Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BOOKS FROM INDIA THAT I HAVE READ

After writing several articles or is it mere lists...of crime fiction books I have read from different countries, romantic fiction, crime fiction with women protagonists, etc, I realize now that I have not made a list of books from India that I have read.


Though I feel ashamed, I have to admit here that I OWN a whole ton of books by Indian authors(and others) which I have NOT READ! I am wondering if I should list these as-yet-unread-books in this list or not. I am also a bit ashamed that the number of books by Indian authors I have read is so low! I seem to have read hundreds, nay thousands of books by Americana and British authors but less than maybe 500 books by Indian authors or books set in India!


Also, why  do I have this need to make lists and put it in this public place? What purpose does it serve?  Am I writing these lists as I am not getting a good idea to pen?  Or is it that I have good ideas but cant write?


While making this list I discovered that the American and British books I have read far outnumber the Indian books I have read...even though I am an Indian by birth!




I am wondering how to make this list of books I HAVE read? One whole list or divide it into non-fiction, fiction, mythology, set in India but not by  Indian author, books by Indian authors and story set in India or outside India, books on Indian geography, history, etc.


This list  can go on and on, if I include all the books about India such as Indian kings, Indian temples, the Himalayas, Indian jewellery, Indian religions, etc.


 Let me make the list and then decide how I am going to arrange it.












MYTHOLOGY
Ramayana by C.R.Rajagopalachari
Mahabharatha by C.R.Rajagopalachari
Dashavatara
Bhagwan Parashurama by K.M.Munshi
Stories of Vikramaditya Simhasana Dwatrimsika
Stories of Vikramaditya Vetala Panchavimsati
Panchatantra
Stories of Shiva
Stories of Kali
Stories of Vishnu










HISTORY books(Cant recall any now)




NOVELS
Return to the soil by Shivram Karanth
Man riding the tiger
R.K.Narayan's books
Kushwant Singh's books


Rabindranath Tagore short stories, dramas and novels
Salman Rushdie books(Midnight's children)
Ruskin Bond's books short stories
 The inscrutable Americana by Anurag Mathur I loved this funny book and read it a few times!
Maximum city Bombay Lost and found by Suketu Meheta
Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand
Train to Pakistan by Kushwant Singh Parts of this book are heart breaking and I cannot read it again.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahari short stories
Delhi Noir short stories
Kim by Rudyard Kipling I loved this classic and read it a few times.
Sari shop by Rupa Bajwa
Marrying Anita by Anita Jain Enjoyed this!
Midnight's children by Salman Rushdie


Sudhir Kakkar's books


I have



Friday, September 23, 2016

Things in my childhood, I wish I had taken photos and videos of...things which have disappeared now


My childhood days were of lower middle class urban life in Bangalore of the late 60s and 70s. The things  at home, the activities and life style is so different from what it became in the 80s and onwards. So many things I took for granted disappeared completely and now I wish someone had had the foresight(and camera, money to afford the reels and so on) to photograph those things which have disappeared from our lives forever. Below is a list of such things. I have written them in no order..I have written them in the order the things came to my memory.

Somethings are listed in the order of chronology: as the transition took place with the new one replacing the old one. For example we had a wood burning stove at first which was replaced by kerosene stove and this was replaced by electric coil stove and this was replaced by gas stove.

At home:
Kitchen
Woodburning stove//kerosene stove//kerosene stove pumping type//electric stove//gas stove.
In my husband's home, his grandmother used only coal burning 'Agastige' until her death in the 90s; she refused to cook on electric or gas as she thought that cooking on coal was 'pure' while using any other fire was impure!

Stone mortar and pestle on the floor in which one could grind by sitting on the floor; Stone mortar and pestle in a 3 or 4 foot pillar of concrete in which one could grind chutney, etc while standing, //the wet grinder running on electricity from Vellore; this is basically a steel mortar with a stone pestle inside attached to a chain and the pestle runs on electricity//modern mixer and grinder.

Hand rotated coffee grinder//replaced by nothing. we now buy ready to use coffee powder.

Mud pots hanging from kitchen ceiling holding butter floating in water//aluminium wire basket suspended from kitchen ceiling holding onions, garlic and potatoes.
Earthen pot to store water in summer as the water was cooler in earthern pot//replaced by fridge.


The copper and brass vessals,aluminium and hindalium vessels,  steel vessals, the thick aluminium ladle broken with use// the aluminium spoons, aluminium measuring cans of litre, 500 ml, 250, 200, 100 and 50 ml cans//'chambu' made of copper, silver, brass, steel and plastic.

Bathroom:
The coal and wood burning stove built of concrete in bathroom with a huge brass 'ande'(pot) over it to boil water for bath;, the immersion coil in the iron and later plastic bucket to heat water for bath, the brass boiler with electric coil inside to heat water, the iron and plastic and steel buckets, the copper,brass, steel and plastic 'bindiges' or pots.

Storeroom:
The gunny sacks in the store room, the floor to ceiling mud and papier-mâché container in village homes holding grains.


Hall or living room:
Radio//transistor//black and white TV//colour TV//TV with knobs to change and without remote control//
Swing made of coconut coir rope and with a small cotton pillow on top//swing with small wood seat and large wood seat
Porcelain dolls of animals, gods and goddesses, in showcase.

Study room:

Typewriter//old paperwork and notes at home//wooden book holder to keep heavy books and read when sitting on the floor for my grandmother .
Ink pens and bottles of ink no longer seen around now.
Aluminium boxes to carry books to school, khaki color school bags, range of tiffen boxes to take lunch to school in steel, aluminium and plastic.
will continue this list
Books with old type illustrations on cover which you don't get now...example a Wodehouse book had a fantastic cover with a cartoon; now you get the same novel with another cartoon on cover but the modern cartoon is not to my liking.
Old Readers Digest books with amazing covers and illustrations and cartoons inside too.
Books from the communist Soviet Union
Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew books with amazing illustrations on cover and inside.
Calenders of those days with Kitschy Gods and Godesses; sceneries, paintings. I loved one which had paintings of twelve love stories of India for the twelve months such as  Prithviraj Chauhan and his lover; Shakuntala and Dushyanta, etc.


