more of training sessions of life. He would care a lot about his family, and he was 100%, family man. I would absorb his way of thinking all the time. He loved his drink, but I was an occasional drinker. He taught me how to enjoy a paan at Tara Paan House in Aurangabad.

Aurangabad was his second home. He was so much involved in work that if he needed to visit a vendor quickly, he would hop behind on some one’s bike, if required, and rush to resolve some technical issue. All the people at the Aurangabad plant were his family. When someone from the factory was travelling abroad for the first time for work, he would personally make sure that the person had the clothing, suit, and vegetarian food if required. He wanted to ensure that nobody ran into unnecessary trouble in a foreign country.

He was an epitome of a Guru by guiding me through his deeds. He taught me to manage work-life balance. He taught me how to be reliable but gentle at the same time. He taught me how to keep on working all the time, at the same time, enjoying the fleeting moments in life. He was also very open to asking me for suggestions on work-related matters.

Friends, teachers teach you a subject or a skill. Gurus share their experiences; it is up to the disciple to pick up excellent points. Disciples are associated with the Guru for a long time. They see all traits of human aspects in the Guru; do not forget that gurus are humans. But teachers are associated with only the teaching aspect; in rare cases, one gets an opportunity like that offered by Mayekar sir or Satyanarayan sir! In rare cases, the teacher becomes a Guru like in the case of Acharekar sir and Sachin Tendulkar. But here, the disciple was an exceptional human being and continued to play cricket all through his life!

 

National Security and Use of Social Media!

The Chinese army has been behaving in a threatening manner in the Galwan area of Ladakh. There acts of last a few weeks culminated in an incident killing twenty-plus Indian soldiers, including a Colonel. The whole world finds it tricky to find the correct information from the Chinese side. But various accounts indicate that forty-plus Chinese soldiers also lost their lives in the skirmish that took place on the 15th of June.

How does one report in such a critical situation? Whose responsibility is it to give the status report? Which reports should be believed? To me, the answer is quite simple. It is the responsibility of the government, based on the information the government gets from the armed forces who are on the battlefront. In the days of Satellite imagery, it is well nigh impossible to hide any information because the images are commercially available to anybody willing to pay for them. The agencies are around the globe, so the government can not ban the agencies from selling the imagery.

With this limitation, the delay in information could only be because of delay in communication from the battlefront- when soldiers are busy in action or a battle, the flow of information has to wait. All the different news agencies have their “sources” in the government and the armed forces. So information keeps on trickling in. The Galwan incident took place unexpectedly. The armies of both nations were having a standoff for quite a few days. The confrontation became a battle; at the time the action was being fought, there would be a complete break in the information flow from the battlefront. Once the action stops, information flow would begin. Then the “sources” come into play. The information would start flowing in FB, WA, Instagram, and all such channels. The videos of the fight between the Chinese and our soldiers, I feel, are also doctored! My logic is simple. Were the soldiers waiting for someone to take out a Sony camera or start his/her cell phone to take a video of their fight?

It is at this juncture we have challenges. Whose “news” should be believed? It is plain and simple. The official news, the bulletins, the messages released by the government agencies are the ones that should be treated as authentic. These are based on the information from the battlefront, discussions with enemy governments.

Our prime minister held a video meeting inviting leaders of opposition parties and Chief Ministers of various states to give a full status report. The meeting was held after about three days of the incident. Most of the participants gave their full support to the government and the armed forces. But there is a particular party who said they support the armed forces. It means they did not support the government, and that party has continued to behave in the same vein. Their leaders give interviews on TV channels and to newspapers. First thing in the morning, their leaders do is to tweet a set of questions to the government in a coercive manner. They challenge the details based on media reports, which includes information from Chinese social media and what the Chinese government has said.

I understand that for some people, politics is “Dhanda”- business. Sometimes I wonder. How some families have tons of money without having ever “to work” like lesser mortals like you and me. Okay, there was inheritance. But the incomes are earned in terms of the days in which you live. When we were in school/college discussion about Rs one lac or a hundred thousand was very rarely in a discussion. The datum then, in recent times, graduated to One crore or ten million. When there was no income for the last seventy years, how the balances keep on fattening? Who gives them money? I never heard certain people paying income tax. So this shows that the money comes from Dhanda.

It is your livelihood, so keep on doing things that will include commenting on anything against the government every day. I am good with that; if you want to spend every day with confrontation, it is an individual choice. But which matters or subjects should be taboo? To me, the defence of the nation is one subject on which all should agree and work together. When you are a senior politician, you have access to everybody in the nation, including the Prime Minister. If you have some doubts about an action taken, or news available, why not check with the right authorities? Why did the ruling and opposition parties not come together and formed an action group or a committee?

When the so-called national parties continue to confront as if everything is normal, the enemy takes advantage of the situation. It spins the propaganda which suits their line of thinking. It starts spreading doubts in the minds of people in our own nation if the government can handle the situation or not. Yesterday there was news that China and we have agreed in principle to make the verifiable disengagement to reduce the tension on the border. How this is achieved may not be disclosed in detail in the public domain for security reasons. There could be some give or take on the stand we have taken. I am sure the army experts know what is negotiable and what is not. But even on this news, the doubting Thomas-es are saying somethings which are simply not acceptable.

Historically, the Hindus and the Hindu nations have been docile. A friend, Shrirang, expressed his anguish aptly while we were discussing this matter on WhatsApp. I am giving below what he wrote verbatim!

Is it that we remain subservient to the Chinese, or maybe some other country, always?

Do we not have any nationalist pride at all? So first Moghuls, then the British and now Chinese?

