Monday, May 30, 2011


Alright, so we tried to figure out almost every aspect of Credit Card or plastic money. From today we will try to understand more about net banking…! The twin brother (or sister?) of our beloved Credit Card…!

Most internet frauds result from poor customer awareness. Here's how you can guard against them. The biggest concern for online customers is the possible theft of their online credentials, especially those relating to net banking. This often happens without the customers' knowledge, enabling fraudsters to steal money from their accounts in a recurring manner.

Identity Theft

The basic security threat a net banking customer is exposed to while transacting online is the compromise of his/her login credentials and other confidential and personal information. One of the most common threats that customers face online is 'phishing'. Phishing scammers send fraudulent email disguised as an official request from a bank for account information. Recipients of the scam mail are lured to believe that the email is from the bank and are prompted to click on a particular link. The click causes the fake website to open in a browser and the recipient is usually asked to input the user ID and password of his/her net banking profile. The fraudsters capture these details and use them to their advantage.

Customers get deceived and part with confidential information like an IPIN or net banking password, making it easy for the scamsters to commit a fraud.'Vishing' and 'identity theft' are some other ways through which customers are tricked to reveal their confidential information online. While 'phishing' is carried out via fraudulent emails, 'vishing' is orchestrated via bogus voice messages and phone calls. In 'identity theft' fraudsters try to obtain the key pieces of personal information such as date of birth, mother's maiden name, passport number, etc, to gain access to the customer's accounts.

In view of the increasing cases of online banking frauds, most banks have implemented 256-bit secure socket layer (SSL) encryption. It is recognized as the best industry standard for encryption of information transmission for net banking sessions.

Shun Pirated Software

Pirated software’s on an end-user's desktop should not pose any harm to safety features of online banking unless they are injected with malicious codes (malwares) or viruses specifically meant to dynamically alter contents of the visited pages or user input fields, a net banking page, for example, asking additional information such as credit/debit card numbers, ATM PIN, CVV details on a login page, which is never asked by any bank. Pirated software’s sometimes contain malwares or some sort of an automated virus initiated at the time of optical copying.

The biggest risk in using pirated software is that there is no security upgrades available for them. This leads to the software being vulnerable, which can be exploited by the latest Trojans. These Trojans can then steal customer information from the PC and transmit it to a fraudster. The solution to these concerns lies both with banks and customers. Bankers as well as IT experts believe it is not the security systems, but poor customer awareness that leads to most internet banking frauds.

Cyber cafes should be strictly avoided for online transactions. There are higher chances of viruses capturing your data from terminals in internet cafes, thereby increasing the scope of misuse. The line and systems of an internet cafe are usually not secure. There is no guarantee about the authenticity of the software on the cafe's system. Further, smart hackers will use desktop cookies saved in the system to access your bank account details. Some counterfeit software might inject key loggers, bots, spywares, which collect all the login credentials with keystroke entries or search locally for any password related files and send them to the fraudsters.

Computers with pirated software can sometimes behave erratically. The worst scenario is when you have downloaded counterfeit software that may be infected with viruses that will damage your hard drive or cripple your network. Also copying or using pirated/counterfeit copies of software at work or at home puts the entire company or individual at risk of copyright infringement, which may lead to civil penalties and criminal prosecution.

In view of this, banking sites are regularly scanned for any such injection of malwares or bots by pirated software’s to prevent malware from being downloaded from the banking site itself.

Stay tuned and we will learn more about Viruses and Safety tips...!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dos and Don’ts...!?!

Once you have realized that it is probably the right time for you to own a credit card, you need to chalk out a plan to manage it accordingly and efficiently. We give you eight simple and compact ways to manage all your credit cards. Don’t keep on buying one card after another. One should ideally own only one major to-be-used-most credit card.

Here are eight simple and compact ways to manage all your credit cards.

