Are we investing right?

All ready for the festive season and the new year that’s just another week away? Enjoy your holidays and INVEST RIGHT!

Today, I have the privilege of hosting one of the most beautiful souls I know, Tanuja ChandraDirector, TIME, Gurgaon. An edupreneur who believes in succeeding together. She’s a woman of less words and more action. A doting mother, a dedicated teacher and a wonderful homemaker. Without further ado, I will let you drown yourself in her words and understand why we must invest right. And no, she’s no investment guru or financial consultant. A simple human being with simpler thoughts. That’s why we connect so beautifully.


There has been commotion around. I have been reading about it, listening to varying views, going through multiple posts on social media for a while. Commotion has been changing its face, but the basic question remains the same…

Are we making the right investments?

Chennai has been washed over. Excessive rains, nature, taking control. Posh houses, swanky cars, high tech gadgets, smart phones all went under water. None of these were able to control the rain, save people from drowning, get them food or water, or get them to safety. Providing shelter to the needy are the good souls who have been out there helping save lives, irrespective of their colour, caste or creed. I have come across individuals offering their homes to complete strangers, communities cooking and offering food, agencies clearing up and getting bits and pieces of infrastructure together. Unknown faces that will again merge with the crowd. That beautiful house is not able to provide safety; the car is not able to take one away to dry lands; and the phone is not able to connect in such REALTIME emergency. Help has come in the form of the neighborhood boy, the aunt next door and that useless agency/NGO.

How many times do we look at the people around us, smile at them, greet them, or wish them?

We have become part of the BIG CITY, where we are busy building our posh homes, buying swanky cars and high tech gadgets. We do not have time for these SMALL-n-SILLY people around us. They don’t matter. Do they? Along with building homes, build relationships. Don’t just buy gadgets – buy moments too.

Invest in relations, INVEST RIGHT!


Then there is a lot of discussion on intolerance.

It is easy and convenient to sit in our comfortable drawing-rooms and pass judgment on people. On their religion, their belief system, their background and work. How many of us would tolerate our old parents and their “strange” way of doing things? How many of us would let our children live their childhood and not keep pushing them for an unknown rat-race? Tolerate their simple, messy childhood world? And we are not tolerant towards the success of our siblings/spouses/friends. Yes. We are increasingly becoming an intolerant society. If we cannot tolerate our old parents, who have contributed in BIG way to us being what we are, then how can we tolerate a stranger belonging to some other religion or region? When we are completely busy pushing our children to “perform” and “prepare” (hardly see them as children) them for the world, how do we feel the pain of children dying? When we are so unhappy about the well-being of our loved ones, how can we tolerate success of a country? Hence we burn it down.

Take care of all those who love you and care for you. Invest in relationships, memories and experiences. INVEST RIGHT!

After undergoing a major surgery last year, I have also understood that good health is one of the best gift that I can give myself and my family. Working beyond physical limits, not eating right, not exercising, not responding to signals that our body gives out are routine in our daily lives. We always assume that “I am young and ‘this’ will not happen to me.” We put a full-stop to our mental growth as well. We only use the brain as is required for the job. But our mind has huge potential which can be used for the betterment of society at large. And our soul is a completely neglected/ non-existent part. Unless our body is healthy, mind active and soul clear, we cannot have a satisfactory or content life.

Take care of your body, mind and soul. INVEST RIGHT!

Once in a while, roll down the glass of your swanky car and wave to that small boy on the road and make him smile. Invite old parents and their friends over to your posh home and serve them a warm meal with a warm smile. Take your children to the park and just play silly games with them. For tomorrow, our cities may turn into stone, our parents may not be there with us and our children will be all grown-up and gone.

Live your life every single moment, INVEST RIGHT!

While we know the amount of money in our bank accounts, we do not know how much time we have in our hands. We would still spend more time, building up that bank balance and do nothing about the life’s balance.



Our Turn Now to Parent Our Parents

Ek age ke baad parents khud se zinda nahi reh pate, unhe zinda rakhna padta hai!”

(Translation: After a certain age parents can’t survive by themselves, we have to make them survive.)

…said Piku to Rana in the latest Bollywood movie Piku. And I was nodding. 

She celebrated her sixtieth birthday early September and yesterday she retired from her thirty-five year long teaching service. Mom.

While she is all uncertain about what she will do with her free time after all these years of working and running around children of all age groups, I was thinking of ways to keep her engaged. I know she will be depressed if she sits all alone with nothing much to do. But I want her to do something that interests her.  I have just handed over a few books from my Amar Chithra Katha collection because of her interest in mythological stories. Dad is to take her for morning walk and to temple along with him everyday. I have also requested her to pick up the girls from the school in the evenings. That might keep her motivated a little.

It is very important to take care of our old parents. It is important for them. It is important for us. And it is most important for our children. Old people are the richest. Rich not because of money. But because of the experiences they have gathered all through the years.

We visit in-laws (who are staying with the brother-in-law and family) almost every fortnight. This time around my father-in-law told me, “Tum aate ho aur bachhe thoda khel kood karte hain toh dil khush ho jaata hai. Ghar sundar lagta hai.” (Translation: When you come and the children play around, our heart feels good. The house looks beautiful.) Four-five hours is all we spend there. But I know it makes a lot of difference to them.

Memories, children and festivals keep them going. They don’t need our money. But our time. A visit every week, every fortnight, or every month. A call a week or so. I fail to do that many a times. Mostly because something else takes over. And just before retiring for the day when I look back, I regret. I should have called, I think. That one call, those few words, the ‘are you fine?’, ‘what are you doing?’, ‘what did you eat?’, keeps them alive. The feeling of being cared for. The feeling of being loved. The feeling of being wanted and not abandoned. That’s important.