Bedrooms:
Iron box with mica inside which broke down frequently//
Old silk saris//Binny mills clothes and fabrics//NTC fabrics//
My long skirts called as Langas which had wonderfully colourful and large floral prints. Now few girls uses Langas and Langa Davanis.. Almost all girls now wear the north Indian salwar kameez or churidar or western frocks, skirts and jeans and shorts.

Rusty iron trunks( now replaced by suitcases); 'Hold-all' used to travel (and now replaced by ?backpacks, suitcases, etc.)
Heavy iron lockers about 3 feet by two feet with a metal 'hand holding a roll of paper' to turn it open called Lakshmi lockers in which valuable documents, jewels and money were kept;
ancient huge padlocks with a variety of keys.
A doctor's bag in my house made of maroon hard leather with golden color handles and cute looking. Doctors carried it with them all the time and probably visited patients at home in those days.

Now we have diesel run generators when there is no electricity. In the 70s, we used to light mud lamps called Deepas which had hand-rolled cotton wicks and cooking oil when there was no electricity. We also used white candles. In villages, where cooking oil is expensive, people used inedible oil from a seed called Honge beeja(Honge mara i.e. the tree called Millettia pinnata)
We use electric torch these days when we step out in the dark when there is no electricity but in those days we used  kerosine lit 'hurricane' lamp.
Cowdung smeared and hardened earth in front of home if the front was muddy and not covered with granite slabs. Rangolis covering the earth in front of the door.
I travelled to my village from the taluk by bullock cart which had large wooden wheels and pulled by two bullocks. Now I travel by car, bus or walk. Bullock carts still exist in my village but getting replaced by tractors and other vehicles. Bullock carts were used to transport both people and food grains. transport people from villages to other villages and food grains from fields to homes or homes to taluks for selling. 
It would have been wonderful if I could have photographed and videotaped the things of old in my village! Both the old and the new coexist today in my village and can still be photographed and recorded. But some things are permanently missing. More of that when I have time to add to this
...........
Things of village life I wish I had captured on photo or video:

I visited my village often in my childhood but after I started college my visits reduced a lot. My memory of my trips to village are pretty shaky but I am going to jot down all that I can recall here...before my memories are further erased by time!

I wish I had a video of the tiled roof of house in my village  and the one square of space made by removing a tile in the kitchen's roof  to let in the sunlight. I loved watching the sunlight stream like a pole  through the gap in the roof . I would watch the dust particles swirling in the 'pole' of sunlight and the dust outside the 'pole of streaming sunlight' was invisible! I would be seated on the floor eating whatever was given such as ragi roti made on the wood-burning stove on the floor and butter while watching the dust in the sunlight.

I would have loved to have photograph the silver coins in the Iron chests in the houses in the villages. Also the rolled documents of land, court documents and money.

The sparseness, neatness and economy of  the village homes of those days was amazing. I don't think there was the slightest bit of clutter in the houses as no one had money to buy things which they dint use or used sparingly.  Homes were small and space was needed to store food grains after harvest too. The space immediately after entering a home was meant for the family's cattle and so the homes had the smells of dung, cattle urine, grass and so on. Thanks to the cattle, we had to endure the bites of terrible mosquitos called 'danada-solle'.
In the 80s, I think, farmers in villages of Tumkur started rearing silk worms as they could earn more selling silk cocoons than selling rice, ragi or peanuts they grew. The space in the homes were then used to erect the large silk-worm-rearing basket-mat sort of things made of a bamboo like reed. The silk-worm rearing process in my village is another thing worth videotaping.
Village kitchens:
The mortar and pestle in villages were not the chiselled ones seen in city homes. In cities the mortar was a hollowed out part of a square block of granite and the pestle was placed in the hole and rotated by hand. In my village, the pestle  was usually a large round granite rock rolled on a slab of granite. The slab of granite served as the mortar. One needed both hands to roll the rock back and forth.  The items to be grounded such as fresh coconut pieces were placed on the slab of granite and the rock was rolled back and forth on the granite. It was difficult for me to grind things in this manner!
Vanake a thick stick of about three feet length was another instrument used by women to pulp various grains and pulses. The grains were put into a mortar made of granite and placed on the floor. The women would be standing as they pounded the grain in the mortar with the 'vanake'.
The 'beeso-kallu' was used to grind rice into flour by village women at home, before the electric flour mills came. The beeso kallu consisted of twin round granite slabs one on top of the other. There was a hole in the top granite slab  through which a stick was inserted. The women rotated the granite slab holding the stick and rice or ragi or whatever was poured into a hole at the top of the granite slab and the rice was ground between the rotating slab and top and the bottom granite slab.
Village homes had more of aluminium and copper and mud pots while city homes had more of stainless steel vessels. The number of utensils in cities were a lot more than in the villages. The number of spices and dhals used were a lot less in villages. Plates were made of brass and were heavy in the villages.
Both the men and  women in my caste in villages and maybe the entire village put both vibuti and kumkuma on their forehead daily morning after their prayers. I am not sure if they still do it now.




FINANCIAL LITERACY AMONG MY FRIENDS-MIDDLE CLASS FOLKS LIVING IN BANGALORE FOR THE LAST 40-50 YEARS

The reason for the long title: Small sample size of non-random sample.
But I believe it reflects the financial literacy of a large section of people of Bangalore.

I had never heard the word financial literacy until I moved to Canada. I knew the terms such as money management and budgeting. I think I also was okay at managing to live within my income and save in advance for large expenses such as buying a vehicle and so on. I did understand that one could take loans from banks if eligible and to return the loans with interest.
That was the extent of my financial literacy.

After seeing the major financial problems faced by a few, close Bangalorean  friends and relatives  I realize that many 'educated' middle class and upper class urban Indians lack financial literacy. Below are 8 of these financially illiterate people.
I will then talk about what I think, needs to be done to set this right in order, to avoid the problems which families face due to financial illiteracy.

