Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) and it’s implications for various stakeholders…..

The Real Estate Regulation Act has been much talked about recently and it is time for both businesses and consumers to be fully aware of the provisions of the act. RERA is primarily designed for protecting the interest of consumers from fraudulent real estate transactions and other forms of hassles such as project delays and lack of quality. A quick sneak peek into the act shows that there are significant compliance burdens put in place for real estate developers such as maintaining 70% of the project funds in an escrow account (to avoid misuse), proper compensation for delays, adhering to project plans and refund of funds to consumers in case of  inability to complete the project.

Regulatory bodies are being set up in each individual state for enacting RERA and these regulatory authorities will act as primary contact point for consumers in case of issues with property developers. In addition to state RERAs I believe appellate tribunals have been set up to hear cases and resolve issues. Although this government initiative seems to benefit the most to consumers it is possible for businesses to gain from this as well. What this does to the real estate market is eradicate smaller and fraudulent players who are often found guilty of misusing project funds and deviating from plans and making hasty sales whereas larger players can build additional trust through such compliance and ensure a higher market share.

Although RERA seems to create win-win scenarios burden on both consumers and businesses is clearly visible due to the need to make legal claims and for consumers to spend time and money on claiming compensation. Further businesses will have to allocate a part of their profits for meeting such legal commitments. Whether RERA will be a useful initiative is yet to be seen but it is evident that such legal provisions are long due in the real estate sector. In my view the success of RERA should be measured based on the ease of implementation and handling of cases without much hassle. Sharing of all relevant information on dedicated RERA portals and transparency in the processes is essential for all to ensure the experience of buying and owning a home is smooth.





How to motivate yourself to do a 10-km run on the treadmill

It was 9.00 am on a Monday morning when I decided to a non-stop run for 10 km. I keep contemplating how this can be achievable. Considering a full marathon is 42 km and a half-marathon is 21 km it should not take a lot to do a 10-km run.But in reality a 10 km run is indeed as difficult as a half or a full marathon. As I walked towards the treadmill and started setting my targets my mind kept wandering whether a 750ml bottle of water will be enough. So what does it take to complete a 10-km run. How do you motivate yourelf to do such a feat ?

To begin with you can do the usual easy 1-2 kms to ask your mind if you are ready for the long run. My body usually warms up within the first 1-2 kms and begins to take higher loads. I push myself by varying my speed and running terrain. I also spend a few minutes increasing the incline levels on the treadmill. This is just to set your mind to work harder.But it is not advisable to push beyond your limits. This short excercise is only to set your brain to push harder. 50-60 seconds of running inclined should be enough to achieve this. Keep talking to yourself and make sure your confidence
level never goes down. When you push harder the only thing you need to know is whether you are comfortable doing it. If not make sure you relax and get back to normalcy.

It is important to break your 10 km goal down to smaller chunks of 1-2 kms each and keep repeating the cycle of self-assessment and fine-tuning. A successful strategy can only be built through conscious awareness of your body, mind and energy levels.
I was able to do a fine balance between running speed and stamina. A few bouts of aggressive sprinting can take you much closer to the target in a shorter time while your endurance levels drop. For a target as long as 10 km compromising on endurance is bound to end in failure. In my view pushing yourself to peak during regular intervals and calming your nerves down for the rest of the time is the best way to go about this.

Stress and temptation to give up easily are the main challenges during such a run. Reaching 5 km or 50% should motivate you further to complete the 10km run than while you at 3-4 kms. The key of course is setting your mind stubbornly at the 10 km target.
By the time I hit 5 km my mind started looking at smaller targets of 1 km. At 6 km I doubled up my motivation to reach 8 and set my mind on a steady strategy such as periodic sprinting. By the time I hit 8 km my energy levels had gone down significantly and every step became a mountain to climb. I kept telling myself such an achievement cannot wait another day and there could be nothing more than the pride of having run 10 km to motivate me further. Your mind and body are at constant battle beyond
a point. While my body has almost given up it is now left to my mind to achieve the remaining.

