Sunday, May 28, 2017

This summer, why not count your blessings?

This summer, why not count your blessings?

In summer we generally fret and fume about hot sun and sultry weather. I keep lamenting everyday that the temperature – in Hyderabad - is touching 43+ degrees Celsius, or about that range.  Reading the weather report and news how others in neighbouring districts / states are faring leaves you all the more frustrated. You take all precautions before venturing out for any work – wearing caps, taking umbrella, drinking water etc. If we learn to count our blessings, psychologically our sufferings will be low and bearable.  Let me enumerate some of the advantages of blistering hot weather.

  • ·        Clothes dry up very fast; no need to put them for drying inside the house after evening.
  • ·        Mosquitoes vanish; they cannot survive in that dry heat
  • ·        Preparing Papad, Vadiyalu  or Pickles is easy
  • ·        Curtains and bed sheets may be washed and dried quickly
  • ·        We can enjoy cold water bath – no hot water necessary - saves energy
  • ·        Butter for bread melts easily
  • ·        We can enjoy ice cream, various juices, deserts etc
  • ·        No one can forget Mangoes, Munjal or Sugar Cane Juice
  • ·        We can put off work involving moving around blaming it on the heat.
  • ·        If at you stir out, you can enjoy traffic less roads
  • ·        You can enjoy reading books in natural sun light

I can list out some more. But why not you contribute?

Thursday, May 25, 2017



I feel like a tiny insect caught in the web of procrastination.
Who is this spider at the centre, 
frightening to devour / destroy me completely?

Is it the demon of laziness?
Lack of determination grit or will power?
Fear of venturing out?
A sense of incompetence?
Or, self assumed distorted view about one’s time?
Well, what is that?

That central creature
Whatever that may be
Is playing havoc every night
With my poor rattled soul;
I live like Dr Jekyll and Hyde
Dr Jekyll by night and Hyde by day.
During the nights I make pious resolutions
Which only evaporate during next day.
It shows an accusing finger at me
Condemning me squarely –
You -  good for nothing fellow.

When will I kill that demon and set myself free,
How and with whose grace,
I wonder.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What did you take home when you retired?

What did you take home when you retired?

When you retired from your employment - be it government, business, private employer, army and the rest – you might have taken home certain things. Your personal belongings will definitely be there, for sure.  Perhaps, some stationary including letterheads, visiting cards, notebooks and the like - could be. I took voluntary retirement from IDL in Feb 1992. While clearing my table there was: nearly half a pack of cigarettes that I had kept as a reminder to myself-- the last unfinished pack when I gave up smoking in 1987.

I worked in that explosives industry as a librarian for a very long time. Some people took away (stole) very valuable manufacturing documentation [ containing foreign technical know-how] when they left the company for various reasons – ousted, dismissed, resigned under VRS, normal retirement – went seeking greener pastures with competitors etc. Some took enough stationary for grandkids’ schooling. A few borrowed “not-easy- to-buy” books from the library with an idea of never returning them. When the time of separation came, they would simply declare the book to be lost and pay up whatever were dues! Many took fond memories of the canteen food.  

Recently I read a piece on retirement planning. People normally advise you to have a proper financial plan – where and how to invest retirement benefits for long term gain. How would you cope with loss of income after retirement? Financial planning activity and why it is a must is easy to understand. What I read also spoke about planning to improve social capital. Details about your friends, official contacts continue to be useful.  Are you taking goodwill among your friends as well? Will they help you if you ask, irrespective of the fact you are not in the seat of power anymore?

In the place of my longest employment (IDL), a few did take with them goodwill they had developed. When such persons retired and joined competitors, they always had enough ‘insiders’ to help them!  At one point of time IDL used to send employees for foreign trips on flimsy reasons but the sole objective was to bind the employee not to leave the company for certain number of years.  I signed a bond for five years after I was sent on (an unwilling) trip to European countries for five weeks. That was in 1979. I am told many retirees start consultancy activity mainly based on goodwill they can capitalize. My father-in-law was one!

