Absent minded, forgetful,
Hey! These are some of the titles
people have used over the years to describe me. Irresponsible, that’s too much
of a compliment, I would say, but absent minded, forgetful, yes, that’s what
you can attribute to me.
But then, how and why? The
million dollar question always pops up. How did you study? How the hell did you
manage to clear these exams? I honestly smile and keep quiet. Let this be a
closely guarded secret. Ha! Ha!
But then no secret is worth if
not shared. Yeah, that’s true, unless there is that thrill of sudden shiver
down your spine thinking that someone would get the cat out of the closet.
Why should I wait for the devil
to come with the keys to my closet? And what’s the big deal? Am I going to be
crucified for telling the truth? Let me be honest enough to admit that I am all
these, yeah, these expletives used to describe me. And now, after the
confession, comes the revelation.
I do remember the things that I
need to remember. First things first, my whole world revolves around three
angels, my daughters who are my life, as much as I am for them. They dot on me,
their Dad and I am their super-hero. Yeah! You heard it right, the super-hero
that you see in the comic strips, and the one who can do anything. And that’s
what I am for my princesses. They need anything, their Dad is there. They want
anything to be done, their Dad is there. Or perhaps even when anything to be
undone, their Dad is to be there.
So playing super-hero, requires a
good amount of memory, believe me. I need to remember a lot of things. I need
to remember to get up early morning every single day and wake up my eldest
daughter, so that she goes on time for her classes. I need to remember where my
youngest daughter has kept her drawing kits, just before she leaves for her
drawing lessons. I need to remember what my second daughter needs to buy for
her college projects.
Hey! Listen, this list is
endless. Come ‘on I heard you saying that all this is a temporary phase. Let
them grow up and I need not do all these. My eldest daughter is already all of
23 and still her Dad is her scribbling pad. Yes, that’s true, a talking
scribbling pad, where she had scribbled about her assignments long back, and
the pad needs to play it back to her on time. Reminding her to study, reminding
her to take her medicines on time, reminding her to go to bed on time. And
then, to remember that she is hungry when she is engrossed in her studies and
get her that favorite pizza and the kheema paav. Also to remember, what notes
she needs to complete and what subject she needs to study more. Yeah, I also
need to remember to ask her whether she has enough money on her when she goes
out so that she doesn’t get stranded midway. And you say it’s a temporary
phase, with another two princesses with their lists already in line.
The second daughter, just
approaching adulthood at 18, quite firmly on the footsteps of her elder
sibling, has her list of demands from Dad too lined up. But unfortunately I am
less on the receiving end, concerning her, as she has been sent out of town for
her higher studies and so the demands that I need to remember are mostly of the
online type. I need to ensure that I fill up her bank balance on time so that
she can just withdraw from her account to splurge on her liking, to see that I
call her and talk to her every single night so that she doesn’t forget what she
needs to do for the next day.
The youngest and the sweetest, my
tiny tot, all of 12 as of now is already the mother of the other two. For her,
Dad is the ultimate punching bag, someone who needs to remember everything from
packing her school bag to polishing her shoes. If she has a project, how could
I have forgotten what she had told me to get for it almost a week back? And of
course, was I not responsible enough to remember that her best friend had a
specific liking that she had shared with me a year back? Of course, I should,
what is Dad there for, if I can’t do this.
But then, my big princess being
around is really a blessing in disguise for me. She keeps the log of all the
due dates of my card payments and utility bills, what I need to take while
leaving for office, what I need to get back while leaving for home, where to
go, which client to meet and when, the due dates and yet not due dates too.
These are the things which I so conveniently forget, branding me of the
expletives that I mentioned earlier. And when the other two grow up, they are
going to pick up from where the eldest one would have taught them. Yeah! That’s
true. Three personal assistants for good old Dad, but then that’s what I am
entitled to.

Yeah, I do forget, but then being
the super-hero for my kids, I need to remember too.  For the love of my life, my angels, I need to
remember, and so I forget what I need to do for myself, for I know, my angels
are there to take care of their Dad.
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Do we need to link morality to religion?
I have always been asked this
question. And my answer to it in the negative is not taken in good taste by
I have a family with mixed
feelings on religion. My daughters are extremely religious and have high moral values. I do
not have a leaning towards any religious sentiments, but my children respect it
and look upon me as their idol. The reason for this is quite simple. It is
because; my daughters feel that my religious feelings have nothing to do with
my morality.
The quiet common assumption is
that morality depends upon religion, but I am of the strong opinion that they
are not synonymous at all. Conceptually and in principle, morality and religion
are two distinct guides for our actions and our values.
According to me, morality comes
from conscience which keeps us on the straight path. And I do not believe that
it is the God’s command. If we argue that it is, then the killings happening in
the name of religion are also being justified by the fundamentalists who engage
in these activities as the God’s command. If whatever man presumes to be God’s
commands are moral, what do we say of terrorism?
Let us be clear in our
conscience, whether we are religious or not. Let us just be moral by
considering it as the effort to guide our conducts by reason. If we do things
only after giving equal consideration to the interests of all those who may be
effected by what we do, we will always remain moral.

I do not want to sound highly
nonreligious here in this topic and hence would like to draw a few lines from
what H.H. The Dalai Lama had once remarked, “All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love,
compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner
values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion
is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time
has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond
religion altogether”
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When the Finance Minister rose
to present the Union Budget 2015 in the Indian Parliament, there were high
hopes of the basic exemption limits being increased. To be honest, I too was
among the optimistic Indians.
However, minutes after dashing
the hopes of millions, the advocate in our Finance Minister cleverly slipped in
an interesting figure in his budget speech. It was a figure which left many
curious and wondering. With a sly smile, when he mentioned that after taking
into account the tax concessions given to middle-class taxpayers in his last
budget and this one, an individual tax payer will get a total tax benefit of
An amazing figure, he came up
with, which set the calculation boards and the mathematical minds at work. No
explanations were given and no clarifications mentioned by the Finance
Minister. He just mentioned this magic figure and left the common man to figure
it out himself.
Unfortunately being in the
finance profession, I too was flooded with calls from clients, friends and
their paraphernalia as to what light I can shed on this magic figure which
suddenly became worthier than a million dollars.
Needless to say, I had to put
my old accounting mind to use, my eldest daughter, fortunately pursuing her CA
under me, came of help, with a much fresher brain than the rustier mine.
And here is what we came out
with, amazingly satisfied as if we have done an Aryabhatta or a Ramanujam on a
mathematical theorem. For us, we needed to reply to our clients, and hence the
euphoria was nothing less than that.
So here is how it works,
according to us, and we needed to walk backward for the working, a kind of the
Michael Jackson moonwalk, you can say:
Taxable Income assumed as Nil
Add: Medical Insurance premia deduction u/s 80D
Add: Contribution to New Pension Scheme u/s 80CCD
Add: Contributions eligible u/s 80C
Gross Total Income
Add: Deduction for Interest on Housing Loan
Net Salary Income
Add: Deduction for Transport Allowance @ 1600 p.m.
Gross Salary Income
So, here is the magic figure
revealed. It is just an aggregation of the typical deductions that an
individual can now claim, after the budget proposals.
Dad and daughter smiled at
each other. Some unspoken words between us, but it were well understood by both
of us. We just had told to each other, wish the Finance Minister had been a bit
less dramatic.
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