Sunday, July 06, 2008

Live and Let Die


I was having lunch at my office when this message popped up in my mobile. I took the mobile out from my pocket with great difficulty and read the message which looked like this:
‘News flash: Inflation touches 11.43%, an all time high in 13 years. Sensex down 445 points, Nifty down 113 points. Log on to for more details.’

I got irritated, what is this inflation got to do with me. Ok, Sensex and Nifty I can understand as I have also invested in a small way (after hearing the India shining story and all). So Sensex & Nifty didn’t irritate me as much as this inflation figure. After lunch, I was still thinking about it. Inflation: a term that I didn’t know much about in school days. Theoretically I knew something about it in college days, but I never bothered to think too much about it as I thought it is something to do with the Economists and Statisticians in this world.

But now I was thinking about it. What is inflation? Simply put it means the rate at which value of Rupee decreases (I don’t think it ever increases). So if it is 10%, for e.g., it means next year, you will have to pay Rs.110, for an item which is worth Rs.100 now. I went to a website to know more about it. It told me that inflation was around 5-7 % normally and it had risen to 11% off late. As I understood (and felt with increase of prices in almost everything) we have to pay extra for everything. Fuel prices increased, which lead to increase of prices of all other commodities. After looking at the figures and news in the website I concluded: ‘Live and Let Die’.

Of course I like Bond movies of gadgets and girls, but this title of one Bond movie is in a different context and has a different meaning. I go by the Buddhist philosophy of removing our desires, which are the root cause of all the miseries in life. So the statement “Live and Let Die’ means: ‘You Live and let all your desires/ ambitions/ wishes Die’.

Here are some practical steps on how you can beat inflation and earn & save more.
1. Walk: Don’t use any mode of transport, no bikes/ scooters, no cars, not even public transport because those prices are also increasing. Walking is good for health, and also prevents and cures many current-age diseases like obesity, hypertension etc. Only in case of emergencies use public transport, that too, try not to take tickets.

2. Fast: Fast 3-4 days a week. Fasting is a very effective way to balance mind and body. It even saves you the hefty food bills in your budget. Fasting helps reduce weight and tone your body (Fitness freaks, are you listening??) If possible don’t eat anything at all.

3. Don’t go to school: Don’t send children to school. Home schooling is the best. It saves lakhs of rupees spent on education which just don’t actually educate kids but ruins them. Anyways home schooling is the best till they are 15. After that if necessary send them to some government college, avail all reservations possible to minimize cost. Motivate them by stories of college drop-outs like Bill Gates, and see if something works.

4. Turn Spiritual: Practice meditation, try to kill the desires in you, those disturbing thoughts of latest designs in Shoppers Stop, Levi’s, Nike, Reebok and the like. Practice to renounce everything, live a minimal life. Use clothing only when it’s absolutely necessary, and that too very minimal. Get motivated from Bollywood actresses who practice this point (they are ardent followers of Gandhiji’s philosophy of minimal clothing).

Also there is another point which relates to inflation. This is regarding the salary hikes in companies. (Hope my manager reads this!!!) As I already mentioned if inflation is 10% it means you will need Rs.110 to buy an item which is worth Rs.100 today. So you getting a hike of 10% just means that your salary is adjusted to inflation, or in simple words, your salary is kept the same. Only if you are getting a hike of above 10% can you afford to buy something extra. And if you are getting a hike of anything below 10%, say 7%, you will not be able to afford the thing (which is worth Rs.110) which you are able to afford before the hike. In effect, your salary is being reduced if your hike is below the rate of inflation.

Even if you didn’t know what inflation is by the above examples you must have got an idea on what it is about. Now you are ready to device your own ways and means to beat inflation or be ahead of it.