Do you have a story to tell or enrich the answer to header-question?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Two more Telugu Books on Gerontology released in Hyderabad

Two more Telugu Books on Gerontology released in Hyderabad

On 9th May 2017 two books in Telugu were released. The event was a part of birthday celebration of members of Association of Senior Citizens, in Lions Bhavan Secunderabad. It coincided with the birthday of one of the authors: Sobha

The first book is “Mighty Ninety” written by Dr Sobha Gurajada Perindevi. It is a compilation of biographical sketches of several senior citizens who have crossed 90. Most important among them is Sri Roop Narayan Mital, Immediate Past President of AISCCON. The book is a good source to learn about seniors who have attained fame.

The second book is by Sri Chepuri Shankar Rao entitled: Vurddho Rakshata Rakshitaha  which translates to: Those protect the elderly will be protected.

Dignitaries on the dais viz: Sri RN Mittal, Sri IM Bhalla, Dr Vyasamoorthy, Sri Khanapur Krishna Rao, Sri Chepuri Shankar Rao, Smt Sobha Perindevi, Octogenarian mother of Sobha, Smt Hymavathi Bhimanna and others spoke about the authors and the books. Copies were distributed to participants in the audience as well.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Correcting drafts: How much effort is needed?

Correcting drafts: How much effort is needed?


When you type out a letter or some communication how much effort do you put in to correct errors?  Some send it out without any re-touch. Some spend hours perfecting it. I mean they go to extremes. Need for providing an accurate output depends on many factors like the recipient, the purpose, the occasion etc. If you are sending an article for publication in a reputed magazine / journal then complete proof reading is a must. If you are writing a reply in a discussion forum, if meaning is carried correctly it is fine. Silly typos will be understood and tolerated in informal exchanges. If you are submitting a resume for employment then neatness, in addition to correctness, also counts.


If what you enter gets into a database, say a directory of Members then strict discipline is called for. For example if you make a mistake in typing the name of the locality in address column, it may or may not matter. If the locality name will be used to sort by location then consistency in correct spelling is required. If it is a part of a block data, even the postman wouldn't mind typos or variant names. If DOB is entered, it must be perfect to be interpreted correctly: 01/07/1943 – Is this first July or seventh January?


If the error pertains to facts or content then correction must be carried out. If an error causes confusion then re-writing for better clarity is warranted. For instance read the sentence:


"The subscription to your magazine standing in the name of  Rangaswamy expired in Dec 2016"


Who expired? Subscription or Rangaswamy? When? Dec or Dec. or December? You know which correction is a must and which one can be left uncorrected.


Sacrificing dots after commonly understood abbreviations is OK with me. Mr and Mr. are both fine and you shouldn't find fault with me if I omit dots after popular abbreviations.


Well, I can go on and on (like a mother-in-law) with examples. But my plea is: Be practical. Correct where you must; leave something / rest for the recipient to work upon!





Dr P Vyasamoorthy
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony, Secunderabad 500015 Telangana
LL 040-27846631 / Mobile: 9490804278

When you correct the draft of your writing do you aim at perfection or functionally correct output?

ElderLine 1090 Mumbai Helpline

ElderLine is a mega-network of individuals and organizations who volunteer their services for catering to the needs of Senior Citizens. The scheme works under the supervision of Mumbai Police and functions through Mumbai Police Infoline – 1090.


The Protective Circle:

Through this momentous initiative the Mumbai Police brings together volunteer doctors, clinics, hospitals, counsellors, social workers, ordinary citizens, police personnel and the best of technology to aid of the elderly. Absolutely any able and compassionate individual or organisation can become a volunteer.


Every volunteer will go through a simple interview and complete background check, and then given a special identity card. Volunteers will be allowed to decide days and times when they'll be available. Even if they are busy at a particular moment, all they will have to do is inform Elderline. The Police will also coordinate the efforts of different departments and organizations.


In case of medical emergencies, aid shall be provided through various NGOs, hospitals, and doctors on the rolls of ElderLine. Many of them promise reduced charges and preferential care as well.  For harassment, domestic violence, medical problem, security concerns, counselling, legal issues, etc, the requirement will be noted and forwarded to a verified volunteer from the concerned area. He will meet the member at the earliest, attend to his needs or guide him to the correct person/organization. Infoline shall follow-up.


