Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Relax yourself

After a long exhausting day at the office, how do you relax yourself? I like sitting in front of my television or watching a drama or movie in my laptop. I am beginning to notice that some people (I look up to) relax themselves in an entirely different way. They cook, take a walk, clean their house, read a book (Ah! The one thing I have in common!) or so to relax .

So I have decided to relax myself in an altogether different way as well. I am going to take a walk, organize my things, read (as always), call my close friends more often (speaking to my some of my close friends always makes me happy) and such other things which relax me and make me feel good.

Of course, I would still watch movies, television series because there are so many good ones out there and I totally love them; but the problem is they eat up so much of my time. So it is just that I am going to lessen the time I allocate to them and not look at them as the prime way in which I relax myself. And maybe turning in a more interesting and fun direction will eventually become a habit and eventually I could pick up on a wonderful hobby or two along the way. So, here's to finding creative ways to relax yourself!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bilingual

Learning new languages is a fun thing to do. It is one of the things that really interest me. But it looks like I don't have the inherent ability to learn languages with ease. Just another classic case that penchant and talent are two different things.

I took up a course in basic conversation of Japanese when I was in college. So I know some Japanese words and sentences. But the way they speak it is too fast for me and I cant seem to comprehend much.I can identify that they are speaking Japanese though. Wink.

But my greatest regret when it comes to learning languages will always be that even after spending two whole years in Bangalore, India, I still could not learn Kannada. My Telugu friends seemed to easily take to Kannada, maybe because as they say there is a lot of similarity between Telugu and Kannada.

I do know the computer programming language Java. Does that count? Wink. Jokes apart, I can claim to know only two languages- Tamil and English with a decent amount of fluency. I will always keep trying though; and interested. And someday will boast of knowing many more languages. But, for now, I have to accept that I am bilingual.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Blogging


Let's face it. Going by the traffic my blog generates, my blog is not swarmed by many avid readers. Going by the number and nature of my posts, I am not an avid writer either.  I write for the pleasure of it, occasionally. I am someone who likes to read my old Tweets or Facebook posts when I feel like it, every once in a while (say once in a year or so), so I hope to read my blog as well and try to relate to my 'thought process', as they call it. So if a Reader comes across my blog and likes it, well and good. If they do not, that is fine too. Then again, this is not a concept blog. It is true to its title, it talks about 'prolix trivia'.  

There were about five followers for my blog as indicated by a gadget to the right, but I removed that gadget after I received a series of mails from a person, the timing of which coincided with an anonymous person contacting a friend of mine and asking her for my details pretending to be someone I knew, but as it turned out I didn't know such a person. I guess I freaked out and consequently tried to delete my digital footprint. I need to take a moment here to thank my friend for being cautious and not giving away my details. But that whole tale is for some other time.

As long as we are speaking of blogs, I have to mention something about my brother. He happens to blog as well. He has one of these blogs with hard to understand philosophical stuff, random stuff, with sophisticated words and implied meanings which can be understand only if you are, well, my brother. But he is still my brother and I had to read it to show my support. 

At one point he felt that it seemed like I was the only one reading his blog (though I believe that is not the case since there were comments for his posts). Anyways, you would think one would show the least amount of gratitude for such loyalty. He was however offended! Can you believe this? OFFENDED. He moved his blog to another address without even telling me. I am still not sure if it is because I told my parents about this post of his titled, "Family" where he said  'family is supposed to be a nourishing environment where an individual shares his ideas and opinions freely without fear of being reprimanded', 'Often this is not the case', and many such contradictory statements. Or that I made them both read it.

Regardless, the fact is that he moved his blog to a different URL address and lest we forget his most heinous sin which is that he did not even tell me. But, as can be expected, I found out about this new address and still keep tabs on what he is up to (all for the greater good!). The lengths I went to, to discover this address will not be discussed here, for obvious and not- so- obvious reasons.

And just like that, I am done with this post. I wanted to pen down these thoughts of mine. Which reminds me, blogging sure is fun! To my fellow bloggers, happy blogging!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hope

Most of us do not give our 100 per cent to most of the things we do. Sometimes even though we want something badly we tend to become sluggish and easily lose our way. We do enough for what keeps us out of trouble. We encourage the distractions that come our way and get carried away until something else comes along and reminds us of that thing that we want.

But for some of us in order to achieve something that we want to, we need to challenge ourselves because of the nature of our dream. And also to change ourselves; change as in, make sacrifices, change the way we approach problems, change the way we make decisions, change the way we deal with people and so on. But is it truly possible? Can we ever improve by leaps and bounds? Can we change how far we go to reach our potential?

When I was in school something caught my attention. In my class, there was a girl who always used to top the class. It was as if the top slot was always reserved for her. Not like the rest of the class was not smart but the thing is she was way better than the competition.

All of a sudden, another girl topped the class in an exam, to everyone's surprise of course. Until then she was way below average and I think in some subjects she didn't even get enough grades to pass. She was the member of a close-knit friends gang which was always secretive, mischievous, obtained low grades, didn't mingle/ talk much with the rest of the class.

