ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘money

Why US Elections make me sad: And no it’s not about Trump

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money_politics.jpegElections in world’s oldest democracy and the leader of the free world should have been about all that is good about Democracy. It should have been a showcase to world which can influence non-Democracies to become one. However I am afraid to say US elections make me sad. I’ll tell you why.

The debate should have been about the candidates, the policies, what they can do or not. However I see the media discourse about who is raising how much money. Money, which should have been abhorrent when associated with a candidate, is being considered a virtue. The liberal media is celebrating the candidate who gets more money out of the wealthy donors, the Oligarchs.

Consider the headline on CNN, “Clinton burying Trump: $42 million to $1.3 million”. It reeks of a feeling that a candidate with more money is more virtuous. And this makes me real sad. It feels the real purpose of democracy has gone lost. Each person, rich or poor, was to have equal say. However a donation by rich, which is then used to influence other voters, makes the voice skewed. Rich has more voice even in elections. I am sure if Trump had raised more money, the headlines would have been is his favor. It’s not just CNN, its all media. In fact it’s a general sense.

Whole concept of democracy has become a sham. In the world’s largest democracy, India, it is even a bigger sham. Billions of dollars of black money is spent during General elections. It’s akin to buying votes.

So much money in politics and its naked celebration by media makes me sick. Makes me wonder, where did it all go wrong?

Written by arpitgarg

July 16, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Why are Baba’s and Guru’s relevant in society?

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baba.jpgCouple of disclaimers first, I don’t go to any Baba and Guru and nor do my family. Secondly, I will restrict myself to Hindu Baba/Guru’s for the sake of this article. But same thing can be extended to all religions. It’s a societal issue and not religions issue.

When Asaram went to jail amidst sexual allegations, a lot of people I knew felt pained and were devastated. These people have put their faith in Asaram for years; revered him as their God. “Humare Bhagwan ke saath yeh kya ho raha hai?” one of them lamented. They were common people who were genuine in their regard and their pain. Asaram exploits brought a lot of disrepute to the religious Guru’s. The murky secrets were out in the open.

But the issue I want to touch upon goes deeper. Why do people need these Baba’s? What is it that these people are searching for in life? What is it that these people lack in them? It’s complicated. I feel it goes much further. It goes to “Why we are here?” People have been trying to find the answer to this question. What happens after death? Such things trouble us. Next is the race in life. Everyone wants to be more successful than the other soul. Some look for answers, some look for advice, some look for success. Whichever Baba/Guru provides whatever, people go to him.

I will be very blunt here with no disrespect to any one in particular, Modern high profile Guru’s are nothing but a sham. They do this just to make money. People cometh the last. VVIP Baba’s and their VVIP functions. If you have money, you will sit in first row in the Baba pandal.

For me a Guru must be above the money. If I see VVIP front row seats in a Baba’s pandal, I have no respect for them. But most of them are such. They try and keep up their humanitarian side by PR of helping the poor. This gives their rich followers some ammo to quench their morality.

Such Baba’s exploit the fears of people and become a pied piper to them. But I can’t blame them completely. If people are ready to be duped, what can anyone do? But the TV and VVIP Baba’s are not for me. I prefer meditating in silence instead.

Written by arpitgarg

June 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Posted in General/Society, God

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Money and Friendship

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A close friend of mine always said, “Beware your friends more than your enemies”. His reasoning was, you already know that your enemy will try and harm you, but your friend is the one whom you tend to trust and thus are more vulnerable. You least expect a friend to attack. Thus to be safe you have to be more vigil with people who you trust.

I came across some similar situation. People who call themselves your friend; proclaim it with a drum in hand, are the ones you should throw out of your lives. So I learn’t the hard way. I understand you have to have few people (or at least one), whom you can trust. To find such people amongst your friend group, you have to test them. I am not saying become the old lady from “old lady and the wolf story”, but do test them. Only then you will know if they are for real.