1. Don’t keep on buying one card after another. One should ideally own only one major to-be-used-most credit card.

2. Go for a credit card for which you are not required to pay any annual charges or fees. It should also offer a low rate of interest and a sufficient grace period of twenty to thirty days for you to wrap up payments of new purchases well before they charge you any interest. You shouldn’t ideally go for credit cards that offer annual processing charges. Credit cards offering low rates of interest initially drastically shoot up the rates after a while. You can also access various websites on the internet to get to know about the latest deals in credit cards. One good example is

3. You must make sure that your credit card has been secured by a deposit in the bank. This means that you should be having sufficient money in your savings bank account that matched up to the credit limit in your credit card. A credit card that is secured will help you with flexible and smooth credit card and banking operations, thus leaving you with a healthy credit history.

4. It is advisable to not use your credit card except in cases of dire emergency where you will at least be able to give yourself sufficient time to gather funds and repay. You should not use the cards for expenses that you can’t write off at that very moment. We just hope your emergencies won’t include eating out and shopping!

5. Pay all that you have to along with all the charges well in advance and days before the due date of payment. If you can write off the entire payment, nothing like it. Although if you can’t, then just try and pay a little more than what has been fixed as minimum payment so that the interest and other charges remain low.

6. Your credit card is nothing but a loan that you are availing. You must ask yourself before you take out your credit card out of your pocket whether you would actually visit a bank and apply for a loan for the thing you are using the credit card for.

7. You must also deduct your expenditure by the credit card on your purchases you’re your current account to leave you with sufficient amount of money to be paying your credit card statements.

8. Never make use of the cash advances from your credit card except in cases of dire emergencies. You will most probably have to pay some charges for this money with the interest being deducted immediately, at that very moment.


What's the worst thing to do with your credit card? Use it to withdraw cash from the ATM, says a financial expert. In your monthly credit card statement, there is a mention of cash limit. That is the extent to which one could withdraw cash using a credit card. But the googly is the interest rates. It's actually a very expensive proposition to withdraw cash as the interest rates on such withdrawals fall in the range of 40% on an annual basis.

Usually, the credit card company mentions the interest rate as a percentage per month which typically varies from 2.7-2.85% per month. And since this interest is compounded monthly, the effective annual rate of interest tends to be anywhere from 38 to 40% per annum.

Essentially, credit card companies charge the same interest rates for cash withdrawals made through credit cards and for rolling over credit card balances. But if one pays the entire amount on due date, one gets around 30-45 days of interest free credit. But what is important to know is that rule doesn't apply in case of cash withdrawals; the credit card company levies the interest rate the moment you withdraw the cash.

Cash withdrawals can also attract an additional withdrawal fee. This charge falls in the range of 3-3.5% of the withdrawn amount. That will be added along with the interest rate to your bill. Therefore, unless you have emergency needs, do not withdraw cash on your credit card. The better option though is to go for a personal loan. You should look at this option as the last resort. If it's a planned expenditure and you don't have sufficient liquidity then a personal loan is be a viable option."

Stay tuned and watch this place for a little awareness every day, almost...!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's on the Cards...!?!

Credit cards mean different things to different people. To some, it is an easy way to spend. Just swipe the card and you can buy anything, anytime, anywhere...!

To others, it is convenience. You no longer have to carry cash. But the 28 sq cm of plastic in your wallet is also the key to a treasure trove. If you are a smart user, you can use it to unlock the myriad benefits that come with a credit card.

Of course, you need to watch out for the pitfalls that include high interest rates on rollovers, hidden fees and the dangers of falling into a debt trap. But if you are a disciplined borrower, a credit card can actually be a source of free money.

Interest rates are on the rise and borrowing is costlier. But your credit card can help you get an interest-free loan for up to 50 days. Credit cards have a one-month billing cycle and customers usually get 20 days to pay the bill. If you pay the entire bill by the due date, no interest is charged on the credit.

So, if you time your purchases correctly and buy at the beginning of the cycle, the charges will appear only in the next month’s bill and you could get up to 50 days of interest-free credit, or free money.

This strategy works best if you have two or three cards, each with a different billing cycle. You can get your billing cycle changed to be able to optimise on this interest-free credit.