I almost felt it is impossible to go beyond the 8 km mark which is when I decided to add some greed quotient to my capabilities. Sometimes you have to be greedy to achieve beyond limits and I found my target became much easier at 9 km. The human brain is so strange that it never behaves the same way or deteriorates linearly as you expect.I was able to experience this decoupling between the body and mind during this run at 9 km and running the last 1 km was very simple.

What I learned from this feat is that achievement is more do with your motivation than your capabilities. Being self-aware, conscious and keeping your mind calm and focused is essential to achieve the impossible. I put myself to test if this is possible not once but thrice and I still find myself struggling between 8-10 km not being able to achieve more. My next hope is to go beyond and reach greater heights and complete the 21-km half marathon.

ODI at Chepauk – India vs Australia 2017

After a disappointing start for India I was wondering if it is worth watching the India-Australia game live at Chepauk today. Even more disappointing was the weather conditions which failed to give in. The squad has the same combination of evenly spread bowlers and batsmen with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma still remaining the lynchpin of modern day ODI cricket.

Being a regular customer at the Chidambaram stadium for all formats of the game including IPL, ODI and Test cricket the stands remained unchanged as ever since the 90s except for the empty galleries in the ‘G’ stand alongside Bells road. Thanks to ever pending government approvals to give life to these sections.

The game was obviously dominated by the Indian team with a good score of 281. Although Hardik Pandya took center stage in the innings MS Dhoni’s silent knock of 79 is equally valuable. While Hardik Pandya is constantly improving Dhoni ‘s reaching heights of maturity similar to an organization which has gone through the start-up, growth and steady state phases. I would say retirement rumors are close by but Dhoni continues to meet bat with the ball with a technique of his own which nobody really cares.

It is both surprising and convincing to see Chahal and Kuldeep Yadhav in the eleven considering it is the first ODI of the series while the bench strength remains stronger with Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and Lokesh Rahul. Aussies have stuck to a similar squad with big guns including David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith. Not much came out the debutant Hilton Cartwright today but the addition of a new batting allrounder should make a difference to the Australian team.

With rain playing spoilsport and the game shortened in the second half to a 21 over target of 164  nobody could stop the fall of Australian batsmen in the middle except for a few little cameos from Glenn Maxwell and David Warner. Wickets were falling at regular intervals with all Indian bowlers getting a piece of the pie. Should say Australia was highly disturbed by the rain break and Indian bowling attack which looked more disciplined today. Good start for India and lots to work on for the Aussies to put up a better show and make the series more interesting.

ICC Champions Trophy Finale….

It’s was as if the Indian cricket team woke up this morning and prepared themselves for their first warm-up match against Pakistan instead of the ICC Champions trophy final.  Nobody seems to have had the slightest idea of the amount of build up created by the media among Indian fans back home. Every channel had dedicated hours of debates and discussions about today’s game and what come out at the end of the day was a massive loss. Was the Indian team overconfident ? Did Pakistan outplay India ? Or did India play poorer than usual ?  I think the problem definitely lies in both confidence and lack of control in the match.

Decision to bowl first obviously must be backed by some clear plan which surely was lacking. Pakistan did make a good start with their openers but captain Virat Kohli did not seem to rotate his bowlers or make some strategic changes to the field to pressurize them to make mistakes. Ravi Ashwin should have bowled in the first 10 once Virat realized runs were flowing freely from the Pakistani bats against the Indian fast bowlers. A few overs of attacking spin bowling from one end could have done the trick. Every experienced cricketer knows rotating bowlers, cutting down the boundaries and trying different things is the only way to break partnerships.  Indian team did not seem to have done the homework on how to bowl to a field or how to approach specific Pakistani batsmen. Dhoni’s consulting service somehow seemed unavailable to Kohli today. The game drifted further between overs 10-30 and there was serious lack of control from then on.  If the pace attack was ineffective spin attack can be called almost useless. Hardik Pandya showed glimpses of good performance but overall the Indian team seemed totally unprepared and ignorant of how many runs to concede while choosing to bowl first.