If you help your friend with cash or kind, they will pretend to be loyal to you. But how do you if they are for real? A rule of thumb is if you help your friend with money, you put your friendship at stake. Do it only in life and death situations if you have to, not as a norm. Else you are equally guilty of his/her impending betrayal.

If you have helped your friend with money, decide on a date of repayment with interest. Most of the times, the “friend” can get money from somewhere else, all he/she is looking for is to save on interest. Involve the interest component. This will preempt a lot of betrayals.

Even if you don’t need money, do ask a friend whom you have helped in past to lend you some. This will show the true colors if any. Never be gullible enough to fall prey to the crocodile tears of such people. Else they will hurt where you are most vulnerable, at times when you need their support.

I would suggest never involve money in friendship. Money is such a thing, which ends lives, this is just a friendship. There are a lot of people who will glue themselves to you just for taking advantage. It’s you who have to be careful. Remember, it’s never fun to find out you were being taken for a ride.

Written by arpitgarg

September 23, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Posted in General/Society

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Friendship Day. Really?

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Just got a call from a long time friend. “Hey pal. How r u?”, asked he. “I’m fine”, said I. “Just called to wish you friendship day”. And we both laughed to tears for next 30 secs or so. A day for friendship. Who are we Colonists? Ok, bad joke.

Friendship is the essence of humanity. Why is there a need to put a day for it? Ok…let me try and go with it a bit. It’s friendship day, today. What am I supposed to do? Call up my friends? Greet them? Shouldn’t I be had been doing it regularly if they are my friends?

Historically such days were declared to celebrate some achievement. Independence Day, Republic Day etc. What I feel is sometime down the line, it became a fashion to declare days just for the sake of it. I mean friendship day? Who are we Invaders? Again, bad joke.

In college I understand, it gives a shot at maaroing chance. What after that? Also with declaring days with increasing frequency, it’s not far when we will be marking more than one thing on a single day. Imagine Friendship Day and Animosity Day falling together. That would be hilarious, now wouldn’t it?

To me it seems yet another capitalistic agenda to mint money. Friendship band, cards, gifts, tv, movie and what not. That’s genius by the way. Respect.

With the scale getting larger year by year, not long before I get mutated too. Who knows my friend, you will get a card from me next year.

Written by arpitgarg

August 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

General Dyer @ Ramlila Ground

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After an unusually long Saturday, I made a last dash to my TV remote, before going to sleep. Little did I know that sleep would be the last thing on my mind soon.

A betaal lookalike yoga guru, who has raised hell about black money, prevalent corruption and a long-dead system, with a tinge of political ambition, was about to be turned a martyr.

A veteran leader from the party in power stated, “We are not afraid of Baba. Had we been afraid, we would have jailed him long ago”. The relevance of his remark came haunting back with the sad scenes from the capital.

Sending in Police and Rapid Action Force at dead of the night to lathi-charge sleeping innocent common men, reeks of colonial hitlerocracy. When I first saw the movie, Rang De Basanti, the scene where peaceful candle light protest was crushed forcefully. I was sure such thing could never happen in my country. China perhaps, but not in India.

What has happened today has shamed me. How can I cite General Dyer now, when Jalianwaala Baag has been re-enacted in Delhi. Lathi-charge, tear gas and burning the stage are akin to the gunshots in today’s democratic times.

Thousands of people who have come from across the country, where were they supposed to go at the dead of the night? Why not do the same operation during the day? Tear gas is to be used on rioters and miscreants, not on peaceful sleeping people.

If I can’t even protest peacefully against the issues that are haunting me, what should I do? Should I become a naxalite? Should I become a terrorist? Should I hang myself? Should I leave my motherland and live a life of an orphan?

Yes, I am corrupt. But I support any such popular movements against corruption. Even if it’s political then so be it. Coz quite frankly, I am simply fed up of being corrupt.

You are not razing down Adarsh. You have not realized a penny out of 2G. You have not brought back even an cent of black money stashed abroad. But you do sent a 2000 strong force to raze down the shivir.