The effort will be fierce, citizens will have to accept a higher price, but the battle should not be lost in minds.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” … Sun Tzu, Chinese General

Very well said, Shrirang! I am sure these four lines represent the thought of the nation in today’s times. Our thinking in olden days can be shown in two incidents. The Chinese attacked us in 1962. But we as a nation were complacent. We had ammunition factories, but those were busy manufacturing lanterns and coffee percolators. Krishna Menon, the defence minister at that time, had made a statement that we should not waste our resources on manufacturing ammunition. As if coffee percolators were an essential commodity. In 2013 A K Antony, the then defence minister, had made a statement in Loksabha about Aksai Chin. He said, “Not even a blade of grass grows in this area; hence we should not develop any infrastructure there. The infrastructure would help the enemy for rapid movement.”

China was happy with docile Hindu Rashtra, who would pretend as if nothing is happening. China started having problems with India because we have started building that “not needed” infrastructure. They were used to a docile India. Now the India, that has woken up, is not to their liking hence the fight. Chinese are supported in this fight by a group of opposition parties by trying to divide the nation in these tough times.

Are we still having descendants of Raja Jaichand with us? Friends do not start an argument on how Jaichand did something, which was for the betterment of Hindu Rashtra! It is not the question of nationalism or patriotism but self-esteem and self-respect!

Error 404, Page not found! 

canation1

We try to communicate with each other by different means. But the era of communication and thereby miscommunication can be divided into two different times, BI and AI. BI is before the internet, and AI is after the internet! “Error 404, Page not found” is the typical well-known error from AI times. All of us are familiar with this error. When we are looking for something on the computer, there is miscommunication in the systems. The buzzword for this is protocol issues. Whatever we were searching is not loaded; hence the device gives us the message!

Galgali

But it is enjoyable when we use old methods in modern times. A friend was celebrating his birthday yesterday. As I prefer, I called him to wish instead of sending a message like HBD on WhatsApp! All of us are happy when someone calls us to wish on a birthday or to celebrate an achievement. I was standing in the balcony of my condo while talking to him. He lives across my condo about four hundred meters on the opposite side of the road. I am on the seventh floor, and he is on the 9th floor. I jokingly said, “You have never come to my house, but if you were standing in the balcony, I would be able to see you. I am on my balcony.” He does not have a balcony, but he came in the large window of his house. The photo above shows the building where he lives. I have used a zoom lens for the photo- the building is not close as it looks! It was difficult to “see” at such a distance and height. So I told him, “ I will wave a red bandana to you!” I waved it, he saw me and so could I! We were both happy, like children. I simply used time tested method of waving something bright. There we were enjoying the chat and the thought that we could “see” each other in the lockdown times.

I have this seen in Hollywood movies. Two guys not known to each other want to meet. Then one of them would say, “I would wear Red Carnation on the Blue Lapels.” That is the way to send the signal to recognise others. I was wondering why this combination?

It is a common notion among men. The wearing of a flower in one’s lapel is the least used gestures of elegance seen in modern times. Much of this stems from the perception that flowers lie within the domain of the fairer sex. Sean Connery as James Bond would wear this combination.

Carnation

I sometimes wonder how we communicated at all during BI times. In the year 1980, Jaya was in the US for her MS, Sachin, and I lived in India. Jaya would write to me to fix the “meeting” time. We spoke every fifteen days. In her letter, she would confirm the time of her call. I did not have a telephone at home. So I would go to the designated place to receive the call. I know of someone who called his parents twice in about fifteen years from the US in those days. Both the times it was to inform the birth of his children.

Till my Inter-Science in 1967, I was in Mumbai for education. My father was transferred to Jalgaon, and I lived in hostels. After the examination, I decided to take up the engineering course in Pune. I don’t remember how I communicated with my parents. Maybe I shared the information by post!

There was a fancy instrument called telegram used by the post office. You had to go to the post office to send a telegram. Writing a telegram was also an art. The charges depended on the number of words use. There was regular and urgent telegram. In those days, getting a telegram was mostly connected with bad news. On some occasions, you got a telegram informing that you passed a particular competitive exam with flying colours. Also, ran like me were guaranteed never to receive such telegrams. The information in a telegram was communicated by using Morse code. For those who have forgotten about Morse code, here is the definition.

carnation2

Morse code is a character encoding scheme used in telecommunication that encodes text characters as standardised sequences of two different signal durations called dots and dashes or dits and dahs. Morse code is named for Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph.

It reminds me of a couple of historical incidents.

Siddhi Johar led the Bijapuri force. Discovering Shivaji’s location, Johar laid siege to Panhala fort. Netaji Palkar made repeated attempts to break the Bijapuri siege from outside but failed.

Shivaji, Baji Prabhu Deshpande with a select band of troops, decided to attempt to break through the siege at night and make for  Vishalgad. To deceive the Bijapuri forces, who would give a chase once they found that Shivaji had broken the blockade, Shiva Nhavi, volunteered to dress like the king and let himself be captured.

On a stormy full moon’s night (Ashadh Purnima), a band of 600 selectmen, led by Baji Prabhu and Shivaji, broke through the siege. The Bijapuri force hotly pursued them. As planned, Shiva Nhavi allowed himself to be captured and taken back to the Bijapuri camp, fully comprehending that he would be put to death once the charade was discovered. This sacrifice, however, gave the fleeing Maratha force some breathing space. Shivaji escaped ahead, and Bajirao and his me kept fighting the suicide mission. The firing of three cannon volleys signalled Shivaji’s safe journey to Vishalgadh.

