Profit based healthcare


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Every business or industry remains in business if and only if it provides some solution to the society. Isn’t it? Guns and grenades are there for providing security to borders of country, however bad it sounds when some mad-man opens fire injuring or killing innocent people but the industry and its prime motive remains. Healthcare is a similar industry which tries to save – as against the concept of weapon manufacturing industry – lives.

“Profit based healthcare” is interesting point to ponder upon. There is a saying in Hindi – “Ghoda agar ghaas se dosti karega to khayega kya?” I dont know the exact idiom for this in English, but we may say – “deer and tiger can not walk together” or “what will a tiger eat, if it befriends a lamb?” It is interesting to write on healthcare and profits. It is a perfect conflict. It is fine to have profit when doing business, that profit makes one live life comfortably. The point of a moral dilemma is – how much is too much? What should one select social good vs individual benefits? Social requirement vs greed! If there is no possibility of profit, would anyone consider getting into this industry? Would the industry survive? If this industry does not survive can we as human survive? Effectively, it is a circular logic and therefore a dilemma too.

health-is-wealthBefore getting into these questions let us first know healthcare and profits a bit. Healthcare is defined as maintenance or improvement of health of human being. This could be done by any means right from diagnosis to treatment. Healthcare involves health professionals and other health related professionals include – pharmacists, medicine producing companies and insurance companies – in some ways specially where cost of healthcare insurance is a huge business. Profit is excess over the revenue or the money a firm / individual saves after all the expenses incurred to generate some revenue.

As per some data healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing covering as much as 10% of GDPs of developed countries! At the same time healthcare is a basic necessity. The 10% of GDP and industry growth rate makes healthcare a lucrative business instead of a social / welfare work. No question on running a business successfully and making money, no one can  argue on that, but making a hotel out of a hospital (many large private hospitals in India), charging exorbitant fees, prescribing expensive (or a preferred brand) medicine are the questions one may ask on expensive healthcare and thus making healthcare more of profit based curse on society than a basic necessity.

Last month, one of my family member underwent an operation, insurance cover helped us to a large extent. Currently, also I am writing this blog post sitting in hospital. Insurance is another thing which is good but again at times makes healthcare expensive. Though, health insurance is good to have in India. India also happens to be relatively cheaper compared to developed world.

In India another difference is that Doctor’s write brand name of medicine which makes Doctors as primary customers of pharma companies a news here (Doctor’s junket). There is a different turf on which the pharma world is contesting in India that is IPR a much talked about case in India Novartis Vs Union of India WSJ news. Recently, couple of doctors were imprisoned in Mumbai for running a kidney racket (Hiranandani Hospital Powai). Is it what we call healthcare? Nope that is criminal or only profiteering there is no health “care” in that. But if we are talking about expensive healthcare, there has to be a discussion on how much is too much?

I have only understood these concepts for live and profession – moderation, balance and compassion, what have you? Check Ramana uncleji’s and Shackman uncleji’s opinion on Profit based Healthcare on their blogs.

For Profit Businesses

Marginal analysis

Image source unknown.

How do you identify your mojo?


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This LBC (Loose Bloggers Consortium) blog title was suggested by yours truly. It was not a suggested topic in real sense, it was a question raised in mail to all the 12 long time authors of LBC; though only a few write on LBC now. When this question was sent, I was under an impression that Mojo means – your one or few passions that you can do best or something you enjoy doing or something you would do without cheating even if no one is watching you.

The topic sounds strange when you replace mojo with my assumed meanings. How do you identify your passion, or how do you identify what you enjoy doing? Does not it sound weird. You dont find these things, you just know it!

Ready to Race

My problem had been different – I had enjoyed many of the things. As a kid whenever I took something up I took it up very sincerely and seriously, an example is improving mathematics. When I played I played just to win (more here). When I was in NCC I did everything possible to be the best cadet. Anyways. So, mostly if I got involved with something, I was involved passionately. Thus came this thought, how does one find out one’s passion? I did whatever I did with complete sincerity and commitment so I think I dont know what is that something I am passionate about intrinsically. So how can one find one’s passion. This was the question I asked my fellow authors! Do I know what I am passionate about? For example writing on management & spirituality is that I am passionate about? Because besides this I do other things too, so can I learn from others that how do I identify my passion. This was the reason the blog title came into existence.