CASES OF FINANCIAL ILLITERACY:

I know a person, who was born into an extremely rich family, with a BA degree who knows less about money management than others with lesser education and age than her. She has no idea how to write a cheque, how to deposit a cheque and so on.  Besides this, she has decreasing income for the last many years. Yet, she simply does not say no to her kids when they demand items which are 'not vital' such as eating out, buying fancy clothes and travelling by auto. She has not tried to explain to her children about her reduced income, her inability to manage the house, etc. She has started borrowing money from friends for things which she can easily do without! She has no idea where she will get the money to return when the time comes. She has no plans if her friends do not loan her the money! She too is coasting by in a way which scares the rest of us.

I also know another  who once worked as a bank manager, and now trades in stocks and shares who has relentlessly traded, despite losses and warnings and is near bankruptcy. He  has lost a lot of money and is required to pay huge interest. This guy has no excuse for his financial  mismanagement with all his knowledge and experience! His addiction to trading on the stock market has done him in , yet he cannot stop himself!

 I also know another 80 year old person with limited income but who is constantly taking loans and paying interest and refuses advice of well wishers and knowledgeable people.

  I also know another person who is himself, financially literate but who does not let his wife become financially literate. He refuses to involve her  in his business and keeps her as a 'housewife-whose-duty-is-to-look-after-the-home'.  She unfortunately is now  in a position of utter helplessness and ignorance if anything were to happen to him.

 I also know another person in his 50s, who has never ever had a sense of fiscal responsibility. He often loses jobs or changes jobs. Yet, he does not save for a rainy day and coasts by life on the support of others. He has a wife and son to support but he has no sense of responsibility at all. He has absolutely no thoughts or plans about the future! He never seems to ask himself, while  spending lavishly, 'what will I do tomorrow if I don't have a job or savings'? He also has mental health issues, so that may sort of excuse his financial illiteracy.

 I also know another person as young as 14 who ask their parents to buy them the latest phones, clothes, dvds, books and so on, without even wondering if their parents can afford to buy them. They don't have curiosity about the amount their parents earn, how much is spent or saved every month, where does the money go, etc. Neither are their parents  trying to teach them about income, expenses, how much, how to balance, etc. They are silent about money and simply buy the kids what they want!

 I also know two people with families i.e. wives and children. They continue to live with their parents and do not contribute to the household income. One has zero income and he receives money from his parent who gets the money from her other son who's working abroad. The other relative and his wife and kids are supported by his dad's pension, rental business, and so on. What he earns is his pocket money, though he is now in his 40s.

 I also know another person who initially was doing business but due to his deficits, he was incurring losses. Yet, he & his mother, refused to let his wife work! Finally the wife, left him took employment and supported herself and her daughter who is now educated and working herself. The wife is now supporting him too! Yet, this person has neither insight about his lack of money management (he's lacking several other important and vital virtues!) nor gratitude to his wife!
I know of several other people who suffer from financial illiteracy, destructive personality traits and self-destructive behaviours but these cases above should be enough to illustrate that there are a range of people with financial illiteracy.
....................................................................................................................................

What to be done to improve financial literacy in India?
(1) Financial literacy should be taught in schools. Children should be introduced to money management skills in a fun and practical way as early as grade 5.
(2) Financial literacy classes through realistic scenarios and problem solving in multiple ways should be taught briefly in every class with increasing complexity of practical issues which the children see and experience in their own families.
(3)For those who can, children should be involved in the school's finance management at least partially and also at home. They should be encouraged to give ideas, suggestions, plans..in short think aloud and the older adults can gently advise them if the ideas are not feasible.
(4)Children should go to banks and learn to deposit cheques, draw money, know how much interest the bank pays them, how much interest their parents pay the bank and so on.
(5)Children should be involved in the family's budgeting so they understand how much money goes where every month. For example, from the time a child is in 6th grade i.e. approximately 12 years old he or she should be educated about the monthly expenses of the family:bills such as electricity, water, house tax, phone, internet, TV cable, groceries, petrol, bus passes, school fees, pet food, health insurance or regular medicines, toiletries, etc. If a child has an idea of the expenses and the family income, he needs no advice about money; he will wise up when he sees all the costs of things.


 I am not really sure what is the right time to teach children about money and budgeting; But my guess is it should be around 12 years as the child enters his teens. 

 I am not sure how much Indian urban parents should reveal about their income and expenses to the children, without making the children feel burdened with responsibility too much for their shoulders or making them feel guilty.

I also have no answers to children of families of really low income group about how to teach their children about finance. How can you tell a child that he is not going to have something absolutely essential as his parents don't make enough money?

I have no idea how illiterate (but otherwise smart) Indians would teach their kids about finance...but I have come across really smart finance management among illiterate women who work as maids in city houses and farmers wives with low literacy or illiteracy manage their household budgets in villages.

I have absolutely no clue how farmers who face the cycle of droughts and floods, who earn so little, who have impossible loans to return to the bank or even worse the private money lenders teach their kids financial literacy. You should first have 'some' money to teach them and when you don't have money at all, what kind of theoretical bullshit can you teach them! when you spend 20 thousand rupees on seeds, electricity for pumping water from wells, fertilizer, feed for oxen, etc and the harvest yield is 15 thousand rupees as the crops failed due to heavy rains, what can you teach your child about financial literacy? 
If I were a farmer(from my village) and you came to teach me about financial literacy, I would probably punch you in the face. You ask why? Here's why? My father, a farmer, sells the grains and is secretive and never informs me about the amount of money he made by selling our harvest; my mother secretly saves money from the money she makes working in other's fields and selling our cow's milk; I work like a donkey in my fields but get little or nothing from my father. My wife keeps fighting with me as I have no money to give her to buy even glass bangles. My kids get money more easily from my father than I can get out of him. So, if you come to teach me about financial literacy, I would probably strangle you as I am being strangled by my father, my mother, my wife, the 7-year-long-droughts, the government which took away half my land to build roads and the local officer who swallowed the compensation given by the government to give us for the land. I pray this corrupt government official and his family perish!

