Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Real Estate, Is It The Right Time ?










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“For the four of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home... Stephanie Perkins  
Stephanie Perkins is an American author, known for her books Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The New York Times bestseller Isla and the Happily Ever After and There's Someone Inside Your House, the latter of which will be adapted into a film of the same name and will be released on Netflix.  Well, with that kind of bio-data no wonder she has defined home for a family in so simple & minimum words!  We are in 2020 & with the recent past which real estate has witnessed every now & then one question haunts the developers i.e. "Achhe Din Kub Aaynege"?, means when the rates of the flats will start rising & sale figures will improve! And the joke is even the clients or say prospective home buyers are also haunted by one question, "Kya ghar kharidne ke liye ye sachme achhe din hai?" i.e. is it the best time to buy a home really? Well, it’s really interesting scene in real estate & when you are in a relatively new city with a new job then you are more cautious to book a home as indeed it’s a costliest product & for most people it’s one time buy. And when things are about marriage or buying a home, then in this country you get thousands of free advisers around who are self proclaimed experts on both fronts! Right from, “I am telling you wait for just six months, the rates will be half of what these builders are telling you now” to “don’t waste time, in real estate deri hardam marwati hai (means late always puts you in loss), just don’t think & book with the builder where I have booked”, you can get every advise in between these two extreme ends. Such as, “this builder you are praising may be big by name but now days big names crash fast” or if it’s a small name then “oh, this one builder you are talking about, are you sure he is a builder as with his set-up he looks more like a contractor, will he complete the project?”, is another set of advise.
Then there are advises about selecting the project, “man go for that township, it has everything in it right from club house to sauna-steam & even a shopping complex & school, once you are back home you don’t need to get out of the colony, what more you can have from a home, and in so cheap rate!” As well you can get this one too,  ‘’all these amenities are gimmicks to increase the flat rates & then, who will be paying for the maintenance of all these things, hmm, provided the builder gives as shown in brouture first” the advise fulcrum can further swing to, “listen to me bro, go for the single stand small building, as all that gym & swimming pool, when you are going to get time to use it!” Then it’s about location, “go blindly for Baner boss, have you been to that High Street, what a happening place yaar, its walking distance from the project” & then there can be advises like, “are you going to stay in your home or in those High Street Bars, why pay premium for something you are going once in a while, go to Kharadi, that place also has some real hang outs around & its near to your office place too”, types advises you come across. And lastly, “why are you buying a flat in first place, just go for a rental one man, save for the marriage & have fun or you will end up your golden years in paying EMI to fill some chalu builder’s pockets & some housing finance company”; at the same time you will get this piece of wisdom also, “pagal hai kya, book the flat as soon you can, who will give his daughter to a guy who don’t have even his own two rooms” (sorry girlz, even this is applicable to girlz also, I used “Boys” just as example, no gender offense plz).

Well, now you must be laughing to yourself remembering all this crap you have heard sure as most of us have gone through this grind besides our genders either when its marriage as well home hunt or say subject of our “Raiin Basera” i.e. getting a home of our own. May be in Marathi language the famous phrase has been derived, “Lagana pahawa karun aani ghar pahawe bandhun” means, try marrying & building your own home once! In today’s world marrying is bit easy but to build a home by yourself especially in city like Pune is out of question for most & here is where real estate comes in the picture! It’s now nearly some six odd decades real estate (read as builders) has been settled in Pune but its only last decade the industry has started really getting professional (well a bit) is a fact & that’s best thing happened to the customers or home seekers. Indeed yet a lot needs to be improved on service front but then real estate unlike any other industry depends on many factors which are not under control of one single entity or organization is a fact. Obviously location, type of planning, quality, raw materials, skilled manpower availability, civic infrastructure, govt policies & many such things makes a complete or a perfect home & the all this combining decides the rate or cost of the finish product i.e. the home! Earlier there was less supply & more demand, today demand is still there but so is supply & expectations of people also has increased about their home, so this aspect also we can’t neglect while making a home!