Baba has been extern-ed out of Delhi. If tomorrow I will raise my voice against corruption, Will I be extern-ed too? I think I will quote from a famous movie, Go to hell DK Bose.

Secret Talks

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Personal Secret is described as something that is known to the person alone and not to any of his acquaintances. Lie is defined as an intentional false statement. They both are related as one leads to another.

Everyone keep secrets. To keep them hidden, they lie. There are various reasons behind. Most common are shame, loss of money, property, love desertion, to brag etc.

I have come across people who kept some weird secrets, told wonderful lies. Some of substance, some just for fun.

1. Kyunki…shhh
A college mate leads the pack. You know how it’s common to deride the ‘Saas-Bahu’ soaps. Well this friend of mine just loved them. The situation was precarious; he couldn’t dare to them watch openly, lest he became butt of all jokes. So he used to download and watch them all alone quietly. As fate would have it, he shared the folder by mistake across the network and the skeletons came tumbling out.

2. Categorically denied
Our society has been divided into class and caste and so is the college admission process. However in some a stigma of being a category student creeps in. Treatment meted out to them could be a reason. There was a guy in our batch, who lied about the same. I won’t go further into the reasons, as the discussion is complex. But when it came out in the open, it left everyone wondering.

3. Had a boyfriend
Most common of them all! Don’t tell about having boyfriend/girlfriend and keep yourself in the market. It’s okay for causal flirting but when done to take advantage, it becomes tasteless. A girl fooled around with a friend to get him to do the academic work allotted to her, while keeping the existence of her boyfriend hidden. Here’s a fact: ‘Guys only help Single Girls’. She knew this well. I can’t say that my friend really cared or so he said later on.

4. From Upstate
We often find people hiding their birth place. Across Europe, I have found people from Pakistan calling them Indians. In Mumbai, few people from UP, Bihar fake their origin to be Delhi. Sometimes out of being scared, sometimes otherwise. A friend of mine introduced himself in the first year as a Delhite. It was only in the final year that we came to know he was from Ghaziabad. He tried to justify by citing NCR. Well reasons can be aplenty. We do still poke him for the same.

5. Opener
A senior at college related to me a funny story. During their first year, a guy told everyone that he was the highest JEE ranked student of their batch. He was called Kholu (common term for rank opener). He enjoyed the limelight for a semester, at the end of which people came to know the truth. They started calling him nakli kholu. Why he lied is still a secret as he maintained his innocence all through.

6. Open the Closet
A serious issue with our society as far as homo-sexuality goes. I have known at least two people who kept it a secret, for obvious reasons though. Hopefully, in future the social stigma attached o it will wither away and people would not have to hide in the closet.

7. Uncle Sam
A first year student who was a localitie was being ragged. He dared the seniors, “My uncle is in ULFA, stay away from me or else don’t tell me I didn’t warn you”. Needless to say, he got away. The fun was, everyone knew he was lying but no one dared to call otherwise.

Hopes and Ropes

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Written by arpitgarg

May 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm

The IPL Team that wasn’t

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IPL auctions, held recently grabbed everyone’s attention. With millions of dollars floating around, it turned out to be a landmark event. Not everyone seemed happy though. Some politicians were enraged by the amount of wealth at display. “It’s pathetic”, said one. Its gross” said another.  “Why were we left out from earning the moolah. It’s wrong”. “Let’s form a team and enter the IPL. Let’s rename it the Indian Political League”, came one suggestion. “Yes, let’s do it”, they gave a Spartan cry. We will show who the real boss is when it comes to earning monies.

“From next time on Mr. A. Raja will be the auctioneer given his huge experience with 2G auctions”, they passed a resolution. “All those who want to bid for someone at a cheaper cost, pay me 20%, I will bring down the hammer. I am the 1st, 2nd and the third umpire”, Raja promised. Point well taken!

The team was called, “Indian Commoners”, given the “aam aadmi” thing is in vogue. The team is as below.

