Friday, 30 December 2011

Coca Cola Ad for 2012... Umeed wali Dhoop... Sunshine wali Aasha...

I had been waiting for someone to come up with a good video/ad to welcome 2012. A few did come but did not impress me. This was caught my attention like none. Umeed wali Dhun... Sunshine wali Aasha... ;)

Prasoon Joshi is back with this fantastic 1 minute ad for Coca Cola again and it is my jingle for 2012. Bollywood music composer Shantanu Moitra has composed the music. The film is directed by Kaushik Sarkar, and produced by the production house Apostrophe





Umeed wali dhoop, Sunshine wali aasha...
Rone ki wajah kamm hai, Hasne ke bahane jyada...
Zidd hai muskurayenge, Khush rehne ka hai waada...
Umeed wali dhoop, Sunshine wali aasha...
Tum dil se agar poochoge, Woh Khush rehna hi chahe...
Jab sachhe mann se maango, Toh khul jaati hai rahein...
To khul ke khushi lutao, Ye kya hai aadha aadha...
Umeed wali dhoop, Sunshine wali aasha...

The slides read (Indian version of ad)
For a tank built in the world, 131000 stuffed toys are made...
For a fence someone puts up, 1500000 "Welcome" mats are placed...
While there are some ignoring the environment, 3000000 trees are being planted everyday...
For every grown-up who can't write his name, there are 15 kids who can read a fairy tale...
LOVE has more hit than FEAR...
While some believe we are nearing the end, there are 5000000 people sending New Year wishes...
While some fight over petty issues, Millions share a Coca-Cola everyday...


The ad also runs in another few nations. Some catchy lines that featured in it
Based on a 2010 study about the world's current situation.
For every tank that is made in the world...131,000 stuffed animals are made.
For each stock exchange that plummets...There are 10 versions of "What a Wonderful World."
For every person who's corrupt...There are 8,000 donating blood.
For every wall that exist...200,000 "Welcome" mats are placed.
While one scientist is designing a new weapon...There are one million mothers making chocolate cakes.
The is more Monopoly money printed than dollars in the world.
There are more funny videos in the internet...Than bad news in the whole world.
LOVE has more results than FEAR.
For every person who says everything is going to be worse...There are 100 couples looking for a child.
For every weapon that is sold in the world...20,000 people share a Coca-Cola.
There are reasons to believe in a better world.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Marriage Tour, Dec 2011



After a lot of discussions, debates, talks, seminars and symposiums, finally, 2 marriages were fixed for the month of December 2011. Shravan weds Sudha and Gurushant weds Deepa. These decisions have taken quite some time to come but the execution of the decisions have happened in no time as there is always a risk of change of decision if the execution of it is pending. Its wise to quickly swim when the waves are on your side. The invitations dropped into our inboxes, considering the modern technology, and our plans began. The regular gifting plan was put into task and with a lot of struggle, it did get completed. We logged on to www.irctc.co.in immediately and ensured that we have a seat to sleep while on journey. It was decided that 12 of us will be leaving to Bellary on the night of 15th Dec (Thursday) from Bangalore and many others will be coming from their respective places. The expectation was for about 25-30 of our batchmates to make it. After the marriage, scheduled on 16th, we were on discussions about what to do on 17th as Gurushant's marriage was scheduled on 18th at Dharwad. The talks were on and conclusions were off

The Surprise Numbers
While 12 of us were supposed to be leaving from Bangalore, the number jumped to 16 as another 4 joined us in the last moment. Thanks to the tatkal service. We were meeting after a long time. Chats and discussions went on till 2 am and there was a lot of fun. There seemed to be no end to the dicussions. After reaching Bellary in the morning (6.30am), we headed to the Marriage Hall directly. After getting fresh, we ensured that we were on time for the most important part of the marriage, i.e., tying the knot

The Marriage - Shravan
The muhurtam was scheduled at 7.30am and at the right time, the knot was tied enabling 2 of them to enter into a marital commitment for life. We all wished them all the very best. After a quick breakfast, we went on the stage and did our regular SSBJ stuff that enthralled the entire crowd. Our slogans, punchlines and dips were really memorable for everyone. We could see everyone with so much happiness in their eyes and soon, we were in the limelight. Our teachers, Sri SR Hiremath & Sri CK Rao, also graced the occassion. After lunch, we packed and left from there. While some people headed home (native places), some decided to go to JSW Steel, Torangallu where Mallikarjun worked. Even my plan of going to Hubli changed at the last moment when I had almost got into the bus. I joined the Toranagallu team

The Toranagallu Bouquet
This was my second visit to the Toranagallu. The place is indeed an amazing township. One will never believe that there is such a city in a village. We decided to go for swimming as it was a long time since most of us did it. After a cup of tea and some time seeing the mueseum, playground and other facilities, we plunged into the water that was shivering cold. We spent about an hour in the pool and headed for food. Everyone did love those moments. The next morning, we left from Toranagallu and headed to Hubli

The Drama of an Unnecessary Adventure
Mostly, when we travel, there is some or the other issue that creates unnecessary hurdles. While things had been fine till now, the bus in which were going to Hubli turned a hurdle for us. After travelling some distance, the driver said that the brakes are not working. So, we got on to another bus till the next stop. From there, we had to take another bus to Hubli. There were some confusions of the schedule at Hubli. So, we all decided to go to my grandpa's home and get fresh. Soon, we left to Dharwad after a lot of yes/no for Gurushant's engagement. The yes/no was because it was already too late and the engagement, in this case, was more like a family affair and thus, we could always give it a miss as we would attend the marriage tomorrow

The Engagement
We reached Dharwad and had some good time on & off the stage

The Homestay
It was decided that we will go back to Hubli and stay at my place. Coincidentally, a 2BHK belonging to my grandpa on the 1st floor was vacant and that was of a great help. We headed home and went to sleep quickly. In the morning, I had some very good exercise of carry hot water from the ground to the first floor. Soon, we were ready and took off to the marriage

The Marriage - Gurushant
This was one great reunion. A lot of other batchmates reached the marriage hall and we were around 50 SSBJ students over there. That was a really amazing time was us. Gurushant had a blast on the stage when we went and pranked him. The best moment (for me) was making him sing the song 'atthi atthi nann atthi...' on the stage. It was decided that it has to happen and everyone agreed. He refused to it for at least 10-12 minutes and slowly people backed off. But then, some of us had no mercy. It did happen. Guess what, his mother-in-law (atthi) enjoyed it the most. After all the yada vada, we headed for lunch and soon, left to Hubli

The Nruptunga Hills
It was a long time since I had been to the Nruptunga Hills in Hubli. Its the most beautiful spot in Hubli. I had heard that it has been turned into an ecological park and there have been a lot of changes. Indeed, there were a lot of changes including the Rs 10 entry fee. We used to come to this place in our college days. As my home was just below this hill, my friends used to tent at my home before going over

