Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bye, Bye, Year of Tragedies With Hope!







“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”… Desmond Tutu.

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living”…  Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Once again two quotes by two great thinkers, Tutu as well Cicero for one topic to end the year; unfortunate that death can be only confronted with hope that’s why I used above quotes to describe the passing year! It was year of tragedies rather year of death, as not a single day I opened up news paper or turned on TV & I didn’t get to read or see about death! And death came very cheaply in our beloved country, especially in so called Smart Cities like Pune & Mumbai. Few decades back death was feared only in remote rural parts where people used to die because of epidemic or lack of any medical help to reach to them but today in 2017, nobody seems to be safe as people die here not just because of fire in some illegal factory but people die on roads in this city because of poor road conditions, people die on expressways due to vehicles entering in opposite lanes, people die sitting on steps of a shop due to over speeding trucks, people die in fire in posh restaurants while celebrating birthdays, people die walking on railway bridge in stampede generated out of sheer rumors, people die falling from buildings during work & people die even while sleeping in their bedrooms while the building in which the bedroom is situated, collapses! Never the life has felt such uncertain as you don’t know what way death will approaches you here & I think 2017 will be known for year of mishaps in the history of Pune & Mumbai!

What’s most frustrating is the attitude of the authorities (read govt) as why it’s required to loss of innocent people’s lives to take any action by which such mishap could have been avoided? Why the so called system keepers sleeping (read pretends to be sleeping) over every possible illegalities happening in most of the cases where innocent lives get lost? Read the news in last quarter of 2017 & reactions from the authorities over those incidences & then you will be ashamed of having such rulers though we ourselves are responsible to vote them & pay taxes for paying salaries of “sarkari babus” who are supposed to serve the law, is another bitter truth! It’s only after Elephisten Road railway bridge tragedy where some thirty odd people died, the railway dept directly called Military Engg for building one more pedestrians over bridge at war footing, demand of which has being made from years by the commuters. Had that demand been listened & acted upon & the new bridge has been build then these thirty lives could have been saved. Same way every time some vehicle over speeds, lost control & enters in opposite lane on expressway & commuters dies, the public work dept announces road safety audits, survey of such spots & for some patch of the express way barricades  of brufen ropes barricades are erected & again everything goes stand still till the next accident happens taking more lives! Then every time a building collapses or caught fire (mostly illegal), depending up on the numbers of causalities, announcements are made by the concerned minister or commissioner about taking strict actions on every illegal building as well forming of a special squad for demolishing illegal structures & then after few days you get to read on front page of most news papers that all the illegal buildings till 2015 have been legalized by the govt! On top of it, in such news there is never any mention about safety audit or any such things regarding the dark future which awaits for the residents of such illegal (sorry now legal) buildings neither any concrete action plan to stop generation of illegal buildings is there! Every time there is any accident due to vehicles entering in BRT”s (please don’t ask meaning of this) routes, the PMC officers assures they will ensure no vehicle will enter in BRT dedicated route as well police announces heavy fines or strict action against such vehicles yet next day when you travel along any BRT lane, stranded in traffic jams, you see hundreds of vehicles entering in BRT lanes without any action being taken on them!  I opened today’s news paper & wasn’t surprised to read BMC (for a change its Bombay Municipal Corporation & not our beloved PMC) in one single day has demolished nearly 400 plus illegal restaurants, roof top bars, hukka parlors & by coming week end the figure of such to be demolished joints will go over 1000 is said! All kudos to BMC as it took only 14 lives to make BMC staff understand there are so many illegal restaurants (read death traps) in Mumbai & its BMC’s duty only to demolish them! Worst part is most of the media is already busy in counting the loss in terms of money which these illegal hotel owners will be facing as their joints will be closed on 31st Dec night which is officially a “Wet Day” (just like we have a “Dry Day”) for this poor country which boasts itself as Land of Mahatma Gandhi! Then last week I read in news paper about an elderly couple which died as their two wheelers skidded from a road pot hole & they came under wheels of a truck passing by (dumper). They were going around to distribute their only daughter’s marriage invitation, imagine what a shock would have been come to that poor girl when she would have heard the news of her parents such tragic death! And the road minister announced every road in the State will be pot less by  15th Dec 2017 & declared a price for showing road pot hole after this day, well I am sure there are better & direct ways to make the State bankrupt than this! 

