Monday, May 25, 2009

A lawyer to wed & a lawyer even after you are dead

You may have his word for it. However,his word doesn't mean much unless his words are in deed. A deed is a signed and sealed legal instrument, in writing, used to grant a right.With society becoming very litigious the importance of understanding the legality of matters cannot be overlooked.

While doing an assignment,I did a search on the reasons you would need the services of a lawyer - even if you are law abiding. Some of these reasons are (source:
1. Real Estate buying or selling.
2. At birth (birth certificate) and at death (death certificate)
3. Medical malpractice
4. Divorce
5. Traffic violation
6. Immigration
7. Patent protection
8. Company law
9. Defamation
10.Estate Planning

So, if you need legal help do you go straight to a lawyer? You may, but which one? The Legal Service Network - Central Jersey suggests that you need a lawyer to select a lawyer. It is like your GP recommending you to a specialist.

So, the next time you seek legal help ask a specialist to recommend a specialist.If you are in Central Jersey then log on to

Finally,what's a note on law without a disclaimer.Information contained on this page is not intended as legal advice. Readers are advised to make appropriate enquiries for verifying any claims that may have been made above.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deccan Chronicles Royal Challengers near miss

Lifting the Royal Challengers from the IPL cellar, Anil Kumble has made it stellar. Moving the team from being written off to being much written about.Proving that T20 is not all about pure testosterone -grey hair contains a key ingredient, grey matter.Proving that the right moves can make the underdog the top dog.Leading from the front he has seen the backs of all but one of the teams.He paced his team well. He used his spin to win.

So spirited has the teams' performance been that it may not be surprising if a new brand is launched - with a story woven around its win.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tie Rack in India. Will it get tied down?

Tie Rack's entry into India, via a tie-up, throws up knotty questions on its retailing and profitability. While Tie Rack seems to have done well in many countries the question about it doing equally well ,in India, is debatable.There are several reasons for this.

Reasons against:
- Tie Rack is mainly a men's accessories brand. As the brand name suggests, the main line is ties. The market for ties, in India, is very small. Nay, microscopic.

A Tie Rack outlet - a view from a different angle

- Ties are usually worn mainly by company executives in higher echelons of management and business persons - if you omit those who wear it on the only occasion they wear a suit - their wedding day! This class of customers shops at premium Indian markets and overseas. Rents in premium markets are very high. Throughput from sales of mens' accessories, from these outlets, may not even give returns to cover rent.

- In the Singapore airport's T2, for example, King Power pays S$ 40,000 per month as rent or 30% of sales whichever is higher(Source: The Moodie Report).This is for a store size of about 250 square feet (about 25 square meters). The case is not very different in India on PPP basis.Rent in premium airports in India is not less than Rs. 800 per square foot. The rent for a 300 square foot store is around Rs.240,000/month. Other costs being about Rs.100,000/m the total cost per month for a premium outlet will be around Rs.340,000/month. Assuming a gross margin of 70%, the store will break-even at a sales of around Rs.500,000/month. This is a very unrealistic sales figure for any store of this size.An Indian airport will take many years to get Changi's level of passenger traffic.

- Even in a few established markets, where ties and cuff links are natural daily business attire, Tie Rack does not seem too be doing well. Tie Rack Canada is closing down its stores (Source:Ottawa Business Journal Staff Tue, Jan 6, 2009). In New Zealand too, Tie Rack is under liquidation.

- Accessory brands like Kipling closed its network in India in less than two years of operations.

- Other brands, which have recently entered India, have not found the going as per expectations. India does not have enough markets which can sustain an alien attire and lifestyle.

- It appears that Tie Rack's India partner,Genesis Colours Pvt Ltd, may have got the licence only for non-airport locations. This is since Singapore's King Power seems to have the licence for both Singapore and India Duty free outlets. This will reduce the market scope of the main India licensee - Genesis Colours.

Has Tie Rack estimated the market incorrectly?