Now you will understand why there are so many advisers when it comes to a home hunt as many people have many versions of their mission home & do mind though people will always boost how they fought hard with their builder & how difficult it was to get a good deal & possession of their home, yet there are good builders (too) around & that’s why today in city like Pune thousands of families are staying happily in their own homes & even if it’s a  rental home then someone has invested wisely in that home in first place & today getting fruits of that investment is a fact!

Coming back to today’s scene what I will suggest is take advise from all you know (you will any way get it once you declare your intentions about searching a home) but decide by your logical mind as what type of a home you want, where & with whom you should shake hands (read as which builder) for buying a home. Do mind web sites & social media is a two edged sword as if used rightly (wisely) it can give you exact information you want about the home & the builder too at the same time a wrong info & you miss a good deal! And more than that one should be clear as what are your needs from your home because then only you can choose wisely your home is a simple fact which many people neglects & the repent for that neglect ion. By me, these are good times to buy a home, very frankly there always was & is a good time to buy a home & I know many will frown saying, what else is expected from a builder but these luring words & I don’t blame them as that’s what has been happening around in real estate for a while. But don’t forget what I have advised along, don’t go by mine or anybody’s’ words, go for what you want & what you think about a home. It’s something which you are going to buy for a while unlike any other commodity & your generations (at least one) is going to be here. Or may be for a few it’s going to be an investment, a costliest one so do your home work by yourself. Take advice but see the project, meet the people who are making it & then decide. A home is not just any other commodity; it’s your part of life so you must choose with your mind & heart.
This (read Pune) is indeed a good city to settle & live as it has got most of the characteristics which an ideal settling city requires. Such as, it has good weather, good social life, good infra like water, roads etc (read as in compare to many other cities), it has got education avenues & jobs & most importantly the city has got culture as that’s something differentiates a bunch of animals living together & a society! So, what more one needs to settle for than a city like Pune except finding a right location & a good builder as both of these are essential for getting a good home. And once you are convinced about settling here, in real estate I won’t say sooner the better yet a fact remains, in any decision on any front of the life, take your time but decide something, so you won’t lose time & money both! Buy or rent, invest in a home or office or put in some bank for FD but decide something, as right decisions taken in right time always pays well only in the end!


-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

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Take your issues to Hon PM at link below..
Think Green, Think Life

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Dark Nights of Forests!








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“In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike”… Paulo Coelho.

Well, no need to introduce this name as his one Alchemist has made him known to all the world & yes to we, the Indians also! Coelho is one of our times (read as those who are in forty plus league) philosopher writer & though many doesn’t likes his style yet you can’t ignore the wisdom he has put in the words through his work & when its philosophy then how can you keep aside nature & forests which are best forms of the nature! So are his above words which echoed in my mind when this winter I visited rather revisited Nagzira forests after many years! And best thing about forest is whatever time may have passed yet when you enter in those woods & inhale the air the cool winds brings to you full of fragrance of heavenly nature, alarm calls of cheetals & chirping of birds, there you realize nothing has changed since you visited last & yet with every round you get to know the forests newly, that’s the magic forests brings to you & Nagzira wasn’t exception! All that has changed is there are few more (just one actually) small dhabas serving local food & few homes has been added which are home stays also to my delight! And mobile network was still a problem which now even it is in Pune also! At gate of Nagzira waiting for us was one insane person (read as devoted to wild life) with his wife & he is none other than Mr. Kiran Purandare, an authority on Ngazira forests who brought this place on the map of many citylite’s i.e. "Sakha Nagzira"! Some ten years back Kiran sir stayed more than a year in Nagzira forests & studied every inch of this forests & pen down all his 465 days stay, making the book an invaluable asset regarding flora & fauna! More than that people realized there are a lot more than tigers here & that is leopards & wild dogs & sloth bears! Those who are regular forest (read is Tiger Parks) visitors will know how difficult sighting of these three species is than tiger yet tiger remains center point of attraction! As neither the leopards nor the sloth bears or wild dogs have any fix territory & earlier two are nocturnal animals i.e. move or hunt at nights so their sightings are more rare. But here in Ngazira all these three species are found abundant (indeed you still need lady luck to shine) because of hilly terrain, good water supply & mixed dense forest which is green for most part of the year! And Kiran sir has given up Pune city’s concrete jungle life & settled at Nagzira, a brave decision which not many can afford to take! Now he is documenting more wild life at Nagzira & surrounding & helping forest dept in conservation as well upbringing of nearby villagers.