Do keep in mind that this is possible only if you settle your credit card bills in full by the due date. If you roll over the balance by paying the minimum 5% of the bill, you are charged 2-3% a month on the unpaid amount. Plus, you don’t get interest-free credit on new purchases if the billing period starts with a balance.

The more the number of cards, the more careful you have to be about billing cycles and payment dates. If you slip even once during a year, there’s a hefty late payment penalty as well as the interest charged on the balance which could wipe out the gains of several months of careful spending.

Dropping a cheque in the drop box on or before the due date is not enough. Credit card companies consider a payment only when the cheque gets credited. So drop it at least 2-3 days before the due date if you don’t want to be slapped with late fees and other charges.

Potential Gain: If you make purchases of Rs 20,000 every month and avail of 30 days of free credit in every billing cycle, you can gain Rs 1,600 in a year.

Every time you swipe your card, you earn reward points. Some cards give you 1 point for every Rs 100 spent. Others, especially co-branded cards, are more generous, but they give reward points only for specified usage. For instance, the SBI Spice Jet Credit Card gives 5 points for every Rs 100 spent for booking a ticket on the airline. Other spending on the card earns the normal 1 point per Rs 100.

You should choose a card depending on your spending pattern. For instance, frequent flyers may find cards co-branded by airlines very useful. They can rack up air miles that can be redeemed for free tickets. The benefits of such cards far outweigh their costs. For instance, the Jet Airways Citibank Platinum card costs Rs 2,500 a year but it not only gives you a complimentary ticket, but also a 5% discount on domestic and 3% off on international airfares. Also, you earn double the air miles on every Jet Airways ticket bought on the card.

It’s important to read the fine print on the reward points. In some entry-level cards, the points have an expiry date. They lapse if they are not redeemed within 12-18 months. However, issuers like to pamper high-end users with points that can be accumulated without fear of lapse. Keep in mind though that inflation works here as well. A gift voucher of Rs 500 that can be bought today for 1,100 points might cost 1,400 points a year later. More importantly, don’t let the card’s reward program make you go out and splurge. Don’t overspend just to earn reward points.

Potential Gain: If you spend Rs 3 lakh a year on your card, you earn 3,000 reward points worth almost Rs 1,800.

When it comes to taking a loan, a credit card is the last thing on your mind. At 36-48% per annum, rolling over a credit card balance is the most expensive form of borrowing. But if you have been a good borrower and paid all your bills in time, your credit card can get you a loan that is cheaper than a personal loan.

A personal loan comes at a rate of almost 18%. The EMI for an Rs 1-lakh loan for a year works out to Rs 9,168. But if your repayment record is unblemished, you might get a loan against your credit card limit at 14% from the bank, where the EMI would be Rs 8,978, a saving of almost Rs 200 a month.

What’s more, these loans don’t require documentation and the money is in your bank account within 2-3 days. You can use such loans to consolidate and pay off high-cost debt on other credit cards.

The downside is that your credit limit comes down if you take a loan against it. More importantly, it is easy to fall into a debt trap if you blow away the easy cash on non-essential expenditure. So, go for a loan only if you really need the money and when you have exhausted other options.

Potential Gain: Rs 1 lakh loan for a year on your card will be cheaper by almost Rs 200 a month.You Save Rs 2,400 on your interest paid otherwise…!

Tomorrow we will see the Do’s and Don’ts of Credit Cards to summarize this topic.

Stay tuned and A-L-E-R-T…!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Plastic Money 2...?!?

Today we will try to understand the various means of using credit in the history of modern civilization. That is the different formats of predecessors of Credit Card that paved the path for today's Plastic Money...!

How did people use credit?

Until the end of the 19th century, only wealthy people had easy access to credit. Most people had to pay for things in cash. If they did need to borrow money, people had to turn to moneylenders and pawnbrokers. But this was often an unreliable form of credit, with high interest rates and often difficult arrangements for repayment.

Other forms of credit were available to ordinary people but there was nothing like the network of banks and credit facilities, which we have today. In local shops, it was possible for people to buy things on the slate or tab and pay for them on a monthly basis.