I know some parents are really difficult to handle with their OCD, their rigidity and their stubbornness. My Dad is one such perfectionist. Dad, I hope you’re reading this. But then not all of us are perfect…are we? I am not. We need to find ways to work together.

Aged parents are like those stubborn kids that you just managed to raise a little while ago. Oh yes, it’s now your turn to raise kids again. Slightly older ones. They don’t know a thing about growing up. They don’t know what their interests are. They forgot all of it in the mammoth process of raising you up. You. You have to tell them. You have to show it to them. The way they did for you all those years ago.

Yes. I remember Mom picking me up and doing rounds on the terrace of our rented flat teaching me Hickory Dickory Dock and Ten Little Indians. She was my first English teacher. I owe every word that I write to her. And Dad, his constant criticism in person and through the hundreds of letters is what kept me grounded and helped me improve as a human being. Now I scold him when he buys not one, but two bricks of Mother Diary ice-creams for the girls. The same mother who taught me to eat whatever was served on the table now cooks different things for the girls according to their taste. And I fight.

My mother-in-law who was upset that I wasn’t accepting the ‘rules’ of the family and refused to eat non-vegetarian food for a long time a decade ago, now cooks everything after asking her grandchildren. Father-in-law who would scold me for taking a chartered for ten rupees instead of taking a DTC for five rupees, now buys balloons, toffees and what not for all the grandchildren without occasion.

But then that’s what keeps them happy. They are themselves tired of leading a disciplined life and now look for variety with the children. And we have to just let them be. Just let them have that time with their children and their grandchildren. This is the age when they are tired of all the accusations they have been showering upon you. This is the age they have accepted you for who you are. This is the age when they want to be kids again. Let them be.

With all of this, there’s one very important thing to do. Do not burden them. Accept their help graciously. But do not expect it as their job. Let them do whatever they want by themselves. Do not force it on them. If we do that, the charm of being grandparents just fades away. I hear many people complaining that their parents do not help them take care of their kids. Why expect? They raised us. Their job is over. It is party time for them. Let them enjoy. Whenever they feel like helping you, be content. But don’t be dependent. It is not their job raising our children.

If you are keeping your parents with you, keep them wholeheartedly. Respect their individuality. Respect their interests. Don’t just be with them to save on your rent or the maid or creche fees. If staying together seems impossible, just vacate their place and give them their peace of mind. Giving a sermon was never the purpose of this post, but to just reiterate that we should respect age and experience.

Today on International Day of Older Persons, let’s pledge to respect older people and help them be alive cheerfully. It is the older trees that give most soothing shadows and help the seedlings grow beautifully.

Let’s make their world beautiful. They taught us what beauty is.

Image courtesy of [worradmu] /
Image courtesy of [worradmu] /

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What do you think the wife should do?

Boy (a senior software developer) and Girl (a senior advocate) meet through a matrimonial portal. Girl says she needs at least a year to know and understand each other. They go on dates for one and a half-year. And finally got married in the presence of all loved ones showering blessings upon them.

Honeymoon, life after, buying an SUV and constructing a house together. Life goes on. The girl got pregnant after two years. He makes her abort citing he isn’t ready for a child yet.

It’s now three and a half years of their marriage and the girl is in her first trimester of pregnancy. This time he wants her to continue.

And one fine day he announces to her that in one and a half years of courtship period and three and a half years of marriage, he couldn’t develop any feelings for her. But he has found his ‘divine love’ in a girl (say B) from another city whom he met just two weeks ago through a messaging app.

The usual drama of blame game goes on between them while his mother continues to take the wife’s side. And one fine day, she calls up the transporters and vacates his house with all her belongings (read dowry).

The mother requests the neighbours (read us) to talk to him. Two hours of talking to him, I assess that he is a nut of the highest order. Three and a half hours by the husband who claims him to be a stupid of the premium quality.

His complaints:

She talks to my mother more than me. She loves my mother more than me. She just hugs me when I am back from office and then gets into the kitchen. If I am talking to her and my mother calls out for her, she goes to her. She is always finding some work to do in the house instead of being with me. With her I was never able to develop any feelings of love. 

When queried about B, the new girl in his life, he tells a story that even my six-year old will know is not real. He says B is herself an adopted daughter and a surrogate mother of a six-year old girl. He says B is under house arrest and is helpless. He says B’s daughter wants him to be her father. He also says B (who is twenty three years old and is under house arrest for last six years) is in contact with influential people like MLAs, MPs and DIGs. The pics of B he showed us was of a girl who was in complete make up and in no way seemed to be under any kind of stress.

He has quit his current job and taken up a new job in B’s City. The best part was when his wife informed us that he has booked a hotel room with B in his current city for a night and the next day both of them are leaving for her city in a first class coupe.

The wife who accidentally gets access to his emails and conversations with B about the hotel reservation and train bookings, comes and tries to communicate with him and sort things. And this is when the mother-in-law shows her true colours and blames her with, “If you weren’t able to satisfy him,  it is not wrong if he sought ‘LOVE’ elsewhere.

The wife now calls the police and registers a case of adultery.

But the mother-son duo are not in favour of a divorce. They say, ‘let him live in with B and judge if his feelings for her are true‘. The wife told us she is the one paying for the car and is also paying half of the EMI of the house under construction. And that according to her is the reason they do not want a divorce. The best part is that they do not want her to abort the child too.

What are your observations in the above scenario?

What do you think the wife should do?

Your response might help her take the right decision.