And lastly most shocking way of death happened on the eve before year end night, a young lady software engg (IT industry) got killed under the wheels of a speeding concrete mixer truck; no she wasn’t on road or riding any two wheeler or not even in BRT lane, she was sitting on steps of a shop like other thousand shops in the city & drinking sugar cane juice! The truck driver was speeding, lost control & drove straight in the shop along the road where this poor girl was waiting for her death & died, just like that! Now, tell me whose fault is it in all above cases, that the involved people has to leave this world while they must have been planning for New Year party just like you & me are planning right now. Like you & me, each of above mentioned incidence’s victim must have left his or her home that day or evening but they never imagined they won’t be returning back as they live in a careless , ruthless system named govt, which acts only to show it is acting that to after spending some lives! This is by me just the way in earlier times people used to kill a goat (bali dene) before starting any new work or structure so there should not be any stoppage in the said work, only difference is here scapegoats are living human beings who are tax payers of this city & their only fault is they happened to be at wrong place at wrong time!  How these heavy vehicles enters on internal roads of the city on which only lighter vehicles or two wheelers are supposed to ride, nobody asks or cares for such questions here, leave apart planning for such situation!  Years after years we make provisions in civic body’s budget for HCMTR type infra developments but we don’t build it is a reality neither we provide a safe public transport to the citizens. And it’s this lack of our planning or say will for the accident free planning which makes us number one city in country for road accident deaths! It seems govt may of any political party but it’s too busy in only one agenda & that is how to retain the power in next election & turns a blind eye towards its basic duty i.e. making life of the common man safe if not livable!

And then there is one more way death caught you here & that is financial death; here the victim may not die physically i.e. in normal sense but he or she gets stripped of all their life time savings, making them feel worse than death! I am speaking of thousands of financial scams/frauds where common man get robbed or cheated & govt then arrest few front runners & actual culprits (read criminals) roams freely, to search their new victims! Financial crimes are on rampant & here too govt just announces to make Cyber Crime Stations as well Economic Offense wing effective, where as the main thing i.e. entire financial budget of the family collapses due to cheating by the master minds behind such crimes, which in a way is death only as in today’s world if you don’t have enough money to survive then what’s use of such life? Every day you read about FD scheme frauds or some money double scam or bogus land scams & never the criminals’ gets punishment in time, leave apart recovery of the lost money. This has lead to make common man not to believe in the system named govt or police to such an extent that majority people avoid even to launch complaint of such cheating or theft! As they thinks police are in hand with the criminals & nothing will happen except their own harassment, though there are good cops & this stand isn’t right yet that’s what common man thinks is a fact!  

And yes when we speak about death & tragedy then there is other side of coin too, as it seems most of us just don’t care about the gift of life which we have got! Or else we wouldn’t have been required to be appealed by the govt to wear helmet while we drive two-wheelers! We drive in wrong lane caring a hoot about ours or others life; we take U turns on roads where it’s not allowed. All the time we talk or text on cell phone while we drive even on two wheelers also, risking ours as well others lives. Ask how many of us know how to operate a fire extinguisher cylinder, we go to restaurants or public places without even once caring for taking training regarding disaster management & in case of fire we never know where is emergency exit located while we celebrate at such places! We spend lacs of rupees for interiors of our apartment but when its monthly maintenance contract of society’s fire services or lift type machinery of the building then we choose the cheapest option if at all we choose! It’s us the common people only who forwards rumors of flood or any major road accident or collapse of some bridge ahead, on whats-app group without even confirming the same & helps or supports in spreading panic among the society!

As the Cicero said we our-self create ways to achieve our place in the memory of the living ones by caressing death. But then as Tutu said hope is the only way to beat the death or the grief it cause, so while we say adieu to 2017 which has taken along its death toll way high; let’s hope that we won’t allow hope itself to die in the new year, as what better resolution can there be than this for the New Year!  

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
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Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Where is Swachhata App for Mind?









“Neatness and cleanliness is not a function of how rich or poor you are but that of mentality and principle.”… Ikechukwu Izuakor.