From the 18th century until the early part of the 20th, local tallymen or packmen travelled round selling clothes in return for small weekly payments. These people were traders who allowed their customers to pay by instalments. They were called 'tallymen' because they kept a record or tally of what people had bought on a wooden stick. One side of the stick was marked with notches to represent the amount of debt and the other side was a record of payments. They were called 'packmen' because they carried their goods (including Bibles and tea) on their backs.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, as people became richer and had more money to spend on consumer durables and other items for the home, credit arrangements with shops became more commonplace. Finance companies were formed in the late 19th century to meet this growing demand.

Hire purchase

One of the most popular types of credit agreement to emerge at this time was hire purchase. Under a hire purchase arrangement, the finance company buys the goods on your behalf and, in effect, 'hires' them out to you. People used hire purchase to acquire household goods that would ordinarily be out of their reach. They made regular payments to the finance company in exchange for use of the goods. Hire purchase is a 'secure' form of credit because the finance company is able to take back the goods if you fail to make your regular payments.

You might encounter a modern example of hire purchase when buying a car. The finance deals you see offered by car showrooms involve you making monthly payments, although they give you the option to purchase the vehicle outright. Again, if you don't pay the instalments, the finance company can take the car back.

Laws were introduced to regulate consumer credit in the first half of this century. The aim of these laws was to protect people signing hire purchase agreements but also to make them fully aware of what they were taking on. The Moneylenders Act of 1927 restricted how credit arrangements could be advertised and provided for the licensing of moneylenders.

A law to control hire purchase was introduced in Scotland in 1932. This was extended to England in 1938. The Hire Purchase Act of 1938 made the owner of the goods (in other words, the finance company) responsible for their quality. It also ensured that when a hire purchase agreement was terminated, the person hiring the goods was only liable to pay up to half the total price, including the amount outstanding. If the hirer had paid one third of the total price, the finance company could not take back the goods without first getting permission from a court of law.

In 1964, a new Hire Purchase Act introduced the "pause for reflection". This meant that people could cancel a hire purchase agreement after a few days if they had second thoughts. This only applied if they had signed the agreement away from the shop or retail outlet. The Act also required the finance company to send a "notice of default" to the hirer before the goods could be repossessed. This gave the hirer seven days to bring the payments up to date.

By the end of the 1960s another, more flexible, form of credit was available. Credit cards had emerged in America in the 1950s, developed by organisations like Diners Club and American Express. For the first time, credit cards offered people a form of 'unsecured' credit that was widely available and easy to use. The Consumer Credit Act of 1974 superseded all previous credit legislation and still governs the granting of consumer credit today.

When did people start to use credit cards?

The forerunner of today's payment card was the 'shopper's plate', which was introduced in the USA in the 1920s. In effect, it was an early version of the modern store card. It could only be used in the shops, which issued it, and it offered shoppers a basic form of credit - 'buy now, pay later'. In this case, shoppers had to repay the money they owed in full every month.

In the 1950s, Diners Club and American Express launched their charge cards in the USA. These are the earliest examples of plastic money. Credit cards in the US soon followed.

Barclays Bank launched the first British credit card in 1966. It based Barclaycard on Bank Americard (now known as Visa).

It is only since the 1960s that credit has become widely available to most people and credit cards are one of the main reasons for this.

Phew...! Quite a long history... isn't it...?!?

Tomorrow we will take a closer look at all the aspects of the 21st Century Credit Cards.

Stay tuned and don't swipe yours yet...!?!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Plastic Money...?!?

Many of us use credit cards, but only a few know its history and its existence. Let's try to find out the birth and bringing up of Credit Card - a powerful and significant financial tool in today's global economy...!

What is credit?

The word credit basically means giving someone time to pay. Whenever you sell something to another person and they promise to pay you back later, you are giving them credit. In effect, you are loaning a sum of money, which will be repaid to you some time in the future.

The word credit actually comes from Latin, the old Roman language. The Roman word ‘credere’ meant trust. In other words, when you sell something to another person but give them time to pay, you trust them to pay you back.

