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Day 18: Killer Chillar

Location : The Supermarket

I buy some grocery items and cosmetics. I stand in queue at the billing counter and when my turn arrives, the person at the counter scans the items and tells me the amount. It is 439 INR. I give him a 500 INR note and he hands me back 60 INR and one eclairs toffee instead of Re 1.

WTH!! Many of you must have faced a similar situation. Why am I unhappy with one of the most popular chocolates? Because

# It is not a fair exchange

# In reality I am being forced to buy something instead of getting money due.

# You know how a pot of water fills by drops of water. Similarly losing change at grocery stores and other such places regularly is actually creating a big difference.

# Chocolates and candies are bad for teeth so there can be an increase in dental bills

# Chocolates and candies are high in saturated fat, and a large part of the calories in this food come from sugars. This food also has Trans Fat.

# Most importantly I want my change and I DO NOT want an eclairs!

A survey conducted in 2012 by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in response to complaints from the public, found that 44% of people in 12 Indian cities had the same experience; candies instead of coins for change.

According to The Hindu dated 4 April 2013, 18 bank branches have been identified to distribute coins daily and tide over the shortage

1. There is a dearth of Rs. 2, Rs. 5 coins in many cities across India

2. Banks say they distribute 10-30 bags, each containing 2,500 coins, every month

3. RBI has pumped in coins worth nearly Rs. 16 crore over the past year

After RBI’s decision, coin counters in banks have closed down and the shortage of small-denomination notes and coins has hit the roof. Small-time traders and merchants depend heavily upon these coin counters at banks. There is a huge bottleneck in the circulation of coins in the market. For my research for this post, I came to know that shopkeepers and retailers are forced to pay 8% premium to get 100 Re1 coins in the black market. This means they pay Rs8 to Rs10 extra to get 100 coins in Re1, Rs2 and Rs5 denominations. But why do they do that? Because of customers who want their change back and they are not wrong in doing that. But due to insufficient coin circulation, customers are not able to give change but want their due change. Moreover, customers are choosy about which coins they want; the 50-paise coin being the least popular. Though RBI has not discontinued 50 paise coins, people refuse to accept them including beggars. But there are some places where they are still in use.

Some shopkeepers blame the ATMs that churn out only notes of large denominations, some shopkeepers allege that the coins are all taken to Tamil Nadu, melted and made into razor blades.  Confused? ’The one rupee coin after melting can yield six to seven blades, making its total worth over Rs 50. The shopkeepers are turning to beggars and eunuchs for help! But even the beggars are refusing to part with the precious change and if they do, they charge extra for it. Shopkeepers also procure coins from temples and churches, who also don’t give it for free.

Some of the coin counters still functioning are predated by agents who are actually into this very business..they have an understanding with bank officials at the counters and get coins easily instead of shopkeepers standing in queue. Later they sell these coins at a profit to desperate retailers.

A possible solution to this problem, the note to coin change machine made by UK-based Thomas Automatics has been acquired by the government and 150 of those have been installed in banks, railway stations and temples across India since 2003 as of 2007. But it has its own set of issues like equipment failure, low public acceptance etc.

That day is not far when we, the consumers, have to start giving eclairs toffee to toll booths, shopkeepers etc. Toll booths have not started giving eclairs toffee yet but I think they are the ones who should. Maybe the toffee will have some calming effect on drivers and help prevent accidents. :)

or maybe RBI can just declare the eclairs toffee as the new Re 1 coin.

P.S. Chillar means change in Hindi. Candies as change can kill us with diabetes hence the name “Killer Chillar” :D

Appeal to the Public from RBI Website

The Bank, with active co-operation from various agencies, has endeavoured to distribute the coins in an equitable manner to all parts of the country. The mission cannot be successful without unstinting support from the people at large and the various voluntary agencies. Members of public are requested to avoid holding on to coins and instead, use them freely for transactions to make sure that there is a smooth circulation of coins. Voluntary agencies are requested to educate the public about the various facilities available in their areas for distribution of coins, exchange of soiled notes and proper handling of notes.

P.P.S I missed again on Day 17. I was physically and exhausted due to a tiring day at work.