In one such effort he took us to a small earthen mini-dam which is on the border rather is the border between Pitizari village & main forest i.e. core. This small dam is wonderful water source for many wild animals making them (wild animals) able to fulfill their thirst without coming in the village for search of water but the dam seldom remains full even with good rains is the problem. And that’s because the stored water gets seep/drain away below the base of the dam & he was requesting someone to look in it as if this dam remains full in summer then many man- animal conflicts can be saved. I think such issues the forest dept must be authorized along with proper infrastructure to deal by themselves instead going in to Red Tapezium of which dept’s job is it i.e. Irrigation or Revenue types! As in the process seasons came & go & the dam remains empty in summer & friction between animals & men living around the forests keeps increasing & we all know the outcome of it!

Well, after discussing such issues with Kiran sir we headed inside Nagzira & this time we were to stay in the interior of the forest besides a beautiful lake in forest dept’s accommodation & that’s main attraction of this trip for me! As inside forest there you see or feel or live the wilderness in totality as after evening safari post your dinner, its just 8pm something which in city is your home coming time & here that’s end of the day. The darkness settles around you & there you understand what pitch black darkness means! You can see star-lit sky up above but down on ground below the canopy of the trees you can’t see even you own stretched hand & there you know what kind of life it must be for many who lives in that darkness for years, yes I am referring to forest dept people, patrolling guards & villagers or say farmers or even forest labors too! This darkness tells you to see the forest in night by your other senses like smell & hear as eyes are useless. Though after some time (it means months & years) even human eyes gets used to darkness but we are no match for eyes of a tiger or a leopard in night is a fact which makes you feel so vulnerable that you don’t know its watching you but you can’t see those watching eyes! And especially the city people like us get literally blind in the night at place like Nilay stay i.e. forest rest house in Nagzira but then that’s fun isn’t it? We pay thousands of rupees to visit Disneyland’s Theme parks & get scared by the roller-coaster rides there but we ignore such equally exiting experiences which are right in our backyard! This is why one should visit places like Nagzira but the hitch is the stays inside most of the forests are going to be banned by Hon SC or some govt dept’s order & soon it will be just left to our imagination how the night with the forests are! Yet we can have night safaris in the buffers (forests outside of main park) of many tiger parks now which does  makes us able to explore the night life in darkness of forests & believe me it gets nature on our platter in all together different way, something one has to experience can be explained! Again there are many who will say already tourists (humans) are making lives of animals miserable by their presence in forests in day time what’s need to bother the poor fellows at night also? Agreed, but there always can be balance struck between making humans (read as tourists) & animals on one platform in a controlled manner. We are the biggest threat to the animals, birds, reptiles, fish & every other living creature than humans is a fact, so unless we make these species our friend, how we are going to understand their importance around us & from that angle we need to know them, see them in every possible way & darkness is one best platform or say exposure for that! Some moments in the darkness in any forest & trust me if there is some human part left in the person visiting forests, then definitely he or she will start loving the nature in totality more & that’s the outcome we need if we want to conserve or save the nature (read as forests) which includes us also!

I am lucky to have visited many such nature’s treasures & that’s why it’s not what I sighted or what images I have clicked matter to me now (well personal level I like that aspect of forests also i.e. photography) but more than that it’s the time spent in every hour of the day which has given me immense joy as well helped me to understand nature as well myself in a better way!

