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Opinion

May, 2018

Asking or Telling ?



The more you know things the more you are confused. In fact, being confused is a sure sign of being on the path to know more. Do you know why I say what I say. Read on.

We all know that there are seven colours in the visible spectrum ( that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which is visible to the human eye).

VIBGYOR as we call it. Violet Indigo Blue Green Yellow Orange Red.
Now if I ask you why is something of a certain colour, what would your answer be. Example – If I showed you a RED rose and asked you why is it red in colour, you may say because it has the colour red in it out of these 7 rainbow spectrum colours.

But am afraid, the answer is something else son. The correct answer is that the rose contains all other 6 colours except RED. A yellow table has all colours expect YELLOW. A Blue whale has all colours except BLUE. And so on. The rules of the universe are that any thing or object reflects / projects only that which it doesn’t have in it. So what you SEE is actually what is NOT PRESENT i that object.

This is not fiction. When I first heard this, I was startled and goose-bumped. But then , the mind helps you and you can decipher things beyond the information you have. So I thought of it further and a few more examples cropped up.

Like snake venom. And its antidote.How is the antidote or anti venom made. You first need the venom, inject a small portion of it in an animal and the animal produces some antibodies which are collected to make the antidote. So the antidote comes from the venom. Think more.

Have you realised that when a person undergoes a health issue, most of the times he blesses others for their good health. So what you lack is health. And so what you project is health for all.
In acts of philanthropy, it has been observed that the poor are more giving than the rich. They share a part of their small fortunes easily than someone who has amassed a lot of resources ( money as we call it ) has major issues within himself to give away. Not always the case but sum of probabilities are higher. For the relatively poor, the motivation to give is the hope to get someday.

Have you ever read stories of super rich businessmen across the world ? The one common aspect is that most of them started with very low and humble backgrounds. Well that in itself is the motivation to go up. Being down. In fact it is the only motivation to keep accumulating more. Always feeling poor. If you don’t feel poor enough, why would you want more. In fact the joke is that children born to rich and average parents never really go THAT HIGH because they don’t know poverty well and therefore have no motivation to go all out for wealth. In fact abundant families often see children spending away or giving away in charity easily. Because they are high there, they want to go a little lower.

Balancing forces within us keep playing all the time. We humans too, therefore, project what is actually the opposite of our internal overpowering state of mind. When the state within is of total wisdom, total innocence is projected. In that context, a child is actually the most wise person always.
Facebook is a very easy method of knowing a persons state of mind. Lets say someone keeps projecting his wealth through pictures and updates of cars, vacations, phones, airplanes etc chances more are that the guy feels poor within. If a couple keeps projecting bliss and happiness in their relationship , chances are that everything is on the rocks already. The largest corporations have average websites and really average corporations have large and grand websites.

So do you see that colleague who projects arrogance and hate always. Chances are that he is full of love and compassion deep within and is just balancing it out. Or do you see that holy cow who always smiles, is nice, courteous, chances are the opposite of that is manifested within him somewhere. We are all playing the balancing act. Which brings me to the metaphor of the inverted banyan tree, as told by Shri Krishna, that this imperishable tree has its roots upwards and branches down and the one who knows this tree knows it all. What we are viewing in the world is actually a reflection of the reality. Today, after writing this article, it makes it even more relevant.


March, 2018

EARTH AND HUMANS


All of us live on planet earth. On observation and extrapolation, I have noticed many similarities between the planet we live on and the body we carry. Let us today see the similarities to try and decipher many challenges we face as a race and find possible solutions to it. Or to put it more correctly, rather than finding solutions, we can understand that things which we define as problems, are not problems in itself so no solutions are required.

Earth is 70% water, 30% land
Human body is 70% water, 30% mass (representing land)
– Most of us know this.

The earth and its ecosystem have mainly 5 elements:

Water (the water within)
Fire (the various fires within at the different chakras)
Air (the air within)
Earth (the mass of earth which makes the body)
Ether (the blue sky colour or the colour of the human soul)

The human body is also divided into 4 zones:

a. The head – which is the Brahman (learned and realised) or the originator of all action/reaction
b. The heart , lungs and stomach region – which is the Vaishya (businessmen) or the day to day executors of all action/reaction
c. The arms – which is the Kshatriya (warriors) – which help protect the body
d. The legs – which are the Shudras (workers) on which the entire system stands which carry the weight and do all the hard work.
(As per ancient Indian social system, people were divided into four classes, based on the duties they perform)
Now, with this basic premise, we can also go deeper and see that the different continents or countries should represent the various body parts.
So let’s extrapolate and see the characteristics of various countries and see where they fit or what body part they might be

a. The USA – which is the unsaid leader of all countries – through its approach, demeanour and actions, makes me think that it is the HEAD.