So the question itself was incorrect if I review the dictionary meaning of Mojo, which is influence, charm or magic spell. I do not know what is my magic spell. I think I need to go back to few of the potential alliances whom I met for my marriage proposals. I know few of them rejected me – perhaps they can tell me what is not “that good” in me! I am surely going to ask my wife about it.

Now, when I am looking back at the topic, I am wondering – why should one know about one’s mojo? Do what you enjoy doing or find what you enjoy doing and just do it.

This knowing / doing point at times confuses me – knowing my mojo (passion or charm) is one thing, utilizing it for achieve something is another. In conclusion on this conundrum I would like to quote a Zen master

“…The significance of our life is not experienced in striving to create some perfect thing. We must simply start with accepting ourselves. Sitting brings us back to actually who and where we are… Self-acceptance is the hardest thing to do. If we can’t accept ourselves, we are living in ignorance, this darkest night. We may still be awake, but we don’t know where we are. We cannot see. The mind has no light…”

Missed it earlier – read thoughts of my fellow blogger’s on this topic at Shackman and Rummuser.

Thoughts are the Vehicle


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Have you watched / read “Alice in Wonderland”? We will comeback to that soon :). “My Favourite Vehicle” was a kind of banal topic to write on still I thought about it.

What do you use vehicles for? For traveling, isnt it? Well, before going further, I thought to look at meaning of Travel. Travel means to make a journey, to go from one place to the other (Webster and Dictionary). I have traveled on/in many vehicles right from bicycle to airplane, including horse-cart too. I used to look up to horse-carts when I was a kid, I loved horses always. Where all have you traveled?

watch-your-thoughtsI thought about vehicles and travel, aha! I had an insight. My favourite vehicle is – rather I would say my favourite vehicles “are” – my thoughts. They take me anywhere I want to go irrespective of space and time. In fact many times they take me wherever they want to take me. Last year this time I was in Canada, my wife came later. We have been talking / thinking about our wonderful time in Canada.

Do I have a control on my thoughts? The answer is Yes and No both. Many a times I control them (as right now, when I am writing) and some time the thoughts take me anywhere they could connect the dots. Thoughts are most powerful vehicles we have. They not only have the power to take us to a wonderland (Alice’s wonderland) but also have the power of imagining future and innovate. Look at what I started off and what I am writing now – My favourite vehicle to Alice in wonderland! Isn’t it true that our thoughts are the best vehicle to take us anywhere? Even for that matter, my blog title “Business to the Buddha” I was told once, you connect the dots that seem very disconnected (paraphrase). This is the power of thoughts.

Thoughts, imaginations and vision create the foundation for what we want to achieve.

Thoughts, imaginations and vision create the foundation for what we want to achieve. Vehicles (means) help us reach there, isnt it? For example – a thought to go hiking can help you make a plan, take action, suit-up for it and go do it. Imaginations can help you think of making Star wars (in 1977 – hats off Mr Lukas) actions here become your vehicle to achieve it. Similarly a vision of a leader (business or social / political) can help a group decide to do the unthinkable. These are some representatives of thoughts. However, here I am talking about the thoughts themselves as vehicles. The Buddha had said “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.” So board the vehicle of thoughts carefully.

If it comes out to select a vehicle which is my choice, that is difficult. Because I base my choices based on situations – if I am taking a leisure ride I am fine walking or with a bicycle, but if I have to go attend a meeting or some function – I may be fine taking a car, bus or scooter who knows a plane.

Just realized that this blog title (Loose Bloggers Consortium) was for last month and my thoughts took me in Aug! May be my mind had a late spark. So now do you know the vehicle? It took me to Aug and here are some thoughts on my favourite vehicle. Check out few other blogger’s (Shackman, Rummuser) favourite vehicle. I am sure you would love to read their take on favourite vehicle. How do you commute? What is your choice of vehicle?