A backgrounder on Tie Rack:
Tie Rack, which is headquartered in London and operates about 300 stores in 26 countries.It has a very strong presence in travel locations like airports and railway stations. Tie Rack merchandise consists mainly of ties, cuff links and other fashion accessories for men and scarves, bags, kaftans and jewellery for women.

Tie Rack was founded in August 1981 by Roy Bishko. The first store opened in London at 91 Oxford Street; it was converted from a heel bar owned by Bishko from which he had trialled selling ties.The first airport store opened at Glasgow Airport in 1984 and the current flagship store is located at 295 Oxford Street opposite John Lewis. There are now over 330 stores in 24 countries.In 1999, the chain store was bought by Frangi SpA Group.

Genesis Colors Pvt. Ltd., the Indian fashion conglomerate and holding company for major fashion brands, retails international luxury labels such as Jimmy Choo, Canali, Aigner, Kenzo, Paul Smith and Just Cavalli in India through its luxury wing –Genesis Luxury Fashion (P) Ltd. It plans to open 50 to 70 luxury retail stores for its brands across the country in the next 3-4 years. Genesis Colors was established in 2001.

Of course, all the above is only my viewpoint. It has only academic value. Tie Rack has already thrown in its hat. Only time will tell whether it also throws in its towel.

Dr.Manmohan Singh to be sworn-in today

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dr. Roy got it wrong. Does it make him a fraud? Or In Defence of Astrology

Astrologers sometimes get it right. At other times they get it wrong. Astrology cannot be faulted just because they aren't always able to get it right. There just aren't many experts in the field of astrology.The real experts do not predict poll results. Nor are they interested in a mundane "challenge".

The Science and Rationalists' Association of India has issued a challenge to astrologers. If an astrologer correctly forecasts the results of the 2009 parliamentary elections, he or she will be awarded prize money of Rs.25 Lakhs (USD 50,000).In order to win the challenge, the astrologer must correctly answer the following questions:

1. "How many seats will be acquired by Congress, BJP, TMC, CPI(M), BSP, RJD, Samajbadi Party, DMK, AIDMK?"
2."How much differences in votes will remain to win/lose for Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Lalkrishna Advani, Mamata Bandopadhyay, Laluprasad Yadav, Ramvilas Paswan from their respective nearest opponents?"

If an astrologer makes an exact prediction the Science and Rationalists' Association of India (SRAI) will give her/him an amount of Rs. 25 lakhs The Association will also shut down (presumably because their raison d'etre is proved wrong)

In order to qualify, astrologers must forecast the results on 14 or 15 May 2009.

Meteorology is a science not considered to be in the same genre as astrology. Meteorologist have to predict the rain, among other things. So, using an array of hi-tech instruments are Meteorologist able to predict the weather exactly? Today's prediction,for Bangalore, from the Met Department is: "rain/thunder showers likely in the evening".If the " likely" prediction come true then the prediction is 1.4 mm of rain. Further, the Met Department has predicted that the monsoon will set in, in Kerala, on the 26th May. Will this prediction come true? I don't know. However, I do know that Met Department predictions are significantly off the mark, frequently. The Rationalists' Association of India (SRAI) must make a similar offer to the Met Department too.

Let alone the Met Department. Can you give me (predict) the right (exact time ) even by looking at your watch? Unlikely! Your watch cannot give the exact time. In India,official time signals are generated by the Time and Frequency Standards Laboratory at the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi, for both commercial and official use. The signals are based on atomic clocks and are synchronised with the worldwide system of clocks that support the Coordinated Universal Time.The time by your watch is several seconds (or even minutes) ahead or behind the official time. Does this make time keeping an inexact science - from a commercial view point? Does it matter if you cannot tell the time with split second accuracy.

Rationalists questioned the very basis of astrology when the new planets Chiron and Sedna were discovered. They asked, 'how could predictions have been made without factoring in the effects of Chiron and Sedna'? Simple. Just take away the seconds hand from your watch. Can you still tell the time? Of course! Accurate to the last minute instead of to the last second. Do the seconds matter? Not in daily life nor in daily astrology.