I also have no ideas about how the families where members make money through bribes will educate their children about finance! How do you explain to your 12 year old daughter that you have 12 lakh rupees in your bank this month when your income is about 10 lakh per year? How do you tell her that you made 12 lakh rupees by giving driving licences to shitty drivers after taking bribes? What are these parents supposed to teach in finance literacy to their kids? Do they teach them to get into jobs where they can take bribes? Or do they teach them to spend lavishly as money will come in all the time? Or do they teach them to be frugal as they don't know when this money will run out? Do they teach them to be honest at home but steal and take bribes outside? I really don't know how a financial literacy lesson would go in the household of corrupt government officials and politicians of India? What values do these corrupt people impart to their kids? I would love to be a fly on the wall in their homes!

How will a father who is not earning but depending on generosity of his siblings teach his kids about financial literacy? How will a ...
I am simply thinking aloud here. How will a poor village temple priest, whose income fluctuates wildly from low to nil teach his kids about financial literacy? I wonder if one can really cope with the concept of financial literacy when one is utterly poor...when I imagine myself in that place, I cannot even think of terms like literacy! I just want to do anything to feed myself then and there...I cannot think to plan for  even the next day or next week as I am so starved! As I write this, I am beginning to believe that one needs to have some financial stability to even think of financial literacy or financial literacy's simply a cruel joke. 
Teaching financial literacy to 50% of Indians i.e. the poor is as meaningless as classes about  'healthy eating and nutrition for  people who don't have even have food to eat!


HYPOTHETICAL FAMILY: Imagine a lecturer in a college and his wife who's also a lecturer in a college are earning a combined income  about one lakh rupees a month. They have two teenage children  in high school ; the couple  tally their expenses daily and share this information with the children .  The children get to see the expenses and have an idea of how much money is coming into the family monthly and where the money is going out. I believe this will give a lot of valuable information, knowledge to the high schoolers and they will also learn vicariously, the best ways of planning and budgeting.
I guess these are the expenses in Bangalore
rent//food//waterbill/electricity bill/ gas bill/ petrol and bus pass/school fees/ phone bills for four//food//toileting materials//religious expenses//gifts to family members & friends for functions// savings such as life insurance,etc//loans and interest for vehicles, house building loans, etc// health expenses (now with dengue all over Bangalore, every house I know has been affected!)
If the family, is open about their income and expenses with their children and very meticulous about recording all the expenses, the children will automatically learn a lot, become more thoughtful and reasonable in their demands and WISE.


The peers I know are not open with their children about their income for many reasons such as
They never even thought of this; they never thought of the idea of sharing their income details with their children.
Or they don't want to share as they think the children are too young and then don't know when to draw the line and say, they are old enough now and I can share this information.
Or they don't want to tell the children as they don't think their kids can keep their mouths shut! They may worry the kids will blab to the relatives, etc.
Or they are ashamed they are not earning enough. I know of many middle class graduate women who have no idea about their husband's income!
Or , they are taking bribes and  don't want to share this information openly with their kids. I know there are several government officials whose bribe is much greater than their salaries (not any of my relatives or friends!) and how will they explain to their kids?


I believe that writing out the income and expenses in detail and sharing with the immediate family members will help expose the errors in budgeting of the money manager in the family, usually men. If the expenses were made into a pie chart or percentage, the family would know immediately if some area was getting undue amount while another area was being neglected. I know a man who had  terrible money management skills and who was also, very autocratic and bossy that he had his way. He would spend more than 50% of the income on non-essentials such as books and grudge to give money to essentials such as food items and groceries.


I believe that every school in India should have classes for household budgeting and ask the students to come up with sensible budgets for various incomes and expenses for a variety of households. I believe this will help to avoid future mismanagement of money when these students become working adults.


Many families want to shield their children from money worries and other worries. But I strongly believe that this shielding causes more harm than good, in the long run. Once they are 16-18 years old, they should know the true money situation in the home; it will give them an opportunity to grow and become more mature; I guess children will become less demanding when there are aware of the true monetary situation; they will make sensible and financially INFORMED choices.


Some of the stupid financial  things I have observed in my peers families are given below:
  • Pretending they have more money than they actually do.
  • Not telling  'no' to the children's unrelenting demands on money
  • Thinking that if they give all that the child asks,' the child will be happy', 'will study well', 'will 'behave', 'the child will obey', etc.
  • Borrowing money to buy  non-essential things.
  • Labelling luxuries as essentials and buying them
  • Not having money, yet buying to keep up with the Jones by buying on credit.
  • Borrowing without having any realistic plans regarding how they will repay. Not factoring in the interest when they plan to borrow.
  • Being unrealistically optimistic. Not having definite plans regarding repayment but thinking vague things like "I will somehow return": that word 'somehow' drives me c-r-a-z-y!
  • Having poor money management skills themselves.
  • Poor relationship between parents and therefore :non-discussion of money matters; non-cooperation around money matters; active 'revenge-buying' things when angry with spouse!
  • Borrowing from parents (grandparents  of the children) or receiving financial and other expensive gifts from parents to maintain a life-style, they cannot earn-to-be-able-to-afford.
  • Expecting well-off relatives to take care of some of their needs
  • Expecting the dowry the son brings in to take solve their money problems.
  • I know many many middle class Bangaloreans are  investing heavily in real estate i.e. sites and houses as an investment and source of income. They do not factor in many factors when they make this investment such as the 
  • (1)high rate of interest to borrow money to build or buy the house, 
  • (2) the high cost of building a house and 
  • (3)the money which goes for bribing government clerks to build, 
  • (4) the difficulty getting renters as there is such a lot of empty flats and houses in Bangalore (in 2016)and
  •  (5)cost of maintaining the house in good repair, etc.               Nearly everyone in Bangalore seem to believe that real estate is the best way to invest money and as it's not true all the time, as observed by the many people who have had losses. I know a guy who could not sell his house in Gandhi Bazar for 4 years though it is a prime area!                                                        Now the government wants people to show that their money is 'white' when they buy a house; However it seems like people with white money cannot buy houses as they don't have enough and people with black money cannot buy the houses; even if they are willing to pay the full amount... the government wants them to prove that their money is white and as they cannot prove that, they cannot buy! So sellers are sitting on unsold homes and apartments for years paying interest on the loans they took to build and suffering losses.
  • As far as I know majority of people in my circle in India (Gowdas, middle class, urban and rural, Bangaloreans and Tumkur people) DO NOT INVEST in stocks and shares. I myself am wary of it and have never invested in stocks. I have told that investing in them is wise but long story short, this is one major area of ignorance and paranoia among many people in India/Bangalore. People prefer real estate to stocks and shares. This has lead to a host of problems such as :The destruction of the environment in Bangalore and maybe whole of India, cutting down of trees in cities, drying up of water beds and ground water levels, conversion of agricultural land to residential areas, conversion of forest land leading to depletion of wild life and forest wealth, a glut of homes and apartments lying vacant even in crowded places such as Delhi and Bangalore, etc. Teaching Indians about investing in things other than real estate may also improve their financial literacy.
  • I also have a pet theory. If the corrupt politicians of Karnataka with their children who have IQs of 70 are taught financial literacy, then they would not need to be so corrupt and rob the people of Karnataka. They could use their money smartly; make money smartly with wiser investments and be less corrupt and decrease their robbery. For example, one asshole politician has built 5 star hotel in small towns where people cannot afford to pay 5 star hotel rates. This is a huge loss but he does not care as it is money not hard earned but looted. Giving more thought to this idea, I realize that there is no motivation for the Karnataka politicians to become financially literate...as long as they can loot instead of working hard and honestly, there is no compelling reason for them or thier kids to strive for financial literacy.
  • I have another theory..if politicians of India were forced to learn about financial literacy, they might make more money by wise spending and investments and feel less need to loot. But, on the other hand, I don't think financial literacy will take away the core evil in their shitty heads s i.e. greed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pros and cons of buying real estate in Bangalore for young NRIs