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Purpose of life


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targetHe wanted to become an engineer since his childhood, perhaps even before reaching his teens. It was not easy to get into an Engineering college those days so he had to toil, stop his extra curricular activities and concentrate on studies. The hard-work paid off, now, he was pursuing his engineering and it was a dream coming true. He asked himself now what? Well, let us enjoy this education and become an engineer what else?

With passage of each year, the question of “now what” become more prominent. He wondered what next? He thought to take up administrative services as his next goal. He filled the form, UPSC responded – instead of the admit card they had sent a letter – “your age is less than 20 years as of 31st July so you cannot take this exam in the current year.” He could have waited one more year but then his father was about to get retired in few years so except finding a job nothing could come to his mind. So, he set another goal, crack campus interview. By grace of God or he was lucky or may be because of his abilities he could secure a job on campus without much difficulty. He still had couple of months on campus to complete his final year. He was happy he got what he wanted. Thoughcliparti1_dream-clip-art_04.jpg this pleasure was short lived, his mind started playing tricks with him again – “Now, you have a job what next?”

He was a dreamer, ambitious and committed person. So, he kept on feeding to his mind – “I will work hard, prove myself.” So, the mind probing – “You have achieved what you set as your goals without much of difficulty so sure you will get those too, but what next?” He responded to the mind – “well, I would get promoted faster than anyone else!” Mind was in no mood to end the questioning – “What after that?” He said – “I will buy Hyundai Santro. Work hard, get promoted, buy Honda City. work harder buy a house. Work hard, get promoted buy a bigger house.” He couldn’t think beyond these simple cycles of Work hard, get promoted buy car, buy house and again go back to work hard. So the mind said – “Ok! you would get retired one day doing all this, isnt it?” What after that? Why are you going to do all this? What is the purpose? Can’t one survive in smaller house? Can’t one be happy in smaller home? Can one go beyond becoming a CEO? What next? Is there an end to your carving? Is there a full stop? Why are you doing or planning to do everything? What is driving you? He slept questioning this to himself.

He started asking himself – “Why I do what I do?” “What is the purpose of my life?” He came and asked me – “Dada (elder brother in some Indian languages), whats happening? Why we run around, except filling two square meal in stomach, do we have any bigger goal in life? Is there something beyond the physical world that we should strive for?”

I asked him – What is the purpose of your life? He said – “I wanted to be an engineer, now I am completing engineering. Next thing came in my mind was a job. Thankfully I got that too in campus interviews, but now I am questioning myself what next? why? How? What for?”

I told him – there are various reasons you are running from one goal to the other. These can be put in bigger buckets such as – emotions, social acceptance, materialistic wealth. I cannot say why you wanted to be an engineer but when you set that goal you attached your emotions to that goal – you were “Happy” or you got a “sense of satisfaction” when you achieved it. Than that was in your hand, you didn’t bother about becoming an engineer – because you were doing engineering and there was no way you couldn’t get it any further. So your mind wandered – what next? The next thing came to you was social acceptance as in, job security. Than materialistic goal of car and home and bigger cars & homes. Your mind kept on pursuing these thoughts – that is great. Most of the time people never think beyond first level (“of owning a car to what next”) of these thoughts. But it was good that you could somehow get confused and couldn’t get to the end of your running around. Even if you think you would be satisfied, happy and socially respected when you get something, become somebody that happiness or satisfaction will be short-lived.

Green-PastureI added – let me try to put these in further perspective – when you decided about a goal you feverishly ran to just get their. You missed the pasture in the race by just checking the milestones – “how much is left? Instead of enjoying the beauty of where you were standing.” I believe purpose of life is not just running from one point to the other making them as your goals. If you think of doing this; your goal will always be a moving target. No doubt you should have some or the other target, why not? But the purpose of your life should be being in present, staying satisfied with whatever you have, doing what best you could do to achieve your goals and yet you should not be feverish about your targets. When you die, you will leave everything here – your Hyundai Santro or Honda City or for that matter the big home you think you will buy when you are 55 (perhaps 34 years in the future!). You know Krishna said in the Geeta –

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ २-४७
Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana,
Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani
You’ve a right to perform your prescribed action, but you’re not entitled to the fruits of your action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results your activities, and never be associated to not doing your duty.