Narayanrao Peshwa was killed because of the forgery in communication in the communication given to his captors. The message was in Marathi – “नारायणरावांना धरा.” It was changed by his aunt Anandibai to मारा instead of धरा. The infamous treacherous act from Peshwa history is known as “ध चा मा”; the meaning of the message was changed from धरा meaning HOLD to मारा kill! A change in a single alphabet led to the killing of Narayanrao Peshwa.

I meandered from my waving of the red bandana to older methods of communications. But it is fun to delve into older techniques. Now, of course, communication methods have changed. But one issue scientists have not overcome. When the spaceships go to the backside of the Moon, called dark side, the communication stops!

Communication methods return the same as fashion, at least name wise. In the stone age, we used to write on walls; now we report on the Facebook wall! We used morse code but now use the technique of one missed call- “I am late”! Two missed calls- “I have come!” Three missed calls- I have cancelled!”

The human brain is innovative and keeps on finding new ways of communicating. Police still use a good old wireless walkie talkie. HAM radio usage is almost gone after the invention of the Satellite phone. But some people always keep on celebrating technology among the closed group. Probably it is for the old times’ sake.

Blind Men and an Elephant! 

Blind-Man-and-the-Elephant

 

Indians are known as argumentative Indians. 1.3 billion population have 13 billion opinions on any subject. The WhatsApp university has created many experts in India; so, all people on the globe except Indians can retire for life. We will run all the governments in the world. We have solutions for everything.

The current situation created by the pandemic was an unforeseen one. No society or a nation could be prepared for such events. Even before the epidemic, India and the whole world was moving towards a significant cyclic recession. The lockdown appeared to be the only solution to delay the spread of the pandemic and gain time to create infrastructure. India has done well compared to many other nations. Now is the time for our nation to come out of dire straits in which we find ourselves.

Every nation has come out with policies. These are declared in terms of the % of the GDP. The size of the package for each nation would be proportional to the size of the GDP. Governments and families try to work within their means. We buy a car after we have saved money for rainy days. Governments are also expected to do the same. When we have an emergency in our home, we borrow money from friends, relatives irrespective of our savings. We take personal loans from banks and against credit cards. It brings severe restrictions on our spending in future as we have borrowed the “future” money. We make the funds available, somehow.

Nations are no different. The economic package is a necessity created by the emergency called pandemic! Countries borrow from various agencies for the future, as the families do. People, political parties have different views of how the money should be made available to different strata of the economy. There has been a lot of discussion going on about this issue. Now you will understand the title of the blog, Blind Men and the Elephant.

When a group of a few economists discuss the finances of a nation, there are different views. But they are experts with different views. Other people, like politicians and common persons,  express opinions as per their experience and knowledge. But ideas are discussed by people of all political hues; it becomes an exercise in mudslinging. But it is okay if they have some expertise. But usually, we find that most people fit the definition by blind men as far as this subject is concerned. They simply throw words based on their poor understanding of the issue. One of the panellists made a statement that the US government put Rs 26000/ in the pocket of each poor American. When the anchor said that there is something wrong in the panellists’ information, the panellist said, “I have read everything on the subject, so you, please do not teach me!” So much for the knowledge.

I have seen the interview of IMF India director Surjit Bhalla on Times Now.

https://www.timesnownews.com/videos/times-now/india/top-economist-surjit-bhalla-on-modi-bailout-package-india-revival-mission/61423

The interview thoroughly explains the subject. Since Bhalla is an Indian, he may have political inclinations. But these are inclinations, and these are very discrete. When asked about politicians, he said let them do their job!  He has said that on the IMF site all the economic packages of different nations are explained. In size, the Indian package comes within the first three nations. The packages of all the countries have about 5 % fiscal component, and the rest are monetary. He was asked why the Indian government is not putting money directly in the pockets of the poor. He said that during the 2008 recession, this was done and led to inflation up to 13% in India. No nation is giving direct money to people to avoid inflation. In India, people are getting grain and food instead, plus some cash. By making ration card portable, they have removed the main bottleneck from the system.

Manufacturing, trade, transport everything stopped. On top of that, a sizable number of migrant workers wanted to go “home”. At their “homes” too no work is available. The first step is to help migrants reach home safely. The government has an ominous task of restarting the whole nation. At the same time, boosting the morale of the populace is also essential.

The government must control the pandemic on one side, with a chance that there could be a second and third wave later. On the other side, it must start financial activities too! Manufacture and trade must begin. But poor people have the issue that they do not have money because they do not have savings. Their life is dependent on their day to day earnings. Now, this is the paradox.

Blind men and elephant appropriately describe the current situations. Most of the people understand only their part. Someone calls the elephant a rope and other person calls it a fan. It seems like a wall, and to others, it is like a pillar. Teeth feel like some tool! Majority discussing this problem explains as if they are know-alls. But all they know is only a part of the problem. Each know-all giving solution based on if it is a fan or a rope. Even financial experts are trying their best to get the hang of the situation.

There is another pandemic in this world! That is a pandemic called “decide your own fact- courtesy the internet!” On searching something, you get many different results. People declare different things as a fact as per their knowledge and “Whatever suits you!”

It is a typical chicken and egg situation, and there are two sides to any economy: the demand side and supply side. Demand-side is what you and I buy. Supply-side is what is manufactured and made available for sell.

Both sides are in trouble. On demand-side vast majority do not have money in hand, but the government is trying to give them some cash plus ration. Ration card can help people buy stuff wherever they are currently staying. The government needs to provide support to people until the supply-side engine starts. When supply-side starts, people will get jobs and salaries. Then the demand will get generated.

But supply-side is also short of funds. Government is trying to support them by various packages. They are changing specific laws which will make borrowing money for business easier. The government will allow banks to advance loans to businesses without collaterals and bank guarantee. The government will be its guarantors. The government calls them pre-sanctioned loans.