In many cases, the person loaning the money or giving credit will make a small charge - usually a percentage of the total - each month or each year until the money is repaid. This fee is called interest.

How long has credit existed?

Credit was first used by the ancient civilisations of Assyria, Babylon and Egypt around 3000 years ago. It spread to Europe as trade routes developed - putting people from these Arab lands in contact with Europeans - and really took off during the Middle Ages.

In the 12th century, large trading fairs were commonplace in Europe and people travelled from far and wide to buy and sell things. Traders went from one fair to the next, so credit was extremely important to them. They use credit to buy things in one place and then get the money to pay for them in another by selling the goods at a profit. In Italy, trade agents were soon to be found at each large fair. Their job was to record the details of this constant round process of buying, selling and repayment.

During this period, the idea of paying in instalments gained widespread acceptance. However, it was a form of payment that was only available to people who could afford it. Only those with a regular income could be confident of their ability to pay for things over a period of time. Such people were mostly traders - the growing middle class.

In 1730, a merchant called Christopher Thornton, who lived in Southwark, London, published an advertisement to attract customers. It read 'rooms may be furnished with chests of drawers or looking glasses at any price, paying for them weekly, as we shall agree'. Over 250 years later, you will find the same idea being used by all the large furniture retailers to encourage their customers to 'buy now and pay later'.

By the 14th century, the bill of exchange - the forerunner of modern banknotes - was established on the understanding that gold or silver was available at all times to cover its value. Only in the 17th century did banks and governments begin to issue paper money with a greater face value than they had gold or silver to guarantee it.

Sellers put up with not being repaid for quite long periods of time. The famous Wedgwood furniture firm was not repaid by a London buyer for three years. In part, this was because the banks changed very little interest - usually about 2% per year. Interest rates above 5% were banned until 1832.

Cheques were not in general use until after around 1875. Before then, debts were settled by about one-third cash and two-thirds bill of exchange. But the use of cheques increased quickly towards the end of the 19th century as the number of bank branches grew. This made it easier to transfer money between traders in different parts of the country and increased people's use of the credit provided by the banks.

Well, with this history now we learnt how and why the Credit term was used. It certainly has the roots of today’s Plastic Money or Credit Cards for that matter. Tomorrow we will see how this Credit was being used in the 19th Century.

Stay tuned and keep learning...!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I wonder would there be a living person who have never heard of MLM in his lifetime...! At least in a civilized society, I mean...! There are no. of fullforms for MLM, the funniest and popular being -
Making Life Miserable...
Murga Lao Murga and Multi-Legged Madness...

Today let's see how a multi-level marketing (MLM) company operates. An MLM, or pyramid selling scheme, typically requires you to pay upfront charges for either joining the scheme or buying a product or service (like collector's items or software, training programs, e-zine etc). As more and more people join the MLM scheme, a member hopes to recover the upfront charges and then earn sizable profit through binary income. However, history tells us that all such MLM companies have failed miserably and vanished with investors' money after running out of new recruits or investors (a new 'bakra'?). Most of the time, the person who recruited many others himself becomes a victim of the scheme.

First, the agents, distributors, panellist and customers of the MLM companies try to convince the new recruit with bogus claims about earning huge money. If the recruit does not seem interested, they introduce terms like lifetime income and royalty payment through binary activity. All MLM agents pretend to help you earn big money. Unfortunately, it is he who ends up with the money, leaving more than a few penniless. When the binary income plan fails, recruits have had to go into hiding from the newer entrants.

This has happened so many times before, that MLM operators have found it necessary to advertise in order to allay the fears of new recruits, often engaging sellable brand ambassadors in the popular media. This is the "Fake it, till you make it" system, that's common among MLM operators.

Another important aspect is that once someone gets involved with an MLM company, he begins to strongly advocate it, irrespective of whether he likes it or not, and even if his inner self says it is wrong. The reason is he doesn't want to come out as being fooled by someone, and will pretend to have made a 'smart' choice by buying into the MLM scheme. So most agents will tell you that they are always right and they know everything and all others (who are not joining his MLM) are morons.

