How beauty adds life to a home (and it doesn’t have to cost a lot)

Essential Beauty

We have been visiting several Architectural wonders of ancient India in the last few weeks. Temples made of soft rock with round pillars, intricate carvings in the ceilings and sculptures in every facade, churches where every wall, ceiling and glass said a story, tombs, minarets, beautiful wooden roofs without a single nail, palaces with wall murals in natural dye, furniture made with wooden carvings, stone railings with elephant and bull heads etc.

beauty in temple architecture
beauty in temple architecture

The buildings were built by different kings, often different kingdoms. Some where places of worship of different faith and some where houses. The theme of decoration changed, the materials used changed, the message conveyed changed, but there was one thing that did not change between these different types of buildings.

Continue reading How beauty adds life to a home (and it doesn’t have to cost a lot)

From masterpiece to mediocrity

We have seen this quite often. We love a certain brand of chocolate dearly. Let’s call it Toffee X. Over the years, the taste of the Toffee X changes gradually until one day we feel that the chocolate is tasteless. We try to reason it as a natural change of taste associated with growing up. But no! Your friends say the same thing. Well, they have grown up too. But no! The kids in your block say that Toffee X isn’t a tasty chocolate at all. They wonder why their parents were hyping it so much!

After poking around, you find that the makers of Toffee X did indeed change the taste. To cut costs, they kept cutting back on certain ingredients. The amount of cardamom was halved, butter was replaced with margarine, the size went down by a third and they used refined sugar instead of honey. From being the market #1, they are now just also-rans. This is a typical example of a work of masterpiece degrading over time and dying a slow death due to short-sightedness and lack of commitment and cutting corners as a result. Continue reading From masterpiece to mediocrity

A simple two-sided trick to get better at discipline

Travelling by bus through the Himalayas, we noticed a man attempting to throw three empty plastic water bottles out of the bus window. We immediately told him not to do that. The man looked at us, then withdrew the bottles, thankfully not converting the beautiful landscape into a landfill. After a while, he walked to us and asked if we ever planted trees. When we said no, he launched into a virtue-loaded story about how he planted a tree on his birthday every year from when he was a certain age and on special occasions like Diwali, children’s day, etc and now that he was 57, he must have planted more than 50 trees. Priya (my wife) and I did our best to listen and keep up with his bragging.

The man’s story was good. He had focused on what he should do to increase the earth’s green cover one tree at a time. However, what about garbage and their harmful effects? What about his non-biodegradable plastic bottles meddling with the Himalayan landscape and causing a hazard for the soil, the plants and the animals?

The man had focused only on what to DO and had ignored what NOT to DO. The man would have benefited from a DOs and DON’Ts list. You often need both to enforce discipline. Continue reading A simple two-sided trick to get better at discipline

The Other Side…

The Situation

I was standing with my friend Kalpana outside the office building. She had asked me to wait today so that I can meet her fiance. She was quite excited to meet him after a few days and was also equally excited to introduce him to me.

We had been waiting for 30 mins and I was running late. I was feeling bad for her. She was unable to reach him and we were unsure if we had to wait further or leave.

The other side
The other side

Continue reading The Other Side…

How do you react to failure?

You are driving through a busy street in a city and now you need to park your vehicle. You find a spot that’s perfect to parallel-park your car. So finally, your tiring drive can end. But while backing your car into the spot, you graze your car’s rear into a light pole. This is the side of the car to which you are blind-sided and can’t see all the way, but can only use judgement. There is an ugly scratch and a dent. After a few more twists and turns, you finally park the car properly. But you have the dent and the scratch to contend with. To put it subtly, your parking attempt was a failure. You can take this failure either as a loser or as a person who looks at it as something learnt. Continue reading How do you react to failure?

Four Steps to Setting and Achieving Your Financial Goals

Financial Goals

This is Part of our Personal Finance Education Series. You can check Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV here.

From our expenses Account, we know how much money we spend/need every month. We also know where we stand today in terms of wealth, from calculating our Net worth. The next step is to know where we need to go

What are your short term and long term Financial Goals?

Money is only a means to get somewhere. Instead of simply saving money for the sake of it, we need to clearly define goals against which want to save money for.

Financial Goals
Financial Goals

Continue reading Four Steps to Setting and Achieving Your Financial Goals