All these things are going to take 2/3 months. Then there is a question of some vendors being in the red zone. They cannot supply components to large manufacturers. The supply-side engine is also going to take some time to work in full swing. There are many sectors on the business side. Each one is going to ask for more and more support.

Though most are happy about the packages, there will be some who will remain unhappy, always. Some are saying give us money, not loans. These are the people who are going to keep on grumbling.

It is a tricky situation, and there will be divergent views. Looking for the path ahead is like driving a train through a heavy fog. The train must go slowly to avoid accidents.

In this unprecedented situation, both government and we are having a tough time. We need to work together and find a solution. Do not look at the problem from a myopic viewpoint! It is not going to be easy, and if the waves of the pandemic repeat, then there will be proverbial red signals on our way!

 

Turn it into an opportunity! 

 

It is said that happiness is a trait that comes down to you genetically. It affects 50% of our ability to remain happy. Remaining 50% is what you learn in your life. Even if 20% ability to be happy is under your control, try to optimise it. If you consider yourself to be a victim of circumstances, then you will never understand what happiness is. We end up saying “Happiness is something which I cannot understand.” But you are not bankrupt, and you have that 20% ability; use it.

In the so-called regular times, those who tend to get depressed, sometimes binge-eat. In today’s times, people binge on social media; and the majority are making a mistake of being a lot on social media. It is like they are eating “social junk food”. Research says that you get lonelier, the more you use social media. Those “friends” are no real friends. When humans have eye contact or touch each other, it stimulates Oxytocin to get secreted in our brain. Please note that this is the Happiness chemical. Should I stop using social media? Should I throw away the screen from my life? Then what do I do? I will go crazy. My statement has created at least some excitement in your mind, though, of the wrong kind.

Use your Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WA video calling. You can see the faces. If you have a meeting of 4/5 people, the chances of being happy are more, instead of binge chatting on WhatsApp groups. Once your text chatting is over, you are likely to feel gloomy; what do I do next, I have already sent many forwards. I have seen that on these groups if someone shares a thought-provoking item or a story, people ignore, generally. They try to take up easy way out by trying to solve puzzles. Puzzles do have an important role to play, but do all puzzles activate your grey cells? If you take Google help to solve puzzles..

There are many ways of keeping yourself busy during these tough isolation times. Meditation, Yoga, Inhouse jogging (in front of the mirror) or walking in your home can be some of them. But don’t go for walks on the road, gardens or hills. Viruses tend to be anywhere though we might think that these don’t come in your isolated colonies. The other day, on my way back after visiting a doctor, I saw four seventy plus people in a high-end locality, taking their evening walk. Oh, rules are for hoi polloi, not us! Oh, and my maid is somehow managing to come for work. How can mem Saab do this manual work? I can’t force the maid not to come. I am paying her the salary, anyway! There is no rule that maids are not allowed in our locality! Excuses galore! Social distancing, only milk walla in the society, leaving bags at the gate, Not for me!

In Pune, people have found a new way of exercising. They go out for walks and get caught by the police. Police make these 50 /70 people stand to keep social distancing and force them to exercise, which could be different than what you like. I have seen a photograph in which those not wearing masks were asked to remove their T-shirt and use it as a mask! 🙂🙂

These tough times create anxiety in the minds of people for two reasons, uncertainty and loneliness. We forget that life is uncertain otherwise, too! When you are in a happy state of mind the life’s unpredictability is masked, and we feel confident that ten years hence your business would have grown by leaps and bound; or you would become the general manager. Your children will be settled, and finally, you and your wife will become globe trotters. In our fables, we have a famous one about Shaikh Mohamad. Such daydreaming is called Shaikh Mohammadi! Certainty makes us feel secure and safe, falsely.

I read an important saying for fearful people. “I don’t know what the future will bring. But I do know that I am alive and well right now. It is a God-given gift to me, and I will not waste it.”

About loneliness, I have already explained how social media binging increases loneliness. In Indian culture, we rarely say, “I Love You” except when you are with your beloved, at a young age. We never say it to our parents, children and siblings. Why not say “I love you.” I am sure it will give a great feeling of closeness and take away loneliness and anxieties. In the case of your close friends, they are your second set of relatives; you can say to them, “I like you.”  We have these feelings in our minds, but we are trained not to express ourselves right from childhood.

Another way of feeling happy is to do something different. That different need not be something fancy like painting, creative workshops etc. Under the Indian context, the lockdown has brought in a significant change in our lives. Many families have a maid or two for cleaning of homes, washing of clothes and utensils. We have gardeners to water the plants. With lockdown, we need to do all this work. Do not do it with creases on your forehead. Enjoy doing this work. The logic is quite simple; the work must be completed anyway. Is a sour face or creases on the forehead going to work? Do it responsibly. The family should decide who should do which work, and there should be no further discussion on this subject, ever.

Time has slowed down. Will you ever get such an opportunity in your life again? Take advantage and hit that sixer over the point boundary. Introspect, plan to do things for which you never get enough time. It could be looking at old photos, getting in touch with friends, doing home chores with fun; after all, it is your home.

In these tough times, I hear stories of educated families having small parties. Oh, we are just visiting my brother. The virus does not know brothers, sisters, cousins, and a man or a woman. It is impartial.

So, try to be a responsible citizen of this world. The bug spreads not only in your neighbourhood but could become a vehicle for spread all over the world. Simply follow guidelines and rules and hit the virus for a six!

What’s Up, Folks! 

