Friday, June 30, 2017

Is IT layoffs a bad news for residential realty?

As per an estimate, India’s Information Technology (IT) sector will see around 1.75 lakh to 2 lakh* annual job losses in the next three years. The biggest challenge ahead for the industry will be retaining 50-60 percent of its workforce after a significant shift in technologies. Analysing such figures, about five to six lakh people will become redundant due to artificial intelligence in the next three years.

Real estate and IT economy
For the last twenty years, IT has been one of the largest employment generators in the country. As per an estimate, the sector along with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) employ close to four million people in over 16,000 companies. 
IT professionals, aged between 30 and 40 years, usually earn 20 to 60 lakh each year, forming an average of 17 percent# of the population across leading tech cities of Bangalore, Hyerbadad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Gurgaon and Noida. Many of these professionals are prospective homebuyers who set aside huge savings to make down-payments for a property purchase. Mostly, their choice of homes is mid-premium housing projects. 

lay off in India

Possible impact 
Dip in residential demand across IT hubs: With job loss predictions across IT hubs, the demand for mid-segment residential properties across Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Noida could be adversely impacted.
As Bangalore and Pune rely the most on IT majors for not only job creation but also to drive office space consumption and residential demand, these markets are expected to feel the heat first. As per a report by JLL India, the IT population in Bangalore alone is around two lakh. The biggest buyer category in the city, IT employees, has contributed close to 45 percent of the total project launches in the last five years.
Decreased commercial absorption: The loss of jobs is expected to have a ripple effect on all real estate segments. With lesser headcounts in IT majors, the need for ‘Grade A’ offices, retail spaces and industrial properties will be reduced by an equal or greater amount. Subleases, reduced rents and increased vacancy levels of commercial office spaces can be expected in major IT hubs of Pune and Bangalore.
Emerging IT cities to suffer as well: Increased automation in leading IT enterprises could have a negative impact, even in emerging markets like Navi Mumbai and Coimbatore. Recently fueled by the final bid for the International Airport (which led to a 16-17 percent increment in total registrations within a fortnight), residential sales in Navi Mumbai may take a back seat for a while as the IT professionals make up at least 30 percent of the buyer base in the satellite city.
Investors to adopt 'wait and watch' approach: Even if fewer job losses get reported, the news of expected workforce cuts could intimidate short-term investors who are expected to adopt ‘wait and watch’ policy in aforesaid markets.
Diluted buyer sentiment in other metros: Kolkata and Ahmedabad’s IT sectors are smaller compared to major tech cities; however, they may feel the heat of the IT meltdown. Even if no major job cuts are expected in these cities, the threat of it could be enough to rattle buyer’s confidence, pushing them to delay big-ticket acquisitions like a home.

What does the future hold?
With a chunk of consumers coming under serious threat of job loss, there is a possibility that mid-premium residential sector, which was already hit badly by the Centre’s demonetisation drive, may take a few more quarters to recover. Industry experts feel that due to job insecurity in the sector, prospective homebuyers who were thinking of investing in holiday homes or commercial space may choose to skip buying property till 2020.
However, many experts believe that the prediction does not warrant such panic. Driven by the union government’s thrust for affordable housing under the Prime Minister Aawas Yojana (PMAY), lower interest rates are expected to push the sales of residential units and nullify the layoff aftermath in the future. 

* As per an executive search firm 'Head Hunters India Click'
# As per a report by JLL India

Sunday, May 14, 2017

An Easy Guide to Men’s Wardrobe Maintenance

Properly maintained clothes always look better than neglected expensive clothing. Sadly the idea of ironing, brushing, and repairing clothes is a foreign concept to many Indian men. Well-made garments can last for decades, and trust me protecting your wardrobe costs much less than buying replacement clothing every few years. This blog is all about the care required to maintain your clothing and footwear for decades.

Organize Your Closet
The wardrobe is not a piece of furniture, but a tool to organize your clothes. The key to deal with limited space is rotating clothing. If you are not going to wear something for next few months, fold it, pack it and store it. As a thumb rule, maintain at least half inch space between garments for airflow and ease of selection. You can arrange clothes by colours; organize them by category or hang them according to days too.