Pros:
1) It is cheaper to buy in Bangalore than USA especially if buying in cities in California. You can pay off faster than when you buy in USA. A BDA site may cost about 150 thousand dollars while a house will cost about 200 thousand to 400 thousand dollars in Bangalore but will cost more in cities near SF, CA, USA.
2) If the values go down in a crash, it will still not go down as far down as it goes in USA.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Cons:
1)If you don't have anyone trustworthy to look after your site or home, it is difficult to manage if you are sitting in the  USA.
2) Keeping it safe from land mafia goons is a problem; making sure you buy a land with clear titles is tricky as many deals and dealers are murky in Bangalore.
3) buying inside Bangalore costs almost the same as buying in California. Yet, it does not mean that you get a house with all the facilities you get in California such as 24 hour water and electricity; low crime rate in area; good schools in area, a civilized traffic; etc.
4)If you are never going back to India, then the home or site  remains as an investment with returns (rent for example)which don't mean much in dollars. When you sell the home or site, then, trying to convert the money into dollars and get it into USA and pay taxes in two countries may whittle away at the profit.
5)If you add up the interest and inflation effect, the money you get when you sell does not really indicate a high or even moderate profit.
If you borrow money to buy the house you simply don't make a good enough profit at the time of selling.
 Interest is around 10% in India in 2016 if you would like to borrow from banks to buy a house. 
 I simply cannot understand the way banks determine rate of interest in USA when people borrow...when I observe the rules of loaning in USA, I think that the bankers are  dacoits who have legalized the  criminal exploitation of bank's customers!
At least the Canadian banks don't seem to be unethical blood suckers to me!
6)Lots of apartments in Bangalore do not have adequate water supply or it's expensive. So investing in an apartment in Bangalore is a big no-no for me.
7)With oversupply of apartments in 2016, many houses & apartments are lying vacant and finding renters is difficult. Unless the property is in a prime area, it is likely to remain empty for a while.

8)Before investing in a house in Bangalore one has to consider many factors before selecting the location of the house: distance from nearest 'centre of city' such as Majestic, Malleshwaram, Jayanagar, etc. Does this area have a consistent water supply, electricity, undisrupted phone and internet connections...for this it is best to buy a house near to where the local politicians live such as Sadashivnagar and R.T.Nagar!  Consider the traffic and time it takes to travel from this house to various places. Make sure that  Crime rate in the area is low and it's not near any slums. If there are good schools and a good hospital in the area. Never ever buy a house in a 'low-lying-area' or an area which was previously a tank and has now been converted to sites buy the land sharks and politicians. Once in a few years, during heavy rains, the waters flood into the houses and the government suddenly decides to declare these houses illegal and the houses are bulldozed in a day, without much notice given by the state or city government! All of this has happened in 2015-2016. The people who lost their houses are helpless and flat broke as they put their life's savings into the houses.
It is impossible to sue the government or get any of your money back when your house is bulldozed.
 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

E.F.Dodd -lady who made classics accessible to kids!


I wish to pay my tributes to a lady, Elizabeth Frances Dodd. Thanks to her, I had endless hours of happiness in my childhood. This lady has (a) written stories for children in English and (b) has also done an amazing job of abridging classic novels for children.

Reading has given me immense pleasure, ever since I can remember. As a child, I loved reading children's books from libraries, comics, and the wonderful stories in my ‘non-detailed English textbooks’ in schools. Here is my take on the term, ‘non-detailed’ text, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term. In Bangalore’s English medium schools of the 70s, children had two texts or more for English, One was the English text book (?detailed text). Another was a book for poetry while a third was called the non-detailed text. The non-detailed text always consisted of a short stories or it was a short novel i.e. an abridged novel. The full length unabridged novels would have been be unsuitable for young school children for many reasons.

Most of these ‘non-detailed’ text books I had in primary and middle school were either abridged or written by E.F.Dodd and published by Macmillan, India.

Macmillan was a major publication of children's school books and children's books in India since the 70s and maybe even now. I recall that the quality of the pages, and also printing was excellent in the 70s. Some books had glossy pages and had a neat font (I can’t recall the font). They were small in size and had the most wonderful illustrations! My guess is that the illustrations were woodcut prints but I am not sure.