Even if we assume the bowling went wrong for some reason there was no reason for the batsmen to have not stuck to a chasing plan. 60/0 at the end of 10 overs or even 12 overs while stepping up the game slowly to reach 200 within 30-35 overs considering a 100 of the last 10 is always possible in modern day cricket. India could have had a better start by seeing through Mohammed Amir’s first spell without playing any fancy shots.  Rohit Sharma’s wicket was expensive and Virat Kohli also seemed very uncomfortable reading Mohammed Amir’s line and length. Waiting for the lose balls and focusing on settling down could have been a better option in the first 10 overs in spite of the huge target to chase down. None of the senior players seemed to have done damage control while wickets were falling at regular intervals. Overall nobody in the batting line-up with the exception of Hardik Pandya who had no choice but to go for runs seemed to have shown responsibility and proper response to game situations at various intervals. While it is easy to be satisfied to reach the final winning the trophy makes a huge difference to the team’s stature outside home turf. Unless winning becomes a habit India cannot afford to see the level of dominance Australia enjoyed few years back. Overall not just a disappointing day but a day that will not come back again until next year.


Sachin – A Billion Dreams…

26-May-2017….Sounds like the start of a great test series  ? No. It’s Sachin rebirth day if not his birthday. How does it feel to screen a biography film after 2 decades of glory in the cricket field ? I can’t explain unless you are made to appear before a grand audience for an act of unending applause – Only difference being Sachin never had to act but just appear before all of us and tell a story. The story is not a bollywood film but a life history spanning several generations beyond one’s imagination.

Sachin was born more than 10 years before I was born (1984) but anybody can tell we are the luckiest generation to have witnessed the greatest batsman cricket has ever known. There is no lose talk when someone says Sachin is great and probably this movie and my blog is meant to explain the same. So why is Sachin great ? All of us know why without needing an explanation but for some weird reason I feel like telling the Sachin story for the newer and other future generations too.

He is great because he started playing international cricket at the age of 16 which in a way meant there was some serious talent or lack of talent in India. It feels empty without knowing how things started for Sachin as a kid in Mumbai facing his first ball at the practice nets in Shivaji Park. No cricketer can ever be taught beyond the basics and his coach Achrekar and brother Ajit had the encouragement for him to flourish. Sachin obviously has a deep cricketing brain which no-one understands unless you analyze some of his matches and the shots he plays. The film was a treat to watch just like his 100s and 50s with some memorable shots which commentators have admired and enjoyed. Behind the scenes his life is played like a mellifluous song and moves everyone in a heart-throbbing fashion with his wife Anjali and her kids sharing some time immemorial videos.

No player has ever created a reminiscence of such a strong memory etched among fans and audience through years of tv watching and screaming in their houses, shops and sports bars. Memories flow like a river across the nation. All I could do is sit and be in a state of shock and awe with some fun filled screams of ‘Sachin Sachin’ ,’Come On Sachin’ etc..I played the song ‘Sachin Sachin’ several times over and over again before I could reach the depths that he had touched playing the game across countries in various pitches and conditions. Thanks to Sukhwinder Singh for presenting a song of deep inspiration.  The film tells you more about what you don’t know about Sachin than what you already know – Things like Sachin visiting the MRF pace foundation, innocent media interviews , Pakistani sledging , his captaincy , world cup winnings and loses and the various other challenges such as managing disappointment and grooming his kids.

What makes me crazy is the fact that he scored a hundred in England in spite of his father’s loss. I wouldn’t have dared to play beyond 7 deliveries before I returned back home. Such is his passion for this game unmatched so far by any other cricketer. Greatness is not some augmented reality show but years of hard work, dedication and some no nonsense cricket standing the test of time and longevity.  I felt heavy and wildly cold by the end of the show when he receives the ‘Bharat Ratna’ from the President of India. Sachin is culture , religion , god , prayer and father of cricket in India carrying the weight of this nation and the weight of the Indian cricket team for several years without frustration. His retirement speech says it all in true colors and spirit. The movie should be no more than an inexplicable experience for even someone who has never known him. History for sure !!!

Half Girl Fired….

Haha 🙂 I can only start with a laugh about this movie. If you have read the book reading it again should make you feel better than watching the movie. Everybody knows Chetan Bhagat is good at writing girly stories without much fuss but when heroic attempts are made to convert them to a movie success comes only partially or half just like the half girl friend.