Ikechukwu Izuakor is the author of “Great Reflections on Success” & no wonder that Neatness, cleanliness, mentality, principles as well rich & poor, he understands co-relation of all these terminologies! Why I recalled this quote because two things happened on the cleanliness fronts, one of my cousins who works with Thane Municpal Corporation, posted about downloading “Swachata App” on our families whatsap group. At the same time I read news about PCMC’s Hon Commissioner visiting public toilets in the city to check its condition! Well, there was one more news about nallahs (some years back they were streams carrying fresh water) flowing through our beloved Pune city & restriction on construction from these nallahs. Its move to make them clean, open for water to flow & to conserve biodiversity around the banks of these nallahs is what authorities as well nature lovers claims! Now don’t ask which water is going to flow through these nallahs (read streams) as except rainy seasons, most of these nallahs runs dry or carries drainage water as well are best dumping yards for every possible piece you can find in the garbage! We will come to nallah news later but let’s look at the scene on the front of Swachata App as well our public toilets. When it’s something bad regarding city then Pune  (red PMC) as Pimpri Chinchwad (read PCMC) are really twin cities as take example of encroached footpaths then in both cities you will have to find a footpath which has not been encroached by tea or anda-bhurji stalls along with every possible vendor using this place as his or her birth right! And if at some place by sheer luck the footpath is saved from private encroachments then there are PMT’s bus stops, MSEB”s feeder pillars, Telephone junction boxes, MGNL’s gas pipe line accessories & if nothing then hoardings/banners of our city’s rulers i.e. elected (even defeated also) members of PMC or PCMC! So you won’t feel any difference whether you are in PMC or PCMC while you are walking on footpaths & then this similarity doesn’t stops at footpaths, you can go to any ward office, civic help centers, public hospitals, bus stands, BRT’s routes (please don’t ask means what) & on all these fronts both cities goes hand in hand as all these things listed above won’t make you feel miss your home surroundings, despite your location!

In all the listed aspects above,  one thing is most common & that is public toilets of the cities; as not just by look, you can locate a public toilet by sheer its stench from some distance, such is the condition of most of public toilets or lavatories in PMC or PCMC. Ask any citizen of these two cities about what’s his (I won’t say her, as ladies public toilets is separate subject in itself) opinion about public toilets/ lavatories in the city & I am sure you will get to listen reply full of many un-printable words! On such background I congratulate PCMC Commissioner that at least he acknowledged that public toilets in the city are grave problem & he actually visited few of them! Though all I wish is it should not remain a typical show visit like most political leaders makes & it remains in the form of snaps in their “Karya Ahawal” & now days on FB or Whatsap, that’s all. On very day not even next day you find that  public toilet is in more bad condition than its earlier state, is a fact we all know now. But a visit by civic body’s chief, well, we do expect some real change here after such visit. By the way, I myself under my company has adopted a public toilet at Nal Stop, Karve Road & right now I won’t take that as example as that’s probably the only clean toilet in entire Deccan/Karve road area but let’s see what’s scene of most public toilets & the reason behind their bad status, as then only we can work out solution for the same.

First of all let’s accept public toilets/ lavatories are as important to any city as any other infrastructure facility like public transport, public hospitals, play grounds or public school or even roads! Millions of people who are citizen of this city & tax payers are on road every day for their work or for general cause & they do need to respond nature’s call. Imagine a city without public toilets (though the situation in Pune is just like that even having public toilets which are of no use) as it will create very difficult situation for sanitation & hygiene on roads. Public toilets were part of the Sanitation system even in ancient Rome, often in proximity to or as part of public baths. By the Middle Ages, public toilets became uncommon, with only few attested in Frankfurt in 1348, in London in 1383, and in Basel in 1455. In the early 19th century, large cities in Europe started installing public toilets: first in Paris, then in Berlin in 1820 and in London in 1851. George Jennings, the sanitary engineer, introduced public toilets, which he called "monkey closets", to the Crystal Palace for The Great Exhibition of 1851. He also used the euphemism "halting station", now in use in Indian English for a basic place to stay attached to a railway station. Public toilets were also known as "retiring rooms" ("Drawing room", from "to withdraw", and Waiting room.). The history of toilets in India is as old as the Indus Valley Civilization, which had grown in and around Harappa and Mahenjodaro. The archaeological remains of the Indus Valley Civilization bear evidence to the use of water-borne toilets by the Harappan people living at Lothal, which is only 62 km from Ahmedabad. The architects of the Indus Valley were in the know of sanitary engineering science, which got buried in the grave of the Indus Valley Civilization, thereby leading to the practice of open defecation. Our present ruling govt bombards us with advertising against defecation/urinating in open but the very same govt neglects most effective tool to fight with this attitude of society ie public toilets! Rather instead spending million rupees for advertising on Swachha Bharat, let’s build as many public toilets & make a system to maintain them in usable condition. As no sane person will like to urinate in open & it’s very humiliating thing for women yet if we don’t provide enough public toilets then what citizen on streets are supposed to do about it?