So just do things, enjoy your journey, dont be feverish about collecting flags, batches or medals. Because whenever you have some medal as your goal, your subtle wish is happiness or satisfaction of getting that. So, basically your purpose is more to be happy or be satisfied. My learning in all these years has been – happiness and satisfaction cannot be achieved while your mind runs outside. You can be happy and satisfied when you are in the NOW.

Your purpose in life can be anything – set the target, plan and execute. Why worry about future, be in the present, be happy and satisfied. Happiness and satisfaction lie in the present not in the future not in achieving the goal.

Disclaimer – Please do not make a goal of bothering anyone else. Actually teachings of many religion – a very strong teaching of  Jainism – is not to harm others. So when you set a goal (or try to make a purpose of life) do not set it as killing others becoming a e.g. terrorist, at least consciously.

Purpose of my life – be Zorba the Buddha. Be in the present, enjoy life to the fullest and yet be completely aware about it. It is not something to be achieved, it is something to be lived. That is what I think “enlightenment” is.

This is an LBC (Loose Bloggers Consortium) blog post, check  Ramana Uncleji’s take on this weeks topic here and another perspective from Shackman uncleji is here Link.

Image source -Target

Dream –


Happiness – how?


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There have been more than 10 blog posts related to happiness on my site. These posts included – ego, money, work we do, peace of mind etc. Recently, I came across a research – old one -by Dr Eric L. Zielnski. His research states that – about 50% of happiness levels of an individual is governed by genetic set, 40% by intention or say a desire and about 10% by circumstances of an individual.

Isn’t it interesting? If we assume this research is representative we are sure to be happy if we prepare ourselves. An article on this research added that genetics can be modified by our thoughts and actions. Awesome, if we decide to be happy we can be happy at least 90% of the times, isnt it?

I remember, when I met Dr Anand Saxena – my engineering professorsaxena-sir-25dec12 – in Dec 2012 he told me this –

गो धन, गज धन, काज धन, सबे रतन धन ख़ान|
जब आवे संतोष धन, ये सब धुरी समान||

Go dhan, gaj dhan, kaaj dhan sabe ratan dhan khan
Jab aave santosh dhan ye sab dhuri saman.


It is true that owning cattle, jewels or kingdoms is mine of wealth
But when you own wealth of contentment (satisfaction) those mines (cattle, jewels etc) of wealth become worthless (like dust)

To be happy one needs to be content. I think that is how the Buddha professed the four truths. There is misery, there is cause of misery and there is a way out. This way out is – being content and thats pretty much it, isnt it?

Lastly, what I think was – the Buddha taught the path just alter that 90%, created the Sangha or community to remove that 10% chance of circumstantial challenge. Hope after joining the community people didnt get into competition of being the first to be enlightened 😀

Permanent happiness – Favorite Season


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My Favorite Season will be a season or a moment when everyone finds out his / her purpose in life. My favorite season is the one when we achieve Permanent Happiness.

How often have you seen dragging yourself going from one thing to the other, from one place to the other and doing it because you “have” to do it. You do things because those are either social obligation or because these are required for survival. How many times – many of us – do things because you “want” to do it.

A time when everyone of us is doing what he/she wants to do we hopefully will see more constructive world. A world where if it rains it would be the best thing that can happen, if it is chilling winter it would be good and summers would also be enjoyable. Thankfully, I have witnessed almost every harsh season – almost flooding rains, harsh summers and for a short time, almost 0 degree winters. Even with these seasons, I could not find my favorite season, because when it was summer I was waiting for rains or winter, during rainy days I waited for sun to show up and so on. If we are not satisfied inside we cannot be happy. May be permanent happiness is a mirage!

It has been a quest for some years for me to identify the purpose of my life. After my MBA, there was a mail in my mail box – Manager Marketing for a liquor brand.

I asked one of my professor’s – “Sir I received this mail, should I give it a try?” happiness

He in return asked me – “do you feel excited about it?”