 I was lucky enough to be enrolled in schools which had books by E.F.Dodd, as texts for English. She has done an amazing job of both writing books and abridging classics for children. Her works were exciting and interesting. They were also easy to read and understand.

At a later age, I did try to read the unabridged classics and found some of them too tedious to read and  I had difficulty sustaining my attention to read the full book.  For those tedious classics, I went back to read the beautifully abridged books of E.F.Dodd, though I was no longer a child.

For some reason, the name E.F.Dodd and Macmillan had registered in my mind as a child. I cannot explain why these names had registered in my memory! No school teacher ever went into the author’s details or the details of the publisher in class. As a child reader, I don’t think I knew that these stories were ‘abridged’; I don’t think the name E.F.Dodd meant anything to me then. I was simply engrossed in the stories.

I do recall rereading these non-detailed texts long after I finished the class year. These books were also the first books I read when we bought new texts at reopening of school each year. These books have made such a lasting impression on me that I went to Macmillan publication in M.G.Road(in Shringar complex) Bangalore and bought all the books I could find when I was in my 40s to give my neices! I regret losing some of my books especially two i.e. Lost Horizon by James Hilton and The King’s Sculptor authored by E.F.Dodd herself! I loved the illustrations in Lost Horizon. I think Lost Horizon abridged by E.F.Dodd is available on online book-stores but it’s impossible to even find mention of the book The King’s Sculptor online. (I found only one reference to The King’s Sculptor by Dodd in one website)

If you want your child to read the great classics at a young age, I strongly reccomend E.F.Dodd's books. I am aware that, these days, the classics are made 'readable' to young readers in other forms such as graphic novels of the classics. I also know many writers have done the job of abridging classics besides E.F.Dodd. But for me, E.F.Dodd's abridged books are the way to go! If I recall right, the books were plot-driven. As a child, I was don’t think I wanted long descriptions; nor was I  interested in ‘style’ of writing. All I wanted was a nice thick plot with a strong story line and that is exactly what I got in the abridged books of E.F.D.

 I found on the internet, the name of E.F.Dodd to be Elizabeth Frances and I found a few books of hers on the internet.  But I am unable to find anything else about her. I wish I could find out more about her.  The books which I could find on the internet, written by or abridged by E.F.Dodd are listed below. I have listed the books in alphabetical order and there may be a few books missing(as they didn’t show up when I googled ) or duplications. If I have not added the original author’s name, it means that the book was authored by E.F.D or I simply could not find the original author in an online search.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
The books L loved more as they are rare, drew my heart and feelings for some reason are in bold.

A book of fables and stories by E.F.Dodd and Bhaskar: Simple Graded Readers. Macmillan and Co Ltd, Madras, 1970

A first book of stories Dodd's supplementary readers, Macmillan, Basingstoke 1971

A week without mother  Easy reading Series, Book II. Dodd's Easy Reading. Macmillan and Co. Ltd. Madras. 1967

Adam Bede by George Eliot

Blue Jay favorite stories for children

Brave children of other lands 1954

Children at home and school (Macmillan & Co Ltd, Madras, 1967)

Children of India  Macmillan and Co. Ltd. Madras. 1970

Cinderella

Coral island by R.M.Ballyntyne

Discoverers of new lands I loved this one...and cried when I read the last chapter i.e. discovery of the south pole

Easy reading 1 children-children at home Favorite tales of children

Easy reading 2: a week without mother

Fables and stories for beginners-1953

Fairy tales from Ireland 1961

Far from the madding crowd by Thomas Hardy

 First book of stories
Florence nightingale favorite tales for children

Florence Nightingale 1957(Lives to remember series)

Folk tales from Asia

Fold tales from different lands 1954

Glass princess (I cannot find out if E.F.Dodd is the author or someone else is)

Gora-Rabindranath Tagore's novel published by Macmillan in 1964

Happy beggar

Happy beggar and other stories I enjoyed this one too
  
Heroes of north lands(Tales from the Scandinavian mythology)1958 I loved this and recall reading this over and over again! I think I started loving mythology after reading this. I did not know the word 'Mythology' then but loved these tales anyway.

Kidnapped by Robert Louise Stevenson--another favorite of me and my sister

King of the golden river by John Ruskin

Knights of the round table (King Arthur’s tales) I loved this one too
  Lalitha and her garden


Life they chose (paperback of 92 pages, published by Macmillan; ISBN-10: 0333040155 and ISBN 13: 978-0333040157; shipping weight 503pm(the reason for such detail is I found this on one single website i.e. amazon and I may never see this again)


Living maths for Jamica book 1(not sure if this is the same E.F.Dodd and not sure if book is meant to be stories for children…but it showed up on Google search for stories by E.F.Dodd)

Leon Trotsky and world war one (not sure if this is the same E.F.Dodd and not sure if book is meant to be stories for children…but it showed up on Google search for stories by E.F.Dodd)

Lorna Doone a romance of Exmoor (Macmillan ELT stories to remember readers series) by R.D.Blackmore

Man's best friends

Magic ring and other stories of India

Martin Rattler by R.M.Ballayntyne

Puss in boots-a story based on the traditional fairy tale 1956

Rama and Sita at school(I am not sure if she herself wrote this or what)

Rime of the ancient mariner and Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Simple stories for beginners Macmillan and co of India limited, 1971

Six short stories by famous British authors of the last 100 years by E.F.Dodd

Six short stories (stories to remember)

Six tales from Shakespeare

Snake charmer and other stories

Snowwhite

Stories from famous poems 1953 I liked this one too but can recall only one of them

Stories from Greek myths 2004

Stories from Homer 1955

Stories from Ceylon


Tales from Tagore (stories to remember) I loved this one. Tagore is India's O.Henry to me.

Tales from the Panchatantra:Dodd's supplementary readers, Macmillan, Basingstoke 1971,1957 I liked this one

Tale of the Nibelungs(German epic poem written in 13th century by unknown author and story is based on both myth and history) I would love to read this!

