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What if God was one of us….

What if God was one of us,
Just a slob like one of us.
Just a stranger on the bus,
What if God was one of us ?

— Lyrics of Song from Joan Osbome . Watch the song on You Tube here

As uncanny and as thought provoking the song may be, imagine another thought provoking scenario-  Among all of us on this earth, YOU are given the privilege to be GOD?

Lucky You!! Or so it seems at the first instant. For however exciting the opportunity sounds, it comes with its set of unique dilemmas. For starters, there are so many Gods in this world, .so which God to be?  Without a doubt you deserve the best (after all , you are God). So why be any other God and why not be the best God?

So the dilemma now reshapes itself into – To find which God is the best? Your dilemma is made even more difficult when you realize that you cannot approach anyone for advice. After all, every person would claim that the God he/she follows is the best God.

After realizing that your Social Network will not be able to help you out on this one, you decide to try your hands at History only to discover that human history is tainted with the loss of countless lives in an attempt to put one God better than the other. But amidst all this bloodshed, History still fails to point toward a Supreme God among other Gods.

Keeping History books into history, you decide to research a modern text. Maybe modern analysis can solve your dilemma .You get hold of the book, If world were a Village. The book tells you that if on this earth there were only 100 people — 33 would be Christians, 18 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 16 Non Religious, 6 Buddhists and 13 followers of other religions.

Aha! This gives some pointers. Should you become the God which most people follow? But does this line of thought not imply that the lesser followed Gods are the lesser Gods? Doubtful of this hypothesis, you lunge into the field of Sales expecting to see some light. But alas, as you feared, Sales teaches you that there is no definite relationship pattern between the numbers of consumers of a product and the quality of that product. There are many other parameters which collectively affect the end users choice. So you realize that the parameter ‘Number of followers of a God ‘ is not a sufficient one to choose The God among Gods. (I told you at the start, it won’t be an easy problem solve)

Perplexed by your dilemma, you come up with an exhaustive solution – Study about each God that there is and then decide which God is the Numero Uno!. As comprehensive as  the idea sounds ,let me warn you  it is not a practical one. Just to give you the reason behind my apprehension , when you would reach Buddhism in your study, you will find the Buddha has 32 avatars. So you have to 32 avatars to understand the Buddha.  Oh! What do you say – 32 is not such a big number. You can study the 32 avatars. Okay, But thrn let me tell you about Hinduism, The total Gods in Hinduism is 330000. By the time you would complete the study of their life, your life would be completed.. Case closed!

You seem to be a bit lost now with all these approaches failing to give you an answer. Let me suggest you a compromise – Instead of choosing the best God , let us only decide to choose the best religion. It seems a more manageable prospect. It is also very closely related to the initial dilemma – after all , it was God only who gave religion to men and women ( Or was it  the other way round ? Let’s not dwell into it , we have work to do ).

And on top of other things, your decision would  also help the whole human race. The whole race has been fighting among themselves for ages  to prove their religion as supreme, May you can decide for them and settle the issue once and for all, And they are sure to agree with your decision ( after all  you are God 1 )So let us work together and try to list down the major teachings of the various religions of the world. Then we will try to categorize the teaching into some categories so that we can analyse them in detail.

So let’s get to work ………………………..

And there!!, we have the table ready below. Now all we need to do is analyse and pick out the best religion.

Yes, my friend, I am as shocked as you are — All the religions teach the exact same things via their respective Gods and via their own respective means ??!!
But why then have humans been fighting among themselves since time immemorial l to prove that their religion and their God is better than the religion and God of others? Apologies my friend, I have no idea how to answer this new dilemma. But I have a feeling that the day every human starts taking the trouble to ponder over this question, the world would be a better place. Do you share the same feeling my friend?

What if god was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the Pope maybe in Rome

Aqua Opinion

The boy looks at the fish in the aquarium.
The fish looks at the boy.from the aquarium
The boy expresses his opinion and the fish listens.
The fish expresses its opinion and the boy listens………………..

The opinion of the boy  –

Star fish on the glass,
On the bed a coin of brass.
A scuba toy bubble at you,
Crawling crab in their too.
Magical fishes tail and fin,
I even spot an identical twin.
Green algae tinge so light,
Turtle floating in delight.
Fragment of lost treasure chest,
A gray-white pebble nest ……

An ocean within a box contained
Ocean’s Pandora for all sustained
An aquarium“, to capture the sea
More beautiful an idea cannot be !!

