Such are not made often.

Through the meandering journey of life, there are are many that we meet. Some are acquaintances. Others pass by. Yet others pass through. And you realise how true this quote about life being a stage and the many actors who jump in and out is..

And of course, some stay. And out of the some that stay, a few touch you. A few others make you laugh. A few others make you think. And of those that make you think, there’s this handful that make you stretch and discover your horizons.

Well, this post is about one such man who did a bit of everything.

Who just stood tall by being himself. Who towered by discovering and getting people grow taller. Who continued standing for whats right, and instilling a sense of right and wrong in the people around him.

A man whose passion for industrial relations knew no bounds. A man for whom development of people was an inherent program which treated this English word spelt ‘b-o-u-n-d-a-r-y’ as unrecognisable code.

A man, who never lost the child in him. A man who has kept at lifelong learning. A man who took to blogging and tweeting rather late in life. But has gone the mile in these journeys.

A man who has touched many lives. Across many strata of society. In his own quiet way.

A man who is busy reinventing himself as i write this. Plotting a new career. And pushing his own limits ‘to pursue things that he always wanted to’

Just as he retires, today, from the organisation that he served for 33 odd years. A man who celebrates his birthday today.

And as he moves into the sunrise of a new life, he carries with him the good wishes & sincere thank yous, of the many that walked the journey along with him.

And of course, carries with him, his own way of doing things !

And as one part of his moves on, the other remains. In the people that he walked with. Who he changed. Forever.

Here’s wishing him a great birthday and a fabulous fulfilling time ahead.

His blog is

A captain bids adieu

What does it mean to retire ?!?

Sunil Gavaskar’s retirement was the first retirement that i had to come to terms with in my life. And there was something said like, ‘its better to retire when everyone is asking, ‘why retire’, than retire when everyone is asking ‘why not retire’ ! That comment stayed.

Some months back, amma retired. Then appa retired. And it left me with some basic questions. How does it feel to walk away from what you have been doing for ages. For most parts of your life. How would it feel to just fade away from the scene ? To see all the striving of a lifetime come to a day in life, when life changes from the next day onwards.

The thought appears scary. With the only background on retirement coming from context provided by being a son of just retired parents, i attempt to think through. Perhaps the most fulfilled retirement years are for those who left an imprint by being who they are. An imprint in the minds of people, that will stay permanently etched in the DNA of those that knew & worked with them!

To retire with grace and happiness, to me, seems to be a result of ‘working with love’ when it was time to work! And as Khalil Gibran says….

And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.

Young colleagues & friends talk of retirement as if it were something that happens in remote corners of a forgotten land, only seen on a BBC documentary, by the mistaken flip of the familiar TV remote !!

Every rail track tells the tale of a coming train. If only you put a ear to the track, the rumble runs through the ear ! A tale which the eyes cannot see ! But the train and its hurtling are indeed reality ! And the train does appear, faster than one can get to spell ‘retirement’ without doubt !

And when a captain hangs up his boot & the world takes a bow, you realise that he has lived his life, by leaving a mark. More often than not, the mark is not a result of a herculean special effort but more by being himself. Living with passion. Striving for perfection & a love of work thats best complimented by simplicity of thought and execution !

When such captains retire, you stand by the sidelines and clap hard. And just as the sound of the clap reaches the world and your own ear, you relalise that your zest for work and making a difference, grows.

What more can be a true tribute !

This post is written just as a captain & a gentleman that i have only known from afar, retires. today. He left a mark. On many.

On me too.

Retirement !

Over the weekend, my financial consultant called me over for a seminar on financial planning. Me? Retirement? That’s 30 odd years away. Why? But me & my wife went. We were making some conscious choices on a few routine savings, but we didn’t know where we were.

He began by asking us how many hours we work.
“50-60 hours a week”
How many hours do you spend on what you are doing with money that’s hard earned like this?
“Close to 0”
“What happens when you have stopped working ? When you retire…? “ Well, not many had answers.

It was thought provoking to say the least. And as usual, I am just summarizing some thoughts over here. As much as it is for you, for my own future reference too. Read on or switch off. Am more than sure that not many of you are going to go beyond this. But that’s ok. My father always used to say, “Lets ring the church bell. All those who came out to pray, will pray for the others too”

So, here I go.

Mike Tyson used to earn 30-35 million dollars a fight. Today, he is freak exhibit in casinos. Bjorn Borg wanted to sell his Wimbledon trophies so as to be able live a decent life. In his hey day, he was a millionaire too. Did they plan for their futures or for their retirement? If they had, something went awfully wrong with the plans.

One of the most important concepts is the concept of inflation. Inflation happens to be the shadow that you just cannot catch. And inflation continues to act on your savings, whatever they are. Therefore, a base benchmark could be to ensure that the rate of return earned is more than the rate of inflation. That’s a tough one!

Some of the paradoxes of our life are

# Long life Vs Short career spans
# Investment Vs Complexities associated with it
# More comforts Vs Cost of living
# Choices Vs index of happiness

As our living age increases, the importance of financial independence cannot be stressed. “Wise men dig wells before they become thirsty”. An interesting concept he spoke of which I found to be particularly interesting, is to have one or two specific investments for each stage of life. That was something that I would definitely consider.

Another golden nugget was this: “Not taking risk is the biggest risk”. He went about defining risk as the chance of expectations not materializing. That was an eye opener as well. An interesting way to define risk.

Parts to an investment:

For any investment, there are three parts.
# Risk
# Returns
# Cost.

It is the interplay between these three factors that determine the attractiveness or otherwise of these returns. Plus converting one form of asset to another always involves a switching cost. The switching cost could also play a role in the asset and it performance.

When do you start planning for retirement ? Well, as early as 25 or 26 ! When one starts that early, there are multiple benefits.

The power of compounding of money, will take effect, and will have a great bearing on the amount available finally. Starting early would also give a lot of discipline. Essentially, one is saving up more when one can, for the times when one cant ! Good habits give great returns !!

The three things that you have to bear in mind while investing in any asset are

# Liquidity ( how much of ready cash would you have )
# Return ( what will the investment do for you ?)
# Safety ( how safe is the investment)

Quite obviously different individuals will have different requirements which would impact an investment pattern. I think it might be a good idea to list out the various asset classifications over here.

# Cash
# Fixed Income
# Equity
# Real Estate
# Gold / Silver
# Art / Paintings

Other guiding principles in the making of investments are as follows:

* Have financial goals
* Improve knowledge of finance
* Keep plans simple
* Keep in mind the context and review the investments made regularly
* Stay invested for a long time!

It was a good thought provoking discussion we had. And if the thought, even crossed your mind, while reading this, that perhaps must speak to a financial consultant, well, I would be a happy man!