What had happened was, there was a fall out with all her close friends and she had redirected her energies into studying. She never reconciled with her friends and always remained one of the top scorers in the class till we finished school. This incident has been in my mind ever since and whenever I think of this it gives me hope.

I have big plans for myself in the near future. Ambitious plans. And I will work towards achieving each goal of mine. But I need to make some major lifestyle changes and also give my 100% if I want to realize all my dreams. I have had my moments but if I want to be better than my own track record and reach my potential to the fullest, I need to make these changes that I was talking about. The sooner I make them, the better for me. So, for now, I will remain hopeful.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Of ignorance and the lack of it

The first two years of my professional life I paid my Income tax knowing almost next to nothing about it. I didn't even know the bare basics. What is taxable income? What are the tax slabs all about? What are deductions? What is the difference between paying the income tax and filing the Income Tax return?  And such. Partly because the company did everything for me. I was paying more than necessary but I was not bothered.

One good thing though, I somehow always filed it, which helped me in buying a car for myself. Last year, after quitting my first company and shortly after joining my new company I started reading extensively about it, all thanks to my new organization for keeping me in the free pool.

I found innumerable articles to read in the interwebs relating to the topic. When I asked around I understood that so many IT professionals, more experienced or as experienced as I, did not know much about these things either. They were pretty much in the dark as I was.

I feel this is one case where people do not have to be ignorant. It might take a while to figure out, but it is very easy to understand the basics; and this is a learning for life. As long as we have an income, like it or not, we are obligated to pay a tax for it. Anybody can understand the basics and anybody in India can file their returns online themselves through the website https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/.

Ever since I cultivated a penchant for it, I have helped so many of my friends and family to file their returns- some through clarifying their doubts and for the more lazy ones even doing it end to end. I also got refunds for myself, for the years some mistakes were made in calculations, using the two year window period rule. And the Income Tax Department has been kind enough to return the refund amount plus interest for the period.

Weird though it may sound, I feel a new found liking to this time of year, something I did not have before, and kind of look forward to filing my returns. Waiting to receive the Form 16 from my company.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another unpublished article

Had sent the following article to the supplement called Nxg (Next Generation) of the daily newspaper The Hindu for a column called "Think Tank" which features articles on new trends and such. This one didn't get published and I thought I might as well post it here.

Ever considered retiring early? If you think that you are still studying or have barely started off your career and hence it is not prudent to think along these lines, read on. The notion caught some people's attention when it was mentioned in the Hindi movie, " Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara", where a lead actor pursues this goal; the crux of the movie is that we should enjoy life for what it is every now and then though. Regardless, looks like the idea of an early retirement is soon to become cliched with many classes of working professionals.


Several professionals who have the drive and passion for the profession early on in their career do not have the same later on. If anything at all is culpable towards this disposition, it is perhaps the challenges that are part and parcel of some professions which often than not, make it difficult to attain work life balance; this could very well be one of the reasons that the workforce of some professions such as the IT and the hospitality industry is so young. The few for whom the passion for the job outweighs everything else, do endure.


Many people who think of retiring early are now looking at the relatively young age of 40 to quit on their profession and start something else anew; and planning for one could mean anything to anyone. For some, it could mean travelling the world, while some simply love the idea of not having to wake up to a schedule; for some, it is about spending time with family, while for others it could mean cultivating new interests, to explore the unexplored. As a contrast, many pursue their hobby on a more serious level.


Pursuing one's hobby after retiring early comes with its own set of intrinsic advantages. Though it is ideal if one chooses his or her passion as their profession, it sometimes happens that people lose track of themselves in the hustle and bustle of life and enter the rat race with what is less than one's true calling, willingly or unwillingly; and hence taking up one's hobby pensively offers a chance to redeem oneself.


Such hobbies include Photography, Writing, Stock market trading, Gardening, Translation, Interior Designing, Event Management, and many, many more. The list is endless with possibilities. I have heard of professionals who have even taken up agriculture with their ancestral land in their native places. The congenial aspect of this is that, one can add value to the hobby by virtue of bringing to the fore the technical prowess or any other quality that one accrued along the way of their profession. Making your hobby pay off through freelancing means that one can leisurely work even at home at a convenient time and saves a lot of time on commute. Apart from that, it offers the freedom of being one's own boss.

Needless to say, planning an early retirement comes with the territory. It requires an individual to more than put his or her financial house in order. It is pertinent to be practical; after all, at the end of the day there are bills to be paid and financial goals to be met with including planning for a regular retirement, which often prove eluding even in the presence of a regular source of income and when there is a disruption of that, there is definitely an overhead with planning for an early retirement.

So if an individual ever considers an early retirement, the sooner he works towards this resolve and the younger he is, the better it is. He needs to be pragmatic about things such as his investment portfolio and the returns from it, his savings, his expenses, his short term and long term financial goals, backup plan in case of unforeseen circumstances which may make things go south, how inflation will affect his life during his silver years and how to deal with it and so on.

Early retirement or not, here's to living happily, professionally and otherwise!


- Akihtra is an IT professional with a penchant for Personal Finance and the elusive Income Tax