The opinion of the fish –

An ocean in a jail,
Beyond box cannot sail.
No friend of my alike,
Oh what a closed life !

No waves and no tides,
Nothing new comes in sight,
Same stone and same sound,
Swim again the same round.
Same food all day night,
No new companion in sight.

Freedom is too much to ask,
Dead is life with no task.
No choices in it to make,
No new direction there to take,
Life out of me I cannot shake,
Alas! the glass will not break.

Looking at me exclaims the boy
Other side of glass, the world is coy
For others I am a toy
It is said –
One’s misery is another’s joy !!

Plight of Paying Guest in Metros

In terms of accommodation, I think that no demographic segment of Indian population has a shorter view (in terms of time horizon) than Single working women who are staying away from their families. Most of them are fresh out of under-graduate colleges and are uncertain if they want to pursue higher education (MBA) or not, how long they would be working, which city would they be relocating after marriage, would their parents/spouse allow them to continue to work or not. This coupled with the fact that their impending marriage is going to be very costly translates in a remarkable reluctance in owning assets or even furniture and improving the living conditions.

A lot of shady landlords recognize that and exploit the plight of these women. They would rent a 3-4 BHK room; put 4 bunker beds into each of the bedrooms and living room. They would convert the house into a chaul (cramped Mumbai style housing with no privacy or living space) and charge 3,500/- to 4,500/- rent from each of the girls. This translates into 50,000/–70,000/- rent collected from a 3bhk house (about 3 times more than what is the rent for a similar furnished apartment)

Government of India provides very lucrative deals for anybody constructing working women’s hostel. They would be providing 50% of the cost of the land and 75% of the cost of construction for free.

Even the permissible maximum rents that can be charged are quite reasonable.

1. rent for single room (without bath or kitchen) = 2,400/-
2. double sharing basis = 1,600/-
3. Dormitory: 1,200/-

However the hostel is allowed to charge extra for electricity, water, furniture, food and other services provided. Considering that about 60% of the cost are borne by the government and the fact that lower rent translate into higher occupancy, any NGO/organization can make a decent return on their investment. Details of this program can be found here and the list of hostels already operational.

What is more surprising is that the restrictions that government has imposed are also quite liberal and understandable:

1. The hostel needs a resident warden and a security guard.
2. The hostel would be open to all working women and cannot discriminate amongst potential applicants on the basis of color, creed, language, caste etc.
3. No women under any circumstance can be allowed to stay for more than 5 years.
4. At least 30% of the hostel at any given point of time needs to be occupied by women (single or married (with or without kids)) earning less than 16,000/- per month. Out here we are talking about take home salary (or salary declared in Income tax returns) so 16,000/- per month of salary (without bonus/commissions) would translate into about 2.5L CTC. This is actually a reasonably high remuneration for a fresh college graduate.

I wonder why in spite of all the lucrative offers, so many NGOs and organizations have availed this scheme.

Teen Patti flaws

For those who have played this famous card game (on which a movie starring Amitabh Bacchan was recently made) would realize that the ranking of the hand (3 cards dealt to the player) would be as follows.

Hand Frequency Probability Odds
Three of a Kind 52 0.24% 424.00:1
Straight Flush/Pure Sequence/Pure Trail 48 0.22% 459.42:1
Straight/Sequence/Trail 720 3.26% 29.69:1
Flush/Color 1096 4.96% 19.16:1
Pair 3744 16.94% 4.90:1
No Pair/High Card 16440 74.39% 0.34:1
Total 22100 100.00% 0.00:1

When there is a tie, then the person owning the highest value card wins. If there is still a tie (in case of the color) then one owning the lowest value card loses. For the ultimate tie breaker, the sequence of the card suits: spade, heart, diamond, and club in descending order of rank is used.

The fact that 3 of a kind are ranked higher than a Pure Sequence is a serious flaw in the game. As we can see from the table, pure sequence has a lower probability, hence should be considered as a superior hand.

To sum up a quote from the Vedas:

Without any fault of hers I have driven my devoted wife away because of a die exceeding by one [an unsuccessful bet]. My mother-in-law hates me; my wife pushes me away. In his defeat the gambler finds none to pity him. No one has use for a gambler, like an aged horse put up for sale

Quitting job: Reduce your Income-Tax arrears

Most companies assume that you would be employed for the full financial year when you file the income tax returns. However often because of higher education (MBA), marriage or due to foreign opportunities the Income tax computation goes haw-wire. What makes things worse is that getting a refund is practically impossible and takes several years. So here are few tips to help you.