First of all I don’t believe in any half girlfriends. The so callled ‘Half-girl friends’ have an unresolvable heart problem which spreads like cancer, often to the poor guy. Riya Somani is a rich girl who plays good basketball while Madhav Jha is a boy from the relatively poorer communities of Bihar. Both of them meet together at Stephen’s college basketball courts and a romantic friendship blossoms among the two. Madhav can neither speak good English nor understand rich girls with split personality.

Madhav’s moves to breach the friendship lines through movie dates do not go well but Riya Somani’s moves to kiss him to death succeeds – The only difference being death comes slowly to Madhav after the poison works his way through the body and the sensible part of his mind. Riya Somani is no match whatsoever with Madhav – Neither the way he speaks nor the way he dresses nor the way he fantasizes girls. Trouble arrives to Madhav when Riya decides to marry a Londoner. Innocence and helplessness spread all over his face unable to find answers for Riya’s physical moves.

Madhav decides to go back to his village and do some marketing to gain funding from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for toilets in his village schools.  Riya becomes his English mentor only to see him stutter and stumble in front of Mr.Gates. The story is so well conveyed page by page as it appears in the book that at one point I felt like searching for the page numbers. The rest of the story is about how Madhav finds lost Riya in New York and regains his status as her half boyfriend (which is a whole load of bullsh*t in the end).

The story is meant to be emotional and acting is good in parts but believe me, an assertive egoistic audience like me will never tolerate so much from a girl like Riya. This is well conveyed by Madhav’s friend in the first half of the movie and I thought his acting deserves appreciation. Riya, in the end, remains the insensitive, stubborn and childish girl who cannot decide beyond a worthless friend with minimal benefits relationship which I think is stupid when he wants to marry her and Madhav remains the innocent English learning boy who struggles to match some serious richness. Worth the time ? Definitely no. Theatres were empty and probably suits boring couples who have not even read the book or know who Chetan Bhagat is.  Shraddha Kapoor as Riya Somani and Arjun as Madhav Jha should be an insult to themselves in spite of some good performances by Arjun Kapoor.

The movie is definitely vulnerable to criticism from not so romantic guys like me who neither plays basketball nor struggles with English nor wants a half girlfriend. Watch it with some tolerance programmed beforehand.

Summer , Fitness and Cricket…

It’s almost mid-May and if you have been sitting at home with a 1.5 TON air-conditioner working 24/7 for you then you have no idea how hot it is outside. I would draw similar analogy to sedentary lifestyles where we sit in the office working for long hours without realizing the long-term consequences.

As I look back towards my younger days and compare the amount of physical activity I used to perform to the levels today the difference is easily mind-boggling. A simple experiment of mine to get back to playing some serious professional cricket in the past one month says it all. Having spent more than 8-10 years off the cricket field I find it too challenging to even get back to basic fitness levels required for playing a 20-over game.  A larger part of this challenge is always in the mind than the body because the body simply responds to what your mind thinks.  I wouldn’t call my experiment a failure by any means because I was able show significant progress in regaining my cricket skills by spending time at the nets and practicing during weekends.

Cricket demands an active to very active lifestyle and it is important for your mind to think about the game constantly both on and off the field. Unfortunately, my day job belongs to an industry classified at the sedentary end of the lifestyle spectrum. Think about the amount of activity you lose sitting before a computer for 8 hours. A cricketer typically starts his fitness routine by 6 or 7 am in the morning with running, stretching and few hours at the gym. The evenings could include a 2-hour net session. So almost four hours of solid time is consumed each day for sports while a sedentary lifestyle will struggle to accommodate even one hour. Most people, in the end, settle for a 30-minute fitness target.

You have to be smart in managing time to ensure a good balance between a day job and cricket during weekends which is good enough to meet match fitness. Using your office gym, ending your day with a night run , stretching and doing basic weights at home are some of your options to bridge the gap. If you still feel out of confidence a mini summer camp or 10-day cricket camp at one of the local cricket academies should do the trick.