Online Session: Join the Conversation on Joy! (Press Release)

We invite you to join the conversation on joy! Sadhguru?s new book, Inner Engineering: A Yogi?s Guide to Joy is an invitation to go beyond words and practice tools that empower you to live a joyful life. This holiday season let?s summon in the New Year by spreading the fire of joy to ignite everybody?s hearts.

 

When: Sunday, December 11th from 11:00 am EST – 1:00 pm EST
You can join the conversation with a special #tag in twitter about Joy.?Share your joy story, experiences, quotes, YouTube videos, or pictures with the?special #tag which will be sent to you on Sunday morning.

Spread the joy with #tag so millions of people are aware of the Sadhguru?s tools for well-being. It is like a ?group clap? where we all do something at the same time and the message of joy can spread like a wave.

We can make the wave only all of us join the conversation in twitter with?special #tag,?please tweet at least once or twice on Sunday (11:00 am – 1:00 pm EST)?about Sadhguru, the book, or your own experience. ?On Sunday morning, we will be sending the special hashtag which has to be used to join the conversation.

With just one tweet you can join the movement to spread joy!

Warm Regards,
Isha Volunteers

What should the Indians abroad in possession of ?500 and ?1000 notes do if they are not returning till 31 Mar 2017?

Question being asked by a lot of NRIs abroad: I am an Indian living abroad having a ?500 note and some friends of mine have some ?500 and ?1000 notes with them. What should we do with these notes if we do not plan to visit India within the specified time for exchanging the notes?


Check out Garamchai.com’s FAQ on the topic: Indian Government’s decision to do away with 500, 1000 RUPEE NOTES! Impact on NRIs from Garamchai.Com

Also refer to earlier blogs on the topic:


First things first. What will NOT work

  • Panicking about this is not going to help. Unless you have stashed away hundreds of thousands of rupees in 500 and 1000 rupee notes in your bedroom or bank locker overseas, there is no reason to panic.
  • If you had a lot – hundreds of thousands – of currency notes with you while traveling overseas, ask yourself:Has the money had already been taxed in India? If yes, just hold on to the currency till your next trip back to India and follow RBI guidelines (check out Indian Governemtn statement )On the other hand, If the money had not been taxed, or it was a “cash payment” you received, ask yourself if you should just count your losses and walk http://away.As per RBI regulations, Foreigners and Indians are not legallyallowed to carry any Indian notes with them.Although the rule, which is part of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), has been in place for quite sometime now, it is only now that the central bank is trying to enforce it.If you walk into an Indian Embassy or Consulate overseas with a suitcase full of 500 or 1000 rupee notes, you could be in trouble!
  • Branches of “Indian” banks like State Bank of India, ICICI and other banks in the US and Canada operate as local banks. They are not authorized to operate your “Indian” NRI or NRO accounts. Therefore, they will not take your 500 or 1000 rupee notes for deposit.
  • Currency exchange ( money-exchange ) outlets in foreign countries may NOT accept the old 500 or 1000 rupee notes. There are already accounts in media that commercial money exchange outlets overseas have reportedly refused to accept the old 500 and 1000 notes.

Here are a few facts and practical tips for NRIs, left with “some” Indian currency in hand:

  1. Carry the cash with you to India: According to a press release by India’s Ministry of Finance, individuals can exchange the old notes till December 30, 2016.
  2. If you have some money left back in India, you could authorize another person in India to deposit the notes: According to RBI guidelines, if you have old banknotes in India, others may be authorized to deposit the notes into your Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) or Non-Resident External (NRE) bank account. The authorized person should go to the bank branch with the old banknotes and authorization letter from you. He or she should also carry a valid Indian identity proof
  3. Send the rupees back to India with someone you trust. If the person is traveling before end of 2016, he or she can deposit it into your account (similar to step 2)

NRI attends own wedding in India on webcam

No leave at work for NRI, attends own wedding in India on webcam

Image source ABP news. Kerala man attends his marriage online from Saudi Arabia after he failed to get leave

Given the growing pressure and competition in this day and age, it is difficult to get a leave at work. But so much so that you have to attend your own wedding on webcam redefines crazy.

