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Month: October 2016

#Investshield- A New Investment ULIP by CHOICE Life Insurance

#Investshield- A New Investment ULIP by CHOICE Life Insurance

Until some years back, the insurance market was ruled by the simple and straight forward, term and endowment plans. With the opening up of the sector, buying a life insurance policy came up with more options in the form of Unit linked Plans. Primarily insurance policies, Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIP) provide protection and also help accumulate wealth.


What sets ULIP apart from the traditional insurance policies is its ability to blend investment and insurance in one single plan. In a ULIP you get to invest in the capital markets, as per your risk profile, through its various fund options.

Key Advantages of ULIP

  • Insurance Cover
  • Tax Benefits under Section 80C
  • Option of Systematic Investment
  • Gives you a range of investment options to choose from as per your risk profile


How does a ULIP Work?

The premium in a ULIP goes towards meeting the insurance needs and towards building wealth. In the initial policy years, a large part of the premium goes towards policy expenses. Post the deduction of these expenses, the premium is divided between providing a life cover and making an investment.  Units are allocated for the amount invested, in a fund of your choice. The fund could be equity, debt, or a combination of the two. The value of the units allocated depends on the performance of the underlying fund. In the first 2 to 3 policy years, the fund value may remain low may remain low due to the high expenses deducted initially.

Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance has launched a new linked insurance product ‘iNVESTSHIELD’ that designed to protect and meet an individual’s present and future financial needs.

iNVESTSHIELD is an exclusive online Linked plan designed for customers who are looking for a hassle free experience and convenience of buying online. It’s a feature rich product with the USP being the ‘Premium Funding’ option whereby in the event of the life insured’s death –  in addition to the immediate benefit payout (higher of Sum Assured or 105% premium paid), the Insurance Company funds the remaining premiums for the remaining policy term  and the fund value is also paid on maturity. Therefore, the plan provides a solution to meet wealth accumulation needs along with a protection cover, with the convenience of buying online through a simple and user friendly process.  The customer also has a flexibility of multiple funds depending upon the risk appetite and switching between funds as well as systematic investment.

Salient features of the Plan #InvestShield are

  • Zero Premium Allocation Charge throughout the premium payment term of the Policy
  • Loyalty Additions for additional allocation of units to boost  the retirement fund
  • Choice of Investment Funds ranging from 0% to 100% equity exposure, to match one’s risk appetite
  • Premium waiver benefit option which helps the parents to plan a secure future for their children.
  • Safety Switch Option enables one to move  funds systematically to a relatively low risk Liquid Fund to avoid market movements in the last four Policy years
  • Liquidity through partial withdrawals to help meet unplanned financial needs
  • Tax benefits on premium paid and benefit received during Policy term under Section 80C and Section 10(10D), as per the Income Tax Act, 1961, as amended from time to time

Heres the link to the plan :

ULIP and Tax Benefits

The premiums on a ULIP are eligible for tax benefits under Section 80C where a deduction of up to Rs 1 lakh from the taxable income of the individual is permitted. In case of policy holder’s death, the amount received by the nominee is totally tax free in their hands. The maturity too is classified as a payout under Section 10 (10D) and the entire amount is tax free in the hands of the receiver.

Making the Most of Your ULIP

  • Look at the long term: The most important thing about ULIP is that they are long term investments. You stand to gain the most if you stay invested till maturity. They are not to be looked as short term investment vehicles to earn quick gains.
  • Be clear of your Objective: Your prime objective should be to have adequate life insurance cover to protect yourself from unforeseen events. Work out the required life cover on the basis of your age, income, and dependents.
  • Customize your plan as per your requirement: You could use the various add-on benefits to customize a plan.
  1. Riders: A rider with a ULIP is an additional cover along with the base policy available for an extra charge. This could be accidental death or disability benefit, or a critical illness cover.
  2. Top ups: For an additional amount over your regular premium, you could increase your investment component in the base policy. In such cases, partial withdrawals are permitted generally only after five years.
  3.  Switches: You could switch your investments from one fund to another in case of changes in risk profile. Five to six switches are generally not charged for, further to which you may have to pay a nominal charge.
Feeling Depressed? Blame the Time You Spend on Social Media

Feeling Depressed? Blame the Time You Spend on Social Media

Let’s face it. Social media sure does stir up emotions- of joy, some cheer and quite often sadness too. There are good reasons to have social media accounts. You could share daily tidbits with family and friends, or network with people of similar interests. But, here is something else that social media comes with. Its usage could spell a slew of powerful negative emotions too– all at a subconscious level and they transcend the keyboard.

