Indians in world war series – Battle of Kohima and Imphal

Battle of Kohima and Imphal is missing from our history books and overlooked by most of the nationalist historians. Its buried under the stories of Indians independent struggle. We are overzealous about Gandhi, Nehru and other Independent struggle hero’s. Indian soldiers fought in thousands in 2 world wars from 1914 to 1944. Thousand unknown soldier perished in unknown lands, completely obliterated from our nationalistic psyche and from our war histories.  Indians fought many Battles and War during British Raj and 6 Wars after Independence but Indian politicians could not build single war memorials. Historical accounts are also recorded to glorify India’s Independent struggle and stories where we can identify ourselves as Indian. India was divided in multiple riyasat, princely states, dynasty etc. India’s identity came to being from British empire. British captured India from Hindukush mountains in Khyber Pakhtunwaa (KP) to Gangetic plains up to Chittagong, down in south india up to Madras including Malabar and Travancore. India was known as British India. This was our Indian identity post Battle of Plassey where we conceded Bengal to British and British Raj was established. First this was under Imperial East India company, a trading company. But post 1857 sepoy mutiny, British India was taken over by British empire and British parliament. British setup large army of Indian sepoy and soldier to fought various battle against Mughals, Marathas, Sikh uprising, Tipu’s army, Afghan war and several wars during Queen Victoria’s reign. Indian sepoy fought gallantly in trenches of Somme and Ypres against marauding Germans during First world war. Many died in trenches, gone without any trace. Since they were part of Imperial army, natives identities were gone unnoticed.


Indian IT Story #digest 1

Whilst India IT got the driving seat to lead IT Service delivery for the planet, now facing the stark reality of loosing that position. Lot of them misused that power and taken customer for the round trip. In the printing invoice spree, they lost the definition of value creation. Unwanted things moved up in priority such as billability, top and bottom line pressure, compensation etc. In this orgy, Many of them did not notice that Music was stopped long back. Now pronounced that Party is officially over.

Value creation is only possible solution going forward. While many wave riders are waiting for next nonexistent wave for free ride. If you still not noticed, we are on the downward pointed vicious spiral.

Final solution – How knowledge of finance solve your problems!

Future is uncertain, money is complex product and knowledge of Finance is our only safety net (or Parachute or life jacket – you got it what I am saying). Therefore you need a good handle of Time value of Money concept. TVM required in everyone’s life to unlock the mysteries of Future and Money. Be sure that you will Rest in peace now and beyond. Here we have other set of ‘R’s

Realistic and Responsible Objectives
This one is difficult task but still, please set your objectives. It is important to attach financials or price tag to your Objective. Example – want to buy BMW 3 series, Exotic family vacation, buying an expensive Villa, travelling only by Business class etc. Other set of examples – setting aside money for Kids higher education, investment in stock market, start up a new venture, give away money for Philanthropic cause (yeah I know – Bill Gates and Warren Buffet story, acquire first and give later). All I am saying, please set your objective where you need Capital (on the asset side of your balance sheet). Once that’s done – look at the financing part of it i.e. Liability side. How do you want to Finance your objectives. Does your current earnings help you to achieve your Objective? If not, what are the alternatives – Move to higher compensation Jobs or take up assignments with higher saving potential or cut your existing expenditure etc. Long term view is always better than the myopic one. Your knowledge of Finance will lift you to a vantage point where you can see your future (how far, that depends on your knowledge and understanding). Do not set Objectives based on neighbor’s salary.

Retirement plan
There is mismatch between nature of Jobs and life of Job span. Job market has been changing in every 20 years. Our job span is 30-35 years. New Technology turns around in faster rates than before and our extending longevity may extend your job span further. This will further skew up mismatch between Jobs and Job span. This will lead to the fear of obsolesces. This problem will confront every individual in their last leg of our career (last 10 to 15 years of working life). It’s important to have concrete Retirement plan (we are no more in Govt. Jobs where retirements are secured partially). This is easier than Objectives. Set your retirement year and your remaining life approx. another 20 years after retirement. Again look at your balance sheet – Asset side, what are the assets and cash you need on or before retirement. Consider no earnings after retirement. Use Future value of annuity to come up with corpus you need before retirement. Assumptions like I need cash flow of X amount every month for rest of my life after retirement. Now look at liability side on how to finance to meet your retirement target. Are you on course or drifted already? Course correct and make necessary changes in Income, expenditure and saving cycles. Stop old school thinking like I want to leave wealth for my next generation etc. Next Gen is capable enough to earn for themselves. It is advisable to add scenario “if I am not around” – buy sufficient term plan to cover all your liabilities, review nominees etc. It’s OK if you do not pass Assets to next generation, make sure that you are NOT passing any liabilities for sure.

Reduce consumptions
Financial model in our favorite spreadsheet will help you to chart out Objective and Plan. However you can factor in your consumption patterns while calculating your retirement plan. This is somewhere between realm of finance and beyond. Our planet earth has finite quantity of resources. As we are growing in multiple dimensions – wealth, wisdom, wage and age etc. we must alter our consumption cycle. Less for mother planet and more for yourself. Do it voluntarily before medical condition warrants. It would be better to pay for good medical insurance now. Healthier consumption pattern will ensure simpler retirement plan. This will save you from considering various scenarios (such as health related events) around your retirement plan.