In case of non-availability of volunteers or in emergencies, local police station mobile will be dispatched to look into the matter at the earliest.


Beck and Call:

ElderLine is equipped with an advanced GPS-based tracking and dispatch system. So the minute a person calls 1090, his/her exact location is accurately revealed on our screens. Similarly, it also helps the Police track, contact and dispatch appropriate volunteers or, if the need be, a police mobile immediately. ElderLine maintains a large database of volunteers so that there is always one ready to go. In case no volunteers are available, police personnel are dispatched instantly. All this is to ensure that the Police reach people faster, and help them better.


Registration Details:

  • To register as a senior citizen, or as an ElderLine doctor, nurse, counsellor, psychologist, clinic, hospital, organisation or simply a caring volunteer, all you have to do is fill a simple form.
  • Registration forms are available on the Mumbai Police website here. Forms are also available at all police stations and with various non-profit organisations.
  • Senior Citizens may directly call 1090 to register themselves.


Senior Citizens can call ElderLine:

  • When they urgently require the help of medical professionals.
  • When they face situations that involve physical violence or pose a risk to their lives.
  • Senior Citizens may directly call 1090 to register themselves.


The following are a few frequently asked questions about Elderline:

1)       Who are the partners in the scheme?

Apart from individual volunteers, organizations, doctors, hospitals who form the back-bone of the scheme, ElderLine, an initiative of Mumbai Police works in association with its media partners The Times of India and technology partners Spanco Tele Systems.


2)       Who all can register in the scheme?

If you are 60 or above and living without an extended family, you can have one now. Become a member and avail a support system created with your needs in mind. To register as a part of voluntary network, you could be an organization or an individual, hospital, nursing home, legal expert, student, professional, home maker – anybody with conviction in the cause.


3)       How can one register?

  • Simply log on to Mumbai police web-site here, follow the link and register yourself.
  • Registration forms are available with all the police stations and certain NGOs. Fill up the form, hand it over to the nearest police station or send by post at the address of "The ElderLine, Office of the Commissioner of Police, Crawford Market, Mumbai".
  • Senior Citizens may directly ring 1090, and provide the details.


4)       How will I, a Volunteer know that I am required to attend to some Senior Citizens?

No sooner ElderLine receives a call from the Infoline, their state of the art GIS/GPS system will get the exact location of the caller. The software will find out the most suitable volunteer. The agent handling the call will make a call to the volunteer; find out his availability and SMS him the address of the Senior Citizen.


5)       If I once register as a Volunteer, am I obliged to take every call?

Absolutely not. ElderLine respects your time and prior commitments. During the registration process itself, you can indicate your availability. They will approach you only during the timings of your choice. In the eventuality of your not being available during the indicated time, you can always indicate your unavailability by pressing appropriate button on your mobile phone.


6)       What happens if a Volunteer cannot go?

If one Volunteer is unable to take the call because of any reason, another volunteer of the same area is approached. If two volunteers refuse or it is an emergency, a police mobile is rushed into service.


7)      Can a Senior Citizen call during medical emergencies?

Yes. ElderLine propose to have a list of volunteer doctors, ambulances and hospitals. We will direct the available help to the Senior Citizen immediately.


8)       What if a Senior Citizen wants appointment with a doctor or counsellor?

Many doctors and hospitals are associated with ElderLine. Most of them promise reduced fee and other considerations.


9)       What about the scrutiny of Volunteers?

No person will be registered as a Volunteer without first being verified by the Police. They will issue every Volunteer an identity card. Since they will have complete details of the Volunteers, you may be rest assured that the volunteers are verified.


10)   Once registered, can I get my name removed from the list of volunteers?

Yes. Just call 1090 and request for the same.


11)   Can I send some financial assistance to the scheme?

There is no provision for it. They will greatly appreciate your contribution as volunteer. However, if you want to help the scheme in any other way, please write to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai.


Senior Citizens deserve the utmost respect and by taking the rights steps the elderly can be looked after and kept safe.