An artists impression of Sedna

Even Psephologist get the results of elections wrong. They get this wrong even after using the most advanced statistical techniques and the most powerful computers. Should we debunk Psephology just because the results of the elections is vastly different, in many cases, from the predictions based on exit polls? The NDTV exit poll gives the UPA 216 seats and the NDA 177 seats. Compare this with the final results when they are known later today.

Dr.Prannoy Roy - Master of His Craft

The next time around,SRAI should make this offer to people or organizations who use scientific models to predict the weather, earthquakes, election results and corporate bottom-lines but often get it wrong.

Astrology is an exact science which, like Psephology,we haven't mastered yet.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yogi's Secrets

Rama shouted across the room that she had seen an advertisement in the newspaper about a talk on "Yogi's Secrets". This broke my reverie and activated my Sahasara chakra.

"Yogi" and "secret" are words which have always visibly aroused my curiosity. Together, they are a very potent combination. My interest in Yogis got kindled when I first read "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Not for nothing is it called "among the 100 most important spiritual books of the twentieth century" .Other books on the subject which have interested me are "The Path:Autobiography of a Western Yogi" by Swami Kriyananda.

Then, there are books about secrets. "A Search in Secret India" by Paul Brunton." The Amazing Secrets of the Yogi" by Charles F. Hannel.
"The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. At book stores,I am always attracted to books which have the words "secret" or "Yogi" in its title. Of course, Victoria with secret and other similar normally gets the Muldhara or Swadisthana chakras in a spin. Ditto for Yogi and Berra. My chakras don't recognize Yogi Bear.

I quickly cross-checked with Rama on when the talk was scheduled. She did not remember much except for the fact that this was in the 3rd May at Hotel Windsor Manor at 3pm. I thought it was a rather strange time for a Yogi to expound his (if it were a her the talk should have been on a "Yogini's Secrets" - however who knows - if an actor can be a actress why not a Yogini a Yogi) secrets. I was under the distinct impression that a Yogi's preferred time would be early morning. However, modern yogis have little choice these days about timings.They cannot reach Bangalore with the help of Yogic flying - they have to depend on the availability of air tickets and are not insusceptible to the vagaries of delayed flights. Or, perhaps, this Yogi was also an expert on Hora - the astrology of timing.

The 3rd of May being a Sunday, I was as impervious to the timing of the talk as Maharishi Vishwamitra was to the charms of Mohini. If the Yogi was comfortable with the afternoon, so was I. In fact, it would have been troublesome, if like a predictable yogi he had decided to hold the talk at 5 am on a Sunday.

Like always, Sunday took a long time in coming. In fact this Sunday, I think, took a little longer. Till Sunday, I fantasized about the secrets this Yogi would reveal. The secrets revealed in the books mentioned above had whet my appetite for more. For example:
- The secret of a long life, beyond 120 years, is to breath from the left nostril during day and the right nostril past dusk (Charles F. Hannel)
- That the Yogis of ancient India (not so ancient, since this was experienced by Paul Brunton circa 1930) could bring the dead back to life ( A Search in Secret India)
- That humans go to another dimension after death. This was explained to Paramahansa Yogananda by his guru Sri Yukteswar Giri. Sri Yukteswar Giri appeared to Parmahansa Yogananda after his death and explained to him about life after death.
- That all manifestations begin from visualization. If you want to manifest a desire you have to first visualize this clearly.The more often and the more clearly you visualize the faster will your wishes materialize. This is clearly described in "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne and "The Masterkey System" by Charles Hannel.

There are other secrets in books like Harish Johari's "Breath, Mind & Consciousness". Thus, I looked forward to this Sunday with more than normal enthusiasm. On Sunday, as I entered the hotel, I noticed that the place was more crowded than it normally is. It seemed that this Yogi (I had not managed to find out the name yet) had a large following. The crowd appeared to be the corporate type which is the usual in these days of a slow-down. Astrology/Medicine/Spirituality are the very few recession resistant sectors of the economy.

