On the Road...

Its about the journey so far...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Guilty Pleasure

If I have a guilty pleasure this is it - WILFMLR. Whenever I seek it, it's a click away. Remember 'Khul ja simsim'...same way !!

All you need an Orkut account. Log in, go to someone's account, click on personal information and check 'What I learned from my last relationship' If it's blank, check the next account. If it's there..the party is on.

Gems scattered across Orkut, some in my backyard, the friend's list. Others discovered on my travel binges around Orkut. There is nothing like WILFMLR to get over a frustrating day.

Here are a few gems. My own top 5 list,
- Never ever care so much that you will get hurt...of course this was my fate!
- Never trust a person fully
- dont share your dreams with anyone
- Don't forget
- its hurting when ur friend admire another one who is not so close and hurt u for such person (there were 3 more hurts further down this line..ouchh)

I love it for it always reflects the deepest emotion. A shadow fight born out of a loss and a assured win, for the hope lives on. I almost feel that it's a open letter in disguise. At mid noon, a dream refusing to die. Quiet a comic situation, I suppose !!

In fact check the 'About Me' after WILFMLR' and it's hilarious. 'About me' says 'Enjoying Married Life' with a caveat of 'It was my fate..blah blah'. Good luck dude..I almost blurt out.

These lessons from last relationships sometimes amaze me. How can a guy or a gal with such deep pain seem perfectly happy when we meet - In office, parties or on chat. Going after careers, planning vacations, raising kids. All for what, I ask; only to accept my own defeat. For I do not know, will never know. Weird, but their failed relationship means my defeat. Very unfair !

My guilty pleasure now gets me to WILFYLR. What I learned from Your Last Relationship.

You bet it taught me a lot, on a free scholarship. Here are a few reflections,
- Your last relationship is ongoing
- Hope is your strategy
- You are a practicing polygamist or polyandrist

Knowing you are all good people and some even my friend's, I must apologise for my brashness. But I see you with a basket of roses in hope that somehow your prince charming takes one.

Instead why not try a belated red rose just for the prince that rode by. It will be a tough conversation. Either fresh sparks will fly or a closure set in.

Either way, just be assured that I will write something about 'What I learn from your Current Relationship'.

All the Best !!! - Kedar

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An Elephant and two blind ladies...& Me

As on all all Friday's I drove down from my client site. Reached home to see 3 people with bright smiles. Must be something special !!

My daughter, Rama, 4 blurts out "Baba, I taught Aadi. Look".

Aadi, my year old son, is ready for the act. Ira, my wife, looks on. It seems her act somewhere down the road it seems.

Rama: Aadi, where is your tummy.
Aadi puts his index finger on his tummy. Smiling big, with all new teeth, looks great. Rama claps.

Rama goes on "Aadi, show me your ears."
Aadi puts his index finger somewhere between the ear and eye, on the side of his head.

It gives me a chance to say "Nuts, he knows nothing.'

Now, thats the cue Ira is waiting for, "Kedar, you don't understand children, or anyone" (ouchh..)
"Baba, you are a bad boy.", Rama supports her mom.

These 2 ladies always support each other.

Rama goes on "Aadi where are your eyes"

Aadi, still beaming, puts the finger at the same spot.

Ira wades in again "He is a small kid. He understands everything. He is showing it right."

I need to come up with something really good now. Gotcha.

"Aadi where from your head did the screw fall off"

Aadi promptly puts his finger on the same spot.

Now it's me running, for Rama and Ira move to beat me up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Residing in US for the last 3 years has its advantage. For me, it meant getting good with acronyms and plans.

Plans...plans are good. Even if not followed, one should have them. So one fine day, I started creating "CRAP" and it oozed out over the next few days.

CRAP stand for "Civil Response Action Plan". The beauty, it's closely alligned with the policies adopted by Govt of India.

As Indians we a unique sense to react to acts of terror. The process goes like this,

Asleep - Unaware - Bomb - Surprise - Aware - Asleep - Bomb - Cry - Symapathise - Asleep - Bomb - Anger - Blabber - Asleep - Bomb - Fed up - Laugh - Asleep - Bomb - Plan - Blog - Asleep - Bomb - Die.

It's different over here in US. The Yankees go this way,

Ready - Bomb the bad guy - Go bankrupt - Starve - Die

The Indian 24 step process is far better. A terrorist has to try atleast 24 times to succeed. On top of that, the process has a inbuilt mechanism to iterate. So we are allowed to surprised after every bomb phase. I will tell ya, this is the biggest reason for depression in terrorists.