The Delicacies of Durgad Bail
This is a nostalgic location for me. A lot of memories are associated with this place. This is like a food street in Hubli where you get variety of food like Pooris, Idli, Dosa, Vada, Pani Poori, Other Chat items, Dhokla, Dhabeli, Girmitt, Mirchi, Bhaji, Paav Bhaaji, Rasgullas, Badam milk and so on. A lot of my friends were struck at the Girmitt stall and even the Girmitt maker wondered at the way we were eating it. I too had some good pet puja. We also had a fantastic gudbud ice cream at the juice center near Ashoka Hotel. I had no control on my mind as it wandered over a lot of happenings in life as some of the most significant days of life were spent here

The Journey Back to Pollution, Crowd, Work, Pains and Problems
Though not interested, we had no option but to get into the train that would supply us to meet the Monday's demand at our offices. Unwillingly, we got into the train and believe it or not, nobody spoke a word and everyone was asleep in 5 minutes. Everyone knew the kind of life that awaits as soon as they get up. Sad that we have turned into machines. But then, at least, these gathering, get togethers and journeys make us feel that, 'Yes, even we are human beings and we have a life other than living to earn a livelihood'. The final good bye happened quickly in the morning and even more quickly, the hi at our offices

These were some lovely moments that we all will remember for a long time to come



Friday, 2 December 2011

Shivanand Belavanki weds Badami... Infosys not to expand in Bengaluru... 2 Happy news...

Roll No. 3258, Hoysala House, Mr Shivanand Belavanki, famous as Patkure, became the second person from our batch to ring the wedding bells. The auspicious occasion was attended by a good number of us all to shower our best wishes for a happy married life to him

It all began with a mail that was shot on our group mail ID declaring that Patkure is getting married on 12th Feb 2011, Saturday and everyone has to attend the wedding. A huge number of responses started flowing and the planning began. We all knew what the plan would be. However, we invited suggesstions from everyone. I guess, the purpose of inviting these suggestions was more to make fun of the suggestor than to implement or make note of what was being suggested. Reservation plans, gifting plans, behavioral patterns, etc came into limelight and the debates, discussions, seminars & symposiums started. Most people who suggested something different or tried to make any changes were literally R A P E D. The mail flow increased to a level where, I guess, it was becoming difficult for Google to manage them. With 100-150 mails from my office & 50-60 mails in relation to Patkure's marriage, I was spellbound. For a moment, I sat with my hand on my head and thought, 'WTF?'

The funds were collected, the tickets were booked, the return journey was planned & then, a new melodrama began. A fresh set of mails requesting to cancel the tickets. The recently wed Arvind who had taken up the initiative of booking the tickets was in a dilemma. 60% of the tickets to Badami were cancelled & 100% of the return tickets were also cancelled. Those 40% who were going did not want to come back without visitng their native. Further, Wednesday being a holiday, taking leave on Monday & Tuesday would mean 4 days at home. Even I was featured in list of persons who cancelled the tickets. But then, I decided to go to the marriage. By then, it was too late and there were no seats left. I joined the few people who were supposed to leave from Anand Rao circle by a SRS Travels bus to find some luck. There seemed no luck & I decided to join Gurushant & Rajendra who were travelling randomly without any reservation. But then, lady luck listened to me & a passenger cancelled his ticket. The bookie (context - the one who books bus tickets) called me & I bought it. I happily joined Raghavendra (3188), Prashant (3236), Pradeep (3241). Mahantesh (3194) & Madhusudan (3225). All my friends are working with all software giants sitting around a banker

The bus cruised in a few moments and we were on the ride. The age old talks about life at Sainik School began. We cherished the moments that were spent together and remembered instances which were so pleasant. It was such a relief thinking of past. The current day's life is full of stress. A reunion with old friends makes us forget all the pains that the modern world is ushering on us. Soon, discussions lead to talking about current day's life, companies, work, future plans, etc. I had a comparatively bad time at this point as everyone with me was a techie & I never understood their C language, Java programming, J2EE, etc. I waited for an opportunity and soon got a topic to speak about. A lot of discussion happened over that topic between me and Madhu. And today, that discussion is a history (historic story)

We reached on time to Badami. There were already a good number of people to welcome us - Bendigiri, Abu, Annappa, Shivmurti, Shantisagar to name a few. Soon, another bunch of cadets who were traveling by train reached the place (Chotya, Pujari, Keshav & others). It was a collusion of

Sunday, 20 November 2011

How to avoid a break up - A True Love Story

Based on my experience in life about love due to my interactions with my friends, I am making an attempt to understand what exactly it takes to live a happy life. Of course, there is a huge volume of material available on the topics of life, happiness & success but then, we do not remember anything that we read when it comes to practical life. We know that we should not lie but we do, we know that we should not bribe but we do, we know that we should wake up early but we sleep, we know that we should make sincere efforts but we don't, we know a lot of things but we never put them in to practice in real life

Very recently, my friend broke up with his long time girlfriend. They had been together for more than 5 years and I would look up to them as role models for anyone who wants to rise in love. But then, like someone said, you always fall in love. When I look back to the reason why this happened, I feel it was so silly, cheap, meaningless or insensible but then, I should also agree that there are many things in the world which we ignore and many others value. When I asked the girl, she told me that he went out to purchase something with another girl and it hurt her. I was totally taken aback. It could be a case of possessiveness but then it can not be a case to break the relationship that is standing from more than 5 years. I mean, come on. My brains were blown off. But then, the girl explained to me that the guy has been doing such things in the past also. Despite her warnings, he has not stopped such activities. As far as I know the guy, I had complete faith in him but listening to these words, even my faith was shattered. I understood that there is a terrible misconception at one of the ends. To ensure that the girl puts out everything without anything hidden in her mind, I played a trick of supporting whatever the guy did. The girl was in no mood to talk to me, perhaps, she did not like a third party interference. As far as I remember, this is what we discussed

Me: So, whats the problem if he goes to a shop or for a movie with another girl?

She: I don't like it. Will you take it if your wife goes for a movie with another guy?

Me (shocked to some extent): Hmmm... May be no, but, I would not mind if she went to shop with some other guy

She: That's you. But I am not you. I don't like it




Me: But, come on. In which century are you living? Do you still believe in gender bias? Moreover, he has not done anything wrong. He has just accompanied the girl to a shop

She: You can explain me whatever you want but I do not like it

Me: Then why did you have this relationship with him for 5 years. You should have broken it a long back

She: I truly love him but he is interested in other girls. In fact, this matter has come up many times and we have had many fights because of this

Me: Oh, I see. How many times?

She: 1 week back (current issue). He also went out with a girl in 2008 and that too twice for a movie. Then in 2009, I think he went to a girl's house

Me: So, 3 times in 5 years. I mean, do you think he should not contact any girl at all. What are you trying to say?