The adventures of Lila and Chandran and other stories 1969

The bluejay and other stories

The clipper of the clouds (also called Robur the conqueror)1959

The coral island by R.L.Ballantyne

The glass princess and other stories Simple graded readers, Macmillan and Co, Madras, 1970

The happy family

The king's sculptor I loved this book and now it’s not available anywhere!

The knights of the round table-the stories of some of their adventures 1960

The life they chose. Macmillan and Co. Ltd. Madras. 1967.(not sure if E.F.Dodd is the writer or she has abridged someone’s novel. I cannot seem to find the ‘original’ author of this book)

The lost horizon by James Hilton My all time favorite! I prefer this to the original. I have fantasized this novel so many times as a child.

The lucky days  by E.F.Dodd Simple Graded readers, Macmillan and Co Ltd, Madras, 1970 (The stories were nice but I think it's wrong to tell children readers that  the day you were born determines your future. I honestly believed that shit for years and years!)

The magic ring and other stories

The mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

 The mill on the floss by George Eliot 1961

The moonstone by William Wilkie Collins (abridged in 1956)

The mystery of the lost jewels  Dodd's supplementary readers, Macmillan and Co Ltd, London 1965

The rose and the ring by William Makepeace Thackery 1954

The scarlet pimpernel(stories to remember) by Baroness Emma Orczy 1966

The Sleeping beauty-traditional English fairy tale 1955

The snake charmer and other stories  Dodd's Supplementary Readers. Macmillan Basingstoke. Hongkong. 1971.

The story of Osiris and Isis

The story of Sir Ronald Ross and his fight against malaria(lives to remember series 1958)

The three musketeers

The woman in white (Macmillan stories to remember)1971

Three Shakespeare comedies :prose adaptations (Dodd’s supplementary readers)1960.1953

Three Shakespeare histories

Three Shakespeare tragedies (stories to remember, senior series) 1956

Two stories of R.L.Stevenson

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

Westward Ho

I got a lot of names in the list above from the link below. Also from amazon.co.uk and abebooks.com

http://www.bookadda.com/author/ef-dodd
....................
Below is three pieces of information culled from the internet by Googling E.F.Dodd in Google-uk

.........................................................................................
(A) Interesting stories to read aloud for children Ideal for vocabulary enhancement and teaching literary appreciation Profusely illustrated Range of titles Carefully graded vocabulary Makes fascinating reading Books classified as per vocabulary levels of 500, 750, 1500, 2000
Above is a review for the book A happy family by E.F.Dodd. (http://www.lsnet.in/books/the-happy-family-(book-3)-1st-edition_e.-f.-dodd_9780333915394?t=593801)

…………................................................................................

(B)The subnormal child at home…

…Readers

E. F. DODD

A series of original stories and adaptations written for slower pupils within a limited but progressive vocabulary.
{I am depressed to think that E.F.Dodd's books were meant for the subnormal child! Was I a subnormal child and therefore loved these books without find them too challenging to be enjoyed? I hope not! I prefer to believe the other description of her books which state that these books were meant for Indian schools. In India, English is not the spoken language at home, at least when I was a child and so these simplified books were easy to read and understand.}

Titles on application. Prices range from 9d to Is 3d

MACMILLAN & CO LTD

St Martin's Street WC2

I have typed here whatever was in (the page 71 of Book reviews) the page which showed up on the internet.
………………..

 (C)

The  reviews of E.F.Dodd’s books I could find online is given below. The first review is from the link http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/IX/2/71.extract
ELT refers to English Language Teaching Journal, a peer reviewed journal.
.................
(D) From the journal , The woman teacher dated October 1958, Volume XL number one, page 14 under book reviews I came across two references to E.F.Dodd and I have typed it here below.

Tales from the Panchatantra retold by E.F.Dodd (Macmillan 9d.). This is a book of Indian folktales written for students in their 3rd year of English in schools where it is taught as a second language. The 12 stories all with a moral are quite suitable for primary school children or for telling to the younger ones.
Florence Nightingale: A simple account of the life lf Florence Nightingale in a new series of supplementary readers. 2s.
Published earlier was the story of Sir Ronald Ross. 1.6d.
Macmillan & Co Ltd St.Martin's St. -WC2
Published by the national union of women teachers. 41 Cromwell road, SW7
and printed by the Lyndan Press ltd(TU) Printing house, Suttonm road, southend-on-sea, Essex.
....................
(E)
https://books.google.ca/books?id=zap1xqzPU24C&pg=PT28&lpg=PT28&dq=gora,+e.f.dodd&source=bl&ots=XbrY0-J8cb&sig=vdDWr4vOn3e7B3-RM2fyBOZVtYE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0nJr5ibXPAhWImh4KHQ42BWgQ6AEIJTAD#v=onepage&q=gora%2C%20e.f.dodd&f=false
above is a link to the review of E.F.Dodd's Gora by R.Tagore

 

(1)Six tales from Shakespeare Told by E.F.Dodd. 97 pages. 1s.8d

(2)Tales from Tagore. Adapted by E.F.Dodd, 71 pages. 1s. 3d

(3)Nicholas Nickleby. Charles Dickens. Adapted by Margery Green. 107 pages. 1s. 10d

(4)Westward Ho! Charles Kingsley.Retold by E.F.Dodd. 132 pages, 2s. 2d.

(5)The mayor of Casterbridge. Thomas Hardy. Adapted by E.F.Dodd. 132 pages. 2s. 2d. Macmillan.

These books produced in India and  intended primarily for Indian secondary schools, form a welcome addition in the range of simplified readers. The style is simple without being childish, and a vocabulary range of 2000 words has been adhered to without awkwardness.

The Mayor Of Casterbridge is perhaps the most successful of the series. In the book Nicholas Nickleby, the work of streamlining the plot and eliminating irrelevant incidents and characters has been well done. The same unfortunately cannot be said of Westward Ho!