Another important aspect is in our country when it’s a Public Property then everybody thinks it is somebody else’s duty to maintain that property clean & our public toilet is classic example of this attitude of ours, exception people like Adar Poonawala, who spends money from their pocket to keep their city clean! As right from our school days to college we have grown up seeing or using public toilets in our school or colleges which are dirty; so what’s new if the public toilets on roads too are dirty? And most importantly even the civic body cares a hang about the public toilets & this also no body wonders because aesthetics is not our culture. May it be ugliest hoardings which are illegally erected or slums which are mushrooming on public places like hills/ river bed, no civic officer takes cognizance & acts against the same; so how we are going to expect PMC or PCMC to act up on keeping city’s public toilets clean, which unfortunately is their job. Shame is civic body’s chief has to visit one of their very own establishments i.e. public toilets & push them to keep it usable & clean, this can happen only in India! This is like house lady of a house has to urge grown-ups in the house to keep the toilet clean after their use, can we imagine this? And then problem is at most of the public toilets there is not even water supply arrangement to keep it clean neither a janitor to maintain it, so how & who is going to keep these toilets clean & usable? Outcome is public toilets & lavatories have become nuisance to the surroundings & people living around demands demolition of the same which civic body accepts immediately & remover the public toilet itself. A classic example of “na rahega baans na bajegi bansuri” attitude; means remove the problem making public toilet itself instead keeping or maintaining it, so the problem is solved, everybody is happy & people are free to urinate along the road or hold the nature’s call to their physical limits! Public toilets are not just any utility but are face of our city & it’s every persons responsibility to keep in clean & presentable; I wonder how we can we call our self smart city with dirtiest public toilets around!  

And then on the top of it I came across an advertise aired on major FM channels of radio by PMC about participating in a competition of “Swachha Abhiyan” i.e. a clean society or establishment in the city. Why can’t our beloved PMC & PCMC first arrange such competition for their own concerned ward offices especially for public toilets as before you appeal people for cleanliness & hygiene first clean up your own back yard (actually public toilets are right in front yard of the city) is what any sensible citizen will tell to PMC! Rather close lock down every toilet in every govt office in the city & make the officials along with elected members compulsory to use public toilets then only they will understand the pain (discomfort is very mild word) of common citizens while using public toilets! All we need is form a separate team at PMC ward level which will be given task just to keep public toilets clean at the same time appeal individual person as well private companies to come forward & adopt public toilets in their surrounding! It’s a shame for entire Pune that with so many millionaires (who have earned their fortune in this very city) here as well international level companies, we get to see just one Adar Poonawala, extending hand for city’s cleanliness! Why can’t the people residing in surroundings of public toilets as well shop keepers come together & employ any agency to keep the nearby public toilets clean? Why we need always PMC or some Poonawala to make our surrounding clean? I think it’s high time to think what we as a citizens are doing for our city!

Then another news as I mentioned was about nallahs flowing through the city & not allowing construction from 6meters to 15 meters distance on both banks of these nallahs. Well, I know we have illogical planners but now even thoughtless minds also seem to be deciding the fate of this city. As fact is, all the nallahs flowing through city are already marked along with the banks by Primove named agency. Then question is, what about redevelopment of already existing buildings along these nallahs, as hundreds of kilometers length nallahs flows through this city for years. And then when mostly all the nallahs has been concretized what are we going to achieve by reserving no development on such huge areas around the nallahs! First it’s no development along rivers, then on hills, then at the foot of hills, then along Metro corridor (still unclear) & now no development along the nallahs; and at the same time no one speaks about already existing illegal development on all these places! Let me remind when we can’t protect such no-development zones then they become breeding ground for illegal constructions, off course that’s what our rulers want, so they can regularize all such illegal constructions in due course! I am not against conservation of nallahs/rivers/hills, what I am against is the means which we use for the same as one side we ban development along or at these places in the name of conservation of biodiversity but we care a hang to ensure that outcome is a fact! And what about keeping all these nallahs along with the rivers clean, whose responsibility is that & what’s being done on that front, is a question I will like to put forward. As PMC/ UD/ Govt call it by any name, all it does is ban construction (read legal construction) & their job is done! At the same time as citizens our approach towards entire cleanliness of the city, may it be our public toilets or rivers or nallahs needs to be changed.