Redefine Wealth
I cannot explain this in terms of finance, therefore you may call it nonsensical. Please create your sense of Wealth (similar to goodwill or brand value) without any proud or pretense. You may acquire wealth by visiting new place or country, knowing new culture or people, by knowing new knowledge area (books, training, courses), by leadership, by contributing around your neighborhood. It will be boring and unidirectional, just to consider Cash as wealth without Kind.

Reset your Goal
Life is long and getting longer. It’s also full of unknown events, therefore it’s important to reset your goal and re-plan time to time. I would say that, this should be your Year-end procedure so that you will have more clarity. It will be real waste if you can’t spend (read enjoy) what you earn.

One of my favorite self-help book is 7 habits by Steven Covey. It does not matter when you are starting, but always begins with the end in mind (2nd Habit)
Don’t shrug off and quip – “I have lot of time to do this”. I will just wink and say – “Really?”

Middle management problem – is solution lies in Top management pay structure?

In our conventional hierarchical based Organization structure, we know that as you go up in hierarchy compensation will go up (not in linear but in non-linear functions close to exponential function – I am not a math wizard anyway). This is not about long established Broken Middle management theory nor pay gap noise around CEO to workers pay ratio, gender based pay gap etc. I simply challenge existing convention hierarchical based pay structure where Top will get highest and so on based on your level.

What if, we pay highest to Middle management and leadership level salary will taper down or will be lesser than Middle management? Let me answer WHY (a big why)

At middle management level, your employees are conduit between Top management team and lower half of the company. So Middle management connects between 2 different generations. In my opinion Middle management is main engine room and important force to move company forward. Top management is only a rudder to navigate to right direction.

At Middle management level, your employees can exert maximum force, maximize knowledge in multiple dimension such as technology, finance, industry domain, accounts etc. It’s no more a secret that as we move up, top management will unlearn & reduce their knowledge quotient in multiple dimension so that they can carried out other responsibilities.

At Middle management, employees will continuous put full force so that they can move up in Top management or leadership level purely due to compensation based gravitational force. They are more suitable to engine room and not for controlling the rudder. This is counter-productive for organization and NOT working in today’s organization.

Pay your middle management highest compensation, there will be no rush to move up in top management or leadership level. Only self-driven motivational person will move up to leadership level to give company to right direction and not for compensation. This will bolster Middle management workforce, more company resources will be ready to work in engine room and ready to handle nuts and bolts happily. There will be another force to work upward from bottom half of your organization to Middle management level. Organization will put positive energy to stay at middle management level and improve multiple dimension every day basis.

Ask this question to your leadership team – Middle management will get highest compensation. Do you still want to stay here? Treat this as an odd experiment – please do it for temporary basis.

Trip to Thailand – Bangkok and Chiang Mai #Digest 1

Lest we miss our trip to Thailand for some reason, I was dreading as multiple things on going –  1) I travelled to Singapore on business just before our Thailand tour, 2) It was first time travelling for Visa on arrival, 3) did I miss anything while booking flight, hotel etc., 4) I was out of my London assignment, even work front was not smooth, 5) Wife was busy with work and chores. Among all brouhaha, Sashmit was excited about going to East. He did some research, watched several youtube video, maps etc. Sister and Niece (Joyee) came from Pune to visit us day before our travel. Sashmit had a mixed feeling – he can’t spend time with them same time excited to travel east. Sister was also planning to take Mom and dad to Pune for few days. I was working from home on the day before travel, to sort out few things. We arranged Thai Baht already from BuyForexOnline folks (we got 1.98 rate in card plus 10000 cash). We realized that Thailand is not friendly on card usage. We experienced that as well both at PoS and ATM. More details later in this post. We had sufficient cash in hand (more or less). Rest we decided to figure it out as we go along. Wife did the most of the packing, we were more as handyman to help her to run various smaller errands. Travel date arrived at last, we called a cab using our office cab service (for INR 1125/-). It was late night flight and we started at 9 PM. Bangalore traffic was buzzing even at 9 PM. Driver meandered through various by lanes to duck traffic in main road. It was long weekend as well so we anticipated some traffic disruptions. Traffic situation improved after town hall / central Bangalore area.  Lets talk about our Itinerary of Thailand tour, I planned broadly but not thought through in details. This is  5 nights / 6 days plan. Day 1 – Bangkok markets, Day 2 – Bangkok Sightseeing, Day 3 – Ayuthaya (Day tour) and take night train to Chiang Mai, Day 4 – Chiang Mai, Day 5 – Chiang Mai (Doi Suthep), Day 6 – Back to Bangkok and Back to Home.

more later…

अंग्रेजो का समर

ना यहाँ ककड़ी मिले
ना कलिंदर
ना यहां पियाउ मिले
ना वो गुरुद्वारे वाले मिले
घर मे रू-अफजा शायद मिले
पर घड़े सुराही तो दूर तक न मिले
अंग्रेजो का समर मिले
तो कई खिलखिलाते चेहरे मिले


आदमी ने सीमा खींची
रिश्तो को बांटा
मूलधन और ब्याज के फेर मे
पाया सिर्फ घाटा

आदमी ने पेंड़ो को काटा
परिंदों का घर ढ़ाया
पेंड़ो से ऊंची इमारतों मे
सिर्फ खुद को बसाया

आदमी ने बाज़ारो मे सुख ढूंढा
हर चीज़ को कीमत मे आंका
जरूरत रही दरकार से आगे
और मन रहा सिर्फ फांका