Coming back from the wash room, I realized that it was almost 3pm and the crowd had disappeared into one of the conference rooms where this session was being held. I quickly move to the reception and asked " Where's the Yogi's talk being held?" Normally, at 5 star hotels they are plastically polite and unruffled.They are so well poised that you could think they are always in a meditatively calm state. However, this one seemed to have been taken aback by my simple query. Nevertheless, she quickly recovered her composure (I made a mental note to ask her if meditation was a part of the training they got) to say " Ballroom Three on the left" a little too curtly I thought.

I knew I would enjoy this talk by the Yogi and have a ball. I walked in. There were about 300 members in the audience. Everyone in a hush and my eyes fell on the banner which had the name of the Yogi.

Yogi Deveshwar. Chairman, ITC Ltd.

Abusing without Swearing

These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language was taken over by American slang and curse words and got boiled down to 4-letter words, not to mention waving middle fingers*.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, 'If you were my husband I'd give you poison,' and he said, 'If you were my wife, I'd drink it.'

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: 'Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.' 'That depends, Sir,' said Disraeli, 'whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.'

Benjamin Disraeli - Prime Minster of UK 1874-1880

'He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.' - Winston Churchill

'A modest little person, with much to be modest about.' - Winston Churchill

'I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. 'Clarence Darrow

'He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.' - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

'Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?' - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

'Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it.' - Moses Hadas

'I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it..' - Mark Twain

'He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.' - Oscar Wilde

'I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend....
if you have one.' - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

'Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second.... if there is one.' - Winston Churchill, in response.

'I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here.' - Stephen Bishop

'He is a self-made man and worships his creator.' - John Bright

'I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.' - Irvin S. Cobb

'He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.' - Samuel Johnson

'He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.' - Paul Keating

'There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure.' Jack E. Leonard

'They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.' - Thomas Brackett Reed

'In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.' - Charles, Count Talleyrand

Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?' - Mark Twain

'His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.' - Mae West

'Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.' - Oscar Wilde

'He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts.. . for support rather than illumination. ' - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

*From an email forward

Friday, May 1, 2009

Not for nothing do we say Namaste

The H1N1, aka the Swine flu virus, is on a foreign tour. The countries in its list reads like it has been in(flu)enced by the foreign holiday packages being offered by Indian tour operators, this summer. Mexico, USA, Canada, Switzerland,New Zealand,England,Germany,Spain Austria...

The unwanted visitor - H1N1

Like us, the H1NI likes cold and dry weather. Cold weather helps it survive outside the body because that droplet particle takes longer to evaporate and remains airborne for a longer period.

In 1918-19 the Spanish flu pandemic killed 50 million people. It started in the spring of 1918. It hit a speed-breaker only when the weather turned hotter. In the more recent past the H5N1 (the bird flu virus) met it nemesis when it encountered hot Asian climes.

This time around, the Swine flu has got its timing wrong. Most countries are at their hottest best. This may help stop the global spread.

Swine Flu - No laughing matter

Of course, the Indian body is used to a continuous assault from a variety of known and unknown pathogens all the while. Therefore,our WBC are being continuously trained and are in a state of readiness to give "eeth ka jawab pathar se".

On a more serious note, the following precautions are necessary to prevent the spread of the Swine flu virus:
a)Cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing. Wash your hands thereafter.
b)An infected person is most prone to transmit the virus during the fist 5 days of showing symptoms. Therefore, avoid meeting people if you suspect you have a visitor.
c)Don't share towels, mobile phones, writing instruments. The virus may be lurking there.
d)If unsure, don't shake hands.Say Namaste.

Finally, don't forget to thank god for making India a hot and humid country with a short winter. Without the long and hot summer,our poor sense of public hygiene,low levels of literacy,high level of poverty India would have been a sitting Duck (pun unintended) for any Swine.