Friday, May 13, 2005

Life in the 'Fast Lane'

After reading Archana's blog entry on Quater Life Crisis I have been thinking about other things that bother us(People in their twenties).

"Being Twenty-Something" syndrome... as she puts it is an interesting phenomenon.

Job insecurity, growth within the organization, competition from peers and striving to maintain the right balance are some of the problems that people in this group face.

I feel that the basic problem lies with a fast pace of life and the concept of 'Survival of the Fittest'. Everyone here is trying to out pace the other...

In this 'Fast Lane' many people have to cope with insecurity-security, depression-happiness, sadness-happiness... and this cycle continues. There are some people who are sucessful at an earlier part in their life and seem to be moving towards it while others seem to be strugling. Some struggle... Why face these issues and why struggle... there is an alternative... read on 'Take Your Time'. [An article from Times Of India]


GenX is challenging speed with the slow movement. More people are now enjoying the small pleasures of life

EVERYONE’S in the fast lane. But faster is not always better. It’s something some people the world over are finding out, albeit slowly. In this age of time-bankruptcy, the need for speed in everything we do, be it eating, working, or even family time, is taking its toll on the quality of life. But a silent, yet strong movement is looking speed in the face and teaching people to take time to experience things and savour whatever they do. It’s called The Slow Movement; it advocates quality living, getting more from life and of course, taking it slow.

The Slow Movement is extending to various aspects of life and is gaining more followers. It has been active for a while in Europe and is picking up in America with initiatives like Take Back Your Time. Carl Honore, writer, selfconfessed ‘recovered speedaholic’ and author of the bestseller In Praise of Slow(ness): How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed, is considered the unofficial ambassador of the slow movement. He had his epiphany while reading about a book of one-minute bedtime stories, which he wanted to buy for his son. He has said, “The movement is not ab o u t d o i n g everything at a snail’s pace, or returning the world to some sort of pre-industrial utopia. It’s about regular people who want to live better in a fast-paced, modern world. This is why the Slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word: balance.” In his book, Honore cautions not to confuse “slow” with “sloth”.

The Slow Food Movement is one of the most popular slow movements and began in Italy in 1986. Slow Food urges people to rediscover the flavours of regional cooking. Slow Food advocates both healthy ingredients in cooking as well as taking time to e n j oy meals. Says re s t a u r a - teur Arjun Sajnani, “I agree with the concept. In fact, a good meal should take about two hours on an average, from start to finish. I budget two hours per table at my restaurant. I tell myself and my chefs to cook food slowly and make even the preparation an enjoyable experience. I would love to slow down more.”

Slow Food encouraged the birth of the Slow Cities (Cittaslow) movement. Besides encouraging slow food, slow cities advocate recovery and reuse methods to maintain and develop the charm of their surrounding area and urban fabric. Cycling and walking are part of the activities encouraged by the slow city movement to improve the quality of life of their citizens. Says A r v i n d Krishnan, head of a life enrichment centre, “I’m totally convinced about the slow city movement. I would love to see people spend more time doing things they love. Long lunches may not be practical though.” SLOW SEX: When rock icon Sting boasted of hours of Tantric sex with his wife, eyebrows were raised. Is slow good even in sex? Tantric sex is an integral part of the slow sex movement which is all about the art of unhurried lovemaking. “When you slow down and enjoy sex, it spills into various aspects of your life. That can only make life better,” says a counsellor.

There’s also a slow return to slower activities like therapy-holidays, meditation, tai chi, knitting and stitching, where the pace is yours and you are not cramming things into a time slot. Says yoga expert Sridhar Rao, “It’s good to take it slow, especially with such activities as you don’t feel stressed out. Relaxation and stretching are as good as any fast-paced activity.” Various towns abroad have also adopted go-slow movements where shops sell local artisan’s wares and use locally grown foods at restaurants. Some cities are also putting cars in back alleys by designing pedestrian-friendly roadways in their neighbourhoods.

Monday, May 09, 2005

VAT - The complete story

Basics of VAT After having explained it to too many people ..... finally decided to write about it so I can ask them to read this first and then get back if they have doubts.

What is VAT?
VAT(Value Added Tax) is an indirect tax (2 types of taxes : direct(Eg:income tax) and indirect (custom duties, sales tax))with the following objectivesmake the country a common market (i.e. reduce disparity due to state/decentralized taxes and have just federal taxes)simplify the tax structure, reduce loopholes and hence fraudulent practices.