I said – “Sir I am a teetotaler, I do not encourage people drinking.”

He said – “Don’t even apply there. This job does not sound aligned to your personality. I am not saying you cannot do good work in this organization, but even if you do awesome in this role, you would end up losing yourself on your principles. It would make you dissatisfied in life.”

His point was – identify what you “want” to do, not what you “have” to do. There may be situations when answers are not straightforward – I want to do marketing. The job is for marketing. You will have to be more specific in that case – “Ok, not marketing of tobacco or liquor”.

Once I had been offered a similar situation. There are three businesses, online gambling, jewelry ecommerce and some other if you had money where would you invest? I selected jewelry ecommerce even though on all calculations I could find online gambling offers the biggest opportunity in terms of RoI (Returns on Investment). The person asked me why? I said I would not want to compromise on my principles, I do not encourage gambling and therefore even if it offers me better returns I would not consider this business.

If all of us can make rational decision on what we enjoy doing our works wont remain works, they would become hobbies. That time would be the best time for our society – that would be the best season to live on earth. Is not it? Otherwise – permanent happiness is a mirage!

This week’s topic for LBC was “My Favourite Season” suggested by Ramana uncleji. As usual I twisted it as per my choice – what I want to write instead of what I have to write. 🙂 You can read other blogs of other Loose Bloggers Consortium members at Ramana Uncleji, Shackman and Lin.

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Interdependence and insurance


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As it had been for last 10 years, this February also, I abhorred writing a fat cheque to my insurance company. I hated the agent who had sold me those policies and almost made a fool out of me. Yes I always felt that he duped / robbed me by selling these policies and just for the sake of saving taxes I had to pay so much as premium. I never wanted to learn from my MBA class of financial accounting on managing risks.

Social SupportNot just that, I have received N number of calls from so called WHO, which asks for funding heart, eye, kidney etc surgery of a baby boy or a girl. These calls have always been met with a cold no, or suggesting that I have assisted in other such causes or “I am a DND registered customer why are you calling me?” These calls sound spurious so there are interesting crowd funding support system such as – Watsi, Ketto Milaap etc.

Recently, one of my family member had to be admitted to hospital and undergo a surgery. Thankfully, this person was covered under insurance. I realized the value of insurance. I revisited the concepts of insurance. Insurance is distribution and transfer of risk. In our case, we had been paying premium for last couple of years (during this time it looks as if the amount is gone in vain). Eventually, we needed this risk manager to take charge.

What insurance companies do is pooling and redistributing of risks. It sounds very weird. What pooling of risk means is going to many people covering them under insurance at a premium by charging some money. This premium amount is invested in different investment instruments. Whenever someone amoungst the insured faces the risk (under which the insured is covered), insurance company pays the amount as per their terms – this is called as redistribution.

I am healthy, so for me it is a “cost” I know I wont fall sick and I am also sure that I wont die sooner, so why pay this premium and get covered for something that is not going to happen to me? This is the point young people ask themselves. But you never know when you need such assistance. There are circumstances when you may need such help. I drive safe, what is the guarantee the other person wont jump signal and bang my vehicle?

I am not trying to sell any insurance. I am here to explain a very interesting concept that we all do support each other when we buy an insurance. If I do not and would not need that money, I am sure someone else in the pool is going to be benefited by the money which I have helped create – interdependence!

This concept of interdependence is not new to me or to Indian philosophical system. The Buddha talked about it as one of the lessons – Interdependent co-arising. In fact when I was reading about insurance I came across this (source Insurance Regulatory Development Authority India) –

In India, insurance has a deep-rooted history. It finds mention in the writings of Manu (Manusmrithi), Yagnavalkya (Dharmasastra) and Kautilya (Arthasastra). The writings talk in terms of pooling of resources that could be re-distributed in times of calamities such as fire, floods, epidemics and famine. This was probably a pre-cursor to modern day insurance. Ancient Indian history has preserved the earliest traces of insurance in the form of marine trade loans and carriers’ contracts.