1. Be proactive: One of the primary reasons why Income Tax deducted by the employer is high is because the person had not communicated his/her intentions to the accounts department well in advance.
2. Collect all bills. Certain expenses like communications and medical reimbursements, LTA, company expense account etc which were incurred are tax deductable only if the employer’s form 16 reflects it. So don’t be lazy in submitting these bills.
3. India is in a progressive taxation environment. As a result as the income rises, so does the taxation rate. As a result if you are employed for only 6 months, don’t be surprised if your IT goes down by not 50% but 60-70%. This is the major source of IT arrears. There are 2 ways around it.
1. Inform your company well in advance that you would be terminating your employment in the mid year.
2. Reduce your IT projection so that the income tax gets revised downwards. This can be done by claiming for all the tax reliefs possible, even if it is fictitious. You can file that you intend to take a home loan (50,000/- tax relief) or donate money in one of the tax exempt funds. This will reduce your tax liabilities and IT arrears.

PS: Please consult your tax consultant.

 

Yeh hai Mumbai Meri Jam !

In India, Traffic jams are a procedure of everyday life. The saying goes around here – If you are not consistently stuck up in traffic, then you are not really moving around a lot. In fact , in India , one requires to dedicate specific time slots daily for meeting traffic jams. Only once in a blue moon it so happens that the roads are sparsely populated.
However a blue moon is a rare thing. And if one is living in Mumbai – the most densely populated city in the world, then the blue moon simply does not exist. In Mumbai, just like in any other city in the world, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west but the traffic always rises in the north , south , east , west , up (air space congestion) , down and in any other direction that you can come up with.

Mumbai Traffic

Living three years in Mumbai has helped me accumulate some  observations which can be of aid when it comes to Mumbai traffic.—

1 . While in Mumbai , one should always carry a hygrometer(a device which measures moisture content in the air around us) with him/her. The intensity of Mumbai Traffic is directly proportional to the moisture content in the air.
As absurd as it may sound, the claim for hygrometer is well supported with data –When there is moisture or worse a slight drizzle in the air, people drive a fraction slower than their usual speed just to be careful to avoid any slippery incidents (Indian roads are supportive of the idea of driving fast). This reduction in speed is cascaded to the traffic behind and eventually brings the traffic to a complete halt. Some fools worsen their speed and hence the traffic by getting all romantic while admiring  the clouds and the rains while driving.
In fact with time and experience, you can deduce from the hygrometer reading the amount of time that you have to be stuck standstill in the traffic. A reading of 60 % (slightly above normal moisture) means that you are to be standstill for 18 minutes. So why not leave the car amidst the traffic and grab a few eatables from the roadside shop? A reading about 80% gives you ample time to catch a good 40 minutes power nap in the car. Anything about 95% should be seen as an opportunity to catch a 2 hour movie in the nearby theatre.

2. Many inexperienced with Mumbai traffic rules make the fundamental mistake of thinking that a queue in Mumbai means standing one behind the other.In Mumbai , a queue means standing one besides the others  and if there is less space then the definition of queue is extended to mean pushing others away and then standing one beside the other.
You don’t want to me more late than you already are to reach home, do you? Then you need to adapt your concepts regarding the queue.

3. Regularly play carom , snooker or billiards .You should gain expertise on one of these games  before you hit the Mumbai roads with your vehicle. These games develop your idea of tricky angles and deviations. This knowledge is critical while driving – you never know when you may need to squeeze in between a few cars to move ahead. Or worse you may have to deflect yourself at an angle when some novice is trying the same squeeze with may end up in his somersault.

4.Always carry good quality ear plugs with you.  For even though the traffic is jammed for the next 5 kms ahead of you, the person just behind you is always convinced that he/she is stuck in this traffic only because of you and if somehow you get out of the way ,  he /she  would whizz to home in 5 seconds . Hence this person keep honking the horns of his/her car ceaselessly.After the few minutes , the ceaseless honking with be accompanies by ceaseless cursing and swearing. Without a nice pair of ear plugs, you will be distracted with all this noise while you are busy swearing at the person ahead of you.

Happy Driving !!!!