To conclude all I will say is, need of the time is downloading Swachhata App, not just in our cell phones but in our culture as what is more stinking is not our public toilets or nallahas or rivers but our attitude as a society towards them!



Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)



http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org

Think Green, Think Life


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Growing Up is finding Inner Peace!

“Age is a case of mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”... Satchel Paige.

Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige was an American Negro league baseball and Major League Baseball pitcher who became a legend in his own lifetime by being known as perhaps the best pitcher in baseball history & no wonder such words can come from an athlete only whose life has been other name of game! How rightly Piege has put about the age & on my own birthday what better words I could have chosen! As there were times in each of ours childhood as well teen age when we used to celebrate birthdays thinking we are growing up & soon will be able to take our own decisions. And suddenly one day we realize we have grownup & then we get hit with the hard fact that life was far better & happy when somebody else used to take decisions for us! I think what we miss most when we have grownup is the innocence & care-freeness within but it’s not lost in the years, it’s very much with us. When we grow up we think innocence is excess baggage & often lock it up under the tag of maturity & a birthday is the day to find the key to unlock that innocence within & be carefree to feel the beauty of life around us! 

Actually, its recently I started writing on  my birthdays  too not just as self dialogue but to share the same with my sons as I think some day they will ask me the question, “Baba, what things you yourself have been practicing, of you told us to do?’ And having dialogue with our own self is one thing I keep telling them as the person who doesn’t tries to communicate with himself, how he will be able to communicate with others? Though often I used to wonder what to write to my own self as it’s easy to share something with readers or audience but how many of us ever tried making our own self our reader or audience? Many will think this is madness as only psychic persons speaks with themselves, is what we have been told since our childhood & later on when we grow up (does we truly is different question). Then we are so busy putting our views forwards or listening to others that we have forgotten that there is something named dialogue with self. Now, many will ask how to do it, as Meditation & Dhyan are out of capacity for most (though it’s very much doable for anyone but people just don’t try it), so what a person should do to have dialogue with self? Well, try doing things which you like to do for yourself & not for the sake of posting on FB or show off to others, is the simple answer. Now, the next question is, how I will know what I like to do for myself? My answer is, keep trying things which will make you genuinely happy & at peace (this one has to define for himself) & those things may be weird or crazy as someone might like to go to top terrace of his building at night &  just keep watching stars or someone might like to paint abstract paintings  (which people may laugh at) or someone might be happy by singing Yo Yo Honey Sing’s silly rap; anything can make you happy as its your happiness so you only ought to define it!  I have tried by my own way & then I came to know that I like writing, I like walking alone on unknown streets & the list of things making me happy goes on as I have started realizing happiness can’t be restricted to some defined acts but its related to every act, just one should know to become happy in first place!

I am die-hard fan of cartoon movies & one of my favorite cartoon movies which is all time classic also, is “Kung Fu Panda”. It’s a character in the form of carefree Panda who is destined to be a Kung Fu Warrior & who himself doesn’t believes that he has any capacity to become so, yet in the end he becomes greatest warrior of his time. It’s not just about Kung Fu i.e. one of the ancient martial arts but it’s a journey of self understanding. Best part is, Po has shown having troubled past as he has been haunted by the question, who he is (most of us never reach to that level in itself) but one moment he realized he is just a Panda & that’s the truth which he has to sink in as Kung Fu Warrior & all other things are just shell & doesn’t matter much! But the character I love most in the movie isn’t the cute Po but his Guru i.e. Master Shifu, an aged martial art teacher with philosophical base & who believes the journey to become a great warrior is always inside out! All the time he is shown chanting the word “Inner Peace” & yet when he understands his pupil, the carefree, innocent, childish even a times foolish looking Panda, has achieved Inner Peace before than his master, Shifu bows in-front of his own pupil  & requests to teach him Inner Peace & at that moment he also achieves Inner Peace! As all the time he was searching a key to Inner Peace & when he sees Po achieving it, Shifu realizes he has locked that Inner Peace & he only has to unlock it!