She: No, I have no problem if he speaks to other girls but I don't like if he goes out with any girl alone

Me: But he told me that you have problem if he speaks to other girls. You have created a lot of scenes whenever he has spoken to any girl. He says that you have always fought even if he were to say hi to some girl. You even asked him to delete all the phone numbers of girls from his mobile

She: Yes, what's wrong in that? Why should he have any girl's number saved in his mobile? In spite of all this, he speaks to girls. He has spoken 2 times to one girl this year. Last year, he has spoken to at least 3 girls

Me (going mad, psyche, fool): Do you mean to say that he should not speak to girls at all?

She: No, I already said that I have no problem if he speaks to any girl

Me: You just gave me a statistical count of the number of times he spoke to a girl in a particular year?

She: Yes. That was FYI so that you don't tell me that he does not speak to girls

Me: OMG, I speak to at least 2-3 girls in a day. I mean, nobody even counts such things but I am trying to count. What is all this you are speaking? Don't you feel this is non sense? After all, what at least are you trying to prove?

She: You don't know the pain as you don't have a girlfriend. When you have one and it happens with you, you will know then

Me (thanking God for not having a girlfriend): Hmmm, so what do you intend to do now?

She: Break this relationship

Me: What?

She: Yes, it has been already decided

Me: Why are you in such a hurry? I mean, 5 years of relationship getting over in 5 seconds because he met some girl for 5 minutes? Is this all you people call love?

She (angrily): Don't speak about my love

Me: Or are you seeing someone and want to dump him quickly

She: That's none of your business. Do what you have come for here. Nothing more

Me: OK, so, what do I go and tell him now

She: Tell him that he is dead for me and not to contact me in any manner for any reason

Me: OK

After this discussion, I moved to my friend. In fact, my friend was just sitting nearby. I had asked him to stay away so that they don't fight and the discussion doesn't get lost. She drove her vehicle away from us and never even bothered to say a bye. I don't know what has happened. She was never like that. May be, the ego is playing a bad role in these lives. I know these people from a long time but I have never seen them like this. And the reason for which they are going to the extent of breaking the relationship is really something that I can't digest. I started to get a feeling that there is something else. The truth is something else and both are not telling that to me. I tried to take it off from the guy and this is what we discussed

He: What did she tell?

Me: Go to hell

He: What?

Me: She told, 'Go to hell'. Don't ever contact her

He: Hmmm, I knew. I told you right. Nothing is going to happen. You simply wasted so much of time

Me: What the hell is wrong with you people man? 5 years of relationship and this is all that you have?

He: That even amazes me

Me: People understand each other so much in days and you are like sucking each other's blood

He: This is all a long story. There are huge stories behind all this

Me: Tell me the truth

He: Whatever you know is the truth. There are a lot of stories behind each of these words. Not today please, we'll look in to it some other day. By the way, what is the use now. Its all over

Me: Oh come on, tell me. I know, if not today, you are not gonna tell me ever

He: Hmmm... if you insist, let me tell you. She is a very sensitive girl and very very very ziddi. Unfortunately, I am ziddi but not not very sensitive. I keep my sad feelings for myself. It all started in our college days. I will keep in short. There was a girl who she hated. I, unfortunately, spoke to her for some reason. The warning bells rung. I went to prove my zidd that nothing is wrong but she getting hurt due to high sensitivity. My purpose was solely that she should understand that personal life & professional life are different. I also wanted her to understand that a guy speaking to a girl or vice-versa should not be construed as wrong as the society still considers it a taboo. Now, that was the greatest mistake of my life

Me: Why? What's wrong in that?

He: Nothing. But she mistook it as my interest to speak with that girl. All explanations, debates, declamations happened and it was proved that I was right but nothing can ever change your thought unless you want to change it. The whole world called Osama a terrorist while some called him savior. Its just like that you know. The more I tried to explain her, the more the things went out of order. Slowly, it spread like viral fever and my speech with any girl, even the ugliest of them, was referred as wrong. I kept opposing to ensure that she will improve her thoughts, get the right thoughts on her mind and correct herself. My only intention was to ensure that such creepy thoughts should not kill the future. I wanted them to end them at the earliest. Unfortunately, its 5 years and the fight is still going on

Me: Hmmm, now I got you. This is a case of complete misunderstanding and selecting the wrong option which appears to be right

He: Huh, sort of. As we progressed, I kept making attempts to improve her thoughts but with each attempt, I was only writing my defeat. It was like a series of battle that I was aggressively fighting. Who knew that I am going to lose the war itself?

Me: That's sad. They say, whoever wins the maximum battles wins the war but in your case, I know that you have lost it. I must say that she also has lost it bro. Don't worry

He: I have always been a very social kind of person. I always had this dream of having my girlfriend introduced to everyone and everyone appreciating us and all that stuff. You know right, I always behave like a celebrity though I do not have anything

Me: Haha, no doubt in that

He: It so happened that I introduced her to a couple of girls I knew at my workplace. My friend's girlfriend also was introduced to the same girls and they had a jolly good time. I was asked to join them but I denied. So, I thought, once my girlfriend meets them, they will know each other and have a nice time together. You know, the social recognition need. Something that makes you do what you like in other's doing. But things turned into utter dismay. She came under an assumption that I wanted to be a friend with those girls and I used her for that or something like that. Within minutes, things came to an end

Me: Oh my, this is really sick. You got to be joking

He: No. That's the truth. Though I blamed her and fought with her then, I do not blame her now. I blame myself. Imagine how much my one mistake costed me. Everyone around me goes around in groups and have such a nice time and each time, I just keep avoiding giving some or the other reason. Soon, the people even got to know this reason and it was so embarrassing for me. For the kind of person I am, all these are critical for me. Else, I would never care. But then, I said, nothing is more important than love and I did whatever was told to me. Of course, there have been slips here and there. What hurts me the most is that she did not even make a single effort to understand why all this is happening and what is the solution to this? She kept saying her own demands and if not met, break the relationship. We have broken this relationship, like some 1000 times, easily




Me: OMG, I gave your example to the world for being true lovers

He: Sometimes, I turn mad when I think about all this. You know what, women are crazy characters. Specially when they have people who care for them, they turn too too too possessive, have expectations beyond limits and live in a world that no one wants to enter, not even the one they love. It is just a world with you and the girl. I mean, come on, its good for a day and not for life. The stomach needs food the next day. They never understand and never move on

Me: I guess you should be right. I have no idea of this. Mate, the best solution to your problem would have been to keep quiet. You should have let her sleep in her dreams. You did a mistake by waking her and trying to bring her to real life in a instant. May be, you should have spent some time and then slowly got her into practical world without her knowledge. You have erred by putting words directly. You should have followed the indirect approach

He: Yeah, I know. I have thought about this. But then, I do not want to be a kind of management guru at least in front of her. I know I could have easily dealt this matter with the indirect approach but I wanted to be truthful and straight forward. You know, I had so much trust in her that I was certain that she will understand. I had so many dreams in life, so many, and none of them pictured before me without her being at least 90% of the part. I did a lot for her. I spent a lot of time for her. But these couple of matters, I never compromised on. It was not that I would go to a girl and f**k her or flirt with her. All the time, it was a genuine reason. I was totally pissed off whenever she pointed fingers at me. Because I have so much love for her but I never expected such a thing in return. This was discussed many times and decision was taken that she will improve but it never happened. Each time, she only made her thoughts stronger that I am interested in other girls and all that stuff

Me: Oh, this is crazy man. Now I know how good my life is

He: There are lot of joys too bro. Its not that love gives you pain only. Why are we fighting? Its because we resolve and get together. Why do we want to be together? Its because we love each other. Why do we love? Because we like each other's company and having a good time. This indicates that our life is better. But we have made it worse due to all this external crap. I have been telling not to discuss these things but these keep creeping in to life every now and then and make life terrible

Me: Hmmm, so what do you plan to do now?