In today’s times, it will look like wrong use of the phrase! People talk more on WhatsApp and Facebook, social media. What’s Up, Folks! It is a phrase we use when you meet someone face to face. Meeting face to face is equally alien-like someone not having FB/WA account or not having cell phone itself. It is a revolution which was not foreseen even fifteen years back. But significant hardware changes and the infrastructural changes in the Internet have made this possible. That has led to the formation of WhatsApp University, but it could be FB University as well!

I now find that some secret writers have come up like mushrooms on these Universities. They write long essays on various subjects; they also write “treaties” and attribute them to well-known personalities. We have no shortage of gullible people. These write-ups start circulating, there are discussions, there are comments. It goes on and on and on.

The thing about some of these long essays is that the language used is reasonably good. The writings are logical, but in most cases, these are written by invisible people. The recent one about Mr Ratan Tata is a case which fits the bill. Finally, Mr Tata declared that he has not written the article. I have doubts in my mind whether Mr Tata wrote both the original write-up and the denial. Tata group donated Rs 1500/ crores to the various funds to fight the current pandemic. The philanthropic role played by the Tata group, in the development of India is too well known to be discussed here. Tata group has been a visionary, the founder Jamshedji Tata and later J R D Tata have shown the pathbreaking ways to the group. Mr Ratan Tata has ably continued the legacy. FB/WA university has its favourites. Wipro donated Rs 1150/ crore, L&T Rs 500/ crores plus they will keep on paying Rs.500/ cores a month to their contract workers till the lockdown lasts. These names somehow are not in circulation.

Some people are intelligent, sensible and keen to do social service to benefit the society. I salute such people. They create NGO’s, they form pressure groups and create pressure on the governments to rethink on many projects such as urban mobility, large dams, and so on. They push authorities to ensure that our hills and trees are not destroyed blatantly. I have a friend who fits the bill. But it appears that recently he has started calling himself an activist. What is the difference between a person doing social service and a social activist? Jaya described it very well. When she was chatting with this friend during dinner at a party, he said that he had become an activist. Jaya said, “Oh! It means your life has become easier; you do not have to deliver anything. No deliverables, just oppose and criticise.” He was upset and walked away. It hurts when you get shot in the bull’s eye.

I will share some more things about the friend mentioned above. He is on the FB university and looks like he has become a chair professor! He has been writing a lot of stuff on FB and forwarding articles or videos. In the current scenario of the pandemic, the nerves of people in society are frayed. His “friends” from a group of highly intelligent individuals don’t like the tack he is taking these days on critical subjects. But our friend is actively pushing his ways; some friends have started saying that he has an agenda. Matters reached an ugly stage, and most of his friends from that group regularly bashed him up. The situation became nasty and bloody, and I do not like it. I read these exchanges and do not like the way it is happening. But had these attacks been sober, I may have agreed with his friends. He claims that he does not care what others say. But friends let me tell you. It hurts, especially when people saying such stuff are known to you for years. Why he is doing it, I am not sure! But since last one week, he has stopped writing those tricky things on FB. I am all for freedom of expression, democracy and liberal thoughts. But when so many other intelligent people oppose your ideas, you cannot call them Hitler’s troops.

Then some activists have no technical knowledge of the subject; the subject can be a large dam, or national highway or a large chemical plant. There are always pluses and minuses in these discussions. But somehow these people fail to direct their activism in the right direction. Almost 45 to 50 years back Mr S L Kirloskar had asked a rhetoric question when in Pune road widening had started. Are the trees for us or we are there for trees? He suggested planting a lot of trees that could replace damaged trees in road widening.

Some of these mysterious writers have a penchant for digging out real-life and mythological stories. They link these stories with current technology and write stories of how our culture was ahead in science. We were ahead of the whole world in everything. There was an exciting story on WA about Ramdas Swami, Shivaji’s Guru. The story was about how Swamiji chose Shivthar Ghal, a valley,  to settle and wrote Dasbodh, famous treaties. The story had one Professor Bhopale. He went and took readings in that area and had a bank of modern equipment. Professor explains using a few technical words and reveals to us how no signal reached Shivthar Ghal. Then the story tells us how Ramdas Swami had this knowledge about Electrical signals. Swami selected the Ghal so that he could write Dasbodh in peace. No disturbance would be there whatsoever. These people had started a website on the subject, and some techno expert would reply, refuting all the probing questions. Come on, friends we all know that you don’t get electrical signals in some mountain areas, tunnels or inside the large buildings. The writer wanted to prove such claims to the gullible people in our society, and they succeeded to some extent. Why people do these things, I am not sure. There appears to be no way of making some money out of this scam. I still don’t know why this is done!

People have been sending write-ups in the name of Nana Patekar, Pu La Deshpande, Shivaji Maharaj and many such famous people. A recent addition to that list has been Ratan Tata. My friend Sudhakar is an expert on Pu La Deshpande literature. He quickly can find the fraud shared by these “ghost” writers. I am not sure why people do such things? Probably people have that hidden talent within them; what they write is good quality stuff but not ghost-written for celebrities, but pushed under their name. Some of them are long pieces and must be taking a great effort. I  rarely find any grammatical or spelling mistakes in them. Friends, could you share with me the logic behind making such efforts? To end, I will share one interesting story.

An individual called me one day. He started praising my blog writing. I jokingly told him, “Okay, I will give you a treat, but come to the point.” He said he would give me a subject every month. I should write a blog on that subject. I laughed and said, “I am yet to start “dial a blog service”, but still why do you want me to write.” He said, “You are a magnificent blogger. I will get your blog translated in Marathi, get your approval. Then I will make sure that the blog reached at least a hundred thousand people.” He definitely had some agenda (I know what it was), but I passed! I don’t want my blogs to be force circulated.