In addition, MLM systems are a massive net loss for a country, as they distract people from doing real productive work. All products or services sold through an MLM network are either worthless, or not beneficial to common people. The products offered under the pretext of herbal medicine, cure from diseases, medicine or collector's items such as gold coins, are often useless. In fact, the medicines sold under the garb of herbal products may even harm you and endanger your life. It is the same with other products as well. Â large number of companies, with varying degrees of legitimacy, many of them with a global footprint, are raising money or selling obscenely expensive products, by creating a high-reward matrix that is built on luring new distributors/depositors/buyers into the scheme. More importantly, each of them grows by roping in people who enjoy high public trust, such as doctors, bankers, reputed sportspersons, government officers, senior corporate executives, or their spouses, and sometimes even god-men.

Remember the Gold Quest scam? It was a chain-marketing scheme that used to sell limited edition gold coins, figurines or watches for Rs30,000 to Rs35,000. According to news reports, in May 2008, after receiving 8,277 complaints of cheating from many people, especially from South India, the Chennai police arrested Gold Quest's managing director and six other employees. The company ceased to exist, leaving 2.66 lakh of its independent representatives without any commission. Finally, last year the Supreme Court appointed Justice KP Sivasubramanian as settlement commissioner of a one-man commission, for the Gold Quest case.

Unfortunately, there is no legal provision in India to curb MLM schemes. However, Singapore, the headquarters of Speak Asia Online Pte Ltd, which hit the headlines recently, does have strict laws on MLMs. Under the Singapore Multi-level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act, all persons who participate in multi-level marketing or pyramid selling are treated as offenders who had committed an offence. This is because the participants would have played an active but destructive role to attract others into the scheme. The Act believes that this is the best way to deter potential promoters of such schemes.

According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore, a conviction under the Act will result in a fine of up to $200,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both. The fines are for:

1. Promoting or participating in a multi-level marketing, or pyramid selling, scheme or any such arrangement.

2. Registering a business which is designed to promote multi-level marketing, or pyramid selling scheme or any such arrangement.

3. Registering a company which proposes to promote multi-level marketing, or pyramid selling, scheme or any such arrangement.

4. In addition, the Singapore Act empowers a Court that convicts a promoter or participant of a multi-level marketing or pyramid selling scheme an additional penalty of an amount not exceeding the amount or value of any benefit which the promoter or participant has received. This additional penalty ensures that the Act serves as an effective deterrent to potential offenders.

However, since the Indian government has not taken any stand on the legitimacy of such network marketing or MLM companies, such schemes get replaced with other schemes and the entire cycle is repeated because the allure of instant riches through such phony schemes is everlasting.

So far we have seen the spuriousness and risks involved in the Get Rich Quick or MLM schemes. Tomorrow we will see some aspects of a magic thing called Credit Card…!

Stay tuned and Aware…!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Today after a business meeting, when I handed over my Business Card to a new acquaintance, he examined it for a while and came with a question
‘Do you provide consultancy for financial strategy as well…?

His question stroked a chord that was lying underneath my routine practice and I started reexamining my teachings, indirectly but not unintentionally, focused at I-N-V-E-S-T-M-E-N-T…!

Well from today let’s have a discussion about some financial awareness as well. After all ‘It is all about Money, Honey…!’

There are no free lunches, no easy money. Yet people often become victim of 'double-your-money' or 'earn-lifetime-income' schemes. Here's how to identity and avoid such MLM schemes.

Nothing comes free in this world, especially money. The universal truth is you need to earn your money by hard labour all the time and there are no shortcuts to double it in the shortest span of time. Therefore, even if your near and dear ones tell you he/she will double, triple, quadruple your money within a few days/months, politely reply to them that it is not possible and what they are advocating is a pure 'get-rich-quick' type of scam.

How does one judge whether a scheme is genuine or a scam? It's simple. Check the interest rate being offered by banks, especially public sector banks like the State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, and so on. At present, these banks pay 4% interest a year on savings bank accounts. Second, check the interest rate on the public provident fund (PPF). Currently the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) controlled interest rate on PPF is at 8% and for the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) it is 9.5% per annum. Many people consider investment in EPF/PPF as the best and safest debt instrument.