From way back in 2006…

Remember the days of Orkut? Well, it was the first of its kind and created a lot of excitement. It sure did help me connect with long lost friends. It was simple and sweet. But we humans don’t like it that way, do we?

Slowly and steadily, a plethora of social media platforms to share practically everything in one’s life came up and they invaded my personal space. Life without them now seemed impossible. From why the neighborhood stray dogs barked all night, to the color of my friend’s sister’s friend’s wedding dress, social media fed me with my daily dose. My mobile flooded with feeds and would consume precious hours of my life when I would read random posts of people I seldom interacted with.

And soon began the problems – of excess social media usage. It first came in the form of reduced attention span and a decrease in productivity. I would refresh feeds and check for notifications often. Over time, the negative emotions began taking shape. I would be upset with my diminishing social reach due to networks bursting at the seams with users.

Was I also becoming cynical and jealous of people? Maybe, but that’s when I decided it’s time I handled the situation before it went for the worse.

Social Media- it is a way to network and keep in touch

But when it goes overboard, that’s when the negative thoughts seep in and one may end up with “Social Media Depression!” This is a more informal way to describe the depressive thoughts associated with the use of social media. This would encompass:

  • Social Media OCD– A typical Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where you feel the urge to constantly check your social media updates and feeds.
  • The Grass is Greener Feeling– It’s that feeling you get when you see happy pictures of others and sulk! It’s the feeling that everyone apart from you is happy.
  • The neglected and dejected feeling: “Damn! Why have I got lesser likes today?” The feeling of neglect when your post or pic isn’t noticed enough to get those likes.
  • Interpretation or is it misinterpretation? : “Why did he unfriend me? He dislikes me, I am sure”. Before you have a chance to obtain a reasonable explanation, your day is already ruined.

Much as it may seem the entire planet has taken shape to remain plugged in 24/7, the truth is we need to learn to take a break consciously from the digital world. It’s a much needed thing to take that social media detox on a regular basis, trust me the feel would be refreshing.

  • Turn of notifications from your phone/gadgets. Better still; remove those apps that keep beeping every time your friend likes a post. Restrict your usage to the laptop/desktop. It would prevent you from peeking into your gadget every 5 minutes.
  • Keep gadgets away from your dining table and definitely do not carry it with you to bed. Dinner tables are for family time, and a gadget should not be eating into that quality time. The same goes to the bed room. Keep them away; set a specific place in your home to access emails and notifications. Trust me you would sleep well and wake up fresh, instead of looking at your notifications the first thing in the morning.
  • Schedule your posts. If you are the kinds who have a lot to say and need to post them out regularly on social media, do schedule them in advance. There are apps available that help you do so.
  • Emails and replies could be done in batches. Not all of them require immediate responses.
  • Cut down on wasteful apps that do nothing but send you lame jokes. It’ll free up some room on your feed and you may spend time just seeing what your friends are actually up to.
  • And finally, give yourself some rest. Pause and breathe. The world out there is still beautiful, far more than the one on social media. Indulge in meaningful conversations with family and friends; go for a stroll and maybe day-dream too.

That break from social media would do you good, trust me!

*Image Source: Deccan Chronicle 

Zee TV Celebrates Friendship with Yaaron Ki Baraat Show

Zee TV Celebrates Friendship with Yaaron Ki Baraat Show

ZEE TV brings to its audience a unique show called Yaaron Ki Baraat. This fun-filled show would begin airing on 8th October at 8 PM. The first episode would bring together celebrity buddies Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrugan Sinha. Yaaron Ki Baraat would be hosted by Sajid Khan and Riteish Deshmukh who would put celebrity friendships through a series of challenges and tests.

The theme of the show sure did get me thinking about a dear friend of mine. They say the most valuable antiques are old friends. And “Piku” is one such friend. Our two years in IIT Kharagpur, was where the friendship blossomed and grew into one that would last a lifetime.

That First Meeting with Piku

“I am going to write a letter to the President of India to better the roads!!!”

I stood outside Ghokale Hall, the hostel I was to stay in, in IIT Kharagpur (or IIT-KGP as we began to call it), when I heard her mumble loudly. I turned around to get that first glance. Dressed in a crisp blue Chickan Kurta, she appeared agitated after the long journey she had made by road to reach IIT Kharagpur. All that we exchanged at that time were a few pleasant smiles.  Over the next two years, IIT-KGP became our home. With our rooms a floor away, Piku and I ended up spending a lot of time together.  And yes doing every little thing that crazy friends do. Before I even knew it, she had become much more than just a buddy.