Does someone get stories mentioned above written from someone with an agenda? Please share those with me. I would love to read them; some have a good style!

Bad news is always true, sadly! A Tribute!

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-02 at 11.08.48

Our thinking changes as we mature, at least we think so. When talking to younger people, we say “Oh! I have seen many deaths! You learn to take them in stride as you grow older and mature!” Both right and wrong! Probably what we learn over a period is to overcome the same earlier than other people.

Ullya phoned me last night to check if I knew that Ramya had died in the evening. (Pardon the pet names- we have been using these for more than fifty years so changing that habit is going to difficult.) Ramya is Ramesh Purandare; he passed out of the Electrical Engineering course with us.  Ramya was a friend, but then he was a friend to all. He lived in Sadashiv Peth while in college, and we knew his elder brother Suresh too. Ramesh was our teammate from the softball team. He made all his career in Pune in a company called Mark Elektrics and was their GM.  Vijay, another friend got in touch with the company to get his photo. They shared some photos and other details about him immediately.

 

Today morning when I woke up, I had another three messages from friends who were in our softball team. As per the blog title, the news proved to be true! It made me sad, but at the same time, I went into a reverie! With this, I went back fifty years and remembered my COEP and hostel days. So, pardon me for the second time using the short or pet names!

Ramya was a jovial person, and he had a quicksilver mind. He used to make a pun (not fun) while chatting. We had two or three locations in our college where groups used to have the adda going between two lectures; many times, the sessions continued during lectures too! Ramya had acted in a famous drama called “Zopi Gelela Jaga Zala.” He had played the role of a Parsee gentleman. It was in our college gathering. He had performed well for an amateur. A minor coincidence! I had played the same role in the drama ten years later in our Colony Ganapati festival.

While playing softball, Ramya was aggressive. He used to be the catcher and would control the game by guiding others to perform. He had a clear view of the field, as he was the catcher. But he had a good judgement of what was happening in the game. We would change the tactics in between as per his suggestions. Once in a match, I dropped two catches one after another! He came running to me and said, “Panya, don’t worry, it can happen to the best. Be a little patient, and your confidence will come back.” We finally won that match. Usually aggressive, Ramya was soft and patient with me on my bad day!

When Ramya was in any group, there would always be laughter! He had stories to tell. He would sometimes share stories of how he had goofed up and would laugh about it.

Taking forward my argument about becoming mature in the face of death, I would say that in most of the cases, it is true. But when some close friend from college days dies it hits you. It would be bravado when I say that I can easily handle Ramya’s death. Ramya and I infrequently met after college days, as typically happens. Both of us had settled in Pune, but we were all busy making our careers and raising our families. I would get updates about him from common friends.

Different people handle such situations differently. I had shared the top photo on our WhatsApp group. Sharya, my roommate in the hostel days reacted with a comment, “This is not Ramya as I remember. Will someone forward his picture from Modern cafe where we used to meet. RIP RAMYA! With cancer, Panya has reported I think he has escaped the sufferings and that is what we expect.”

I replied to Sharya, “Sharya whether we like it or not, the years take their toll! I only met Ramya a couple of times in the last 15 years or so. Before that, I went to his office whenever I was on that side. Changes do take place in everyone, but your memory recalled the time when you last saw him , i.e. when we were in college! We also change, but we don’t realise it.”

I remember an incident when my mother died years back. A nephew of mine lives in the US. When we called him to inform him about the death, he just would not accept it. For about seven/eight years, he had not come to India. He said, “Oh, come on! How could she die? She was so healthy and looked hale and hearty!” I told him, “Buddy since you last saw her, she had become weak and had become frailer. She did have some health issues, and she was tapering off!” Finally, he accepted death. Sharya’s response was something similar. He could not imagine that Ramya was also seventy plus and his photo appears to have been taken after his first cancer treatment which had taken toll of his body.

There are some cynical “rascals” of friends. ( I am using the word rascals in the good sense) They were actually shaken but were trying to show bravado by making some funny and awkward jokes. Ramya would have laughed loudly at those jokes.

Ramya, buddy, what was the hurry to go? But I know that you were a disciplined person. When HE called, you must have just said to near ones, “Ok, HE has called me. I need to go!” I know that you must have gone through a lot of pains for the last couple of years. Chemo and Radiations do batter one’s body! (Probably you were not aware that I had gone through the same treatment six years back) If I had known about your illness, I would come to share with you my experiences. We could have discussed some strategy on the home turf! In that field Ramya, I was more senior to you!

I got all the final details from our common friend Dipya. Ramya I am sure you faced the onslaught bravely. We sports persons are used to victory and loss. But in the final “call” there is loss as far as others are concerned. But you must have accepted it bravely. I am sure, if we had been in touch, you would have told me, “Panyaaa, don’t you come for the final rites with pandemic around.”

The philosophers always say that you come alone in this world and go back alone. Ramya you followed the philosophy to the last T! None of your friends could come to see you merge with HIM! Come on, man, you chose a slightly wrong time to go. You had hundreds of friends, but none could say bye-bye to you for the final time!

Don’t worry all of us are outwardly trying to show that we are brave, but in solitude, you know what will happen!

Relentless Life Cycle!

When our children were younger, we would tell them that “Thandi Baba” ( a mythical figure) will come if you do not go to sleep now, or some such statement. Every family has its version of Thandi Baba. But now the latest version of Thandi Baba is threatening the whole world. People are worried; people are skeptical about life! Life always moves forward in a sinusoidal waveform. There are ups, and there are downs. But the current situation is such that we seem to have forgotten this concept. People are thinking that the current situation is going to last forever. Internet, FB, Smartphones and WhatsApp appeared in that particular order. These things completely changed our life. When these are active about a subject, we feel that it is the only subject in the world.