Well, we all are destined to become something though our childhood fascinations were something different & very few are lucky enough to become what they have dreamed of being in their childhood. Speaking about myself I don’t exactly remember what I wanted to become as right from rail-way engine driver to police inspector, there has many tracks which my train of dreams shifted but today when I look back after becoming what I have become, I feel no regret & I think, I have achieved some shade of Inner Peace, if not fullest! Because now nearly completing 49 years when I look around, rarely I see happy faces which consider themselves as grownups. Agreed, growing up is never easy but does that necessarily means we need to be sullen face & always keep worrying about something or other? We have created so many barriers around us in the name of career, success, competition, position, stability, and progress that somewhere we have forgotten what living means! One may say, it’s easy to say these words when you have a full stomach, especially on financial stability which is foremost criteria of success in our society but what about so many around who has hundreds of worries & which are facts of life? Indeed life is difficult but most needs are self created is also a fact rather growing up is, understanding difference between need & greed is what I am learning. In a way calling successful is like tag of Kung Fu Warrior, isn’t it? Today if I start considering myself as greatest warrior just because I happen to defeat my opponents till now, then that’s making of biggest fool to me by myself! This “till now” is very important & then you know how much vulnerable you are is what I have realized & I think the day you realize it then you are above any tag as today it you defeating others but tomorrow someone better than you will be defeating you. As no defeat is last & no victory is final, unless it happened to be with your own self, is the truth such movies has tried to teach me. I said tried to teach me because yet I have to digest this philosophy fully but this understanding tells me that I am slowly but surely growing up.

And when now you must be starting to understand how we make the simplest act of entering in to dialogue with our self difficult then there are the biggest hurdles like FB & Whatsap, which we call social media. Man is a social animal but only to boost or flaunt his achievements is bitter truth; rather, in the process of checking the likes we got for our post we have forgotten what “I”  in “Me” like by myself! Agreed, like any medium if used wisely then social media also can be put to great use;  as do mind, it’s just like a knife in kitchen which is useful to cut the vegetables or fruits but the same knife can be used to slit someone’s throat or suicide also! The worst curse present generation has got is to live in a virtual world which runs on likes or dislikes & comments; defeating the very purpose of sharing or dialogue. I am happy that though I also use FB & Whtsap but I have real living friends too, with whom I can share my life over a cup of tea & that’s more valuable for me as that sharing makes me a better human being. My sons, always remember you may have thousand of persons to praise you for your achievements & there will be more than thousand who despise you for what you are behind your back but you will be lucky if you get even one person who will tell you on your face what you are & I am luckiest as I have more than one such person around! And for them also you having dialogue with yourself is very important as to understand who your true friends are, you need to know what you are truly in first place!
Finally, what we become doesn’t necessarily can go in hand with what we wanted to become but one thing is sure no one can stop you becoming a good human being. And if you have become one such then it hardly matters what you have become & same is applicable vice versa as if you have become ruler of the world but failed to become a good human being, then does your kingdom has any worth, ask this question to yourself as there lays the key to inner peace! 

Lastly, I will say some journeys are like walking in desert with no signage of directions or mile stones to make you know distance you traveled. All you have to do is believe your intuition & follow the direction what your heart says & keep walking, without missing to enjoy the beauty of the sand dunes along. Journey of life is one such; thanks for helping me in ageing like Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda, yet keeping that innocent Po in me bouncing, is what I will like to tell all you my friends!

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)



http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org

Think Green, Think Life


www.sanjeevanideve.com

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Customer is the New King; Real Estate's Mantra!








“For example, if I make money, I put it in real estate. I always did very well. Location, location, location”... Ivana Trump.
Ivana Marie Trump is a Czech-American businesswoman, former fashion model, author, and television personality. She was the first wife of Donald Trump.