We Weren’t Birds of a Feather

We both were different in every way. She loved to cook and I hated it. I would often flock to her room, to gobble up the yummy food she would cook. From Kababs to Paav Bhaji, Piku’s culinary skills were simply remarkable. On the other hand, I seldom cooked. I could never really understand the concept of masalas, curries and gravies.

She would have a strong opinion on almost everything. She was well read, kept herself up to date with the latest happenings and took a keen interest in the politics of the country. On the contrary, I was the confused soul. Never bothered to keep myself abreast with the latest happenings and read erratically.

At twenty something, Piku was way matured for her age. She was calm and composed. I was the restless one, an emotional wreck and childish in many ways. She loved Hollywood movies, and I could never sit through even one. Despite all these differences, the few similarities we had brought us together.

Many a nights we would spend, chatting away sipping cold coffee well into the wee hours. We would go for long walks on the sprawling campus of the institute discussing life, our future and what lay ahead. The days we spent learning swimming in the institute’s pool are cherished memories.


A Confession to Make

Friends sure make you do crazy things. Piku, here is a confession I make today. I hated those Bharatnatyam classes you forced me to be a part of.

Effects of a good friendship

Meaningful friendships leave lasting impressions for a lifetime. And Piku just managed to do this. Years have passed and we both now lead our separate lives, caught in the daily rut of work, family and home. We do catch up on each other’s lives thanks to Social Media.

Yet, on instances when we get an opportunity to meet up or talk over phone, the conversations are fun filled. We are ourselves, laughing and chuckling away, just like the bygone days. That moment, seems like as though, the years just have not passed by.

Celebrate your friendship with #YaaronKiBaraat On ZEE TV this Saturday. Here is more information on the show

This Durga Puja 2016 Get That Total Makeover of Fashion & Hair with the AlterMirror App

This Durga Puja 2016 Get That Total Makeover of Fashion & Hair with the AlterMirror App

    I admit today. My sense of fashion and style is wretched. Oh well! Before you do get me all wrong, I shall make one thing clear. I know how to keep my clothes clean and ironed. Yet when it comes to dressing and styling, I just don’t seem to get it right. To me, my clothes and looks must represent my personality, saying who I am without having to speak a word.  They would need to give that first impact, of the individual that I am.

In my 30 odd years of existence on planet earth, I have found 3 categories of people as far as fashion and style is concerned. The first category is conscious about their image and works with a professional fashion consultant to get that perfect look.  The second category has a fairly decent idea of fashion and style and they explore and experiment on their own to dress appropriately. I belong to the third category with not an iota of fashion sense. Nor can I afford an image consultant to do the job. My clothes are randomly picked up off the shelves making me look older and clumsy.

But what probably seems to have borne the brunt of my lack of fashion and style sense is my hair. Having experimented way too much with random over the counter hair products and with hair styles that would only be suitable for film actresses on screen, my hair had turned into a mess. What was once a thick, bouncy pony tail is now merely a rat’s tail. No amount of ‘Googling’ made me wiser about what I needed to do to get a perfect hair style that went with my overall look.

And to the rescue came an Android app in shining armour- ‘AlterMirror’.

  • AlterMirror is a new age mobile grooming platform for hair, makeup, fashion & total grooming. For those like me seeking professional advice on hair and fashion the app provides personalized, un-biased opinions and suggestions at an extremely affordable price. The app is based on an effective video calling service where I could connect with the best experts in hair, makeup and fashion.
  • Appointments with grooming Consultants can be booked through the app from the comfort of home at any time during the day or night subject to availability of the Consultants. I needed a hair expert to untangle the various issues that I had with my hair. So, I booked an appointment at 10.00 PM – yes you read that right. On the dot, the app connected me through a video call to the hair Consultant that I had selected.
  • Through the entire twenty minute session I was given minute details on the kind of products I should use, the hair care regime that I must maintain and the right hair cut that would enhance my look. It was a wonderful session where the pleasing Consultant listened patiently to my concerns, evaluated my hair and the products I had been using and gave me style tips that seemed tailor made for me.
  • Since the app delivers its services through video, it works best on a Wi-Fi or a 4G mobile connection. However, it was fairly stable on a 3G connection too. The video calling feature makes it easier for the Consultants to evaluate your hair, look and skin type. The services of AlterMirror are not restricted to any geographic location. Being an online service you can avail of a complete makeover consultation through video calling sitting anywhere in India.
  • Sessions are on a one to one basis and you get to choose from the four broad services offered – Makeup, Hair, Fashion & Accessories and Total Grooming. The Total Grooming is a combination of the three other services – Makeup, Hair and Fashion & Accessories. Consultation sessions can be either on demand – where the consultations are delivered almost instantly or they could be delivered through prior appointments.
  • Payments are accepted in three modes- debit or credit cards, net banking or through Wallets. All major credit cards, net banking services and wallet services are supported by AlterMirror. If necessary, AlterMirror allows you to cancel appointments as well and refunds are made through a Coupon Code which allows you to book another service at a date and time of your choosing.