Coming back to sightings, in winters (well Nagzira was cold) Central India’s forests may be a bit disappointing  on tiger sightings but the forests are at their best with lots of birds & then luck is always most important thing in forests. On one such evening the gypsy was taking turns through wooded path & suddenly a sloth bear was walking ahead of us in search of food i.e. termites. For nearly thirty minutes we were observing it from a distance as it’s a shy animal but it was so involved in its food search that it hardly took any cognizance of our presence. The way a sloth bear search & digs soft soil for termite is worth seeing & there in forest you realize hardships of life for every animal irrespective of its size & power as everything has to be hard earned by sheer physical labor i.e. no machinery or searching tools like Google maps are there to make your hunting easy! I think Nagzira is yet unexplored & got shadowed by the other tiger-centric places nearby & a lot can be done to make the villagers life better by providing tourist-centric infrastructure here. At the same time nigh safaris in buffer can be started along with dinner at native resident’s homes as it’s not just tigers & leopards which makes a forest but the people living around them are also equally part of the forests & we need to understand their life (read as problems) also as then only we can save the forests in totality!
Coming back to sightings though Nagzira refrained me from any of tiger or leopard (well our other group do got to see a leopard) but my next short trip to Pench MP was tiger treat! Two years back with my family friend when I have visited Pench in winters, there was no sighting of a tiger in nearly eight safaris making my friend doubt whether the tiger’s images I post are downloaded from web sites & this time it’s like raining tigers. Well, no change of fortune or miracle but nearly with four of the tigresses with cubs, sightings are bound to increase. This is one aspect I always tell to people who goes to forests for tiger sighting & nothing wrong in it, the animal has that magic is a fact! We should take information from the locals about zones (part of the forests) & tigers or say kind of movements happening before you plan your visit to any forest, it helps as even after all this survey luck is an important aspect in any sighting, not just tigers’ as forest is not some Netflix movie which you can run or pause at your will & that’s real fun of visiting forests! One thing I noticed in my this trip is park management, the facilities like toilets at center point in the forest are immaculate like any five star hotel’s lobby & the entrance gate & infrastructure for tourists (Nagzira, you can blindly copy it, nothing wrong in copying good things around & improvising it in our way) as these small things does matters. I think there should be more openness among the forest officials while meeting tourists & understanding their issues or suggestions as well the tourists also needs to understand difficulties the forest people has to face at such remote places & accommodate or say support them in every possible way, discipline is one very easy to start with! The Park Director at Pench Mr. Vikram Sing & his team (including one young RFO Raju Rajput) were delight to meet & interact especially!

To conclude, the trip was organized by Jungle Belles, run by my friends Hemangi, Aarti & Anuj, who are taking every effort to meet city women & this natural heavens (forests), which if on one side is like rejuvenation of our stressed out EMI-centric life then it’s also making us aware about our responsibility to support every that person who is part of making these heavens named forests survives for us!
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Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org
Take your issues to Hon PM at link below..
Think Green, Think Life


Monday, February 10, 2020

A Ritual Named Union Budget & Real Estate!






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“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”... Joe Biden.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is an American politician who served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Biden also represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, Biden is a candidate for president in the 2020 election! Needless to say when such words are spoken by a person who is contesting world’s most powerful country’s head post, they do carry lots of weight! Indeed USA also has many leaders who are just “boal bachhans” yet it’s most leader’s opinions or thought process does amazes me always in comparison with our most leaders! Needless to say above quote of Mr. Biden I remembered as our yearly ritual was just through, yes I am referring to Union Budget or The Budget! Every year come Feb & all eyes, ears, mind & whatever you call i.e. senses of the businessmen as well common man are directed towards only one thing that what Budget will bring for them & as usual it comes & went, with a handful understanding that they have really benefitted or hurt;  rest all the country forgets about budget the next day its announced & goes back to respective routine! There are many Memes & Jokes (forwards) a day before & a day after about the budget & its impact on various professions (read as common man), one particular I liked & that was… In India numbers of economic experts on 30th Jan= 785, on 31st Jan = 3,74,000, on 1st Feb= 3,74,000 & on 2nd Feb = 785! I think this explains the importance of impact of the union budget & its short life span, in minimum words rather figures. And then as per the rituals, the media covers key people’s reaction about budget & these are also mostly same, the top level businessmen (Ambanis’ & Adanis’ are never in this list) of every segment gives careful reactions, it’s like what they say in Marathi “tond dabun bukkayncha maar” means someone punches you hard in the belly but your mouth is gagged, so you can’t shout but absorb the pain in silence! Few industrialist which are not actually working says some sharp negative words about lack of vision in budget & stuff like that, opposition party’s leaders hails budget as against interest of common man (read as farmers, poor & others) while ruling party’s leaders praise PM & FM about their kind consideration for the common man as well industry & how this budget will give us (read as country) back glory & make India a super power on world horizon & the event or festival or ritual named budget is over! Nothing changes except names (and roles) of all above people in their comments about budgets & oh yes there always are photographs of some house wife or a auto rickshaw driver or some person travelling in PMT (I still can’t call it PMPML) as well some young IT guy or girl as how budget has made impact on their life, how can media forget common man after all!