He: I have to firstly find out what at least is the source of all her thoughts. I mean, it can not be just her thoughts that is creating all this trash. Sometime back she was referring to some friend who told her that boys are always flirting. May be, there are some more such girls who are adding fuel to the fire. Something has to be done to stop this

Me: Yeah, I do remember a similar problem faced by my friend. She never got any gift from her boyfriend. At a party, someone put it in her mind that, it means, her boyfriend is seeing someone else and he is cheating on her. She got angry and blasted him. Poor fellow, he started buying gifts for her and she was delighted. At another party, someone told her, 'Men give gifts to women when they are cheating on them so that the woman does not doubt on them. They act sweet when they want to have some work done or when they have done something wrong'. She went back and fought with the guy. He comes and tells me, 'What should I do? If I do something, it means I have an affair. If i do not do something, it means I have an affair. Where should I go and die?'. All I could do is sit and laugh at him. Nothing happened in their life, you know. It all came to an end. And that poor guy did not know anything except the route to his office and back home




He: Yeah, such things do happen. Especially with women who receive a lot of love, this is bound to happen. I will tell you another incident. When one of my friend went to see a girl, the girl asked him, 'Would you save a girl if she were to be caught by a few goondas?'. He thought practically and considering his lankiness, he said no. The girl rejected him saying he does not even have the will. At the time of seeing another girl, coincidentally, he got the same question and he answered, 'Yes'. The girl rejected him saying that he can not be normal husband. He will poke his nose in to other women's matter. He will not give due attention to her, etc. Thoughts are so contradicting you know. You can conclude anything you want. The conclusion is already there on your mind. Same way, whatever I have been saying/doing has been concluded in the way she wants over the past 5 years. Thus, the truth has never ever come to the picture. So, I wish to give truth the chance now. I guess, I will keep quiet and see what happens. All the effort to convince her over the years have been wrongly interpreted by her. Lets see if she has gets a right impression at least now

Me: But, she's already gone

He: Everytime she left me, I have gone back and set things right. The only reason would be that, from the bottom of my heart, I knew that I am nowhere interested in even seeing any other girl. But I would have fought with her saying that it is not wrong. This would make her assume that I am interested in other girls and she leaves. I go back, clarify and set things right. And this process has been going on from years together. There are a huge number of remakes and sequels as well. I guess, its time for me to stop now

Me: If both of you stop, who will solve the problem?

He: God. He knows what is right and what is not. All these days, I forced the right upon her which made her feel it is wrong. Its time for her to understand what is right

Me: What if she never understands and sticks to the same point?

He: Does that make a difference?

Me (totally shocked): What?

He: Bro, I am not interested in f**king any girl or something. My mistake is just that I told her over and again that me speaking with a girl is not wrong. That's all. I will stop doing that. It hardly makes any difference to my life whether I speak to another girl or not. The one & the only reason I have been fighting all these days is only to ensure that she removes these wrong thoughts from her mind. I have no benefit from it at all. I just don't want them to be there because you never know what the future has in store for you. Though the world is so big, you repeatedly hit the same people time and again

Me: My mom keeps saying that a husband and wife have a lot of differences when they meet each other for the first time. The success of their relationship depends on how quick they turn these differences to common interests. She keeps saying that the major role in the relationship is played by the woman only

He: Hmmm, that's right. Lets see what is in store for me. Someone has rightly said, "Every woman wishes her man doesn't change after marriage and every man wishes her woman changes after marriage". I really do not know how this decision of mine will be taken. Whether it will be taken as a ignorance, not interested kind of attitude or whether it will be considered as ego or whether I will be considered as a cheat or whether it will be assumed that I had no love and wanted to end this relationship or whether it will be assumed that I am going around with someone else. Some bitches seem to have entered into our relationship who are guiding her. They would be the happiest to see their prediction of our relationship coming to end come true. I really do not know what has been filled into her mind by who or whether it is her own thought or whether it is due to this cumulative effect of what been happening with us or whether it is the pampering or whether the relationship itself has lost its value...

He broke into tears and fell over my shoulder. I guess, it would be the same case with her in case she too is, as per her words, really in love and it is still alive. I, for never having been in love, do not understand what this is all about. All I have been able to understand that there is a lot of force, energy and power in this one feeling. We left the place and had our dinner. While on the way, I got to know the greatest truth of love which my friend said, "Its got nothing to do about the girl or the feeling or thought or anything. Its just that she wants me to do something based on which she is deciding whether I love her or not. Coincidentally, I am also deciding on the same parameter whether she loves me or not but my need of results is exactly the opposite of her need'. How true...!!! This is all the problem they have. In fact, this is all the problem the world has. While the Congress calls something good, the BJP calls it bad and vice-versa. If the guy agrees to the girl, he will feel that the girl will never improve her thoughts and he is struck with a wrong girl. If the girl agrees to the guy, she will feel that he is a flirt and he will never improve and her life is struck with a bad boy. Nobody wants to lose for the reason that they will treat the other person with a wrong thought. Thus, both are good and both are correct in their own senses. But then, both can win if and only if both of them lose. I guess, there is no direct solution to this problem. All that can be done is to love each other so much that these problems will just disappear. Insult the problem, insult the thought that created the problem. Do not insult yourself. Do not insult love. And now, I have been dwindling over this dilemma from the last 5-6 hours. Its 3am and I guess, I need to go to bed now 

Hope this helps some young lovers out there. Make efforts to grow love. Don't ever have a doubt on it. Love so much that the one who is cheating feels ashamed to have done what he is doing. There is a quote in kannada, 'Pratyaksha kandaru Pramanisi nodu' (even if you have seen, check the validity by taking a promise). Life is more about having the right thoughts and approach than anything else