We also feel that the USA interferes a lot with the other countries – example in Vietnam, Afghanistan etc but doesn’t that is what the brain does? If there is a pain in an ankle or finger or intestine, the brain sends its army of WBC’s and RBC’s to fight the infection and heal it. Just like the US does. Just thinking!

b) Many Indians say that whatever you do, it always feels unclean and chaotic here. So I think somewhere that India is the stomach or intestine. It is chaotic but most essential to digest and run the world.

c) I think Africa are the legs of the world. Europe represents the heart & lungs region. I am sure some country is also the liver, some the pancreas, think about it.

Also, most organs below the naval and above the naval have different environments. Below the naval deal with carbon dioxide mainly. Above deal with oxygen. It makes me think that Canada, Europe, America, Australia belong to the zone above the naval. Asia, Africa, Gulf below the naval. And then what country or geographical point is the navel?
So when we start thinking like this, the first debate of who is superior ends because all body parts are important and interdependent on each other. The head must know that it cannot have any position unless it has legs to carry it.
Also, since the moon and other planetary movements affect the oceans and their currents and also seismic activity, it is safe to say that this validates the whole concept of astrology where the planets and moon should also affect the individual human also.
By reverse inference , I would also keenly want to know what is the blood of the planet earth, what represents a human hiccup, what is the spine of the planet etc, readers are welcome to think and share views.


January, 2018

THE POWER OF BAD


Your loved one returns home every day at 7 pm. Today it is already 11 pm. Not returned. The phone is not reachable. No message. What are you probably thinking? Is he in trouble? Is he in an accident? Is he dead? The first thing that occupies you is: Fear and you think about “BAD”
A noble man had great thoughts. He practised good deeds all his life. One day he made a grave mistake. And everyone forgot what good he did. The mistake hounded him. It attracted all the attention. It overshadowed all his good actions. Bad for him but again: BAD won.

Recently, the license of a hospital in Delhi was cancelled due to negligence (accusation not verdict). The hospital has so far treated over 50,000 patients successfully. It never got any award, reward, tax break, appreciation from the authorities. But 1 incident and boom: License cancelled. The hospital is in hospital now and is recuperating to get back its license but here too the “BAD” over-powered.
Many of us watched the successful movie “Sholay”. It had Jai, Veeru, Sambha, Kalia, Basanti, Dhanno, Mausi, Thakur etc. All played by stalwarts and tall characters in themselves. But whom do you remember: The goon called Gabbar played by newbie Amjad Khan.
Vijay Mallya is a successful Indian businessman. In fact he created the world’s 2nd largest liquor company United Spirits and world’s 2nd largest selling beer company United Breweries. Both were divested to get partners such as Diageo (world’s largest liquor company making labels like Johnny Walker) and Heineken in the respective businesses. The UB group is also the largest investor in sports businesses in India. They own top teams in IPL called RCB, Mohan Bagan in Football, Force India F1 team (1st for India), and India’s top Derby. These businesses were invested into way before their time under the sun. Also, a world class airline was created called Kingfisher which failed. Everyone forgot everything else and only thing they know is he is a fraud etc. (accusation not verdict)
In fact, it was his “Bad” side of perceived women & wine & lavish lifestyle that attracted the brand value to his businesses. I remember people fornicating in their mind after having flown Kingfisher. I know today that people sip the beer Kingfisher thinking they are getting a pie of that bad. And now that single bad failure is overpowering all the lesser bads that people loved.
So it is to be noted that “Bad” or “Negative” or things which we consider averse are very powerful and attract all the attention.
In fact, it takes a lot of gut and character not to fall for the “Sins” or “Bad” things in life.
But the main problem is that we have made “Bad” a bad word. It is our own limited thinking and the problem of being stuck in our own ego and morality that we fail to understand life in its entirety. The darkness in the universe is omnipresent and we need stars like the sun to show light for some time. When we begin to realise this and expand our own thoughts, breaking away and beyond morality & judgement, we see that a whole new dimension opens up. In fact it is the duty of every human being to see the other side of the pendulum too.
Think about it: Human Beings are more powerful than God or Devil. How?
God cannot become the Devil.
Devil cannot become God.
But only human beings can become both, when they want.
Speaking of bad, let me also discuss the nature and food of “Bad”
Bad is very cunning. It has assured its own longevity be making itself of a certain nature. Its nature, if you observe carefully, is that it thrives on its opposition. Opposing Bad is Food for Bad. The more you oppose it, fight it, and go against it: it gets its food and thrives more. It has created this anti-climax kind of personality for itself.
My sense is that the only way to kill it is to IGNORE it.

