Swati CA

Swati_CA column in The Hindu Business Line

Monday, October 13, 2008

Karthik Rajaram

A dead man’s tale
I couldn’t sleep last night. The horrific images of six bodies found at a gated community in the San Fernando Valley neighbourhood of Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles on Monday, October 6, 2008, and which were splashed on every single ...

Sunday, October 12, 2008


On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 4:10 PM, Richa Bhatnagar wrote:


I was going through Blogs and found some very interesting articles and blogs of yours on professional fields.

The Times of India is launching a new professional networking site for the Top-Level Management. I would like to invite you to write blogs and articles for our site which are related to the Specialized Functional areas. If you are interested, kindly reply back and we can talk about the same. My contact no# is +91 9910364975


Richa Bhatnagar

Assistant Manager

Times Group

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 12:29 AM, NARENDRA SUREKA wrote:
hiiii....swati..i just made a seen to your web address and it seems good to undersatnd the issues put up...very well nurtured to the general and common ethics in todays environment....i m pursuing my CA and will b sitiing for my final exams....i would b needing the help in these kind of stuff where we can undersatnd thing better....will b grateful to receive reply from your side.....
Your blogspot Reader
Narendra kumat sureka

On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 1:37 PM, wrote:

Respected Swati

You have higlighted an eternal problem in Indian households.My take on the issue

Parents have genuine dreams about their children and wish that their kids have the best in life. As a consequence, they become more directive and indulgent in meticulously planning the child’s progress; through the formative stages of life. But the real problem is that the children are pampered a lot and don’t seek to assert their individuality. Over time they start enjoying; what is imposed on them. The education system is also geared to churn out rote learners ,diffident and dependent on advice.

Parents must encourage kids to decide for themselves from a young age, provide the opportunity holistic education .This can mitigate the conflict and create a win-win situation for the parent as well as the child.

best regards

Monday, December 31, 2007

Culture couture: What’s wrong in partying?

Another year will pass away into oblivion tonight. Three hundred sixty five days of experiences. New moments will precede older ones. Some will give in. Others will fade. People reflect on what they have done while others chalk out New Year’s resolutions. But why is Mr Sharma arguing with her daughter?

“This is the last time, I am saying this. No party on New Year’s Eve,” screamed the 48-year-old housewife. Pointing out that partying was never our culture and an unnecessary evil that was trying to carve out its own niche in our Indian system, the mother thought finally she had won the battle of words. Unlike men, women fight it out on the basis of their arsenal of words. Mostly.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Serving food justice to all

We all have at sometime or the other looked at the streets that at daytime look the busiest. Traffic, shops, and scores of people in hurry make for a great combination! At night though, it is a different picture altogether. Recently, I was dropped home after attending a rather dull social gathering at around 12 at night. The tyres went bust on the highway, compounding our problems. My house is one of those which is not on the main road and neither does it have a pathway that can accommodate a car. This means that I actually have to walk around 20 feet, after getting down from the car. At night, it does give a shiver!

And that night as I was getting back, I witnessed something terrible. An old lady scrounging from a packet that smelled ghastly from 50 steps away. A child who stood beside her (maybe a relative) told her to put her hand deeper into the packet. The ordeal of braving the obnoxious smell, standing barefoot on wet ground and searching in the darkest of alleys were all just for a fistful of rice.

That’s depressing. It never bothered me till then that there are around 90 crore people in the world who are chronically hungry. To most of us these people are invisible till we encounter them. The next day, I did a few things. First I tried to find out who the lady and the child were. Nobody seemed to have a clue. Then I surfed the Internet to find and I came across an interesting Web page: http://sabkokhana.googlepages.com/home. Just to see that there was somebody who had felt the need to do something was sobering.


Debt-trap and beyond...

It’s the same moth and candle story. For those of you who are unaware of what we are speaking of, moths have an unexplained attraction for light. Due to their nocturnal nature, most often the only light source that moths come across are candles. They die shortly afterwards; for, they are too late to rescue themselves from the searing heat. This somewhat explains Ramu’s story. He is a 38-year-old division head at my company. After passing out with a diploma in engineering, Ramu got an MBA and soon was in august company. It’s hard to be judgmental on people you know, at least professionally, is it not?

Maybe the lifestyle, societal demands or his own weakness got the better of him. “I don’t know Swati, how I landed myself in this mess…there are sixteen credit cards that have reached their credit limit, one car loan, one house loan, a stash of money that I need to payback to my relatives,” gasped Ramu as he broke down.

Like most people, I was about to leave when my boss asked me to wait for an email that he expected to contain some critical information. At around eight, I gave up my wait and was heading for the exit, when I saw Ramu sitting in the corner, with sore eyes.


Thin margins on large volumes could be a recipe for disaster

Ever wondered how the retail stores offer super discounts? If you are like everybody else, you buy the tangiest pickle jar (yes, the large one) and simply love your store that offers you great deals everyday. But if you were someone like me, then you would stop for a moment to figure out how you can have two jars at the price of just one! They must be crazy or else. Brace yourself for the two most important words in business: margin and volume.

Most businesses buy/procure raw materials at cheap prices and then offer it to you after adding a margin (which includes cost of storing the product, packaging, manpower, profits, etc.) The best, and arguably the biggest, businesses boast both margins and volumes. But increasingly, some businesses are growing large by just doing one side of the business well. And that’s where the danger lies for the small guy.


Mutuo caveo

Mutuo caveo: Borrower beware

Hundreds of years ago moneylenders used to send “lathials” to collect their dues from poor farmers. The borrower put up with a lot of insult starting from expletives, physical torture and finally ended with the farmer’s cattle or crop finding their way out of his home.

Centuries down the line, the borrower’s situation hasn’t changed much!

“Own that new vehicle you have constantly desired, with a small help from us.”

“Our interest rates would surprise you.”

“Worried about paperwork? Calm down.”

Funny how the catchy advertisements by banks don’t mention a word about the rogues that arrive at your doorstep when you fail to pay up an EMI!

Welcome to the world of loans where borrowing can be a handicap, literally, if you were go by the events that have unfolded recently.

What has attracted more attention is not the quantum of compensation ordered recently by The Delhi State Consumer Commission, but the sheer brutality of the violence on an innocent person who was in no way connected to the loan doled out by the errant bank.


Monday, November 12, 2007

India’s Marshal Mackennas

The biggest strength of gold throughout history has not been that you make money by holding it, but rather you do not lose. But it looks like gold expert Timothy Green’s words need some update with gold prices surging to $823.40 an ounce, for the first time since 1980. In rupee terms, it translates to Rs 11,415 per 10 grams!

If you thought that rupee is not the only thing that has appreciated in value, think again. I was shocked to find out that on November 7, the yellow metal that has been the bane of many civilisations reached a 27-year high. I asked my aunt and she shot back with the most typical answer: “It’s festival season”. I personally don’t think that this explains the steep rise of the precious metal. As recently as 2002, when I was doing my last year of graduation, 10 grams of gold cost Rs 5,030.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Is greed the issue, or the associated consumerism?

Sorry for disappearing without a notice.

Your world can change in just 180 days. The way you see people, the way you thought things worked, the way you thought life would change…everything can transform and that is what I discovered in my sabbatical.

But when I look back at the days that I spent before attending the diploma in developmental economics, I think I lacked realism.

Models, you can make for just anything; but, for any model to work coherently, we need real situations and see whether they can stand the test of realism. “Economics with a human face,” I understand the meaning now...

Sunday, November 04, 2007