Even 50 to 70 years back, the information remained locked within countries. We hardly knew anything about the western world; western world anyway was the least bothered about us. Now those with smartphones have the whole world in their hands, literally. We get all the information live, 24/7!

sine_wave

Back to the sinusoidal wave! Why are we so much worried about the current situation? We had second world war going between 1939 and 1945. Though Indian soldiers fought on behalf of the British, except for far east India, the heat of that war did not reach us. On top of that, we were under British rule. We had our worries about the British Raj. But Europe, Russia, the US and Japan had borne the brunt of world war II. Are our fears about the pandemic unrealistic? How many deaths will be there in the worst-case scenario?

Estimates for the total casualties of World War II suggest that some 60 million people died in the world war II, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians. Many civilians died because of disease, starvation, massacres, bombing and deliberate genocide. In Hiroshima, when the bomb was dropped, 1.4 lac people were killed and more by after-effects. The same figures in Nagasaki were 78 thousand, and more later due to after-effects. But these were all human-made horrors. The current one is invisible- it is Thandi baba!

It took years for the world to know the real death figures. Just imagine that the internet and TV were available in those times. Rumours and fear would have killed many more people. Friends, have we forgotten that there are peaks and troughs in life? The current one is a longish trough in our life. So why not have a relook at life? Every day, we are getting the treat of bird’s chirping for a long time. We can hear them till they are either bored or tired! As the traffic is low, the pollution levels have gone down in the cities. Life is good for retirees like me. It is not a must that we go somewhere. Life is healthy except that we can’t go out anywhere. You will ask me why it is healthy? With maids not able to come for work, all their work is shared by Jaya and me. There are life’s lessons available if you want to take them. If you are cleaning the floor, you move forward, but while wiping the floor with a mop, you move backwards. You will learn to take life as it comes! Wiping the floor can not be done moving forward! 🙂🙂

Have we forgotten that there are ups? I distinctly remember what happened to me in 2013. I was detected with Cancer, end 2013; treatment of Immunotherapy and 34 radiations were needed. That was a deep trough in my life. But in parallel, there was a high peak of happiness. Our granddaughter was born in the same time frame. We had enjoyed her arrival, that brought us the biggest joy. That joy continues even today

We all live through life with ups and downs, but particular troughs, deeply scar us. For example, second world war holocaust. Hitler and his Nazis killed more than 6 million. It is the conservative figure of the number of Jews who were killed. These scars have damaged the Jewish race permanently. The only reason the Nazis killed was that they were Jews.

World history has known that the war’s start and end. There are deaths, and there is destruction. It happens for a specific period. But the current scourge is such that people do not know how long it will last. Another thing it has done is that it is covering the whole world. There is no geographic limit for the spread. A most crucial aspect of the scourge is that there is no known cure. Okay, by no means it can be called a killer disease. But since there is no known cure, some nations, including India, have found that the social distancing and full lockdown of the country is the only solution. India’s current lockdown period is till 15th April, but nobody is sure if it is going to be adequate. The total lockdown has stopped all businesses, factories and trade, except those that come under essential services. All buses, trains and flights have been suspended. So everybody has to stay at home. We can see only so much of TV, surf the internet for a certain amount of time. You can’t intermingle with friends and neighbours; those who cannot work from home for reasons specific to the nature of work, have nothing to do. We spend almost ten hours of daytime at work. It is not easy! But is there any option?

The most unexpected collateral damage is the reverse migration of daily wage earners from big cities. These people are not sure how long the current situation is going to last. These people fear that they will have no place to live, no work, no money and hence no food. People in droves have started walking back to their homes in villages. From yesterday the government has changed the rule for a short duration and to provide these people transportation back home. Unfortunately, the situation at home is also not going to be different. But the migration is more due to the emotional pull. They would prefer to be at home in such a situation.

It is the relentless bombarding of the information, news, tables, charts and graphs that can depress anybody. In today’s time, we don’t even know which of the data, papers reaching you are false. The other day, I received a twenty-page report created by someone from Johns Hopkins Hospital. (It was found to be fake) Some websites are giving yeomen service to us by checking which of such papers are fake. The report gave such a bleak picture that anybody could get depressed.

Why do people go to such extent to spread rumours? Our neighbour went through major surgery. Because of the current condition, her supporting staff is not there to help her. Jaya phones her every day and offers her to cook something for her. Yesterday while talking, she told Jaya not visit her till 3rd April because her astrologer has said to her that starting from 30th March till 3rd April, all the constellations will be in a wrong position. It can be harmful to her health. So be it! (BTW her astrologer is from the WhatsApp University) It is another way of spreading rumours inadvertently, simply because the lady believes in such stuff.

Friends, talk to each other. No situation in this world lasts forever. Good things will be back. There could be a big financial shock until the situation changes. The world is going to take years to come out of this. But there is no fear like dropping of Atom Bomb when large population died in an instant. The war against the scourge will be won at some stage. But it is the economic war that the world should be worried. That time frame could be like that of second world war five to six years, if not longer. All businesses, large, medium and small are going to pass through a churn. But we humans are fighters; we always win in the end. There will be no Superman or Hanuman to help us. It is the massive efforts of the human race, that will take us to a peak of happiness!

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.

BigB2

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.com/maps/timeline?…

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:

myactivity.google.com/myactivity

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.com/settings/ads/

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:

security.google.com/settings/secur…

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:

youtube.com/feed/history/s…

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!

BigB1

 

Are we ready? 