Reportedly, Harris, a man from Kollam in Kerala, is working in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, due to work related commitments, Harris wasn?t able to come to India.

So, instead of doing what generally people would do in such a scenario (postpone or cancel the wedding), Harris chose to marry on a video call.

According to reports, Harris?s sister played the role of the groom. She stood for her brother along with the bride in all ceremonies and even tied the traditional thread on the bride?s neck.

Reportedly, Harris chose to attend the wedding on video because his friends and family were already present at the function.

Though there are a lot of witnesses to the bizarre wedding, it?s validity remains a debatable topic.

Also in the news:

  • Kerala man in Saudi doesn’t get leave at work, attends own wedding on webcam – Deccan Chronicle
  • Saudi Arabia Prevents This Indian Man from Leaving for Marriage ?- Alalam news

Demonetisation a huge cause of concern for NRIs, PIOs

Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin’s (GOPIO) president Niraj Baxi, in a letter to India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, expressed that the organisation has welcomed and supported government of India’s desire to curb black money and terrorist funding by declaring a ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 rupee notes.


Also check out GaramChai.com feature on?Demonetisation ?and NRIs?and

India rupee ban: Government appoints panel to examine NRI concerns, says SBT MD


500Rupee

“It is a bold decision by Prime Minister Modi and we fully support him,” said Baxi. The organisation, however, also conveyed its concerns on behalf of the NRI and PIO community.

GOPIO is the largest organisation that looks after the well-being of the NRIs and PIOs living outside India. It is a ‘non-partisan, secular global organization engaged in promoting their well-being and enhancing cooperation and communication between Indians living in different countries’.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation, GOPIO has received numerous calls and emails from NRIs and PIOs regarding withdrawal of higher currency.

Some of them have leftover cash from their previous visits to India, while others have used currency exchanges and banks to obtain the money abroad for use on their future trip to India. Many have even kept these notes so that they can use them on their return to India.

According to the government’s recent announcement, the NRIs and PIOs cannot deposit these notes in their foreign banks and exchange outlets are refusing to accept these notes.

GOPIO has requested the government to grant an extension of the cut-off date by six months as many of them cannot return to India by December end. The organisation has also urged that the government should offer the NRIs and PIOs with business and other income in India, similar to the residents of the country.

NRIs and PIOs have also requested government’s assistance by way of providing an avenue to exchange the old notes held by them for travelling to India and to increase the limit for exchange to Rs 25,000 when they arrive at the airports.

“NRIs and PIOs should be allowed to exchange whatever amount they have as long as they show the proof of past conversion of foreign currency to Indian currency in the last 10 years,” said Dr Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International.

Also check out articles on

Q&A : I have a good idea for a startup. I am trying to develop it myself. But how can I make sure that no one will copy my website idea?

Here is an interesting question on an online forum, and the response from our Editor:

I have a good idea for a startup. I am trying to develop it myself. But how can i make sure that no one will copy my website idea and build a better website of the same idea?

Will copyrighting helps in doing this? Also, When i finish publishing this website, how can i deliver it to the public?

I think you are looking at the wrong end of the stick. Your focus should be more on your idea and less about someone copying it. The tech world is full of ideas copied over and over, but more than copying, execution is the key.

Back in 1999 during the first dot .com era, I started a portal: Garamchai.Com … for the desi in pardes

The idea was fairly successful and enjoyed organic growth. The business model was rather simple -by current eCommerce standards – although the idea was cash-flow positive from day one! Why?

Because content is king, and we had unique content that visitors and users valued.