Day 7: Bookstores Vs Websites

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

I have always loved visiting bookstores and book fairs. I still remember Sunday morning trips in Papa’s car (mainly to keep our Premier Padmini  car alive) to the only bookstore to keep books other than study books in our town – NuLite. And I simply loved the book fairs of Russian books that used to come to town every year. But after I reached Class 5, these Russian book fairs stopped coming. :( Now in Bangalore, when I go to a mall, I tend to enter bookstores like Crossword, Landmark, Reliance Timeout and browse through all the sections. I like the smell and feel of new books so much! I see so many book lovers sitting cozily on the poufs and sofas reading books at leisure. Do they actually end up buying the book or any book? Or do they just come, sit, read and go? Then it is great for bookstores to indulge such book lovers. And necessarily so given the terrible lack of libraries in the city.

But the question is do I buy any book from bookstore ? I do get motivated to pick up this book and that book but I stop. I stop and using internet I look up the price on online retailers like Flipkart. For example I really wanted to buy “Hercule Poirot The Complete Short Stories” by Agatha Christie which was priced at Rs 599. At that time Flipkart was having a great sale on books and anyway there is always some discount on most of the books. So that book was available for Rs 300 on Flipkart. Now why on earth would I buy any book from any real bookstore?

I am very sure since these websites came in the market, bookstores are bearing heavy losses. Of course the ability to hold a new book, flip through it and just to browse in a physical bookstore is essential for all book lovers. Also one comes to know of different types of books, new releases etc by visiting a bookstore more than a website. Sometimes you enter to pick one particular book but ending up buying three more that you don’t need. :) But in the end money is a big factor! And it’s not some Rs 20- 50 difference..it is a huge difference. I guess eventually online retailers will drive bookstores to bankruptcy and closure. Will the people benefit or lose in the process is the question.

“There is nothing like the smell of a bookstore. If you ask me, it’s actually a combination of smells: part library, part new book, and part expectation for what you might find.” ― Kathryn Fitzmaurice

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Phew!! Just made it today!

The Mirror,Award Love and Best Post

Yippeeee!!! I am soo happy!! My blog post where I wondered that why Aishwarya was awarded Padma Shree has been mentioned in the Bloggers Park column of the Bangalore Mirror and the Mumbai Mirror newspapers. (I guess both have that section common!). Thanks to Appu for informing me and to Nikhil for being sending me the scan of the article.Here it is :-

bangalore-mirror-article1

Here are the links to the online edition :-

Mumbai Mirror

Bangalore Mirror

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World’s Ten Oldest Jokes

I have subscribed to Reuters Oddly Enough Report via email. In a recent one, I got this news. Through that odd news I came across world’s ten oldest jokes as discovered by a study commissioned by television channel Dave of UK. Here are the jokes.

1. Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap (1900 BC – 1600 BC Sumerian Proverb Collection 1.12-1.13)

2. How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish (An abridged version first found in 1600 BC on the Westcar Papryus)

3. Three ox drivers from Adab were thirsty: one owned the ox, the other owned the cow and the other owned the wagon’s load. The owner of the ox refused to get water because he feared his ox would be eaten by a lion; the owner of the cow refused because he thought his cow might wander off into the desert; the owner of the wagon refused because he feared his load would be stolen. So they all went. In their absence the ox made love to the cow which gave birth to a calf which ate the wagon’s load. Problem: Who owns the calf?! (1200 BC)

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Education Boom or Education Doom ?

In the coming college session 2008-09 of Engineering, around 10 new colleges will add to the existing 19 colleges in the state of Chattisgarh. Also the number of seats in the existing colleges will go up. That would mean around 10000 seats for engineering admissions. Similar conditions exist in other states too where day by day new colleges, technical or otherwise, are coming up. Education is the one of the biggest investment areas now in India. Big parties are pooling up their legal or illegal money and setting up colleges. Just by showing basic fulfillment of norms, they are getting approval from the AICTE too. Students getting absolutely any rank or even no rank in the state’s entrance exam can now get admission in Engineering easily. The fees of this state is more than Rs.50000 per year, not taking into account donation money for management quota seats.

The question that arises is whether this education boom is actually a boon or bane? Will it prove useful in the long run for India or will it spell out the doom of Indian technical workforce? These are the important points to be considered before deciding the answer to this question.

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Motherhood – Necessity or Choice?