By now you must have realised that I am a deep thinker.

Now to move forward, lets see where I stand tody. Blog is step 21 - so thats where I stand. In 3 steps, I will reach the the end and all of you step 9 (you have an option to do a quick step 8).

In the blog phase I plan to tell you what I did in step 20 - Plan. I created CRAP - Civil Response Action Plan.

It's very much an action oriented and proactive plan. Action plan means detail actions that others can take after I or you are through with step 24. Proactive means planning for those actions before we reach step 24.
Here are some snapshots,

1. Location, Location, Location:
This famous marketing mantra fits perfectly in my plan. CRAP needs 2 locations. One where the bomb goes off and second is your home. People should know where to gather. Make your home address immediately available to the media. Rest will be taken care of.

2. Media plan:
To have an effective media plan, we need to understand TRP, the lifeblood of media industry.
A simplistic formula is,

TRP ratings = [No. of dead + (No. of Critically injured /2) + (No. of other injured /10)] * Time slot of attack * Responders

Time of attack and Responders is a force multiplier. So if the attack happens in prime time, it is premium. NSG response is jackpot, not so for police. As I said, this is a simplistic formula. I do not wish to complicate when I have only 3 steps to go.

3. Investment plan:
We will be the biggest source of income for our families after step 24. Blood money from Central, state, municipal governments, governer etc etc. Ahh, not to forget the ubiquitous Nagarsevak. Then there will be contributions from co-workers. Government job for one dependant. Purasakar's from well meaning NGO's for graduating step 24. So much money and no investment plan...nah. Have one !

4. The dignitories:
When we die, the family which made sacrifices for the nation will come to visit. The family will be joined by other anguished souls like PM, HM and others, sharing our grief. A plan for these visits is very crucial. It's important to welcome them, narrate the lifestory of our dead, pose for the snapshot and most important, to control our anger. Otherwise the family will end up making further sacrifices for the nation.

5. Legacy:
Last but not the least, Legacy !! Simpally put, it means a medium sized board with your name on it. But its critical to identify a place where it can be put. In my case, I have a wide choice that I can stake claim to. In my society there are 3 parks, all unnamed. You can pick either a badminton court or a children's park or the jogging track to put the board against. If you ask me, I will prefer the track right in front of my house - Swa. Kedar Vaidya Jogging Track.

I don't plan a statue for some crow to crap on.

Fun Hour - Courtsey Indian Foreign Service

Last week I happened to visit the Indian Consulate in New York for passport renewal. Apart from the that mundane task, the visit proved to be an hour of live show of comedy central.

Here are two snapshots,

The Old Man
As I entered, an irate old man was arguing with a cool consulate officer. Apparently, the consulate has gone the "IT" way and the man was not happy.

3 dialogs,

Dialog 1 - Old Man from south India and the Cool officer

Old man: So what do I do. Ha, tell me Sar
Cool officer: Sir I have told you for last 2 hours that you need to fill the
form online and then take a print. No physical forms.
Old man: How..how can you say that, haa. I am old, I don't know computer. I
don't have computer. Tell me how should I do it, haa. Should I buy a
computer to fill your form. Tell me, why should I buy it.
Cool Officer: I cannot answer that Sir. Pl. go to a friend or a public library.
Old man: Why should I. Why should I. I need a form. Tell me how to get it.
Cool officer: Sir, pls stand in that line and ask those ladies (they seem to be more
senior that the cool officer).

Old man gets his first win. I happen to be behind the old man in the line.

Dialog 2 - Old Man and Me

Old man: This is wrong, it is crazy. I came here at 9 o'clock and after 2 hours
finally he agreed to let me in the line. I will fight.
Me: (Faint smile)
Old man: I need a form. I cannot go online. How..how can they say that, haa. I
am old, I don't know computer. I don't have computer. Tell me how to
do it, haa. Should I buy a computer to fill the form. Tell me, why
should I buy it.
Me: Yeah, its strange. They should have physical forms..(I like consensus).
Old man: I never had this problem. I am in US for 25 years
Me: (what...you look straight from Chennai. It seems you came here after
lunch and before siesta)
Old man: I need a form. I cannot go online. How..how can they say that, haa. I
am old, I don't know computer. I don't have computer. Tell me how to
do it, haa. Should I buy a computer to fill the form. Tell me, why
should I buy it.
Me: yeah.. (I better keep discreet)
Old Man: My head is spinning since he told me no form. How can they say that.
Me: yeah...(whatever)
Old Man: I will fight
Me: (silent yeah)...(it will be fun bit I don't want to be in crossfire)

We get to the desk. 2 lady officers. He moves ahead when one of them gets free. I can almost here my heartbeat....impending fight.