In the Six Tales From Shakespeare, it is a little surprising to see Antonio referred to as the brave young merchant of Venice. Although nothing in the text contradicts this attribution Antonio is generally presented on the stage as a man who is senior in years as well as standing.
The above article is from the article, titled, "Macmillan's stories to remember: in simple English, pages 71-72 ELT journal, 1955,  IX (2) doi:10.1093/elt/IX.2.71
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Below is the same list but with ISBN information too.
A book of fables and stories by E.F.Dodd and Bhaskar: Simple Graded Readers. Macmillan and Co Ltd, Madras, 1970

A first book of stories Dodd's supplementary readers, Macmillan, Basingstoke 1971

A week without mother  Easy reading Series, Book II. Dodd's Easy Reading. Macmillan and Co. Ltd. Madras. 1967

Adam Bede by George Eliot
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Abridged edition edition
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333062906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333062906
  •  


    Blue Jay favorite stories for children

    Brave children of other lands 1954

    Children at home and school (Macmillan & Co Ltd, Madras, 1967)

    Children of India  Macmillan and Co. Ltd. Madras. 1970

    Cinderella

    Coral island by R.M.Ballyntyne

    Discoverers of new lands I loved this one...and cried when I read the last chapter i.e. discovery of the south pole

    Easy reading 1 children-children at home Favorite tales of children

    Easy reading 2: a week without mother

    Fables and stories for beginners-1953

    Fairy tales from Ireland 1961

    Far from the madding crowd by Thomas Hardy


     First book of stories
  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • ISBN-10: 0333037677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333037676



  • Florence nightingale favorite tales for children

    Florence Nightingale 1957(Lives to remember series)

    Folk tales from Asia

    Fold tales from different lands 1954

    Glass princess (I cannot find out if E.F.Dodd is the author or someone else is)

    Gora-Rabindranath Tagore's novel published by Macmillan in 1964

    Happy beggar

    Happy beggar and other stories I enjoyed this one too
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333086430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333086438
  •  

    Heroes of north lands(Tales from the Scandinavian mythology)1958 I loved this and recall reading this over and over again! I think I started loving mythology after reading this. I did not know the word 'Mythology' then but loved these tales anyway.

    Kidnapped by Robert Louise Stevenson--another favorite of me and my sister

    King of the golden river by John Ruskin

    Knights of the round table (King Arthur’s tales) I loved this one too
  • Paperback: 60 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Education
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333098005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333098004
  •  


    Lalitha and her garden


    Life they chose (paperback of 92 pages, published by Macmillan; ISBN-10: 0333040155 and ISBN 13: 978-0333040157; shipping weight 503pm(the reason for such detail is I found this on one single website i.e. amazon and I may never see this again)
     


    Living maths for Jamica book 1(not sure if this is the same E.F.Dodd and not sure if book is meant to be stories for children…but it showed up on Google search for stories by E.F.Dodd)

    Leon Trotsky and world war one (not sure if this is the same E.F.Dodd and not sure if book is meant to be stories for children…but it showed up on Google search for stories by E.F.Dodd)

    Lorna Doone a romance of Exmoor (Macmillan ELT stories to remember readers series) by R.D.Blackmore

    Man's best friends

    Magic ring and other stories of India

    Martin Rattler by R.M.Ballayntyne

    Puss in boots-a story based on the traditional fairy tale 1956

    Rama and Sita at school(I am not sure if she herself wrote this or what)

    Rime of the ancient mariner and Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Simple stories for beginners Macmillan and co of India limited, 1971

    Six short stories by famous British authors of the last 100 years by E.F.Dodd

    Six short stories (stories to remember)

    Six tales from Shakespeare

    Snake charmer and other stories

    Snowwhite

    Stories from famous poems 1953 I liked this one too but can recall only one of them

    Stories from Greek myths 2004

    Stories from Homer 1955

    Stories from Ceylon
  • Paperback: 52 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • ISBN-10: 0333093046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333093047


  • Tales from Tagore (stories to remember) I loved this one. Tagore is India's O.Henry to me.

    Tales from the Panchatantra:Dodd's supplementary readers, Macmillan, Basingstoke 1971,1957 I liked this one

    Tale of the Nibelungs(German epic poem written in 13th century by unknown author and story is based on both myth and history) I would love to read this!

    The adventures of Lila and Chandran and other stories 1969

    The bluejay and other stories

    The clipper of the clouds (also called Robur the conqueror)1959

    The coral island by R.L.Ballantyne

    The glass princess and other stories Simple graded readers, Macmillan and Co, Madras, 1970

    The happy family

    The king's sculptor I loved this book and now it’s not available anywhere!

    The knights of the round table-the stories of some of their adventures 1960

    The life they chose. Macmillan and Co. Ltd. Madras. 1967.(not sure if E.F.Dodd is the writer or she has abridged someone’s novel. I cannot seem to find the ‘original’ author of this book)

    The lost horizon by James Hilton My all time favorite! I prefer this to the original. I have fantasized this novel so many times as a child.

    The lucky days  by E.F.Dodd Simple Graded readers, Macmillan and Co Ltd, Madras, 1970

    The magic ring and other stories

    The mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

     The mill on the floss by George Eliot 1961

    The moonstone by William Wilkie Collins (abridged in 1956)

    The mystery of the lost jewels  Dodd's supplementary readers, Macmillan and Co Ltd, London 1965

    The rose and the ring by William Makepeace Thackery 1954

    The scarlet pimpernel(stories to remember) by Baroness Emma Orczy 1966

    The Sleeping beauty-traditional English fairy tale 1955

    The snake charmer and other stories  Dodd's Supplementary Readers. Macmillan Basingstoke. Hongkong. 1971.

    The story of Osiris and Isis

    The story of Sir Ronald Ross and his fight against malaria(lives to remember series 1958)

    The three musketeers

    The woman in white (Macmillan stories to remember)1971

    Three Shakespeare comedies :prose adaptations (Dodd’s supplementary readers)1960.1953

    Three Shakespeare histories

    Three Shakespeare tragedies (stories to remember, senior series) 1956

    Two stories of R.L.Stevenson

    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

    Westward Ho