Is not it an interesting thing? That we support each other even without knowing and help ourselves too. The challenge comes when insurance companies reject your claim and money and greed becomes primary focus instead of helping someone in need even after covered under insurance. This blog post is already very long, so I hope reader will understand the challenges in this industry and greed seeping in the system.

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Dalits in India, Dividing work, birth or none?


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Perhaps in middle school (6th to 8th), we learnt a lesson on why crows are our best friends and what we can learn from them. They eat dead animals and therefore keep our surrounding clean. We need to learn from them that whenever they see something to eat they always invite their fellow crows and all of them eat it together – what camaraderie, isnt it? But alas! as we grow we forget these small things we learnt as kids.

Perhaps Krishna knew it all, he suggested Draupadi (Panchali) to reject Karna and thus Panchali said – Karna is a son of lower caste and I wont accept him as my husband. This – for my readers who have not heard of Mahabharat or know the context – was an India where girl (if not all, at least daughters of Kings), had the freedom to decide who she wants to marry. This was called Swayamvar – or a competition – where husband was selected by his capabilities by the girl. This kind of Swayamvars are recorded in history – be it Rama or Prithviraj Chauhan (12 century AD). Compare it with arrange marriage system of say two generations back when such decision was not that easy to offer to girl. This was an India where even if Krishna (God in human form as per Indian scriptures) was alive, abilities of Karna was proved secondary than caste (family’s profession).

We have heard many such incidents in Indian history when a untouchable became center of discussion – be it Shabari who fed Rama only sweet berries by tasting those first. Here untouchable was first tasting the fruit and than offering it to Rama. Or be it a story of Eklavya. He approached Dronacharya (Drona) who refused him, later asked him to chop off his thumb to offer it as fee of teaching. Or the story of Sunita during time of the Buddha.

I dislike the concept of caste system of India to the core. Slowly I moved away from the ritualistic religion to spiritual part of religion. I read parts of Bhagavad Geeta too. When I read Chapter 4 verse 13 of the Geeta I interpreted it in my own way, thank god at least Hinduism offers differing with the pandits; I can have my owns interpretation of the scriptures (ref recent controversy of Irrfan Khan).

(Sanskrit) चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः । Sunita “Lord, I do not dare come closer. I am an untouchable.”
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्धयकर्तारमव्ययम्‌ ॥

(Transliteration) catur-varnyam maya srstam, guna-karma-vibhagasah
tasya kartaram api mam, viddhy akartaram avyayam

I infer this as follows – “I created four sub-division of society based on work and attribute. Even after doing this I am above and beyond this division.” Remember Krishna does not say that the division is based on birth, it is based on work and attribute of work.

Listen to other language translation here, I cannot say it this translation reflects my opinion.

In whatever ways Indian society has misinterpreted the concept completely. This whole caste system implementation has gone awry. I believe the concept could have been, teach kids and when they grow up their abilities will put them to different works and thus their work in society will be divided in four sub-divisions! Even if this sounds justification of the caste system, I still dislike the caste system. Everyone must have his/her fair opportunity to learn and try what and how one wants to work in the society. I hope the capitalistic economics and current open access to opportunities will offer an evolved society. Currently it is just a hope, as we read the news about atrocities against Dalits. It has been close to 70 years, but if we still see these news in media either there is something wrong with our society or media is giving coverage to it only now!

Just fresh graduate from college and I’d just joined my first job, where I was selected through campus interview. I resigned within few weeks stating I’d have done this work after my 10th, if I were to do it. My brother taught me at that time – “no work is bad, low or menial. Do not look at your resignation from your first job as an ego issue. Accept it ‘you would not have enjoyed doing it.‘ If you want to start a company, it is upto you, if you want to study further, be into R&D be it. Even if you are gardening, be the best of the gardener you could be. Do it to the best of your abilities, no work is low or menial and never forget this lesson.

