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Discipline and Devotion

There was a discussion on discipline and devotion among my friends today. I am writing here my views on discipline and devotion. Most of us have an ambiguous relationship to discipline because our initial experience of discipline consisted in being trained to obey rules with the consequence of punishment for disobedience. We end up associating discipline with loosing freedom. This distortion brings up a rebellious attitude against discipline that has the detrimental effect of convincing us to settle for mediocrity. Being mediocre undermines the drive to pursue an attitude of excellence where you consistently strive to do your best. Discipline is a virtue one can cultivate and it becomes natural. For many of us fear of failure is what prevents us from taking action. Originally this may have been caused by being punished, criticised, or shamed for not meeting other’s people’s expectations. Discipline is action. Discipline is the act of working towards what you want. Discipline is not giving up. For most people devotion grows out of being disciplined first. It is an acquired virtue that emerges as you learn to maintain your attention grounded in your heart. Devotion includes daily ordinary activity and roles. For example, all mothers are devoted to their children; all husbands are devoted to their families. Devotion is a state of consciousness that can be perfected. It grows into a life style and becomes natural. This means that you are free to release the heavy mental and emotional burden of guilt, […]

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Schoolboy’s letter to parents to prepare them for bad report

A son gave his dad the fright of his life when he went ‘missing’ and left a note that confirmed every parent’s nightmares. The tale began with a dad who returned home to find his 15-year-old son was out and his room looked suspiciously tidy. The bed is made. His clothes are put away. The room is totally clean. And there appears to be an envelope on his son’s pillow. It says “Dad” on it. Rushing in the room, grabbing the letter, ripping it open nervously expecting something horrendously bad, he pulls out the note and begins reading: Dear Dad, It is with great regret and sorrow that I am writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with mom and you. I’ve been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve because of her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes, and the fact she’s much older than I am. But it’s not only the passion Dad; she’s pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with other people in the commune — […]

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Sohrai festival


Sohrai, one of the biggest festivals among Adivasis (indigenous people) in the Indian state of Jharkhand, is celebrated during the same time when the Hindus celebrate Diwali. The morning after Diwali, the Adivasis across Jharkhand celebrate their festival — Sohrai. The word Sohrai is a Mundaric word for the stick, which is used to drive cattle as well as close the gate of […]

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Bhoot Chaturdashi

Bhoot Chaturdashi (‘bhoot’ means ‘ghost’ and ‘chaturdashi’ is the fourteenth night of the moon’s cycle) is a kind of Indian Halloween, which is observed in every Bengali household on the fourteenth day of Krishna Paksha i.e. during the waning period of the moon, and it happens before the new moon night — the night of Kali Puja or Diwali. Paksha refers to a fortnight or a lunar phase in a month of the Hindu lunar calendar. It is said that on this night the evil spiritual powers are seemingly heightened on this night. In order to keep the evil spirits at bay, Bengalis ritualistically observe Bhoot Chaturdashi every year. On this day Bengali families light fourteen earthen oil lamps (prodeep or diya) around their houses at the juncture of dusk and night. Choddo Prodeep (চোদ্দ প্রদীপ) we call it. Choddo is fourteen in Bengali. On the entrance of each room a diya is placed. This is done to ward off evil spirits as well as prevent them from entering the house. Folklore says that the spirits of ancestors come back to the household on this night and these diyas help them find their loving homes. It’s believed that our ancestors are at a proximity to us and bless us. It’s a way to pay homage to choddo purush — fourteen ancestors, seven from each side of the family — requesting them to save everyone from evil spirit and ghosts. This is very typical of a lot […]

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Masala bonds offer Indian firms funding diversification

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced relaxed rules in late September to allow Indian companies to issue local currency-denominated bonds overseas. This follows the 2014 issue of a 10-year, 10 billion Indian rupee bond (equivalent to $163 million) – called as Masala bond – by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank. The opening of a ‘Masala’ bond market, where Indian firms issue bonds offshore in rupee, will provide an opportunity for some larger issuers to diversify funding sources without taking on currency risks, says Fitch Ratings. The ability to diversify funding would be credit positive, but in the early stages of development the market will likely be restricted to better-quality issuers or ones with some degree of name recognition in the local markets. The new guidelines allow for a wide range of potential borrowers, including non-bank financial institutions, and other corporates which were not permitted to issue offshore under the earlier external commercial borrowing (ECB) framework. Masala bonds will be required to have a minimum maturity of five years, corporates, real estate and investment trusts can issue and there is a USD 750 million per year limit for borrowers – though a firm can exceed this limit with RBI approval. As Masala bonds are denominated in rupees, foreign investors will be taking currency risk. Furthermore, issuers will most likely have to pay a premium for the limited offshore liquidity in rupee. As such, the main incentive […]