I wish all the lovers a very peaceful life ahead. Keep smiling. No one in the world wants you to be hurt. You are hurting yourselves due to the wrong thoughts you have. Don't ever take someone's suggestions for your love or for that matter any other problem you have except from the ones who you trust completely. 50% of them do not care and the remaining 50% are glad that you have those problems. Take your decisions yourself. Always have faith in God. And like my friend, do NOT go to force anything on your girl/boy as the chances that they will assume that you are taking advantage of them, using them, etc. is very high. Just spend time together, enjoy each other's presence, speak good things, think about growth & progress in life, chit chat about bollywood, in case some issue like this comes up, try to joke on it and close it unless it is really necessary to do a research. You are lovers and not CBIs. Learn to also understand each other and express each other's needs in real terms and put them into practical application. The 3rd person has nothing to lose. Its only you who will lose all the the time, energy, peace, love and above all, trust. Don't forget the the 3rd person also has a relationship, life & duty to perform. He/she is the 1st/2nd person in another relationship. Everyone has got their own life. No one wants to enter your life. Its only you who pull them into your mental life. When you practically see, they are nowhere to be seen. Even in the above case, the girl does not seem to trust the boy and the boy is hurt because she does not trust him. Those girls about who the girl speaks are nowhere in the scene and these people are still fighting over them. They know it but still they don't stop. Trust is the foundation for every type of relationship. If the foundation cracks, the building just has no value. Its always good to lose the top floors (ego, jealousy, hatred, zidd, etc.) than to damage the foundation. Give it up. After all, if you really love someone, you are one and the same. What's the problem in giving up for your own happiness? Life brings many real challenges in the future. Keep up your energies for them. Don't burn them away in such unnecessary thoughts. True love survives everything. Take care




Watch this nice video that I watched recently. Its about marriages. But observe the thought process of the boy & the girl. There are so many differences and yet, they go about the right way and end up in a happy life.

This has a lot to teach




You may also consider watching movies like Khushi that go to describe what happens when clashes come into relationships. Don't just leave them there. Learn from them. After all, Life is not a fancy dress competition.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

IDBI Bank - I'm Lovin It ;)

Most of us hold just one account which our employer gives us, a salary account. If you have changed your employer, you would have one more. And you would have one more from the great State Bank of India which our father or our grand father would have opened for us

I have been using IDBI bank for a few months now and I would suggest you all to walk in to any IDBI Bank branch and open a Savings account

I have listed down some attractive offerings that have impressed me
  1. Savings account in IDBI Bank is a ZERO balance account. You don't have to maintain any minimum or average balance. Use as you like
  2. NO charges for ATM card (issuance fees, transaction fees, annual fees, etc)
  3. UNLIMITED ANY BANK ATM usage. Most banks allow you to withdraw only 5 times a month at other bank ATMs for free. Further, they charge Rs 20 per transaction
  4. NO charges for NEFT. Free online fund transfer to any Bank account in India (with IFSC code)
  5. NO 24 hours waiting period for activating payee. You get a password on registered mobile using which you can activate payee immediately
  6. NO charges for issuing DD, cheque books, statements, etc
  7. NO limit on number of transactions by any mode. It means you can even deposit cash in the account from anywhere
  8. Internet banking, Mobile banking, SMS banking, Phone Banking, ATM Banking, SMS Alerts, etc. All FREE
  9. NO pesky calls or SMS for loans, credit cards, investments, etc. Good customer service when you go to branch. Less crowd
  10. High interest rates on Fixed Deposits, Recurring Deposits. For FD more than 1 year, you get 9.50% which is among the highest in India. (Senior Citizens - 10.25%. So, if you want to open accounts for your parents or grand parents, its a viable option)

You should always have an account for your own savings and financial plans other than the regular salary account. Considering current conditions, IDBI Bank is a very good option. Try it. If you like it, continue. If not, close it. There is nothing to lose ;)

Finally, we must also not forget that IDBI Bank is a decent, stable and profitable bank which has majority of its banking business into industrial sector. This is their initiative to foray in to retail banking and thus, all the freebies


Updates
1. Even Visa Money Transfer is FREE. Other banks charge Rs 20 per transaction. This effectively means you can transfer funds to any Visa credit card in India absolutely free
2. Mobile recharge by SMS - Just send an SMS to get your mobile recharged. You don't even have to log on to net banking or do anything. The bank will automatically deduct the amount, send to your service provider & recharge your mobile. All this in seconds

Friday, 28 October 2011

The RBI might just succeed in killing the Banking System in particular & the Nation in general

The RBI has been taking crucial steps to revive the Indian Banking System and thereby, the nation's future. It is rightly said that the nation's strength lies in the strength of its banking system. Indian banking system turned into a very strong bandwagon under Mr YV Reddy, the mastermind banker. However, off late, the strength in system is taking a beating with the new steps taken by the current RBI governor. In this article, I have tried to write about the effects of the destructive steps that the central bank has taken in the last few months

Fighting inflation - The Outdated Way

The traditional way to fight inflation is to raise the interest rates which will hit the people's pocket and thereby reduce spending, hence demand, and then prices come down. However, the RBI has forgotten the fact we are in a highly strong trajectory of growth. They have considered only economic laws but not the principles underlying fundamental life. The economic laws are subject to certain conditions. One must understand that any item of need, sold for whatever rate, will be sold. For example, we all buy water paying Rs 15 per litre though it is available free of cost. Tomorrow, if the bottle costs Rs 25, we just can not avoid drinking water. It is very easy for the retailers to pass on the price increases to the consumers as the consumers are ready to buy at any given price. Nobody thinks about food inflation while eating food, not even Mr Subbarao. In other words, you can not decrease your food intake because food rates are up by 12% while you expected it at 5-6%

The future of inflation fighting measures

To get more practical, lets take an example of a middle class family where the family income is, say, Rs 25000 a month. The family is able to save Rs 5000 after all spending over food, clothing, shelter, school fees, etc. Now, when you raise rates, the family will not buy 4kg rice instead of 5kg. They will buy the same quantity by paying a higher price. Thus, the savings squeeze to, say, Rs 3000. You raise rates again and the savings will reduce to Rs 1000. Thus, there is no way you can battle this. Asking to stop eating sugar because it causes diabetes rather than making attempts to reduce sugar prices is utter non sense. Were onions not sold at Rs 100 a kg? Were there no purchasers? Did people stop buying or stop eating onion? Thus, any increase in prices will only reduce the saving ability of the public and thus the savings in the nation. The balances start appearing in current accounts (of businesses) and disappearing from the savings accounts. The banks will be happy till this stage. But then, the pinch comes soon. Soon, the savings turn negative and people start withdrawing the funds that they have saved. Or rather, they will start defaulting on EMI payments. The NPAs rise. And then, we reach a debt clutter which will be difficult to understand. And very soon, we will becomes the USA or the UK and our banks will start shutting doors or ask the Government for capital infusion or bailouts or loan waivers. The Government can borrow from IMF and increase its debts and fall in the national debt trap. Alternatively, it can increase tax rates on corporates and take out all those amounts lying in the current accounts of the banks in the form of taxes and give the bank the same amount as fresh capital infusion. What a Trick...!!! The bank's external liability turns into internal liability to the shareholder (Government) and the balance sheet looks Wow again. The banks give interest to public. The public give to corporate. The corporate give to the Government. The Government gives it to the banks. A viscous circle where money wanders till it is laundered