Dr P Vyasamoorthy
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony, Secunderabad 500015 Telangana
LL 040-27846631 / Mobile: 9490804278

I liked today's (9th May) Deccan Chronicle  as it ignored reporting on the antics of Karnan, the madcap.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Midsummer Night Rain - 2017

Midsummer Night Rain - 2017

Last night it rained heavily:
ear-splitting thunder,
blinding lightning,
belligerent hailstorm,
of course
lashing rains.

mango and margosa trees,
tall and swaying ashoka trees,
never-failing anar tree
had a nice and through wash,
leaving them
bright, green and beautiful,
as never before.

Decades ago
when I was in Satyam
there were quadrangles in the centre of hexagonal building
open to the sky in which
decorative plants like croton and the like
were planted and nurtured;
there was an old man employed
whose duty it was, 
just to clean each leaf with water
keep the plants look green and fresh.

How many hundreds of such workers
I would have needed
To keep my few trees
As clean and green as rains did
Last night.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana LIC table 842

This presentation in the form of a simple video tells all about the scheme in a nutshell. As the author Sri Hari Somaiah was perhaps in a great hurry to be the first one among helpers, there are a couple of typos here and there; I recommend this for a quick overview.

Form 15H and 15H - the mess created by the Ministry of Finance

Form 15H and 15H: the mess created by the Ministry of Finance

Every Income Tax payer knows he has to submit form 15H or 15G in order to avoid TDS on the income from FDs and other certain sources of income. Filling up Form 15H or 15G for interest on FD in banks poses many problems, especially for senior citizens.

There is even now (2017) a bank I know that gives you decades old Form 15H and God knows what happens to that form after handing it over to bank. But, I like it because the form then is the  simplest to fill and bank staff are very co-operative / courteous.

There is another big bank – Syndicate for instance – that asks you to come to the branch, bring passbook, PAN card (so far the guys haven’t yet asked for Aadhar!); they give you a specially printed Form 15H / 15G to sign and handover. From the tax payer’s point of you this saves filling of forms. The bank’s software takes care to cumulate all your FDs in that branch into one form.  But  you cannot fill up the form yourself on forms bought elsewhere and submit them.

In my case I prepare Form 15H In MsWord format, fill in common data on soft copy itself, thereafter fill data specific to the FD / Bank concerned by hand; Make three copies and give it to bank for acknowledgement.  This method makes bank to fill up latter part (declaration by bank) by themselves which involves extra labour; so the bank insists on submitting the form in their style.

There are some banks / companies that send the pre-printed form by post and ask you to return the filled up form. Such forms ever reach them thanks to postal department’s inefficiency. Even when it reaches there is no guarantee that a note is made of your form submission.

In my case, I do the investment paper work for my daughters who live away from Hyderabad. Sending forms by courier, getting them signed and submission are all hassles, especially senior citizens like me during summer.

Another unsettling – moot - point is this: What is the position of an FD maturing midway? The interest earned till maturity (say in August) may not attract tax and no TDS may be needed. I may not renew the FD at all and cannot include income which I don’t earn or am not sure of getting. Is it not enough if I submit 15H at the time of renewal of FD? But Syndicate Bank insists that I give 15H in April itself. Are they right? Can TDS be deducted without waiting for the interest earned to cross the threshold limit and then start collecting TDS? Can someone educate me about rules?

My request to MoF is not to tighten the rules regarding 15H or 15G. Rather I am asking them to do away with these forms altogether. Lot of work for all – investor, banks, MoF – concerned can be saved. Our Indian government is blissfully unaware of “compliance costs” at tax payer’s end.  

Alternately, the investor can declare in the FD application itself stating that the amount earned via that investment will be within the requirements for filling 15H / 15G. Just like PAN or age proof this will be another piece of essential data, if applicable to the investor.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Servant Maid on Leave

Servant maid on long leave

Our Servant maid
Has gone on a long leave
(almost a month or so):
she had to go to her native place
to get the roof of her old dilapidated house repaired
that had collapsed
when an assembly of monkeys got to play around.

Her absence from work
was far too long to manage
by postponing
what just had to be done.

So my daughter cleans and sweeps the front yard
also puts Rangoli with colored pieces of chalk,
changing the patterns daily:
she learns a new design or pattern every day.

If this is not,
what else could be,
a blessing in disguise?