I surely got my hair concerns addressed. My perception that image consultants were only for the rich and famous have been laid to rest by the arrival of AlterMirror. Now anyone can access a grooming Consultant and look fab with what they have. All that is required is a willingness to get a makeover along with an Android smart phone with a good Wi-Fi or data connection.

*The app is available in Play Store :


Chetan Bhagat- Review of One Indian Girl

Chetan Bhagat- Review of One Indian Girl

Chetan Bhagat is truly the most loved or, the most hated author in the country. Surely, on one side we have a large percentage of readers who simply cannot stop adoring his books, and on the other side there is a larger number who simply dislike his books. Despite all the brickbats he receives for his featured columns in major dailies, or for his stint as a judge on a reality show, Chetan Bhagat’s books do sell and they rake in the moolahs!!

To me he is neither good nor a bad writer. He is average and yes, definitely over-rated. Reading a Chetan Bhagat is akin to watching a Karan Johar or maybe a Salman Khan movie. Loaded with emotions and relationship tangles, the plot may lack depth, with seldom any logic. Yet we all watch them once in a way. Chetan Bhagat books are no great pieces of literature, yet they appeal to the masses, and that’s why his books are ranked as a best seller and I do enjoy reading them once in a way.

Getting to his latest book- One Indian Girl…

Radhika Mehta is educated, intelligent and ambitious. She is a topper of sorts and after her MBA degree from IIM; she lands herself a job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. She heads to New York, to start her professional life, much to her parents’ dislike, who are more than keen to see her married at 21. New York is an all new world for Radhika. She lives her life and accomplishes on the professional front, earning a bonus her father seldom saw in his entire banking career. Her mother though doesn’t appreciate it and the pressure to “settle” down into matrimony is mounted upon her. Fighting away the stereotypes, Radhika, does well professionally, has a string of relationships that makes her move base, from New York, to Hong Kong and then to London. It teaches her life’s important lessons and gives her an insight into what she wants and who she exactly is.

She eventually decides to settle down into an arranged marriage, when the unforeseen happens. Her ex-es land up at her marriage venue. Radhika’s mind is in the biggest of turmoil’s. With her wedding just 24 hours away, she has her present and past all in one place. Who would she choose and why? What exactly is in the mind of this one Indian girl? Read the book to understand this as Chetan touches that one raw nerve- feminism.

The books delves into the deep lying patriarchy in Indian society. The restrictions that are not spoken about yet exist all around us. Radhika deals with an insecure boyfriend who cannot handle her earning more than him and later a married boss who becomes her lover, but seldom acknowledges that she could want to start a family too. Neither of the men she encounters understand that she could want to have both worlds- a home as well as a career.

The narration and content is candid and simple, filled with relatable incidents and connections. Chetan brings in the entertainment element with the dramatic Punjabi family, loaded with aunts and cousins galore, plus a wedding scene to top up the drama factor. I loved Radhika’s characterization, and her evolving from a simple West Delhi girl to a chick smart corporate woman. The narration in female first person is impressive, with the entire story conveyed as Radhika’s thoughts and views.

I liked Chetan’s view and stand on feminism. In a world where everything is almost a hype, and the true meaning of feminism lost somewhere, he brings out the choices that women are forced to make.

Yet, the book fails on many fronts. Highly predictable, it isn’t very different from his earlier ones. There is a degree of monotony in the tone and yes, you could comfortably skip a couple of pages. It also lacked that “spark” and humor that would have made the book otherwise a better read.

Surely Chetan Bhagat may be no great writer, but his Bollywood inspired writing does make him a fairly decent story teller.  Worth a one-time relaxed read ‘cause when you do finish that last page and close the book, you are left behind with a smile — and thinking.

Would it be a future Bollywood block buster? Well only time can tell that!