1. Suresh Kalmadi: The way he accumulates money, he can accumulate lots of runs. His tendency to generate money out of nowhere is seen as his ability to get wickets out of nowhere. He is a genuine all rounder. He can even keep the umpires happy, if you know what I mean. He never hogs the limelight. Always owes it to teamwork.

Kalmadi 1 Kalmadi 2

Kalmadi 3 Kalmadi 4

2. Sharad Pawar: The Maratha pride. He is a bit lethargic in field. Takes time to move; needs a little push sometimes. But with him on the side, the team can make records, given his habit to make records of prices of onion and sugar. He does not care much about win or a loss. Cool as a cucumber. After all he is not a jyotishi.

Pawar 1 Pawar 2

Pawar 3 Pawar 4

3. RR Patil: A master planner. Sometimes caught off guard, when the opposite team strikes. To him even a huge loss does not matter. After all such small things happen. He is like a phoenix, rise from the ashes. The only thing that goes against him is his evident dislike for cheer leaders.

Patil 1 Patil 2

Patil 5 Patil 3 Patil 4

4. Mamata Banerjee: Bound to appeal a lot on the ground. Ei No Cholbe, Ei no Cholbe. Will sit on hunger strike if umpire does no give favorable decisions. Batting and Bowling will be on track with her in the team, well almost.

Mamta 1 Mamta 2

Mamta 4 Mamta 3

5. Sheila Dixit: Hell of a worker. Can make 200 in just 2 over’s when time comes. Though old age affects her memory a bit and she keeps forgetting things, considered a long innings player. Is well regarded for her mystic youth.

Sheila 1 Sheila 2 Sheila 3

6. B. S. Yeddyurappa: With him, we will have our grounds to practice and play on. Whatever pitch/land/conditions we want to practice on, he will grab it and will make it available for us. Also he will cry when caught, so umpire will not give him out. He likes to keep himself in shape too. He respects the coach a lot.

Yed 1 Yed 2

Yed 3 Yed 4

7. M. K Alagiri (Karunanidhi’s son): He will hardly be present during the match but during the pre and post ceremonies, he will be there to complain that he is never given a chance to perform. Such spirit!

Ala 1 Ala 2 Ala 3

8. Nitin Gadkari: Will sit on the opposition and kill them. He is dealer and so is easy to deal with. Will keep asking for a wicket from the umpire. He will not let the match go on and may do a walkout, till his request is acceded to. His motto is “Eat and let Eat”, and eats up the wickets of the opposite team.

Gad 1 Gad 2

Gad 3 Gad 4

9. Narendra Modi: Tried his hand at umpiring. Took no decision and the two teams came to blows. Want to enter this time round as the player. The team is bound to win, err…only the home matches perhaps.

Modi 1 Modi 2

Modi 3 Modi 4

10. Rahul Gandhi: Likes to play test matches, slow and in whites. So that might be show-stopper. But has a fan following among elite youths (where the money is), so might be able to bring in sponsors. Also is young. Invest in future.

Rahul 1 Rahul 2

Rahul 3 Rahul 4

11. Manish Tiwari: His team is the reigning champion and he never misses a chance to be smug about it. He will murder anyone who says anything against his team. Such is his loyalty. Don’t need to know the context. All he knows is defense. He is the Wall. He can take on one, two or even three bowlers at the same time.

Manish 1 Manish 2

Manish 3 Manish 4

12. Jagan Reddy (12th man): He is a good fielder and practices a lot. Be it ‘Odarpu Yatra’. He has a lot of female fan following too. Charming! The flip side is that he will not play unless made the Captain. He will make a new team from the breakaway players if he is refused the Captain cap.

Jagan 1 Jagan 2 Jagan 3

13. Sourav Ganguly: Pissed at his exclusion in the IPL, he gave his name for Indian Commoners. Unsold here too. Left has told they will find a role for him and no team in India is possible without him.