How does it work?
In the existing system, each time the goods leave the factory, the manufacturer pays excise.For example, when you buy a shirt, you have paid excise on a pro rata basis over the entire chain of production. When cotton is spun into yarn and leaves the factory, the factory pays Rs 100 as excise.When the mill leaves the yarn into cloth and sells it to the shirt maker, he pays Rs 200 as excise; when the shirtmaker sells it to the wholesaler, he pays Rs 400 as excise; and whenyou buy the shirt at Rs 300, you have paid proportionately for the entire chain of excise paid, plus sales tax. A VAT will tax only the value addition in the final product. The cloth maker will get a refund of Rs 100 for the tax he paid to the yarn manufacturer. He in turn pays only Rs 100 as tax. The shirt maker will get a credit of Rs 200, and his net outgo is Rs 200 and so on. The customer may get this benefit passed on in a competitive market.

Why is VAT necessary?
VAT makes it necessary for traders and businessmen to keep proper records of their sales and purchases. Under the system, no exemptions will be given and a tax will be levied at each stage of manufacture. At each stage of the value-addition, the tax levied on the inputs can be claimed back from the tax authorities. VAT avoids the problem of under-valuing (to evade taxes) as all stages of production and distribution are subject to tax.

Why protests?
1. Small businessmen and traders fear the VAT as many of them have thrived on the loopholes in the current system and have avoided paying taxes.
2. Being a complex system it may create confusion initially.States are protesting as they fear the loss of revenue.
3. A centralised tax can mean less income for the states (Reason why states are delaying the implementation of VAT).

Why protests (a different perspective)?
1. Corrupt Government Departments fear a loss of revenue (primary bribes as everyone’s records are clear).
2. VAT for most goods will be 4% but for how long? VAT would be increased to 12%
3. Implementation issues.

There exists different ways to implement VAT but the main issue faced is: 'Revealing profit margins'[Adding tax on the Value Addition].

Hence this leads to only one solution... Tax paid by any one in the chain (trader, manufacturer or raw-material supplier) is equal to 'Tax Collected On Sales - Tax paid on Purchases'.

Hence eliminating the problem of revealing profits and cascading effect of tax.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

'Just need an Idea'

In my previous blog I spoke about Suhas.

Lets take him as an example to explore on 'just need an Idea'.

A bit of history, Suhas was born in Yearcaud and studied in Montfort Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School(1.3 lacs/year). Has spent a long time in Yercuad... far away from the city and in the wild. He had spent his free time exploring the place.

He then moved on and settled in Bangalore. The land of opportunity but was soon bored with the fast pace of life. He decided to settle in Yercuad. Bought land about 12km from the Yercuad city and started his own plantation growing coffee, oranges and pepper(oak trees for support). He also decided that he would operate as a Trek guide and to organise group activities[company outings]. His wife sells pickels, jams, chocolates and organises lunch/dinner for the group.

Meeting new people and developing a business apart from his plantation. 'Just need the right idea'. I wanted to use him as an example to let people know there is more to life than IT. Opportunities are in plenty... be on the look out.

Friday, May 06, 2005


'YERCAUD' is a hill station in Tamil Nadu in Salem District.

A place with history, scenic views and just 240KM from Bangalore. It is known for Coffee Plantations and Orange Groves. The lofty hills of extraordinary scenic beauty is endowed with a salubrious climate.

Thought that I needed a break and we left to Yercaud for the weekend. The journey was a dream.(the roads, the weather and the car(Qualis)).We stayed at Yercuad International, reasonably priced(Rs. 500 for a double bed room) and well maintained but the location was not appropriate.

Yercaud a place to go on a holiday... I thougt 'no way'. Boating we could do that in Ulsoor and Sankey Tank. Why go all the way to Yercaud and row a boat. Life could definitely be more exiting and wonderful but 'day one' was way to boring.

Day Two, met this Guy Suhas. Marketing at its best... this guy new how to build relationships and build Yercaud as a brand. He runs a plantation(Coffee, Pepper and Oranges). Apart from that he organises treks and group activities and has organised numerous group activities for IT majors. His wife organises food for these groups. Its an all in one package. She also makes pickels, jams and chocolates. The trek was great and it made my day.

If every you go to Yercuad and would like to Trek contact Suhas and go for the 6 hour trek.

Suhas(GO2). 513,
Lady Seat Road,
Yercaud - 636601Salem District,
Phone number: 04281-222741.

Its good to know someone who knows the place and who could make the trip memorable.Am I marketing Suhas ?? Not really I was really impressed with the way he could market himself.