“Home is where one starts from”…  T. S. Eliot.
Thomas Stearns Eliot, was a British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets". He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.

If you are confused why I used two quotes to start my sharing then let me know as the subject itself is fusion of two things, which on face may appear same but in actual are two totally different concepts. Yes I am referring to real estate & home, these two terms goes hand in hand yet real estate is to make money (read for builders) & a home, as Eliot said is not just physical thing but a feeling for everyone who aspires for it. At the same time for Ivana Trump (The Trump in name says it all) thinks home as real estate & for making good money, may it be location for her, which is one of the aspect of real estate. Joke is its sheer business entity named real estate where there is no place for feelings is the tool to make this feeling named home a reality for most, at-least that’s the scene in our country. People do need real estate to build homes but it’s the difference of attitude in both the parties i.e. builder & client (read home buyer) towards the term home is what given not so good image to the real estate, is a fact. On top of it post RERA, GST, Demonetization, in real estate major turmoil is being witnessed & the outcome is many top  names in  real estate are breaking down under debts, though if few names are in public yet in private rumors are being discussed about many others. Outcome is, investors of real estate lobby are panicked, so are the small depositors who have faced the burnt most as their day to day life used to be dependent on high interest by the builders even the Banks are keeping real estate in non priority segment. At the same time more in problem are the people who has booked their home (read flats) with projects in making & which are now being delayed for indefinite time; as they have to spend for their EMI’s as well their present rent & then they are not sure when their hard earned home will be in their possession?   

And then main problem is to know the reality of real estate as media keeps on publishing either paid news or the news which common man likes to read, for e.g. Demonetization, RERA & GST all these things will make the homes cheaper! So, now the question is common man is asking, where are the cheaper homes? At the same time builder lobby is blaming above three aspects for slowing down real estate & reason of delays in delivering ongoing projects! And on all such background Urban Development dept keeps bombarding real estate (if we call it as Industry) with every day some new policy, making the scene more chaotic. On all such topics my real estate blogger friend Ravi who is active to make people aware about real estate as well builders, asked me for an interview regarding financial conditions of the builders in market. And his first question was there are many big names in Pune real estate who have broke down under debts or financial burden & their depositors as well flat holders who have booked flat in ongoing projects are panicked, so what’s the fact  & what the new flat buyers shall look for before booking with a builder. It’s just one question but it covers entire real estate & for that we need to look in past to know about financial machinery of real estate, sharing here the interview’s gist in my words. Let me share that I am not a bit finance or marketing person when its real estate though I am in the field for last 25 years & will apply my analogy of engineering to answer the question is what I told at start.

Some 40 years back in early 70’s real estate started growing in Pune with fewer players & less raw material i.e. land. For years our govt was rural focused as we were Agriculture State & obviously most of the major policies were as per rural development & this made the govt neglecting needs of the cities like Pune & Nashik. Resulting lesser lands available for home making as well existence of a complex system for permissions of projects of buildings! On such background those few lucky gamblers (will explain why I used the term) who bought lands or got hold of such lands which eventually become builders has hit the jack pot. As demand was huge & supply of homes was less, so appreciation is more than twice or even thrice till the projects gets complete. This resulted hoard of aspirant builders as all one has to do is raise some finance & get the hold of land & launch the project, were the only criterion for becoming a builder (they are still same) as booking used to follow immediately after launching of the project. This made financers happy as banks were not funding to buy land unlike other industries; the builder has to get money via private financers, who were smart enough to milk the builders at high rate of interest. Then most builders’ greed got increased & they started to take bank loans on construction even when having booking money available for construction. This surplus money was used to buy more lands or for other businesses as they started considering themselves as has got success mantra of business just because they made money in real estate! Some were smart to buy lands with open eyes but most ended up buying lands with heavy rates considering future appreciation; so in a way on one project three charges got created, investor’s for land buying, flat buyer’s collection & project finance! But the scene was even with all these charges the project used to get successful due to rate appreciation as builders used to hike the rates in phases so covering the interest tally, which can go in totality nearly 40%!