Let me give examples:
Chocolates:
Your objective is that your child should not have chocolate so that he has healthy teeth.
Now you set out and there are 2 ways:
IGNORE this pursuit of yours to defeat chocolate. See, it will die its own death if you do “Nothing” sometimes, doing nothing is doing everything.
The other way is:
You tell your child that this is chocolate and that it is not good for teeth and don’t have it ever.
You just did three things:
Showed him the product called chocolate and created awareness.
The awareness leads to curiosity about the chocolate
Said “don’t eat it” and created a challenge in your child’s mind – let me see what bad will happen if I eat it.
Now somehow he ate it.
Again, you can IGNORE. He might not try it again possibly. But if you scold him. And then sleep. Or go out of the house. Or he goes out of the house. HAHAHA – the chocolate is back between his lips.
So my friends , I know it’s easier said than done but make your effort and let the power of BAD be with you always 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


November, 2017

A SMALL RULE ON WISHES


I am sure all of you have sent and received several messages on Diwali.
A small rule on wishes. You can give only what you have. So when you wish health wealth happiness to someone, make sure you have enough of it yourself.

The world has reduced everything to a Happy something – which is the 1st level of experience of anything. There are deeper levels that exist. If you think of it:

LISTENING IS DEEPER THAN TALKING

THINKING IS DEEPER THAN LISTENING

FEELING IS DEEPER THAN THINKING

And so on… we don’t even know how many layers are there but all will agree that they exist because we have felt them. So here below I present a small story on the festival of Diwali. When you read, you will listen, which you will think of, which you will feel and experience it on many layers.

Once there was a king who had 7 beautiful daughters.

One day, he asked all,

King: Who is it that feeds you?

The first 6 daughters said in praise of the king: It is you father, the greatest king, who feeds us.

Only the 7th daughter said: It is god who feeds us all.

The king got very angry. He married his 6 daughters to handsome rich princes but got the 7th one married to a poor and leprosy inflicted person.

The 7th daughter was very happy in her life however. She told her husband never to come back empty handed when he came back home from work every day.

So each day he would bring some fruit, vegetables, wood etc. back home.

One day he went to the jungle but couldn’t find anything to take back home, but found a dead snake, so he took that with him. When he showed to his wife, she asked him to throw the dead snake on their hut’s rooftop.

Meanwhile, the king of the state where she was married had a wife, who went out bathing one day to the riverside. At the riverside, she kept her expensive diamond necklace on the banks while she bathed.

Suddenly an eagle snooped down and took the necklace with it. She was heartbroken.

The eagle meanwhile realised it is of no use to him and saw the dead snake on the poor 7th daughters huts rooftop , so it snooped down and kept the necklace and took the dead snake which it could eat.

The king meanwhile announced that whoever finds the queens necklace would get a reward he desires.

The 7th daughter asked her husband to take the necklace to the king and whispered in his ear what to ask.

The king was very happy and asked the man: “What do you want?” He said nothing. The king forced him. He again said he wants nothing. The king ordered him: Ask you must, what is that that I as king can do.

He then told the king that his wife has a wish that on Diwali, no one light any diya in the whole town except for their hut. The king thought about it but for his word, said yes to it.

So on Diwali, the whole town was dark (being Amavasya, a no moon night) except for the poor man’s hut where the diya was lit.

So when Goddess Laxmi arrived, she saw that its dark everywhere and so went to the poor man’s hut and knocked on the door.

The 7th daughter, the poor man’s wife, asked: “Who is it ?”

“It’s me, Goddess Laxmi”

Wife: “Why do you need to knock, please come inside”

Goddess Laxmi walks in and is very happy and asked them: “What can I do for you, you are the only ones who lit a diya for me”

The wife said: “Now that you have come, never leave, stay with us”. And with that, she shut the door.

And Laxmi stayed there forever.

And so friends, with this small longish story, I wish you all a very happy Diwali. It is the feeling you invest into mythology that connects us from the material world to our souls. It tells us that with internal grit and determination and planning, even the gods can be captured by overcoming all our obstacles. It is not mere sweet eating and cracker bursting and bhajan singing, it is basically invoking the powers that lie within all of us. To invoke the powers, one needs concentration and for that one needs seclusion from external gimmicks.


September, 2017

What’s Your Business Type?


Rahat Talreja
Vice President – CSS Central India


As I write this article, the news of the moment is the resignation of the Infosys CEO. A lot of analysts (which is surprisingly a big job these days, in grounded part of India we call it “Bol Vachan”) are giving their views that the per employee revenue is up, the new technology verticals under innovation& automation are shaping well etc.

But the real issue (which basically means ‘my point of view’, people add the word real to assert their own point) was that the standard of governance in the board was down and investors (including the marquee promoters) had lost trust in the working of the board.