The interest rates offered by banks and EPFO are an indication of the viable minimum and maximum expected returns on investments. In other words, you could say that your investment should give you a safe return of a minimum 4% and a maximum 9.5%, at least in 2011.

Therefore, anyone or any scheme that offers you more than this must be looked at very carefully and a thorough scrutiny must be done before investing one's hard-earned money. Unfortunately, this happens rarely, as most of the time the person approaching you with a high-returns scheme is either your close relative or a friend, whom you find difficult to say no. Remember, all scams, frauds that have happened in the past are known to have spread through the link of near and dear ones.

The first rule on investments is that if you do not understand how the instrument works don't sink your funds into it. This applies to all schemes that promise 'guaranteed income' and 'fast and huge returns' within a short time. In financial investment terms all such schemes are huge risks.

Stay tuned and tomorrow we will talk about M-L-M...!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him.

Mara's attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth." "Doesn't this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?" his attendant asked. "No," Mara replied. "Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it."

Stay tuned and seek T-R-U-T-H...!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


'A picture is worth a thousand words...'

And the combination of a picture and words...!?!

Check out for yourself...

Stay tuned and cheerful...!

Monday, May 16, 2011


There is a Taoist story about a man who became afraid of his shadow. He was reading a story while alone on a farm in a small hut, and in the deep darkness of the night, reading a story that was saying shadows are nothing but ghosts, he became so frightened that he looked at his own shadow and started running.

Again he looked and the shadow was there. The natural logic was that he was not running fast enough, so he started running faster and faster. The faster he ran, the faster the shadow followed him.

He became utterly exhausted and tired, so much so that he could not run anymore and just sat under the shadow of a tree. The moment he sat under the shadow of the tree, his shadow disappeared.

He was very much puzzled: he could not get rid of the shadow while he was running so fast, and now that he was simply sitting under the shade of the tree, the shadow disappeared.

 Courtesy -

This is a beautiful parable, of great significance. You cannot drop the ego. Once you start trying to drop the ego you will get in a very deep mess; you will become more and more worried and puzzled. And this is not the way to get rid of the ego. The only way to get rid of the ego is to look at it.

First, try to find out where it is, whether it is there or not in the first place. And one who goes in never finds it; it simply disappears. Ego is just an idea, the idea of those people who have never gone in. And they suffer because of the ego – because it is a false thing, it creates suffering. Remember, reality always creates blessings and falsity always brings misery.

“I am” is nothing but another name for the ego. Now you will be getting into trouble. If the ego is convinced that the only way is to drop the ego, then who is going to drop whom? And how? It will be like pulling yourself up by your own shoestrings. You will look just silly. Watch each word that you use. “I am” is nothing but the ego.

Just look inside and try to find out, to point out where the ego is, and you will be surprised: you cannot find it anywhere. And when you cannot find it anywhere, it is gone – without dropping it…!

Stay tuned and E-N-L-I-G-H-T-E-N-E-D…!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

101 ways...?!?

Here is list of 101 ways to make other peole smile. I have already started putting almost all of these into practice and note that the results are absolutely phenomenal. Read each one slowly and savor the thought and feel free to add to it and release the next version…!