Therefore, the RBI must rather try to actually reduce the prices rather than reducing the demand. The RBI must understand the underlying fact that we do not eat 2kg rice instead of 1kg just because it is available cheaply. The sugar rates have fallen back to old levels and most retailers are even offering sugar free with purchases of certain items but does any data indicate that sugar consumption has increased. The sugar stocks have turned sick. Of course, the scene is different with automobile sales. But then, to keep these on a track, the bank must ask the Government to raise duties & taxes on car sales rather than increasing interest rates in general and affect everything including the housing sector making a fundamental need in-affordable. The RBI must understand that the current economy is so vibrant like a shining mirror that if you try to hit it with a brick, it will hit back with a rock, unintentionally. This is exactly what is happening. The more the prices are rise, the more careless people get with finances. The public will stop planning their finances and start spending recklessly as the saving amounts (like 500, 1000) do not interest them. Thus, the leaders leading the nation have to seriously think about the underlying facts & the long term effects rather than blindly looking for short term solutions by following the traditional economic laws, and that too, without completely understanding the laws

The Big Bank Theory

Indian banks are on a very strong platform. The big banks reporting 20-30% growth rates consistently over the years is not less than a miracle. As the progress has been happening over a long term, the banking industry is in a kind of consolidation phase now. Trying to mess with them at this point of time can be very damaging. The recent deregulation of interest rates can be a big blow to banks, and in turn the economy, in the long run. The RBI should not have forgotten that the banks are already stressed for the sudden changes in saving account rules over the last one year

The first blow came when the RBI announced that the banks will have to pay interest on savings account as per daily balances (like it is calculated on loans) and not on the minimum balance maintained from 10th to last day of the month. The banks interest outflow on savings account has increased by 60-70% on account of this rule (http://puneet3210.blogspot.com/2011/04/rbis-new-interest-rate-policy-its.html)

The second blow came when the interest rate was increased from 3.5% to 4% pa on savings account. The interest outflow to savings account increases by another ~15% on account of this rule

The third blow has come with deregulation of interest rates offering a competitive advantage for banks with low CASA ratios to pull markets towards them

In all these decisions, the big banks have been big time losers. The big banks survive on impressive margins offered by CASA amounts lying with them. They benefit most from these funds and these funds are their major source of earnings. The scenario will take a bad hit in the long run. The RBI or the Government might think that the public is happy. But then, they have to understand that the public is not bothered about SB interest rates. The public is more concerned about the food prices, petrol prices and inflation that is snatching their pockets. A very few people think about earning interest in the savings accounts. The public rather considers FD or RD route in case they have an interest element on their minds. I guess, the PMO or the FMO or the RBI might not have received even 1 request from the public asking them to rise SB interest rates or deregulate them when we consider the lacs of requests that have gone to them seeking their help in battling price rise. Such unnecessary steps might not be welcome. Nobody celebrated these decisions though they mean more income to the public

Small banks have already started increasing their SB interest rates. Big banks will be forced to follow suit

The Small Elephants

Another big question is, will the small banks be able to handle the large fund flows on to their balance sheets? Managing such fund flows is not an easy task. The small banks are not well equipped in marketing their loan products or in recovering the funds they lend. There are definite hurdles on this front as well

If the big banks stick to honesty and say that they can not offer more than 4% interest rate, the SB account holders might start moving to smaller banks & take their FDs & RDs along with them. The balance sheets of the big banks will start deteriorating. The deposit to loan ratio will take a hit and soon, the balance sheet will turn ugly. A situation will come when there will be needs for limitless capital infusions (like in the US, UK & advanced nations today) and yet, the amounts would stand insufficient to pay for their expenses or the deposit maturity amounts. The fall will be as simple & quick as the fall of Lehmann. It just happens and you will never know

If the big banks do not want to lose market share and increase the rates at par with smaller banks, their profit margins will take hit. The banks that are showing a 30% YOY growth will fall to 10-20% odd healthy levels but the smaller numbers are bound to create a negative sentiment in the economy. Investors might turn bearish and start selling these bank stocks. Any such aggressive selling of a bank's stock represents lower confidence in the economy and the markets might take a bad hit and thereby kill the India Long Term Story

Coming Up... The Killing

All this can lead to a situation where banks will look for alternate sources of income to show the 20-30% growth that they have been achiveing YOY. One such stream would be to enter investment banking. Of course, the RBI only will give permission to Indian banks to start the investment banking arm as soon as the stress results are out. And once the banks start getting trading income, the balance sheets will turn haywire. Every ratio will go out of gear and you can never understand what is happening. Trading income is sweet in the beginning but trading losses are not just sour, they are poison

Banks might also land up to window dressing their accounts. It might start with, just this quarter kind of approach to save a face and its effect might carry on all over years. And one fine day, we have the Satyam kind of bubble burst

There are a lot of disadvantages of all these steps that the RBI is taking and everything will show up in the long run. The Governers must understand that Indian Banking System is one of the most honest and strongest system in the world. Any steps that hurt them might force them to, unintentionally, enter into dishonest world and the public might lose their faith in the banks as well. We already have lost faith in many things that are supposed to be our lifeline. Please note that Banking business runs purely on faith & trust. That is why, we bankers firmly believe, 'Faith reaches where Reasons don't'. I do not know how the big bankers have forgotten this basic rule which they were taught when they entered this field

The target must be to reduce inflation by reducing prices by facilitating better credit facilities and help growth of the nation. Moderating growth is definitely required till it moderates. It must not be done at the cost of curtailing growth. Moreover, you can not curtail growth of us youth who are nowhere interested in stopping ourselves for whatever reason. Sell us anything at any rate, we will buy it if we need it. When the equation clearly says you can not kill demand, try something else. Sorry but you might have to read Economics lessons again before misusing your powers to ruin a nation. I remember the 'Back to School' with Bata ad


Another mistake that the RBI might be forced to do in the future is to allow 100% FDI into banks. Of course, the day will come when national treasury will dry and we will need international funds. And another one might be throwing open the banking industry for anyone & everyone to do the business and thus, turn them into fish markets. Soon, you will run out of trust and thus, the depositors will not give you their monies and neither will the debtors


I do not believe SB rate deregulation will do any good (than the evils it can do) because, firstly, one must also understand that deregulation of interest rates, in the long run, means 0.5% or even 0.25% rates will have to be accepted by the public once the banking system starts facing challenges. The cream will get over very soon and all that will be left is the bread. Secondly, as long as SB rates are regulated, banks are serious about earnings to meet their interest commitments. Thirdly & most importantly, having SB rates at 4% means that FD/RD rates will definitely be higher than that. Tomorrow, your FD might earn 1% or half a percent interest and you have to take it or break it. That's the trap. The Debt Trap