Another aspect was, with rise of IT boom era, mostly all builders started making bigger, luxurious flats thinking, a client paying more money means more profit margins. This strategy was not in respect to the market needs of real estate as builders forgot that any market runs on affordable or budget product which is affordable home in case of real estate. As well on other side, the flat rates hike went on & on, taking the final product out of the budget for most flat buyers. At the same time there were hardly any innovations on the front of product development as home; for e.g. take first I Phone & I phone X, there has been extensive research as well advance technology to make the product more user friendly as well technology savvy but can we say so about home or flats? All what we got is change of specifications i.e. in 70’s there was mosaic tiled flooring, in 80’s there was kota, in 90’s ceramic tiles were in demand & in 2000’s we are having vitrified tiles flooring, that’s all! Same was on plumbing fittings & other aspects of home, nothing related to planning for cost cutting or use of advanced technologies, yet prices were rising only because of scarcity of land! One more aspect was less number of builders, because of hassles in land buying as well clearing process for the projects, making it a monopoly market for few names.

Though by late 2000 the real estate scene started changing as govt has realized majority vote banks are shifting in cities & their need was affordable homes. So the govt started thinking on making policies for creating more homes as increasing supply of homes was the only way to reduce the prices of the same. So the policy came by virtue of which even 20 acres agriculture land can be converted in to residential zone, a limit which was earlier available only for 100 acre area of land at one piece & which was beyond capacity of most builders. New land governing bodies like PMRDA has been bought in function to get more land under development around PMC & PCMC. At the same time finally a stage came when luxurious clients were done with their demands & whatever flats were available in the market was way beyond buying capacity of flat buyers as their need was small, budget flats which wasn't available. So the game of the real estate was changing slowly as no more bigger or luxurious flats were in demand,  appreciation has gone away from the lands prices, rates of ready possession flats has become steady & there is no more monopoly in the market with lots of options available for homes. I wonder how many builders understood this change & all those who kept on following old rules of the game they are the one who has come under financial burden!

And finally once rates of real estate have become steady, govt moved in with Demonetization, RERA & GST as check-mate for real estate. Out of this Pune market I doubt has anything to do with demonetization as here are real buyers with mostly loan based & no reason except sentiments why demonetization will hit them. About RERA it will act as a tool to assure the builders gives proper information as well service to his clients, so only the builders with ethical practices will remain in business. And now there is GST 12% on flats in making (though a builder is supposed to pass on the rebate to the client after the project is complete) but there is no GST for completed flats, so more & more people will prefer to buy flats (read homes) like any other commodity i.e. across the counter! Now does it mean one shouldn’t buy in making project; because with all efforts of the govt yet location remains the key criteria in real estate & there can be shortage of supply of homes in well developed areas! This can make people think to buy the flat in booking i.e. ongoing projects, so what care they should take? My reply is, knowledge is the key & track record of a builder doesn’t mean just how many projects the said builder has completed but in the way, he has completed those projects. Use social media which is available to you on your cell phone & gather as much information about the way builder has given service to his existing clients & then decide. Also ask the builder about his financial planning to complete the project, his liabilities as well assets & get this information crosschecked via professional people in the field & then only go ahead with the deal. Ask as much questions you want & don’t book unless you are satisfied with the builder & his team & if you don’t get proper response then “Don’t Book Flat With Such Builder”!  Here I will give simple example if you go to Swargate Bus Stand to catch a bus to Kolhapur then what you see first, a board on the bus displaying destination Kolhapur on it, right? Would you go & sit blindly in bus without any name board & expect it will take you to Kolhapur? No, is the answer any man with some common sense will give, well then why don’t you apply such common sense while booking a home which you will be getting after two or three years while you keep paying for the same, is what I will ask. At the same time keep in touch with the builder’s team while the construction of your flat is in progress & do ask if you feel the speed is not as per what has been committed to you, as that’s your right.  Even when you are buying a ready possession flat still there are many legalities involved as well services regarding maintenance & quality too, needs to be checked.

Lastly remember, no builder is doing any favor too you by giving committed possession or good service, it’s a fair deal, you pay & get service! But to identify such builder is your responsibility only, as we all have some wisdom & some foolishness in us. But problem is while buying small things like vegetables, we use our wisdom but when its buying our life time home we let the fool within prevail our decisions & then blame builder or real estate for making fool of us!   Days of real estate have changed & if you fail to understand, that as a customer you are now the king; then you don’t deserve to be a king in first place, is all I will say to conclude!

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.
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