This article came in a Hindi daily on the necessity of motherhood for a woman. The author of the article is a female gynaecologist. One or two sentences in the article seemed to emphasize too much on the importance of motherhood for a woman to feel happy, healthy and to feel complete. “A woman’s body is made in such a way that childbirth keeps her happy in mind and healthy in body”; “A child is an inseparable part of woman’s body, her whole life’s spindle and aim too.”

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Is it better to have loved ‘n’ lost or not to have loved at all? – Part 1

Sharing an article I came across in Times Life dated 03/03/2008….
O-zone Vinita Dawra Nangia

Is it better to have loved ‘n’ lost? or Would you rather never have tasted love, and so none of its attendant rollercoaster ride of emotions ranging from exultation to grief?

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

RECENTLY two of my women friends chose to separate from their respective spouses after being married for more than a decade. Incidentally, both had married for love.
Will that love now be the cause of regret rest of their lives? Or, will they be able to rise above the heartbreak and emerge from the experience richer and more evolved human beings? Even though it is still too early to tell, you can already see the difference in their attitudes. One has confidently set out on a path rebuilding life and
imbibing lessons she has learnt from the breakup; the other is low as low can get,
sounding stricken and clearly having taken a bad hit. Surely for her, it would have been better not to have loved at all?
A question that plagues all who have visited heartbreak zone — is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Lord Tennyson raised the issue in In Memoriam, written in a state of almost suicidal grief after the sudden death of his friend, Arthur Hallam.
Since then, not just poets and essayists, but every lover has asked himself and the world in general this question. Would you rather never have tasted love, and so none of its attendant rollercoaster ride of emotions ranging from exultation to grief ? Or, do you feel richer for all the experi
ence loving and being loved brought to you?
Difficult question to answer, especially given the fact that all of us walk into love with our eyes closed, believing like every full blooded human being does, that only the good stuff happens to us, while bad things happen to others. And yet, nobody can be in love and not be swung to absolute extremes of emotion. You are riding an unbelievable high one moment and plunging into abysmal depression the next. You believe yourself to be the luckiest person alive while in love and then, when that love ends, there could be nobody more torn apart than you…
They say love and intimacy is the cause of all our happiness and sorrow; our well-being and sickness, and of all our pain and healing. To give up one is to give up the other. If you deny yourself love for fear of the pain, you would undoubtedly be depriving yourself of all the ecstasies too. Surely the high that love alone can swing you to is worth the risk of pain?
And then, there is a beauty to even
the pain that love brings. Its beauty lies in the depth of emotion we experience and to the way we respond to it. Some of our most beautiful poetry, songs and art have been the result of emotional turmoil resulting from rejection in love. In fact many creative artists work on perfecting the art of wallowing in melancholy. The world’s greatest love stories have ended in pain and separation. Does that stop us from idolising Romeo & Juliet, Tristan & Isolde, Heer Ranjha or Paro Devdas?
There are those who say that love never ends. Two
individuals may choose to end a relationship, yet if they truly loved each other, the love lasts beyond their togetherness. It is an emotion that you can revisit and wrap around yourself as a comfort in times of loneliness and despair. Love imbues two individuals with a sense of wellbeing, happiness and confidence that rest of the world cannot penetrate. And when they separate, why must they also give up all the positive strokes love brought them?
Whether or not you are able to smile at shared happy moments later and retain the positive feelings really depends on the way two individuals choose to end their relationship.

Dr Brian Weiss in Only Love is Real, the book Princess Diana read just before she took off on her last holiday with Dodi, explains that love is a powerful, reuniting energy. If
you believe in love as the be-all and end-all of our existence; as both the beginning as well as conclusion of the journey of life, you would agree that we need to go through any number of relationships in life because we learn our life’s lessons through them — “forgiveness, understanding, patience, awareness, non-violence…We have to unlearn other traits, such as f e a r … a n ge r … . g r e e d … h at r e d … pride… ego which result from old conditioning.’
If that’s so, then the very purpose of the beginning and ending of a relationship must be to enable us to learn valuable lessons. And, if we don’t understand that, we would be doomed to a series of loves that keep ending in grief!
Love sharpens our senses and mental faculties. It increases our capacity for giving as well as receiving emotion. Love brings with it enlightenment and a lightness of being. And when love creeps away, it leaves us with a depth of emotion that is just as meaningful and necessary to our existence, to the very fabric of our lives…
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
— Lord Tennyson