Now I don’t want to talk much on it except the point I am making through the headline of my article, what is your business type?

Let us see what the levels on which these evaluations are done are:

a) Value based analysis
b) Financial analysis
c) Hybrid model of the a + b

Value Based analysis

Hello Old school: I think you already know this word and its meaning “Values”

Hello New school: Don’t know this word? No problem carry on..

In this, the prime importance is laid on the values on which the business is run and the clear, defined & written policies which form the benchmark for any evaluation.

Financial Analysis

This is the most important criteria in our times. But most have different understanding of financials and therefore the analysis may not be absolute, it is always relative. Let me illustrate.

We have all seen the recent emerging market rallies wherein even India and its benchmark indices are all lifetime highs. Most common reasons coming out are that it is a liquidity rally since other asset classes have lost relevance and printed money of the central banks didn’t trickle into real economies, so liquidity in the system went into equities the most besides other financial assets and instruments like bonds and debt market. The main point to note is that earnings growth has been flat to negative over the last 4 years.

In this bargain, even a lot of non performing companies have seen their valuations run up. And this is exactly what happens when businesses are liquidity driven and not profit driven.

See in our industry for example – the consolidation, forwarding and logistics industry. Even if you lose a million rupees a month, you need at least 5 years to blow up a meagre investment of example 5 crores. And the best part is you never have to pay those 5 crores. You only need to pay 5 lakhs interest on it each month.

So many in our business run it on liquidity. The moment the liquidity dies, they either raise new funds or run helter skelter looking for newer options.

This is a business where if you run it on profits, you don’t need any investment from day 1. And let me assure you that a lot of people hide behind this liquidity survival for many many years in the industry and get away with it.

Hybrid model

This is obviously the model that most are trying to follow today. At least trying.

The crux of the above segmentation is that we need to see what our real business type is. Are we emphasising focus on volume, value, profit, liquidity or nothing. You may think you are focusing on profit but your actions maybe not in line with achieving it.

Illustratively, one should always focus on rich clients. And what is the definition of rich? Not that the client has a lot of wealth, his cars, his phones, his properties etc. This is the start of wrong analysis. Rich for us is the client who has rich thinking. A thinking where he is rich to think that after he has made all that money , his long term vendors also deserve their pie under the sun. And you will see majority of them are more miserly for others once they have achieved their financial goals.

Their vendors keep visiting them in the same train, same bus, from the same house etc. but the clients keep getting richer, getting into bigger cars, bigger homes etc. These are absolutely poor clients let us first understand that. In fact most shun their own business and start focusing on what you do. So they will call for quotes from 10 different forwarders, squeeze all, delay payment and have all the fun.

Shift gears to rich clients. The ones who value you, your time, your effort, they are certainly not big themselves. They are rich for us. They are loyal, let you earn, pay you on time, give you respect when you visit them, value your relationship.

So friends, I used a few analogies so that we all realise that our analysis should be real, in line with our goals and only then our actions will help achieve those goals. This is the best way to move forward in my view and lets answer the first question in that direction today – what’s your business type?


July, 2017

Why All Cars Below 25 Lakhs Need To Be Banned In India


First, this is an impossible task. Let’s say a member of parliament (MP) proposes this in a meeting, his own colleagues will shut him up. Let’s say for some reason, his colleagues (Other MP’s agree), then the parliament may not pass the bill in both the houses. Several back door reasons will play. Who will consume commodities, metals, labour, capital – auto industry in India is one of the highest consumers of these inputs. Indian manufacturing will lose its sheen. All companies will lobby against the same. Most of all, the public will oppose it strongly. India being a strong functional democracy will find it impossible to pass this.

So let’s say this is a fictional article because it can’t be converted to reality.

Now, I am not the “banning” types. I just say it for getting the basics of life back like clean air, space, safety etc., and more so for aesthetics back in urban areas. This is also not classist because most of us including myself will have to weight options if cars cost above 25 lakhs.

Let me give some facts:

1. In 1995 , there were mainly 2 categories of cars – 1 sedan – Maruti esteem and 1 hatch – Maruti 800

Esteem was priced at 6 lakhs and 800 was priced at 2 lakhs

In these 22 years since 1995 – everything in India is up 20 times at least. The inflation index says that the median rise in price is 16 times

So by this simple reverse math, the 6 lakhs esteem cost 1.2 crores today and the 2 lakhs Maruthi 800 cost 40 lakhs today. So it’s not that cars were available at 5000 etc in 1995. The point is that a car is a car. It should be priced at a premium and only those who can afford it should buy it.

2.  Now if you disregard the economics above, let me show you around. Look at the road around you and see. Maximum cars are below 25 lakhs and look at them. It’s a shame on the aesthetics if they matter. We have 39 hatch back cars now named funnily but just look at them. It’s a box of metal masquerading as a car. Vomit. Think of that favourite hatchback or sedan. Think rationally. India is a country of immense beauty. So you have a sense of beauty. Now think with this sense. Vomit.