01. Call an old friend, just to say hi.

02. Hold a door open for a stranger.

03. Invite someone to lunch.

04. Compliment someone on his or her appearance.

05. Ask a coworker for their opinion on a project.

06. Bring biscuits to work.

07. Let someone cut in during rush hour traffic.

08. Leave a waitress or waiter a big tip.

09. Tell a cashier to have a nice day.

10. Talk to your parents.

11. Let someone know you miss them.

12. Treat someone to a movie.

13. Let a person know you really appreciate them.

14. Visit a retirement center.

15. Take a child to the zoo.

16. Help your spouse with daily chores.

17. Surprise someone with a small gift.

18. Leave a thank-you note for the cleaning staff at work.

19. Write a letter to a distant friend/relative.

20. Tell someone you thought about them the other day.

21. Put a coin in a stranger's phone coin box before the time expires.

22. Prepare a dish for a neighbor.

23. Send someone flowers to where they work.

24. Invite a friend to tea.

25. Recommend a good book to someone.

26. Donate clothing to a charity.

27. Offer an elderly person a ride to where they need to go.

28. Bag your own groceries at the checkout counter.

29. Give blood.

30. Offer free baby-sitting to a friend who's really busy or just needs a break.

31. Help your neighbor clean surroundings or carry stuff.

32. Offer your seat to someone when there aren't any left.

33. Help someone with a heavy load.

34. Ask to see a restaurant’s manager and comment on the great service.

35. Give your place in line at the grocery store to someone who has only a few items.

36. Hug someone in your family for no reason.

37. Wave to a child in the car next to you.

38. Send a thank-you note to your doctor.

39. Repeat something nice you heard about someone else.

40. Leave a joke on someone's answering machine.

41. Be a mentor or coach to someone.

42. Forgive a loan.

43. Fold up the newspapers as they were after you're done reading them.

44. Tell someone you believe in them.

45. Share your umbrella on a rainy day.

46. Welcome new neighbors with flowers or a plant.

47. Offer to watch a friend's home while they're away.

48. Ask someone if they need you to pick up anything while you're out shopping.

49. Ask a child to play a board game, and let them win.

50. Ask an elderly person to tell you about the good old days.

51. During bad weather, plan an indoor picnic with the family.

52. Buy someone a goldfish and bowl.

53. Compliment someone on their cooking and politely ask for a second helping.

54. Dance with someone who hasn't been asked.

55. Tell someone you mentioned them in your prayers.

56. Give children's clothes to another family when your kids outgrow them.

57. Distribute flowers from your garden to the whole neighborhood.

58. Call your spouse just to say, I love you.

59. Call someone's attention to a rainbow or beautiful sunset.

60. Invite someone to go shopping.

61. Figure out someone's half-birthday by adding 182 days, and surprise them with a cake.

62. Ask someone about their children.

63. Tell someone which quality you like most about them.

64. Brush the dirt off of the car next to yours.

65. Return your shopping cart to the front of the store.

66. Encourage someone's dream, no matter how big or small it is.

67. Pay for a stranger's cup of coffee without them knowing it.

68. Leave a love letter where your partner will find it.

69. Ask an older person for their advice.

70. Offer to take care of someone's pet while they're away.

71. Tell a child you're proud of them.

72. Visit a sick person, or send them a care package.

73. Join a Big Brother or Sister program.

74. Leave a chocolate on a coworker's desk.

75. Bring your child to work with you for the afternoon.

76. Give someone a recording of their favorite music.

77. Email a friend some information about a topic they are especially interested in.

78. Give someone a homemade gift.

79. Write a poem for someone.

80. Offer gratitude to local fire or police department

81. Organize a neighborhood cleanup and have a get-together afterwards.

82. Help a child build a birdhouse or similar project.

83. Check in on an old person, just to see if they're okay.

84. Ask for the recipe after you eat over at someone's house.

85. Personally welcome a new employee at work and offer to take them out for lunch.

86. While in a car, ask everyone to buckle up because they are important to you.

87. Let someone else eat the last slice of cake or ice-cream.

88. Stop and buy a drink from a kid's limejuice stand.

89. Forgive someone when they apologize.

90. Wave to someone looking for a parking space when you're about to leave a shopping center.

91. Send a copy of an old photograph to a childhood friend.

92. Leave a pint of your spouse's favorite flavor of ice cream in the freezer with a bow on it.

93. Do a household chore that is usually done by someone else in the family.

94. Be especially happy for someone when they tell you their good news.

95. Compliment a coworker on their role in a successful project.

96. Give your spouse a spontaneous back rub at the end of the day.

97. Serve someone in your family breakfast in bed.

98. Ask someone if they've lost weight.

99. Make a donation to a charity in someone's honor.

100. Take a child to a circus.

101. Share this list to 10 of your favorite people!

Stay tuned and keep S-M-I-L-I-N-G...!