Fast forward 5?6 years. Other entrepreneurs and web-developers looking for content realized it was easy to plagiarize content from Garamchai.Com and some began copying content from our listings. We went after them and issued warnings and legal notices. A few websites removed content but like weeds in a farm, others would reappear within weeks and copy the content, and the cycle continued. So, what are the lessons here:

  • Can anyone copy your unique idea? Sure? but think of how your idea stands out from others
  • Content, especially unique content presented in a timely way is still valued
  • One can try to minimize plagiarism but it requires continual time and resources to go after every single person or website copying. Learn to draw the line and focus on the core
  • Copyrighting unique content may help. However, protecting a copyright also requires $$s (lawyers, notices etc)

Second part of your question is interesting – how can I deliver it to the public? –

  • You need to publish the website and based on your budget, plan for a social media campaign
  • Do you have an existing social media network – facebook, twitter followers etc – leverage these by publicizing the idea
  • Are you engaged in other forums? Leverage that network

Demonetisation Hits NRI Weddings, Travel Plans

DUBAI:? Indians living in the UAE are mourning the demonetisation of high value currency by the Indian government, which has hit their families back home, ruining many NRI weddings, travel and house construction plans, a media report said.


Check out Special Feature: Indian Government’s decision to do away with 500, 1000 RUPEE NOTES! Impact on NRIs (link)


Several Indian families living abroad, who had plans to visit India around the year-end, are keeping a close watch on the prevailing situation. According to travel agents, if the present cash shortage situation in India doesn’t improve in a few days, many families are going to cancel their visit to the country, Khaleej Times reported.

NRIs living in UAE told Khaleej Times they are getting distress calls from families back home, telling them how difficult it is to withdraw cash from banks and ATMs to meet their basic needs.

NRI weddings and house construction plans are among the worst affected as workers and contractors refuse to accept the demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes that used to constitute more than 80 per cent of money in circulation in India.

Afsal, a restaurant manager in Dubai, was quoted by the paper as saying: “The situation back home is more serious than what we see in the media. It is not a good time to spend more money and every NRI family is enforcing strict credit controls on family budgets.”

“In the absence of correct change and shortage of small denomination notes in India, people have no other option but to spend more money for unwanted things. Just for buying an item worth Rs. 200, the customer spends Rs. 1,800 extra to adjust the change. Many shops don’t have change and traders are even planning a strike in protest,” added Afsal.

Tourists visiting India are stuck with cash shortage. A travel agent said: “Many NRI families have cancelled their travel plans in view of the severe cash shortage in India. Even though they have money in banks, they cannot spend that because of cash withdrawal limits from the government. While some can use credit cards, those from the rural and semi urban areas cannot use plastic cards.”

An Indian expatriate living in Dubai said: “My daughter has to pay her pending hostel bill but she has no time to go and wait in the long cue by skipping her classes. The ATMs have run out of cash and she is struggling a lot.”

“NRIs who are planning a vacation to India have many big plans but since they can withdraw only Rs. 4,000, their plans may change,” said Gopi K.L., an Indian social worker in the UAE.

“My many friends in India are not sending children to school because they have no money. In hospitals, even in emergency cases, bill payments are affected. Another problem is in vegetable, fruits and fish markets. Vendors can give credit for one or two days, but they further cannot buy stuff without sufficient cash flow,” an NRI in Dubai was quoted as saying.

The government of India demonetised 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from November 8 midnight. The government maintains that there is no shortage of cash and there is enough stock of currency notes with the Reserve Bank of India.

Source:?Indo Asian News Service

An NRI Couple Shows Us How to Return to India and Transform Its Villages

A really nice Swedes like Story from betterIndia. All the best?Ashish and Ruta Kalawar!


Ashish and Ruta Kalawar left their well-paying jobs in England and returned to India to help empower the rural citizens of the country. Help them make their adopted village open-defecation free!