3. Most of these cars are sold with jingles and advertisements where it’s shown screeching, twisting, turning etc., and that is exactly how the owners of these cars drive them. Whatever happened to safety? These cars have very basic safety features but who cares for the drivers safety because the drivers themselves (due to their unprofessional driving) are the real threat on the road. The safety needed is not for passengers but others on the road. Airbags should be placed outside the car and not in it.

Now think of a scenario where all cars below 25 lakhs are banned and imagine the road. You will remember your city as it looked in the 90’s. Clean, expansive and beautiful. Open space, few cars, people walking, what fun!

But we need a solution as well, correct? Taxi network, and again all expensive long sedan taxis. All costing more than 25 lakhs. Not the lame duck ones with a touch screen mobile on its windscreen. Driving like nincompoops.

Now any person who can buy a car worth 5-25 lac can surely afford a taxi anywhere and pay 1000 bucks so what ? Also all drive ring licenses should be with strict tests like in Dubai. And voila, long, swanky, sexy looking sedans on the road dropping people. And I firmly believe that most people just wander around just because they have a car. Once they don’t, unnecessary wandering will stop for sure. What’s the need? Sit where you are duffer.

I think it’s not increasing hospital beds, its reducing patients, if there are no hospitals, i think lesser people will fall ill. If there are lesser restaurants, lesser the people will eat out. It’s the supply that is creating the demand. Not that we want it. But someone thinks you need it. I strongly feel that if there is no jail, crime will be lesser. Because it is there, some people go for it. This is all in the subconscious world of human beings. You act out of presence of supply.

Side effects of the 25 lac & below car ban will be:

  1. Unemployment
  2. Lack of demand for metals and plastics
  3. Stock prices of many companies will crash
  4. It may look unpopular
  5. It may look like favouritism to the wealthy
  6. Cribbing by the masses


But in 6 months, everything will settle down. Solutions will come up. Just imagine that clean, wide road. Also the municipality will not be blamed for bad roads because most won’t be driving on them. Less clutter on Facebook, whatsapp etc. No sarcasm. I won’t honestly do it if I could. Imagine a life without names like Dragon R ( why not Dragon S), Bravio, Shitwft, Lasoon Go, Hi ten, Hi twenty, kitna Hi karega, Polio etc wink – I think you know what I am saying.

Signing off and rushing back in my Gonda Cheaty


March, 2017

Seeking What We Can Never Receive and Receiving When We Stop Seeking


Rahat Talreja
Vice President – CSS India


This article is not about business or economics in its conventional way. But the world is run by people and so whatever is going on within people affects commerce and trade as well. So this is my license to write this article in a business journal.

What is it that you always seek?
Peace or Stress ?
Sorrow or Happiness ?
Poverty or Wealth ?
Love or Hatred ?
And so on ….
Ask yourself.

The conventional and obvious answer is the “ better “ looking feeling wether Peace, Happiness, Wealth, Love etc Don’t you remember the several messages you receive and forward on occasions like Diwali, Eid, Christmas seeking the above for you?

But now ask : Which is more powerful and Think. ( this is keeping your mind silent and tongue silent and letting your mind and energy go on a deeper plain ) the definition was important because we are talking more and thinking less these days

The more powerful thing is the one which is omnipresent and the one we are seeking is eluding us always or not visible.

So Stress is present always, peace is to be found
Sorrow is a larger reality, happiness is a wish
Let me give you an example.

All religions, leaders of peace, humanity etc always talked and worked for “ Equality “

Many centuries have passed. Is the world equal ? Need I answer this no brainer? Can I actually say that inequality was always there and is there and will always be there. What happens is that we make the omnipresent reality a bad word and then seek the opposite of it always

But lets be humble to accept that “If the maker of the universe thought that inequality was not required, it would not be there. Simple. Period.”

So if equality is not there – it had to be like this. The issue is our doubt and distrust and non acceptance of the realities around us.

People may argue that what ought to be there, wouldn’t always be.

But just do simple observation. No intelligence required.

The maker didn’t want a cat giving birth to a human, does it ? it doesn’t

The maker didn’t want the ocean to cross its line at the beach, does it ? it doesn’t

But unequal – it wanted . And it did. We cant decipher why so we keep seeking the other end of it. And fail. Till date.

No eye image, no thumb impression, no toe print in the world is equal. So what else should be?

So i come back to the main point of this article. By illustrating the example on equality, I want to simply say that what is present is actually the powerful reality and not the opposite of it. The issue is we make a bad word out of it and keep trying to rotate it. We are actually masters at making bad words out of situations. The two eyed approach. The dual aspect approach.