By the way, its the CAT exam season. Our economists have to give a shot at it and attempt to hone their skills. What they have learned in 1960's or 1970's might not be applicable to the modern world. Times have changed. If the Governors do not attend the classes & learn the new lessons, they might just succeed in killing the Banking System in particular & the Nation in general

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Making of The Ajeets School Day Celebrations Bangalore

We all know that it is a super success of the year. In fact, one of the best medium scale meets that the AAA has held over the years. In this post, I do not wish to speak about the experience for simple reasons that, firstly, the experience was seen in the eyes of all those who were there at the place. Secondly, for those who missed it for various reasons, there is no way that you could experience it unless you make it the next time. Thirdly, for those who found reasons to ignore or give it a miss, sorry, but who cares. You are at loss. The AAA moved forward. I, now, believe strongly that the winds have taken a turn. Missing AAA opportunities from now on certainly means you are losing something

It all started in the month of August with some formals mails, chats and discussions over the 48th School Day Celebrations that is conducted by some AAA Chapters across the nation. The Bangalore Chapter planned to have it on 25th of September. The work was on in the background from August. All the stalwarts, who I need not mention about, took the lead to plan out things and setting up the stage. The spark was ignited which took time to turn in to fire. In the first week of September, after lot of look ups, we got our venue at Rajendra Singhji Institute on MG Road. We had the 1st formal meeting of the organizers at the venue in the beginning of the month. About 15 of us attended the same and the discussions regarding the program. Of course, the super seniors have had enough number of discussions & meetings on this matter already and made numerous arrangements. Getting a space in the most priced location of the city itself indicates how much of effort has already gone into it already

Whatever I am writing further is in relation to what I have seen with my eyes. It is just less than 10% of the actual efforts put in by the team. While some were busy preparing the venue, some were busy collecting the fees, some were busy requesting people to attend, some were busy tallying the bank accounts, some were busy updating the database, some were busy preparing for the cultural program, some were busy packing the welcome kits for the guests, some were busy in meticulous planning, some were busy in arranging for food, some were busy arranging volunteers and so on. Of course, now, you might feel that about 100 people were organizing the program but let me remind you that it was 15-20 only

The biggest hurdle for such get together is determining of number of plates for food. This is the biggest trouble because we can not afford to waste food nor can we afford to send someone without food. This is the main reason why all organizers at all events request guests to confirm if they are coming or not. However, people tend to think otherwise. We had some confirmations with payments, some without payments, most of them were on the 'May Be' status and these are the biggest toll on the decision making process - the ones who are uncertain, and some honestly regretted their inability to attend. Every time, we face this problem of excess food or shortage of food. This time, we decided to arrive at an accurate count. It took more than 2 hours to just discuss this. At a point of time, we all felt we are wasting time and it would be better to just say a random number plus 50 plates but the discussion went on and on. Finally, we concluded 325. And guess what, it was exact. On the day of the meet, it was a perfect count. This was perhaps the first time when the food was just sufficient to cater to the guests. But then, you can also give credit to Lady Luck as, these are situations, irrespective of howsoever planning is done, results are not in our hands

Then, we had all the discussions about the programs and other factors in the coming days. Finally, the show was put up and the results are before you

Ajeet Hain...!!! Abheet Hain...!!!

PS: This is just 30% of what effort went in (30% of the 10% which I have seen. So, effectively, this is 3%). Further, we had to do a lot of things like arranging things for guests, teachers, buy essential articles, prepare some lists, kits, invite people, etc, etc. which are not very strong in my memory as it has been more than a month now. So, excuse on that front

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tirupati Darshan by walking through the 7 Hills...





Om Namo Venkatesaya

I heard someone saying these lines to convince someone to let him go to visit Mata Vaishnodevi, "Arey Bhaiyaa, Jab Mata ka bulawa aaya hai toh Jaana hi padega..."

I now learn that when God calls you, there is nothing that can stop you from going. Its all in his hands. After all, we are just his children and he has total command on us. From out of the blues, it was decided that I am going to visit the Lord Balaji Temple at Tirumala Hills, Tirupati on 24th August 2011. The decision was taken on 21st and on 23rd evening, my body was in the car that cruised from Bangalore. It actually took some time for my mind to realize and actually understand that I was in reality going to Tirupati. It was like a very long time plan that I had been having that I have to go to the temple. The last time I went there was perhaps in 1997 with my parents and grandparents. So, it was like 14 years now. I was definite that there would be tremendous change in the place by now. Moreover, being a child (6th standard then), I did not remember very accurately the time spent over there except that I very clearly remember that we stood in the queue for a very long time and when we were before the Lord's idol, I forgot to observe & pray. I had just taken 2-3 steps and my father asked me, 'Did you see the God? Did you pray?'. I asked, 'Where?'. He tried to show me but in vain as the security personnel was pushing us away. I ignored it all, bend down, almost ran back, saw the Lord and prayed. I asked the Lord something and in the meanwhile, the security personnel identified me and pushed me off. My parents had already gone out. It did not take much time for me to find them though. From Tirupati, we went to Mantralaya and then, we reached Hubli. To my utter surprise, my wish had already come true. It was no less than a miracle in my life. After having been rejected for Sainik School due to some medical reason, there was a letter that allowed me to come & join the school in case I get a medical examination done from a higher hospital and if they certify that I am fit. I was certified FIT by the Command Hospital, Bangalore and Sainik School, Bijapur allotted me Roll no. 3210, Adilshahi House and asked me to sit in Class 6th, A section. Life got a new definition

Thus, my faith in Lord Venkateshwara is very huge. I believe in God. I learnt that if you have good intentions, ensure honest approaches, make consistent efforts, remain dedicated, be selfless and keep moving towards your goals putting your best foot forward and leaving the rest to God, with complete faith in him, he will never disappoint you. He might not make your wish come true but that happens only when he has planned something better for you

While I was immersed in thoughts and memories, the car had paused at a Kamat Hotel on the way for dinner. We had dinner and proceeded. By about midnight, we could see the most beautiful 7 Hills of Tirupati where a line of lights was like travelling from the bottom to the top. The God's signature symbol appeared on the top with complete glow and I was super excited. In the meanwhile, I was told that this is the stretch that we had to walk as we had planned to walk up the hills rather than drive. Was it fear, hopelessness, lost feeling or what exactly that hit me in an instant is yet unknown but I was completely gone. I mean, such a big hill by walk? It took some time for my mind to settle down

Alliperi
We reached the entrance. We reached the pilgrims waiting hall and got fresh & ready for the walk. By 2.30 am, we prayed on the 1st step of the 3650 steps ahead of us and got started. By the time we had completed 50 steps, it was decided that we are going back. The steps were not very steep but we really could not understand what made us so tired. We were already sweating. It was, perhaps, lack of exercise or that the steps were one after another without breaks. Further, wearing jeans was a curse. I wish I could have come in a bermuda and some cotton wear. We thought, once we start something, specially as an offering to God, we got to go further. A similar thing happened when we had been to Goddess Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore and we had concluded that, "When we are going to God, the God will test us by putting obstacles. We have to clear all obstacles and keep marching. Only then, God is satisfied with our devotion". So, we carried on. The steps were quite challenging. After every 50 steps, there was a number inscribed on the step that told us how many steps we had covered. We soon covered 300th and then the 500th step. We kept taking breaks every now and then. And the journey went on. In about one & half hours, we reached around 1650 steps and took a long break. I had a Sprite. There was also some packed food like chips, noodles, etc available. As it was night, most shops were shut. 