Dialog 3 - Old Man and the Lady Officer

Old Man: I need a form for passport renewal. I do not have computer
Lady Officer: I cannot answer that Sir. Pl. fill it online.
Old Man: Okay Madam. Thank you.

Old man goes. I almost forget its my turn. Indian diplomacy wins !!

A Very Old Man

While me and the old man were having dialog number 2, a very old man finally made it to the desk. Apparently, he was there for PIO card for his grandson (or great grandson ?).

Dialog: Very Old Man and the Lady Officer

Very Old Man: (gives lot of papers). Documents maam.
Lady officer: (Inspects the documents). Sir please submit all the documents
Very Old Man: I have maam. Your website only mentions these documents
Lady Officer: Sir please check again. I need 2 copies of this document and the
original. Copies of that document need to be notarized. And this one,
this is okay. And need a proof of your relation to the child.
Very Old Man: Madam, bachhe ko leke aawun kya ?
Lady Officer: (speechless)...Nahi Sir, etna kijiye, main PIO card de dungi
Very Old Man: (Collects documents) Ok maam. Sirf document leke aawunga.

Very Old Man goes. I cannot laugh as the old man will get angry.

Grand old Indian Foreign service, you rock. Hoooorah to Indian Diplomacy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

माझी लुना

आयुष्यातली पहिली गोष्ट शेवटपर्यंत साथ देते.

फिकट निळसर रंग असलेली माझी लुना ' पहिली गोष्ट' ह्या व्याख्येत बसणारी. अगदी प्रेमकथेसारखी सुरुवात. मी अकरावीत असताना पहिल्यांदा भेटली. आईला नको होती, चालवायची भीती वाटते म्हणुन. तर बाबांना भीती मी कशी चालविन ह्याची. शेवटी रितसर 'लर्नर'स लाईसेन्स काढून आणला, मग बाबा म्हणाले चल शिकवतो. आता मी तसा हड़कूळा, आणि बाबा ( तुम्ही पाहिलय का त्यांना त्यावेळी) मागे बसल्यावर काय. काहीच हालचाल नाही हो लुनाची. मग मामा आला. तो मागे बसला आणि मी अक्सेलेरेटर वाढ़वल्यावर गुपचुप उतरला. मी चालवतोय की छान.

खरतर, एक वर्षातच सूटायची लुना, पण निकाल लागला, बारावीचा . ८८% मध्ये COEP मिळेना. बाबा गरवारेच्या दारातच म्हणाले, नवी गाड़ी चार वर्षांनंतर. जाम राग आला होता, पण कुठेतरी पटत पण होतं.

VIT च्या चढावर दमायची ती. तशा तिच्या अनेक मजा होत्या. ४३ किमी वेग झाला की फाटफाट असा आवाज यायचा, मग बंद. त्यामुळे कसं निवांत जायचो आम्ही.

माझ्या लुनाला पाउस येणार असेल तर कळायचं. ओम्या म्हणायचा आकाशात ढग आले की ही बंद पड़ते.
मला आणि ओमला पहिली नोकरी एकाच ठिकाणी लागली , '९६ मध्ये. बाणेर रोड वर, सर्जा होटेल डावीकड़े सोडून सरळ गेल, की किलोमीटर वर. रोज सकाळी ओम्या त्याच्या हीरो होंडा CD100 SS वर आणि मी बाजूला लुनावर. ओम्या नागमोडी गाड़ी चालवत, कारण आम्ही बरोबर जावे म्हणुन.

एकदा रात्रि पाउस पडून सकाळी पाण्याची डबकी साठली होती. नेशनल सोसाइटी पार करून पुढे गेलो आणि नागमोडी जाउनही ओम्या पार पुढे. मी लुनावरून उतरून, स्टैंडवर घेउन निवांतपणे चालु करतोय. ओम्या परत येउन म्हणाला ' काय रे ?'. मला हसू अवरेना. ' अरे डबक्यातुन चालवायला कोणी सांगीतलय, पाणी उड़लना लुनावर'. काय हासलोय.