I could relate to his lesson in many sense, be it a crow’s nature to clean our surrounding inadvertently or our society having different people performing different acts, we have to balance and accept that everyone does what best he/she can do for the society. There may be instances when one’s abilities are not utilized (as was in my first job); at that time he/she has to decide to move on and do what makes more sense to him/her. In today’s world when a person makes competitive strategy – he/she is Kshtriya (warrior clan in Indian caste system). When the same person presents his concept or shares his knowledge he/she is Brahaman (Pundit, teacher clan in Indian caste system). As a startup CEO (Chief Everything from dusting room to meeting clients to executing tasks) when one cleans his desk, prepares tea, drives somewhere or designs product/service he/she is Shudra or Vaishya (lower caste or businessman clan in Indian caste system). In current social and economic setup we cannot rely on the definition of works of previous times. We need to either define things in newer manner or perhaps just get rid of the division itself.

There may have been roads paved with good intentions (by dividing work & caste system), but could not have lead to heaven at least. We started dividing society not on work but on birth. We decided one work is better than the other – but this is be good.

Government’s “job”


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As usual Monday morning, my milkman – Ramlal – rang the doorbell. I opened the door, with his endless smile he poured milk in my container and returned it to me. I know he is an old man from Uttar Pradesh – a state in India, he had gone to his village for sowing in his farm in the fag end of summers. During this time when he was not in Mumbai, his son used to deliver milk.

My milkman is a hardworking person. At this age he cycles about 10 km delivering milk about 25 ltr daily. He comes delivering milk from different places to my home at 6:30 AM, he starts from home at 5 AM. I asked him that day – “Ramlalji after delivering milk what to you do?” I was under an impression he drives auto or mostly remains at home as his son might be working. He said he goes to a catering place and works as cook. I thought he does that only during day, he said in the evening too he works there.

FarmerI was surprised, was happy for him that he has some work and is keeping himself busy. However, it made me question Why do so many people migrate to Mumbai or other big cities? In fact I am too an immigrant to Mumbai its been 10+ years I am here. People migrate from UP or Bihar to Mumbai or any other big cities because in their home state they do not find suitable employment. Almost same was the case for me, even if I want to go back to MP (where my parents still live), I would not be able to find a relevant employment opportunity for myself.

Furthermore, I asked myself, why so, cant I go back to MP? Why cant I find relevant work for myself? In my case I don’t see any such company there in MP where my skills can be utilized. Even if I consider starting my owns company I have to come to other big cities for getting work! This is about organized sector, what about Ramlal ji, my milkman? Can he not go back to his village? He is struggling for two square meals in Mumbai. It is so expensive a place e.g you can buy bottle gourd in INR 10 per kg (Indore – by population 14th biggest city of India), we pay as much as INR 60 in Mumbai (prices of July 2016); prices must be far less in a village. Not just my milkman, I have spoken with various auto/taxi drivers in Mumbai, they say the same – if I get work in my hometown, why would I leave everything? Some had told me their monthly financials too – they save as much  as INR 3000 a month.

While I was ruminating about these things I asked myself where is the problem? Let us say there is Charm in Mumbai – city of dreams – so many people migrate here. But is it the only reason? Not all come to Mumbai to be another Amitabh Bachchan! Why would a villager who can save only INR 3000 a month want to come here, where he has to living in a 10X10 square feet room with 5 to 8 other people in almost a slum? Many come here because they do not have any work to do in their village. So, what is the role of Government? Well, we can talk at length about Government; in India Govt has 3 basic building blocks – Judiciary, legislators and administrator and so on. I was thinking to concentrate on only one thing when I looked at the situation of Ramlal ji. Point is, even after living in such conditions, spending about 10X extra on food only, they save 3000 which is far better than being in village. Means there in the village or nearby area there is not employment opportunity that can fetch them better returns / savings!

The job of Govt also include creating job opportunities, isnt it? Well, those who think of capitalism may argue entrepreneurship is a solution. Well, after 2008 US Govt has also been looking at a key metric to consider many policy decisions – the unemployment rate. It has become as important or perhaps more important than rate of inflation in the US, isnt it? India is a developing nation, the State and Union Govt has a big responsibility to create job opportunities – mind it, we do not need NREGA (employment Guarantee Scheme). Reasons – a recent case here (you can find many if you search on net) another reason is – our citizen do not necessarily need to just dig holes there may be many people who are educated and need other suitable opportunity to work, isnt it?