Sourav 1 Sourav 2 Sourav 3

Indian Economy Strong: Funda-mentally

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Last few days have witnessed regular assurances from finance ministry, RBI governor, CEO of leading Indian banks as to how India would weather the global financial storm. All the assurances had one thing in common, “The fundamentals of our economy are very strong”. What these financial fundamentals really are? How to understand them? Well, I have one approach ready for you. As they say “Cinema reflects the Society”, let’s start our search for the economic fundamentals via the fundamentals of Indian cinema.

“Thakur, jaan pyaari hai toh Tijori ki chabiyaan nikaal”. Who doesn’t remember this legendary line? Immortalized by Thakurs ranging from Kanhaiyyalal to Madanlal and Dacoits cum Robinhoods ranging from Raj Kumar to Sunil Dutt. Another such scene is where the greedy Thakur opens his Tijori to lend money to the poor Kisaan at high interest rate. Here the most important fundamental is Tijori. Our society too cherished this personal Tijori. Down the years, the Tijori got replaced by a bank locker for quite a few. Barring the recent trends, we are not known to be ardent investors. We do save money but most of us do not invest in other than the popular LIC policies. We all have such Tijori’s which keep our money safe and sound if not reap returns. Before you point out the decreasing worth owing to inflation, keep in mind that we usually keep our savings as gold, silver etc. But the Tijori persists.

“Kaam ho jaiyega Seth. Paisa mere Swiss bank account mein pahunch jaana chaiye”. This corruption and surplus black money has helped avert the mortgage crisis in India. Consider a house with market value of 1crore. Usually one pays 50lac in cash and 50lac via cheque. This ratio may vary from 40:60 to 45:55 or vice versa. The cash is what is usually called number 2 ka paisa. For the rest 50lac, we apply for a loan. Even if the property rates fall to say 80lac (from 1cr initially), unlike Americans we don’t forego our property to the bank. After all the current market rate is still greater than the loan due. So the black money in property business has not let mortgage crises come to India in the way it has rattled US. (for more read http://www.swaminomics.org/articles/20080330.htm)

“Madam hum ICUC bank se aaye hain. Aap loan chuka dijiye warna hum bahut kameeney log hain”. This dialogue delivered with pure sincerity in the movie “One Two Three”, gives us clear insight as to the low default rate in India. The loan is distributed via agents and settled via another set of agents, while the bank sits pretty. Should the leading banks go the legal way, it would take them at least 20 years to settle. Agree or not, this so called extortion has kept the so called fundamentals of our economy sound.

“Bhaisahab yeh Mangal-Sutra girvi rakh leejiye”. Nirupa Roy in need of money for the treatment of her sick son. Here mangalsutra is the key. Most of the Indian families have household jewellery. Ask your mother for confirmation. Regardless of the bank balance, there have to be sufficient diamond/gold/silver ornaments to be worn at various ceremonies. This domestic wealth is the one which has helped many a family sail through the dark times.

Tring…Tring…are you an idiot?

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I received this call last week.