Gali Gopuram
After a good half an hour, we started to proceed further and at around 2100 steps, there was a counter where our photos were taken and we were given free pass for Darshan that included free accommodation and free meals. We learnt that we had a total of 3650 steps to cover and thus, we had to cover another 1550 steps. However, from now on, the steps have a longer gap and you actually walk more than climb. The journey continued and after covering about another 600 steps, we reached the road. We were confused whether we were on the right path. We got a clarification from other pilgrims that we are on the right path. We have to follow the white color painted on the footpath for about 3 kms to reach the next steps. 

It was about 5.30 am and the scenic beauty was striking. We loved the walk. It almost appeared like a morning walk for us except that the muscles had a different idea. Soon, we reached the steps. People gave us an idea that there were steeps steps half the way and then, the steps were at a good relaxing distance further. We started and I had a total muscle cramp in my thigh. I just could not lift my leg and lied down by the side. It took some time and I got started again. As we closed in to 3200 steps, things seemed easy and the steps seemed to end quicker. Finally, after about 4 hours of effort, our wish had come true. It was about 6.30 am and we were atop the Tirumala Hills, to be specific, the Venkata Hill. Wikipedia says, "The Tirumala Hill is 3,200 feet (980 m) above sea level, and is about 10.33 square miles (27 km2) in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha, thus earning the name Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabadri, Narayanadri, and Venkatadri. The temple is situated on Venkatadri (also known as Venkatachala or Venkata Hill), the seventh peak, and hence is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills (Saptagiri in Sanskrit)"

It was an amazing experience. We planned to immediately get fresh (you got to get fresh at any cost as you are always like wet in rain except that the water has come from within your body rather than the clouds) and immediately leave for Darshan. There was some kind of a confusion. While we wanted a separate room for us to get fresh, the possibility was difficult. We were told that as we have come by walk, we can use the free accommodation facility that was like a hall and some bathrooms. Further, in case we wanted a room, we have to go to some CRO or CDR office to get the room allotted. There are a good number of rooms over the hills but the queue was quite long. We did not have enough patience. While we were looking for some option, a persona approached us and inquired if we need a room. We said yes and he said, "Rs 300. 1 hour only". We were okay with it. After getting fresh, we started on our way to the Lord's Darshan. We were told that as we are on Footpath Darshan, there was a special line for us and we can get a quicker darshan than others. I was impressed. We got into a bus that took us to Vaikuntam Q Complex. After handing over our luggage, mobile phones & footwear, we entered the line with huge excitement. It appeared empty and we ran happily through it with satisfaction for having come the footpath way. We reached a compartment and were asked to sit there. Hundreds of devotees were already in adjacent compartments and were keenly waiting for them to open and move further. Things got a little uneasy here. We were sitting in the compartment for close to 2 hours and still, there was no movement. We started at about 9.30 am and it was about 11.15 am then. The compartment was opened and we joined the queue further. On the way, we collected the tokens for Laddoos. Now, this line was taking a really long time to move. People were agitated and started shouting. Some people claimed that there must be some VIP in the Sheegra Darshan queue and they are allowing them to move quickly. I sat down as I was totally tired. I could not believe that I sat for almost half and hour and the situation did not improve. It was about 2 pm and we were still in the queue. It was learnt from the people in the Sheegra Darshan queue that they came in at 11 am and they were at par with us in the line now. The Sheegra Darshan line & Footpath Darshan line run parallel to one another and we could see that the other line was progressing quicker. But then, we were happy that we were able to spend more time in the temple. We were kind of enjoying it. At about 4 pm, we had almost reached the temple of the Lord Balaji Venkateshwara and the excitement was on a rise. There was also some concern to see that the people in Sheegra Darshan now who were beside us started their journey at 2 pm. So, it was like they were almost getting the Darshan in 2 hours while we were here for close to 5 hours now. I learnt a lesson that in case you want a quicker darshan, you have to go the Sheegra Darshan way

Soon, the bliss was on. We entered the sanctum sanctorum which houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills is situated in the main temple complex of Tirumala. within next few minutes, we jumped and looked all over to see pure gold all around us and it was marvelous. And there we go. The Lord Balaji Venkateshwara was before us dazzling dynamically with such beauty, power and blessings for all his devotees. Govinda, Govinda, Govinda, Govinda were echoing of us like hymns and it was an eternal bliss. I ensured that I will see the Lord, pray and take enough time. However, it is difficult unless you are a celebrity. But then, I was able to get my slot of time that I needed. May be, I was in front of the Lord for about 10 seconds directly and another 15 seconds while I was a coming out walking reverse with my facing towards the Lord having no idea about what path I was on while walking backwards. Anyone who has visited the temple will definitely say that it is quite high. I was delighted

As we came out, we felt we have to go back in again but then, you know it is not possible. Its such an eternal feeling to sit before God. I have experienced such great peace sitting in temple. But then, with the size of people visiting this temple, the darshan itself is a blessing. We had prasadam and moved towards the Laddoo counter. It mandatory to take token to purchase Laddoos. It costs Rs 100 for 4 laddoos. Some people claimed that one can not take more than 2 tokens. I took 1 token. So, I now had this 1 Rs 100 token for 4 laddoos and another token for 2 laddoos that I got as a part of Footpath Darshan (by paying Rs 20). We took the laddoos and headed towards the Vaikuntam Q complex to collect our belongings. After that, we had some food immediately as we did not have anything since morning (except the prasadam & laddoo some minutes back) and loaded ourselves into the car to be driven back to Bengaluru. We stopped on the way for light dinner and reached Bangalore by about 1 am

It was a fantastic experience. It was a kind of dream come true for me. Like I mentioned, I had intention of going to the temple but I never tried to strengthen it as I am a very firm believer in God and once I strengthen the will, I will not feel comfortable till I do it. So, I was just telling myself that, 'One day, the Lord will call you... And when the supremacy calls, you have no option but to go'. The 14 year gap was one reason perhaps why he ensured that I am in his service for 14 hours. (2.30 am to 4.30 pm). Numbers you know. They are quite fascinating

I just loved the experience and thanks my friends for making this possible. The plan was on a very short notice and that perhaps had more advantages as we just went ahead rather than spending time on planning and discussing. For those who are planning, I would say, 'Stop planning. Start moving. The Lord is there to provide you with whatever you need'