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May 2008
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Mothers’ Day

Personal

 

My Mother’s Mother

 

Tomorrow is mothers’ day. I want to write about my nani – my mother’s mother. Some days back, she didn’t get up in the morning. She was around 83.

 

She was a very very strong woman. The fact that she had lost her husband early, and had raised her three children mostly herself proves this to some extent. Her eldest son was her favorite – he went on to the IITs and settled in the US. He has been a responsible son – but he couldn’t come home for the last rites. Other two sons did well too – up to their interests and capabilities.

 

My mother has ‘gone on’ her mother, and I, on my mother. I hope you understand what is meant by ‘going on’ (resembling). So we had some connect :)

 

She had studied to some level, but when she went to the US and had to stay there for many years, she used to speak English and even taught in some school there! Like my grandmother, she was very broad minded, and understood even the technical details.

 

One thing she taught me – the true meaning of being educated. She regarded highly those who had taken higher education – though she got cheated some times by them too :) All because she trusted those who had studied much, and expected them to keep their words :)

 

Last time I met her, I was to leave my job and go for my MBA. She asked how much I get as salary. I avoided the question. Then she asked, “Do you get 30K?”. My God! She was so smart! The next time I heard about her, she seemed to have found a girl for me, and was pushing my mother for fixing up! Thanks to her daughter, I was saved.

 

I had made many trips to her place (nani ke gaon) in my childhood. Remember when I woke up in the morning with two kittens sleeping with me? She was always a very warm hearted lady. And she loved her daughter so much, given that she was her only one. She used to call her: Sona, Sugga (parrot) and many more names. But she was really smart! I remember once we were leaving her place and she was crying, as the village people love to cry when especially daughters leave for sasural. Suddenly she stopped, enquired about something that was not to be forgotten to be kept with us, and when she was sure things were alright, she suddenly started crying exactly in the same pitch she had stopped :)

 

Today when she is no more, I don’t know how many of them really cried. But we all will miss her very much.

Reliance shuts petrol stations

Business

 

Reliance shuts petrol stations

 

Reliance Industries (RIL) has decided to close all its 1432 petrol pumps. It is because the subsidies given to the public sector oil retailing companies were making its business economically unviable. The company hasn’t sold off its stations – but is waiting for any favourable move by the government to extend the subsidies to the private players also. There are some other private players like Shell and Essar who are also fighting the losing battle.

 

When Reliance had entered the oil retailing business, it was the same time when I had cleared a written exam of HPCL and was to be interviewed by them. I made many visits to the petrol stations and offices in Bilaspur, to get to know the trade and issues. I also met many drivers. People preferred the oil from Reliance stores, because they were pure, when compared to the adulterated oil from the public stores. And not to be surprised that RIL got a market share of over 14% in no time. Most of its stores were running just nearby the public stores, and we could see long queues in front of them. RIL also brought in some innovations like printed receipts, latest meters and machinery, tie ups to run food courts in the campus and many more were yet to come. But, in the end, like many sectors in which public limited companies have got undue advantages, this also seems to be one another.

 

What makes me wonder is – is it really that Reliance made such a big mistake? The company is known for some very shrewd moves, and many of its manoeuvres have been possible because of governments’ supports. When the company decided to get into the oil retailing business, it knew very well that oil was one thing whose price needed to have a ceiling. And its demand for government subsidies is also misplaced: as government is already running petrol stations, why should it subsidies some other party which competes with its own stations? The conclusion is: let us wait and watch.

 

News Ref: ET