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Bijoya Sammilani


With the passing of Dashami and immersion of Goddess Durga sadness descended on the hearts of every devotee.  Three days of festivities just vanished in a jiffy. Although a bit tearful in spirit as Bijoya Dashami is the day we bid adieu to Durga Maa and her children, Bijoya is joyous occasion. Of course sadness was the predominant (and quite […]

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Challenges of global economy

The Group of Thirty (G30), established in 1978, is a private, nonprofit, international body composed of very senior representatives of the private and public sectors and academia. It aims to deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues, to explore the international repercussions of decisions taken in the public and private sectors, and to examine the choices available to market practitioners and policymakers. A report by G30 warned on Saturday that zero rates and money printing were not sufficient to revive economic growth and risked becoming semi-permanent measures. In 2008 central banks, led by the Federal Reserve, rode to the rescue of the global financial system. Reuters commented that seven years on and trillions of dollars later they no longer have the answers and may even represent a major risk for the global economy. A lasting recovery requires governments to shoulder more responsibility and undertake the fiscal, regulatory and other structural reforms needed to support economic growth, instead of relying so heavily on monetary policy. As some major central banks prepare to end this extraordinary period of near-zero interest rates, while others might still expand further, the need for governments to adopt other policy instruments grows ever more pressing. G30 has said that the flow of easy money has inflated asset prices like stocks and housing in many countries even as they failed to stimulate economic growth. The prevailing high degree of indebtedness in the various economies reduces the effectiveness […]

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Being Digital

That day, there was a discussion on our friends’ forum on being digital. There is a huge thrust and campaign by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for transforming India to ‘Digital India.’ Everyone wants to go digital. For some, it’s about technology. For others, digital is a new way of engaging with customers. And for others still, it represents an entirely new way of doing business. Being digital requires being open to re-examining our entire way of doing business and understanding where the new frontiers of value are. Unlocking value from emerging growth sectors requires a commitment to understanding the implications of developments in the marketplace and evaluating how they may present opportunities or threats. The Internet of Things, for example, is starting to open opportunities for disrupters to use unprecedented levels of data precision to identify flaws in existing value chains. Digitalisation offers substantial challenges and opportunities at the same time. At the same time, being digital means being closely attuned to how customer decision journeys are evolving in the broadest sense. That means understanding how customer behaviors and expectations are developing inside and outside the business, as well as outside the sector, which is crucial to getting ahead of trends that can deliver or destroy value. Critically, digital isn’t about just working to deliver a one-off customer journey. It’s about implementing a cyclical dynamic, where processes and capabilities are constantly evolving based on inputs from the customer, fostering […]

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Dancing traffic lights for safety

Waiting at a traffic light to cross the street is boring and annoying, especially when there are no cars and you’re in a rush. Pedestrians often ignore the “red man” at pedestrian lights in order to cross the road sooner. We’ve all done it while waiting for a traffic light to turn although it’s not the safest move. Unfortunately, this sometime leads to accidents. Yesterday, I got the below video on my WhatsApp sent by one of my friends. I liked the concept and so googled to know more about it. The Smart company invented an innovative way to keep the would-be scofflaw pedestrians of the world safely entertained while they wait to cross the street: a dancing traffic light. The company built and installed a “dancing traffic light” at an intersection in Lisbon, Portugal this summer. The traffic light projected a red-figure dancing to music rather than the standard static figure. The figure is a low-res representation of people dancing in a nearby booth. The dancing figure was conceived as a means of keeping pedestrians entertained while they waited to cross the road. An element of gamification was introduced to the concept by allowing people to be the dancing figure and thereby contribute to the project. The company reported that 81 percent more people stopped at the red light when it danced. May be in future, we will see “red man” dancing at all traffic signals if it adds to road safety. A nice […]

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