Get them cleaned
Notice a stain on your shirt? Spot clean at home against sending it to the dry cleaner (unless something is strictly dry-cleanable). Each garment has a set life span and dry cleaning unnecessarily shortens its life. Let the garment sit in a small tub of water for a few minutes and apply a right amount of detergent to spot clean. Beware of overdoing it though. In spring, when you plan on storing your woolens, wash them first. If you suspect any moth infestation, send them to the dry cleaners to get them cleaned. Clean the area where the clothing has been kept with an anti-bacterial spray.

wardrobe management

Know How to Iron Clothes
Although non-iron fabrics are quite popular, they fail to appeal as much as freshly pressed ones. Iron pressed clothes not only look sharp, but they also add to the complete package of a well-dressed man.
Read the clothing labels and symbols before you put your clothes to iron test. Once iron is ready, turn your clothes inside out. Start with the collar and cuffs on a shirt; in case of the trousers, begin with the waistband. Start at a low temperature, and then go higher with cotton. As for wool, never let the iron touch the wool. Use a layer of cotton instead. Don’t forget to ensure that the base of the iron is clean.

Brush your Suits and Trousers
Proper wardrobe maintenance requires discipline. All it takes is 30 seconds. Use a clean double-sided brush to clean your clothes after each wearing. Brushing your trousers or suit jacket after each wear is an excellent practice to remove the dirt and food bits that attract insects. A clothing brush also takes care of dried up stains.

What else you need?
Apart from a double-sided brush, there are a few other must-haves that can be used as an arsenal for men’s wardrobe maintenance.
Wire hangers can permanently damage your clothing, especially woolen. Spend a little extra and purchase Wooden Hangers.
If you want to get more than a couple years out of your leather shoes, Wooden Shoe Tree is a mandatory purchase. They preserve the shape of the shoe and prevent the leather from premature cracking.
A Fabric Shaver sounds like a boring investment, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it. Ignore anyone who tells you to use a razor to remove lint; it can be too aggressive and might accidentally tear your favorite shirt.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Is pain the locus of great art?

If I hadn't watched Greta Garbo’s “Leave me alone” scene from movie Grand Hotel (1932), I would have never written this. On that cheery sunny day, Garbo left me longing to know more about her personal life. For some weird reasons, it was almost impossible to believe that she was a happy woman off-screen. The more I learnt about her, the more I found her lonely and struggling for peace. This was the day when I wondered for the first time- “Is there any truth to this stereotype?” Is pain the ultimate source from which great art emerges? Does it inspire artists who introduce new styles, ideas or creative directions? Now and then, I heard suicidal stories of many artists (Virginia Woolf being one of them). But my curious mind doubted always.

I looked at studies. Surprisingly, many studies showed a higher rate of suffering among artists compared to the general population. In fact, there were evidences too to show that children with bipolar disorder are disproportionately creative. I must admit, these studies took me by surprise, yet I had to talk to few painters, musicians and writers for re-assurance.

Perhaps, for some artists who struggle with deeply rooted chronic mental conditions, the choice to be happy may not be easy. For instance, one visual artist (name not revealed) was grateful for his depression. In fact, he stopped taking medication a few years ago because he wasn't able to feel anything while he was on them. According to him, the pills didn't make him feel happier; but muted his joy.

Artists who experience intense emotions are believed to have access to powerful tools. In a manner, it’s true. You can’t fully identify with love unless you get your heart broken. You can’t write a tragedy until you experienced it or at least observed it. Since art explores new ways of seeing the world, it makes sense that artists can fixate on feelings more than the average person.

One of such famous artists is Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. After an accident in teenage, Frida’s spine injuries left her with multiple operations and miscarriages. She poured her lifelong suffering on canvas in stark, disturbing and even bloody images. For her, turning pain into art was the essence of empowerment. But, it doesn't mean that one has to starve for the pain to become a true artist. Salma Hayek who portrayed the artist in the movie Frida (2002) says, “For me, the most important thing is that she decided not to be a victim. She was a woman who had a lot of pain in her life, but that didn't stop her from having this wonderful love affair with life.”

Let’s see what studies say. The majority of people suffering from a mood disorder do not possess strong imagination, and most accomplished artists do not suffer from recurring mood swings. It seems that diseases can sometimes enhance or otherwise contribute to creativity in some people. Clearly, pain doesn't inspire anything in us but hardens our souls, makes us immune to tragedy. Creativity, on the contrary, provides a way to structure or re-frame pain. Since pain doesn't show up on a body scan, many chronic pain sufferers turn to art in an effort to depict their pain.

I think today is a perfect day to stop talking about the role of pain in great creations as I know some will self-inflict suffering to master their art. Pain, suffering, emptiness, and loneliness are the important part of the human experience. Sorrow makes us want to contract and withdraw, not expand and excel. Creating great art depends on our capacity to stay emotionally balanced, not tortured. Pain may create beautiful art. But, this does not make pain beautiful.

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