Without realising that:

Only after stress, deep stress, the peace is recognised – the absence of stress.

Only after sorrow, deep sorrow, happiness is recognised, the absence of sorrow.

The stress is the womb on which peace grows

The sorrow is the womb on which happiness grows

So now I request you all to stop making bad words out of realities.

And accept reality.

And then see what happens.

Once you are ok with stress, the value of seeking peace will go away.

Once you are ok with inequality, the value of seeking equality will go away.

And as every aspect of reality is accepted in its own form, the effort, pain and journey to make the opposite happen will end. Because your starting and ending point will be the same. You will be the 1st and last in the race because the race will never happen. Because now, you have stopped judging everything in dual aspect.

I remember a hilarious situation. Just before a company’s results are out, there are analyst expectations and then if the results are lower than that, people react negatively to it.

But the result is the reality, the expectation is above it. Funny isn’t it.

Another example is in eating. Rich food and Poor food. You eat as you can afford. But what does it result into? If you eat the food of the poor you never get the diseases of the rich. But one strives to get from poverty to richness and misses the mirage.

The article needs to end like this. Understand carefully.

In continuation to my own point that the actual reality is omnipresent and we make a bad word of it and seek the other opposite end. ( Inequality the reality and equality the opposite)

But the reality is also that we do it. This making a bad word if it and seeking the other end. So if it is like this, so be it. My article and its points stand validated only if they stand cancelled. I hope the confusion has bought you clarity on a deeper point.

If not, turn the page and ignore this article, its as simple.

Cheers


January, 2017

Caste System in the World


rahat-talrejaOh no? What did I just say? isn’t this supposed to be a corporate journal and I need to write all the neutral and nice sounding things which appear modern and liberated from the past clichés of society like caste , class etc.

Shouldn’t i have written words and phrases like “go green” or “value addition” or “digital revolution?”

How could I use THAT word in the 21st Century?

But me being me, I can’t remain on the surface for long. So let’s get to the real thing. Which is our internal world which is not seen by all but runs us constitutionally in every way.

Caste! So what is it? It is nothing but a race or a set of similar people who follow similar customs and traditions and mind set and thinking. Not wholly but mostly.

My current insecurity makes me identify my current caste.

If sitting with a Delhi person, I am from Mumbai

If with a Chinese, both Delhi and I are Indian

If with a European, all, Chinese, Delhi and me are Asian

If with an alien, all, European, Chinese, Delhi and I are from the Earth

If in a car, the guy on the bike is another caste

If with a female, I am the guy, the other caste

If with an old person, I am young, the other caste

If I am fat, the thin guy is another caste

Besides if i am my caste, all others are from the other caste.

So basically, my dual nature of viewing things, with two eyes, and not the third eye: the eye of perception, everything is Another Caste

I am basically “casting” myself in one slot, viewing with 2 eyes and automatically the other becomes “other caste”

If you see, this caste system emerges from human insecurity and nothing else

He is just trying to get comfortable in his own casted space.

If insecurity is a fear and the human overcomes it be “casting” himself, how can it be wrong since it comes from a totally helpless and hapless position

Now a lot of countries like India are especially infamous for the caste system. North Indian, South Indian, East Indian, West Indian. Dig further and you get many such bifurcations.

So as we have observed, human beings first need “security” It is the most fundamental need and survival instinct of a human being. You cannot move forward one bit unless you feel secure. This is why now I come to the point that it is not the bad word it is made out to be. In fact the whole world follows it. I have seen in India. Japanese forwarders work with Japanese exporters/importers. Germans work with Germans. And so on. It is the feeling of security, of being like them, of having same thinking. And this is across the world. A very big role is played by the caste everywhere in the world. I have heard how Jews are comfortable with the Jews. How Whites avoid marrying the other colours.

Nothing wrong. It’s the comfort, the security; the same values the same thinking, the ability to address issues together.

The problem is we made it a bad word and then started avoiding using it on the surface although internally, our fundamental need of security and comfort drives us to think with that mentality. Many people suggested that the world citizens have globalised and everything is common now. But look around on the socio-geo-political front, globalisation has failed miserably. Protectionist policies are coming back on the economic front, on the leadership front, protectionist leaders are getting elected with recent examples of this being Mr Trump in the USA and The Brexit vote. How you find the disparity in retirement ages bring grudges to the hard working European countries vis-a-vis the earlier retiring populations of other European countries. In fact the prime agenda is now to save the EU. How the migrants from Syria and the other GCC countries being met with resistance from taking refuge. How Russia is consolidating its CIS position. How India is protecting its local farming industry for years now with protectionist duties.