Caller: Hello, is this Hardhik Garg? not clear whether it was Hardhik or Karthik.
Me: May, I know who this is?
Caller: Hi, I am Shyamsundar. I am a pass out of IIT Guwahati. You are also from Guwahati naa Hardhik. I got your name and number from Satish Mittal. You might know him. He was from your batch.
Me: Arre, my name is Arpit. Yes, I know Satish.
Caller: Sorry Arpit. Actually I just talked to Satish over the phone. He was busy with a presentation. So couldn’t hear him clearly. By the way I am from ‘99 ECE batch.
Me: ’99 passout batch?
Caller: No ’99 joining batch. I passed out in ’03.
Me: Oh!
Caller: Yes, you and Satish would have joined a year later.
Me: Yes, exactly.
Caller: You might know Bora Sir, Gogoi Sir.
Me: Yes, I knew Bora Sir. Not remember about Gogoi Sir.
Caller: Well, I am in Mumbai right now. I came here with regard to my visa for Australia. I was travelling in local train when my wallet got lost.
Me: Oh God!
Caller: Yes and with it went all my cash, credit card, debit card.
Me: So you are out of cash right now. Guessing that’s why he had called.
Caller: Yes. That pretty much the case. I called Satish for help. He was busy in office. I know how it is. I myself was at Microsoft for over a year. So didn’t disturb him much. He gave me your number and asked me to contact you for help.
Me: Oh Ok
Caller: So where exactly are you in Mumbai?
Me: I am at my office in Powai area.
Caller: Oh! Near IITB. I have been there once during college.
Me: Ok. So where are you? How do you need help?
Caller: Sorry yaar. I guess I am not disturbing you.
Me: No problem at all.
Caller: I have just one debit card left with me. Fortunately, it was in the bag and not the wallet. It’s an old HDFC account. I haven’t used it recently, so it doesn’t have any balance right now.
Me: Yes listening.
Caller: Can you please deposit some money into this account. Would it be a problem?
Me: No. not at all. What’s your full name? Shaymsundar…
Caller: It’s S. Shaymsundar. I am from south.
Me: Oh. Ok. Yes go on.
Caller: My account number is XXXX. I will return your money as soon as I reach home.
Me: Oh. Ok. I haven’t received such calls before. Was not sure whether it was a crank call. How to be sure? Just then it struck to me. So which hostel were you in?
Caller: Oh! I didn’t live in hostel. My dad was … he told some Govt job, that I forgot in Guwahati. I used to live with my family in the city.
Me: Ok. You might know Ravi then. He was from your batch only. (Just made some name up to check).
Caller: No I don’t remember any Ravi. Which stream was he in?
Me: I don’t know exactly. Thought you might know. Well so bhaiyya (trying not to sound too questioning), who was the director at your time.
Caller: Oh! He was someone called Mohanty. You might not know him. (Caught you!!!)
Me: Yes, yes. So what is the sum you need?
Caller: Let’s see. I have to take a flight from here to Banglore. I would need 2-2.5K.
sounding hesitant and feeling sorry to disturb me I hope I am not troubling you any bit?
Me: Arre naa.
Caller: Is there any HDFC branch near you? You may check online for that.
Me: I think there is one branch nearby.
Caller: Oh. Thank God! So how long would it take?
Me: It should take me around 20 min to reach there.
Caller: So are you leaving right now?
Me: Don’t worry. I will leave immediately.
Caller: Thanks yaar. I would repay it on reaching Bangalore. I would like to meet you and Satish both when I return from Sydney. You guys are really helpful.
Me: Oh! No problem at all. After all you are our senior. This is the least we could do.
Caller: So. I’ll call you in half an hour.
Me: Yes, sure.

I called Satish. He whispered over the phone. He was in a presentation. I asked him does he know any Shyamsundar and had he given him my number. According to him, this guy called him some 15-20 minutes ago. Was not sure where he got his cell number. From orkut, perhaps. Forwarded the call to me, as he himself is busy. “Plz verify before doing anything”, were his words.

Well. I did leave immediately not for the Bank but for lunch. I went over the chinks in the story with my friends, to weigh the odds.

Chink 1: He was not able to tell the name of the hostel and made up some excuse. Plausible though, I must say.

Chink 2: There was no director by the name of Mohanty. GB Sir were there in our time and if he had passed in 2003, as he said he did, he should have known his name.

Chink 3: I would have understood if he needed some cash. But he needed money transferred into his account. Given internet (core) banking these days, he could as well have called his friends and family. They would have deposited money anywhere in India into his account.

Chink 4: Similar argument goes for the flight ticket to Bangalore. Any of his known one could have booked the ticket online. He just needed the PNR. Instead he went all pains to ask someone he didn’t knew even remotely.

Chink 5: The best part of it. The call was from a local landline number. I tried to call back but it was engaged. Probably a STD booth. So the guy didn’t have a cell number.

He called back and I told him that there is no HDFC bank in my vicinity. Better he call his friends and family to get a ticked booked online. Sorry that I could not help him. Looking forward to meeting him when he is back from Sydney.

Well, I still have his account number. (Based on real events)

Written by arpitgarg

September 9, 2008 at 1:23 pm

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