बाबांनी इंजीनियरिंग नंतर सांगितल्याप्रमाणे M-८० घेतली. आणि ही पहिली गोष्ट शेवटपर्यंत लक्षात रहाण्यासाठी निघून गेली.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Financial Planning - A Horror Flick

It started more than a decade back. And like my moustache a decade prior, never left me since then. Here is the story of my flick with the horrors of financial planning.

In those days I was not doing well and was not even sure where I stood. So that was my first step and eventual introduction to the world of horror.

One fine morning, I got my bank pass book updated only to get the specifics on the bad news. Never easily knocked down, I looked at the princely salary I took home and deducted amount spent on petrol for my M-80 (I guess my only expense those days). A little math told me that in a year I will add Rs 18,000 and not a paisa less to my account. In 2 years I can get a bike and start afresh.

After I started my job, I was asked about marriage. Nonononono...3 years passed and I was asked the 18th time. Ok..let me find when I can say yes. Hoteling, food, gifts, cloths, specially made cloths the list was endless. So I started scanning though monthly bills, checked rates of Honeymoon travel deals and saw matrimonial sites to get prevailing earning expectations for eligibility. Easy..I will wipe myself out in 15 days flat.

So I did my first operating expense projection. Arrived at a required income to Rs. 15,000 / month. That’s what will take to get me say yes for marriage. Or rather for a girl to consider me.

Another 2 years and I passed the mark. I was left defenseless. Got married.

Now some serious stuff started on the planning front…financially. I will throw around a ton of numbers, feel free to be brave.

In day to day life I do not want to check my wallet continuously and when I look over the hill the sky should look clear. One should not be at the expense of another. So I split the plan in 2 parts - Monthly expenses and life events. Lets start with the little monster - Life events.

Life events are a few moments in our life. Success or failure, either way, takes your breath away. A sound financial support can be the bedrock to ensure success. Child's education, marriage, possible medical expenses and a home are on my shortlist.

Rules - First, Inflation is assumed at 6%.
Second, All figures are in Rs.
click to enlarge

Now the elephant in the room - Monthly expenses.

I have a blind spot which makes me miss the most obvious. Monthly expenses were my financial blind spot. It took a genius to expose it – MS Excel.

Since I started small, the numbers today looked good. Lead straight to financial hibernation. Expenses were done on a As-Is basis, never totaled let alone categorized. As with life events, I had to start with gathering data on myself. How do I spend ?

1. Made a list of everything that I could think of,
2. Categorized it,
3. Found the prevailing rates and frequency of expenditure
4. and then add some pork to build cushion.

Let’s do a dipstick,
1. Food – Milk – 1.5 litres /day; Brand –Chitale; Rate – Rs. 24/litre
Vegetables – Rs. 40/day (Pl. consider Potato’s and Onions that are a blind spot)
Grains – Wheat, Rice and Dals – Yearly purchase – A possible miss
2. Fuel – Rate – Rs. 55/ Litre. Mileage – 50 miles / litres for 2 wheeler and 12 miles / litres for car in city
3. Schooling – Fees, Purchases
4. Bills – Utility bills, Municipal Taxes, School fees
5. Maintenance fees – Apartment complex
6. Cloths - Regular purchases and festive purchases
7. Gifts – Festivals, Occasions.
8. Hoteling
9. Services – Dhuni-bhandi, Ironing etc.

Lets say I get a figure of Rs. 18,000 / month. Hmm..just 18K. Unfortunately, there are 12 months in a year. So makes it Rs. 216,000. Okay, just 4 zeros; look at life events and why bother. But what if I live till ripe old age of 80 years. Another 45 to go. Wait…not so easy. Rule 1 – Inflation of 6% / year.

Now sit down, with a glass of water at hand and somebody home. MS Excel tells me that I will expend Rs. 28,04,864 in the last year my life. And a cool Rs. 4,59,52,599 to get there.

The two monsters add up to a shade below to Rs. 6 Crore. That’s what I need in this life. How, I ain’t got a faintest of idea. Well my friends, this horror flick keeps me thinking.

Just finished my glass of water and need more. Got to go.

Someday, I will return to tell you if I made it through or fell by the way.

See ya,