As they say, you can only make others happy if you are yourself happy. Same applies to races, castes, countries etc. Human populations became adventurous in the name of globalisation and now are coming to terms, that first is security, then comes the rest.


Don’t you see that pickle jar being off loaded by the customs for an Indian traveller? It’s the pickle that gives him security. That taste. Makes him connect to himself, before he connects to others. The goal of every person should be to make a relation with himself first and then others. Every act you do should take you closer to yourself.

And for that, I think the most important is to see things in three dimensions and not duality. Beyond good and bad, beyond right and wrong, beyond day and night, beyond fire and ice, beyond high and low. The fact that every aspect is useful to understand the other aspect. That good cannot be understood without knowing bad. That richness can never be achieved without knowing poverty. That tall cannot be understood without seeing short. This is the third dimension. Which takes you beyond presentation, performance and any other external activity. It gives you a “cast” where you slot yourself and see things as they are. Without judgement. Because that my friends, is the actual caste that we belong to.

The inner world of blood, bone, mind, soul, perception. All the same.

Cheers and Merry Christmas to all


November, 2016

Macros VS Micros


rahat-talrejaThe year 2014 looked tired. There was a feeling that things have reached a top rapidly and therefore we were entering a long phase of consolidation for economies and businesses across the world after the golden decade of 2004-2014.

It quickly dawned upon all that 2015 is even slower than 2014. The year saw fresh addition of equity and debt to balance sheets across the spectrum of economies and businesses. Existing capital was not performing in line.

And as the year 2015 eventually sunk in, people soon realised that 2016 was even slower. Actually threatening world economies and you have seen that the most active participants in the year were central banks, on whom a lot depended to let liquidity bail us all out of the slowdown.

2016 mellowed ambition and let pragmatism set into economies. All capital in the world realised that beggars cannot be choosers. Preservation of capital became central over Return on capital. Emerging markets offered short term returns on world capital but corresponding currency depreciation over the last 30 months eroded that significantly.

Let me turn the focus now on India specifically. The Indian economy was responding to this new phase of consolidation and distribution. Why not? 52 % of the sales of the top 100 Nifty (Indian stock index) companies came from exports. Also domestic consumption was muted and savings also took a hit since sustenance expenditure elevated due to real estate inflation. By the way the inflation which we calculate is based on farm and factory output data which is obsolete in today’s times to calculate urban inflation. When you sit and have a 300 Rupee coffee, you pay for the real estate on which you sit and not the coffee itself. So to take farm output cost of coffee will never reveal the real picture.

But if you ask me, how does all of the above matter at all. It is only good academic data and can be used to talk at social events where everybody has something to say on how economy and country should be running. Then eat food, gulp your drink and go home. Macros matter but Micros are the real test of your mettle.

And this brings me to individual businesses. We saw all of them realign to the newer market realities. Over stretched companies collapsed. Rightly allocated ones survived. But there are a whole lot of companies who actually became more efficient and profitable in this macro environment.

The non-performers always hide using the macro slowdown and emerge taking credit during the macro boom. But the real fighters are those businesses who use all events to their efficient realignment.

In my view, any company turning less than USD 20 million remains largely unaffected due to any macro events on the global or domestic economy level. Their industry macro decides their micro. Let me give an example: There were two boys in the same college. One dull, the other very bright. After 20 years, they met. The dull boy went on to become a senior executive of a construction company and the bright boy was the top executive of an airline. Needless to say, the dull boy was doing far better for himself because his industry macro supported him more.

What is basically required in dull times are:

Honesty: This is a building block to be courageous. We have to accept realities as they are and in their right context rather than masquerading them without own bias and inhibitions.

Courage: To take bold decisions. Brash is not bold. In fact it’s the opposite. Bold is to do what is required and not do what shouldn’t be done. Sounds clichéd but it needs real courage to do it.

Sharp analytical skills: To take the right decisions. Many pound foolish and penny wise decisions are purely due to lack of any meaningful analysis.

Change: Randomness is not change. In fact keeping business fundamentals constant are a good measure of change. Also change should meaningfully and tangibly yield a result and not just alter emotional situations.

Perform: From top to bottom, everybody has a role to play and needs to perform to his best ability. Ability to recognise ability and be secure about it is the hallmark of all successful business leaders. In fact, it is by standing on their shoulders of giants that one sees the world.

Be Strong: Strong is not speech power, it is will power. Strong is not talking, it is silence. Strong is not intimidation, it is accommodation. Strong is not indulgence, it is restraint. Strong is not rhetoric, it is reality. Strong is not intelligence, it is wisdom.

2017 approaches.

I wish everyone realigns and hope that India Inc reaches its full potential. To all my fellow business brethren, this is a small poem. I hope it gives hope to all.