The year is 2029. The family is eagerly awaiting the birth of the child in the family. As the time comes nearer, the lady is in the labour room. Finally, a baby girl is born. The doctors give a couple of pats on her bottom, and she starts crying. All is well! Everybody is happy and thrilled. The waiting family takes a look at the baby girl who is naturally crying. Doctors tell the family that once the baby starts sucking the mothers breast, she will stop cryingThe baby sucks and stops after fifteen minutes. The mother hopes that she will finally be able to sleep at least for some time.  

But no, the baby starts crying again. An hour passes, but she doesn’t stop crying. Finally, they call the paediatrician again. Doctors phone rings while she is checking the baby. Two-three rings of Mozart’s Allegro 5 and the baby stops crying. The baby stops crying instantly. She is a smart doctor. She asks the mother, “Did you listen to a lot of Jazz during pregnancy?” The mother smiles. The doctor says, “Put some music on when the baby cries non-stop. She is used to your heartbeats and the Jazz. Buy a pair of headphones for the baby too!”  

Okay, this is fantasy but nothing surprising. In the last two decades, our lifestyle has completely changed. WWW, Internet, Social media have touched our life everywhere. Where it will reach in the future, we do not know. In the first decade, we felt that it is okay for senior citizens to stay away from these things. But the rapid proliferation of cell phones has changed many things.  

Bill Gates had made some predictions in 1999. All of them have become reality in the two decades. 

https://www.businessinsider.in/Bill-Gates-made-these-15-predictions-in-1999-its-scary-how-accurate-he-was/11-Online-discussion-boards/slideshow/47090642.cms 

It is both scary and fascinating at the same time. It shows his visionIt shows his smart thinking. Not bad for a college dropout- don’t forget that he was admitted to Harvard before he dropped out.  

The most surprising aspect is that Microsoft is the only company that has remained in the top ten performing companies list during this continuous transition period. They had products with them which were futureready. They were required to make changes to suit the changes in hardware and internet speeds. Their top products are the operating system (they lost out to Google on Cellphone OS), Office needs no introduction. They have gone towards cloud computing using Azure. They are offering storage- free as well as paid using one drive. We talk of Google when we search on the web. But you may not be aware that Bing, the Microsoft search engine, is used by Facebook.  My prediction is that Microsoft will be a top performer in the coming decade too.  

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other chat sites had a phenomenal growth during the last decade. But I feel that they have reached their plateau. Now future growth could be average, or they will face fierce competition. Honestly, I don’t know who those competitors will be. 

Finance and banking sector will change drastically in the coming decade. I had two diametrically opposite experiences in the last fifteen days. I had made a couple of iTwitternvestments in equity and Mutual fund. I wanted to redeem both of them. For the mutual fund investment, I had to go to their office physically, wait till my turn came. My work was finished in ten minutes. But I had to travel for about two hours. Whereas in the equity-based investment, my experience was different. 

To begin with, I found out that the management had changed and the name of the company was different. I could locate my portfolio without logging in based on PAN number. I was wondering about the next step, and I saw the button “Call me”! I entered my cell number, and lo I got the callback within in minute, at 8 pm. The person guided me through the procedure; my user id was an extinct email id. He changed it for me online to my present email id recorded with them. I redeemed my investment in ten minutes again, but the system helped me to eliminate the two-hour travel. 

I bought an internet TV recently. Well, internet TV is a TV which is connected to the internet. So, there are distinct advantages. Jaya’s and my cell phones are of the same make as TV. In a zip, they have become additional remote controls. I have not bought Alexa, but finally, now someone in the house listens to me, the TV. Thanks to Google assistant (OS on the TV is Android) I can instruct the TV to do a few things.  

Am I getting too techy? But friends the world is becoming techy to help us perform our day to day things. No point in remaining away from these things. Take help of your grandchildren if required. My six-year-old granddaughter Rhea was talking to us on WhatsApp video call. Suddenly she said, hold on for a moment. I was wondering what she was going to do next. She said, “Now let’s group chat, I have taken so and so on the call.” Thank you, Rhea! 🙂🙂 

What I see in future is that we will have to use the technology, whether we like it or not. Traffic police stop you and ask you for the documents. Now you can’t carry all the original documents in the car. If the vehicle gets stolen along with the papers, god bless you! So, what is the alternative? Well, whether you are twenty or seventy, you need to show the documents like License, the RC book and maybe Vehicle Insurance policy. Simple it is. Open your Digi locker on your cell phone and display all these documents. It is now legal to show the documents on Digi locker. I was coming by an Uber one day. While chatting with the driver, he told me, “A policeman stopped me for a minor traffic dispute. I showed the license to him. He took it away and returned it after fifteen days; I could not use my taxi for those fifteen days.” When I told him about Digi locker, he was thrilled.  

But don’t forget that technology can make mistakes too! A technological error saved the world recently from major conflict. Yes, I am talking of Iran shooting down Ukrainian commercial aircraft. Iranian radar system made an error in judging if it were enemy aircraft or a neutral aircraft. The conflict was saved at the cost of 172 innocent people.  

Technology will have different effects in future. Technology will handle remote car repairs, and you will have driverless cars. But the similar technology will run Uber and Ola. So, people may buy fewer cars. Electrical Vehicles will turn the car business on ithead because twenty parts will replace 2000 parts from the drivetrain. Technology will help invent new drugs and investigation tools. It will bring down the death rate, but technology will make humans redundant in some areas. So many areas, jobs will not be created but will be lost! 

But you and I cannot prevent technological development, newer and better technologies. So, the right idea is to keep abreast with new stuff and start using it. It is no surprise that four-year kids take photos on cell phones, and do many other things. I am sure that in future eighty five-year-olds also will also use technology for everything.