Fifteen years ago, Ashish Kalawar, a young electronics engineer posted in Bokaro, was waiting at the station for a train to his hometown of Pune. A little boy approached him and offered to polish his shoes. Ashish immediately told the kid that at his age he should be going to school and not working. The boy replied that he was working to support his education and used the money he earned from polishing shoes to pay for school. Impressed with his spirit and determination, Ashish let him do his work and paid him double the price for the shoeshine. The boy was delighted and could not stop himself from jumping with joy.

?It cost me just an extra Rs.10 but I could see how much happiness this little act of kindness gave him. I was content with my life but the satisfaction I got from looking at his face was priceless. This incident has stayed in my heart ever since.?

Ashish?s career was growing fast. He now felt it was time for him to get married and settle down. When he met Ruta, another electronics engineer, his happiness was complete.

The couple married and, in 2009, moved to the United Kingdom in search of better paying jobs. As their income grew, the two thought they should apply for citizenship to that country.

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Ruta and Ashish Kalawar (image from thebetterindia.com)

?We had everything, a nice car, a beautiful house in the UK and a great future to look forward to. But, somehow, we were not at peace,? says Ashish.

Soon, the couple started visiting the Skanda Vale temple located in South Wales frequently.?They would volunteer their time at the temple on weekends and find solace in meditation and helping others. ?They also participated in a 7 km charity walk to raise funds for the Skanda Vale hospice.

?While volunteering at this temple I kept remembering the little boy back in Bokaro who had polished my shoes. I wanted to do something for him and other people in my motherland too,? he adds.

Ashish and Ruta finally found their mission in life when they visited India for a short period in 2012. One of their relatives, Amol Sainwar, had started an NGO called Shivprabha Charitable Trust and was planning to adopt a remote village in Maharashtra.

The village, Lonwadi in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, was located on a hill. It had no electricity, no water system and no roads. Ashish and Ruta visited this village along with other team members of the Shivprabha Charitable Trust.

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Ashish and Ruta with the kids of Lonwadi?(image from thebetterindia.com)

The villagers had to go down the hill every day to fetch water and so, the first thing they needed was a solar-operated water pump to draw water to the top of the hill.? Another thing that Ashish and Ruta noticed was that many villagers in Lonwadi were victims of addiction to alcohol or tobacco. They wanted to do something about both these issues but it was time for them to return to England.

They did the best they could under the circumstances by donating some money for the water system and left the country again. Meanwhile, Shivprabha Charitable Trust continued to work for the betterment of the village.

?My friend Unmesh Kulkarni and I raised 90% of the funds required for the water project. After its implementation, the number of students in the school increased as well because the children were freed from water-fetching duties. This incident really inspired and motivated me to move to India and work for rural empowerment.?

In January 2014, Ashish and Ruta left their lucrative jobs and bright professional careers behind to pack their bags and return to the motherland.

?This was the first time I did not have a job in hand while leaving the previous one. But I was not afraid at all. Something made me feel that this was right. Moreover, Ruta helped me believe that if we were doing something good there was nothing to worry about,? says Ashish.

Back in Lonwadi, Ashish and Ruta started counselling the villagers suffering from addictions and holding meditation sessions for them. According to Ashish, within six months, around 80% of the villagers were addiction-free.

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(image from thebetterindia.com)

?I never asked the villagers to stop consuming alcohol or tobacco. I asked them to just join us for meditation. The self realisation that occurs when you meditate compels you to stay away from everything negative,? says Ruta.

Today Lonwadi has good roads, electricity, a water system, and a digital school too ? thanks to the efforts of the Shivprabha Charitable Trust and people like Ashish and Ruta.

Now, this village is just one step away from being an ideal village ? it still needs to become open-defecation free. Ashish and Ruta?s counselling sessions have helped the villagers realise the importance of using toilets. All households have applied for subsidies to build toilets at home but have not heard back from the government as yet. Therefore, Shivprabha and The Better India have come together to find ways of gifting toilets to all the households in ?Lonwadi. We appeal to our readers to donate generously and help the villagers? dream of living in an open-defecation free ideal village become a reality.

Article republished from??thebetterindia.com