Machli- The Tigress

My first safari was in the morning hours. We were allocated Zone 2 of the Ranthambore National Park. We were 4 in a jeep. I was lost in beauty of the national park while my friend was focused on seeing the Tiger. He had just enquired about ‘Machli’ from the guide when I first heard her name. We drive to the spot near a water hole where she was seen yesterday evening. She was not there. The pride in tone of the guide while talking about ‘Machli’ was evident. 

I had to wait for some 10 more safaries in a span of 12 months to before I got to have a glimpse of her. She had crossed her primes and was 16 years old. She no longer ruled the prime territory inside the park and was being supported for food by the park authotirities.

We were returning from the evening safari when we suddenly get to see her seated under a tree. The sun was setting and the golden rays were falling on her head whenever she raised it to look around. She was half asleep and un-disturbed by the hustle-bustle of tourist jeeps around her. After clicking her pics satisfactorily I was able to help an elderly couple from Singapore to see her as well. They were earlier telling us that this may be their last trip to India. Finally, they get to see the Greatest of Tigers in the world.

She looked thinner but not weak which was evident when she exhaled air making a roar and stood up to walk away further to rest under another tree.

Today, at age of 19 years she breathed her last. She has been a symbol of tiger conservation in India and will continue to be. Stories of her beauty, fertility, motherhood, bravery and hunting skills will continue to inspire we humans for ages.

I believe she will be re-born as a human and work to conserve tigers and protect jungles. We need Machli here in this world. 

May God rest her soul in peace.

Income Tax and I

With every passing year of my employment, the 10%-15% increase in my salary was offset by inflation that hovered around 8-9%. So in real terms the increase was just 2-6%. And then some expenses had no link to inflation; they just increased, likes of fuel cost, education fee and medical expenses and insurance premiums (under the pretext of increasing financial risk). Further, I had accessibility to credit cards and personal loans.

I use to pick up on naive questions on wealth creation by friends and family members and explain them that in real terms most of us may never create wealth in our lives. Yes, at the outset not a statement expected from me, who claims to me running (was) the finances of a Company as well. Personally, I had two contrasting views about my financial health:

a. I am not doing well enough and hence I need to earn more.

b. I am rich enough and better than many but…..

Today, on 70th Independence day of my country, I am proud about myself.

Why?

I reviewed the Income tax Statistics released for first time in last 10 years by Government of India. I am proud that I feature amongst top 3% of 100 cr individuals in India who filed tax returns. Then my head rises further, looking straight into the sky when I feature amongst 0.43% of total tax payers with a particular salary level (Salary bracket not being disclosed to avoid IT raids).

Roughly 5 lakh individuals in our country earn salaries greater than Rs 17 lakh p.a. But then this has no correlation to the lifestyle evident.

I reason to myself, ” People have ‘other sources’ of income as well.”

I felt, may be the reason for I still being without a big car, a luxurious flat and devoid of annual holiday trips abroad is ‘Other’ sources. But the statistics for ‘Other sources’ of income and ‘Income from House property’ was equally dismal.

My elite ranking did not fall much.

I am waiting for more such data to be accessible to ‘We Indians’ but till then it’s either of the situation with me:

a. I am richer than I believe ; or

b. A revised version of statistics is expected from Income Tax department regretting the error in publishing number of income tax returns.

 

(Note: The statistics released for Assessment year 2012-13 so may be in Present Value terms, I am earning far less and my reasoning for NOT creating real wealth holds true.)