The least State Govts can do is – creating employment opportunities in their states, be it UP, Bihar, MP or any other state. How long Ramlal ji (or Aarti Amma) will keep on shuffling between village and Mumbai to just earn two square meals & saving a few thousand rupee?

Ambitions, selfishness or fear?


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I was watching Gulal (A Hindi Movies by Anurag Kashyap) yesterday, somehow, it is available on Youtube.


That movie revolves around State of Rajasthan, kings of that state and their wish to get independent Rajasthan – independent from India. At first it sounds very weird, as the story unfolds different characters start playing their strategies for their own benefits. Whatever happens in the movie, that movie reminded me of Brexit – British Exit from the European Union.

After watching the movie, I was going through the documents of European Union. EU came into existence after two consecutive world wars. The wars which involved almost the whole world but centered around Europe. Just imagine a Europe between 1920 to 1938 (between the two world wars, or the Europe just after 1945. There was enmity, conflicts and the fight for economic dominance. This all actually ended with economic agreement! Isn’t it interesting?

The foundation of EU was more on economic development, social development – let me call it human development. Quote from EU website – “The EU regional policy starts to transfer huge sums of money to create jobs and infrastructure in poorer areas.” Such a wonderful concept that people can cross man-made borders, do business without trouble and follow one set of rules yet their countries do not lose their identity. Just imagine all European countries making a team to compete in Olympics or Fifa world cup!

The EU regional policy starts to transfer huge sums of money to create jobs and infrastructure in poorer areas.

EC-EU-enlargement_animationThe union started 21st century with a couple of aims – Peace in member states, Citizen’s security, economic and social solidarity. Such lofty goals require enormous efforts. These efforts at times become lobbying for one or the other. No doubt there may have been political and business interest groups who might be trying to get better deals or benefits for themselves. This type of lobbying – or cheating in some ways – can only be stopped when there is genuine connect to develop others and heartfelt desire to help those in need. EU adds close to 20% to the world GDP, what is more important to note is – its population is only is only 7% of the world population.

Just imagine if we get to see such geographic unions in other parts of the world, such as South East Asian Union or South American Union. These type of geopolitical, economical and social unions would require building trust first. A caution the union must only be on two fronts – economic development and social welfare. No! don’t even think of religion – religion is and must be an individual pursuit, those who make religion a group’s belief they mostly want to gain power. Also, religion is only used mostly for generating fear in the heart and mind of followers.

The movie Gulal had a very selfish and political motive. Can we compare that story of Gulal with British Exit from European Union? At times my mind says yes and other times no. No because it was a democratic decision, based on votes from common people. The statistics says older people were not in favor of remaining in EU. Reason – they were getting affected in many respect on personal level. By the way, these old people are the same who had benefited some or the other ways from being a part of EU.

My mind says yes because who says canvassing was not done? Who says there was no political motives, selfish goals? Who can deny all these? It has repeatedly proved that we select being individually smart and therefore we are collectively dumb – British exit from EU is an example of the same. Though we may argue that parts of Britain was against it and 51 to 49 cannot be generalized.

Also heard that those who voted against were fearful of immigrants. I wonder how big is the problem of immigrants in Britain! Of late, the fear of immigrant is evident in a way – every morning I am waking up to a city trending on twitter. There is some or the other attack at some place, European Union was built for peace and social uplifting – not for terrorist attacks.

My question came a full circle from the movie Gulal to British Exit to Gulal again – What drives people? What drives an individual? Ambition, selfishness or fear? I wish in future we would not be driven fear and selfishness and, in future we would see such union and countries coming together to prosper together, instead of people terrorizing and killing fellow human beings. This wish includes economic and social development – religion is a very personal affair, it should not come on streets and should not be forced.

Disclaimer – Author supports such collaboration and unification as done by the European Union. Such unions would one day make our world more connected and the interdependence will help us embrace each other with our respect, trust and support to each other as fellow human being rather than black or white, European or Asian or for that matter capitalist or socialist. We indeed are interdependent.

Image source – Wikipedia