He Fell.
He Faltered,
But didn’t Fail.
He waited.
Waited for Long.
Almost Forever.
And then it came,
His time.
Under the Sun.


September, 2016

Why GRI is More Important Than GST For The Logistics Industry


There is a unique relation between all organs in the human body. They always go through the central leadership of the brain who directs them to act in a certain way and react in a certain way to an external stimulus. This is the standard procedure and in existence since mankind itself.

But two organs have turned out to be breaching this protocol for the last few years. Some outsiders (Social media avenues like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc.) have motivated them. These controversial organs in cahoots with each other are:

Ears

Tongue

What they have done is, they have become hand in glove with each other and skipped the intermediate link of involving the brain. So ears listen and tongue reacts instantly. Read a tweet, react. Read a post, react. Read a message, react. And react FAST. This is the new chaos called social media.

I remember, earlier days, if some people were fighting outside the railway station, suddenly a crowd would appear and in 7-8 minutes, all were giving “solutions” and in 11-12 minutes all were fighting with each other.

Same thing is happening, but not necessarily outside the rail station.

Now the point i want to make is: This rhetoric, which is aggravated by the noise around it, is about GST legislation in India. Suddenly, everyone and his uncle think that this will be very good for the logistics sector.

I will speak for our sector only in context of GST. The buzz is:

• Due to a “One Nation, One Tax “theory, all indirect taxes will be subsumed and therefore there will be ease of operations and flow of goods and services.

Remember – one nation one tax is a good theory but look within and see the difference of opinion and chaos within your own house, office, society, club, village, town. Accounts department doesn’t agree with marketing teams so how will centre and state agree and work without chaos is to be seen to be believed.

• Since goods and services will flow freely, a unified National Logistics policy will come in leading to organisation of the industry.

All i have seen in my observation of industry is that whenever a “policy “or “ organised “sector is tried to be created, the small, middle, tertiary level players get exhausted and only the large fish remain. If this is good or bad, you decide but I think it is necessary to have industry at every level of operation, especially in a country like India, where entrepreneurs are at each level.

• Then due to this policy, 100% FDI in warehousing will be possible, 3PL and 4 PL will get a boost with the entry of multinationals etc. Look, the listed players who are ready for it will benefit. But the industry as a whole will be further cornered and narrowed.

Also, never forget that FDI is just a policy. It doesn’t guarantee FDI. Look at the real estate prices on which warehouses are built which are higher than London, New York, Tokyo and I doubt if anyone will want to pay a price for it, knowing very well that the final pricing power of warehouses to customers is nil.

That brings me to a larger point:

GST is only a tax situation. Tax alone is not the Business. If the Business is there, tax comes in the picture. There are four constant players in any business:

•     Shareholders – Real owner
•     Managements and Employees – executors
•     Tax – government
•     Customers – consumers

This doesn’t change. What changes is that according to the macro and micro dynamics of that industry, the share of revenue is distributed. Let me illustrate with an example:

Let’s say in Logistics: The denominant is INR 100. The year is 2016. The Base year is 2001.

Customers benefit the most because of no pricing power. So they have almost 45 bucks of this 100 – which in 2001 would be 15 since there was no competition and logistics companies had pricing power.

Management & Employee costs have escalated over the decade so as of today; they corner 35 bucks which was 5 bucks in 2001.

Tax: new taxes like service tax have come in and direct taxes have also gone up so this corners 15 of that 100 today which was 10 in 2001.

What remains is Shareholders or Owners who have the balance 5 out of the 100 today. I am not just saying. The Net Profit After tax component of the large listed players in India and around the world is in low single digits like 5%. This in 2001 was 70 if you do the reverse math.

These 70 out of 100 enabled them to buy offices, land, warehouses, equipment etc. and the asset prices appreciated over the years. Ask a promoter today to invest 150 crores for a warehouse and then hunt for business without pricing power on the back of discounts and he will rather do nothing than hit himself on his own toe.

So what is needed?

A business situation in logistics needs to change. Pricing power needs to come in which i don’t see coming anytime soon, maybe never. It looks like the best is behind us. On immediate basis, that business situation is GRI (General Rate Increase)

That happens when demand picks up and supply can’t catch up and the business situation changes for the better. Everyone makes better profits when prices are higher. You may argue that LCL rates never go up but see your own P&L statements over the years and realise that when the prices were higher, the going was the best.

So to my mind, a business situation needs to better, not a tax situation like GST.

GRI as of now is much anticipated than GST.

But you won’t listen to me because print, digital, broadcast and social media are all shouting: GST best for Logistics. All stocks have run up in anticipation. Companies in the business of Market Cap, congratulations. You can do one thing for me at least: You don’t breach the brain in this sinful partnership of the ears and tongue.

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