I wonder whether in USA or any such developed country there is such hype about the budget which actually is just a routine part of administration of the country, I am sure there must be some talks but not such frenzy as the reason is before presenting any budget all or at least majority stake holders are taken in confidence & the budget isn’t something which you make overnight & submit! It’s a yearlong procedure or supposedly has to be that way, so you can keep eye on problems & issues affecting economy of every sector of the society & makes provision in the budget to solve that problem in a way which is acceptable to the concerned segment! If that’s done properly then nobody has to discuss much on the budget post its release as most people knows what’s been served through the budget, so there is no shock oh my god types impacting share market sentiments (which actually gets affected by anything why just budget)!

Well, now let’s keep aside all other segments & see how real estate is affected (is it really?) by this year’s union budget. If you have some memory left in the era of Google & Alexa then recall it regarding last three or four years union budget & reactions from the real estate leaders (there are still some left) & all are saying this year’s budget isn’t any good for the real estate for last nearly four years at least! Looking as those news headlines of their interviews about budget, I remembered Lagan movie’s dialogue of a villager who looks at passing clouds in the sky & comments “is saal bhi barish nahi hogi” i.e. there won’t be monsoon (rains) this year also!! So what’s the problem of real estate is actually, why they are not happy with any of the budget is something common man thinks about real state people (read as builders) especially when they earn so much profit that most people envy builders & their lives life style & yet they seems to be complaining about the budget not good, “baat kuch hajam nahi huai”! For that we need to understand what real estate’s problems are in first place, I mean present problems & first of it is sales are not good rather bad for last few years! This many will say is a general problem as even automobile sector sales has hit all time low & so are many other goods, how can govt take guaranty of sale of some product? Indeed, govt can’t & shouldn’t take guaranty of any good’s sale & real estate also is not an exception for this rule! But why sales are not happening is definitely something govt needs to look when demand is there & that’s the problem of real estate. Here is a simple example, if there is no demand for sugar & sugar sales are dropping, govt can’t make people to eat sugar forcefully but if people want sugar & yet sugar is not available in markets, does still the govt will do nothing about it? No, govt see that enough quantity of sugar is available in the market at affordable price & of good quality, for the demand for sugar! This is simplest analogy for real estate’s scene, which comes to my mind as an engineer as I am zero when its economics & finance like most common men in which real estate’s clients are also included! So, the problem or real estate & the country is, millions rather billions of people needs home to live which is their basic need & there are thousands of people in the market which are ready to fulfill that needs of the homes of these billions but something is going wrong as what these thousands of people are building is neither viable to the billions of home buyers nor its viable for the people who are building these homes & this has to be looked by the govt & for that budget is remedy which is not happening, is the problem of real estate!

And accept it that already with land prices all across the country going sky rocketing how the govt thinks of keeping home prices in control of which land is a raw material, is what I wonder! As on one side govt itself gives twice the market price of land for any acquisition in Urban areas & the same ratio goes to four times in rural areas, so how we expect these land lords to give land at cheaper rate for home building! And then a home is costliest commodity already as a basic Mercedes car comes at Rs 35 lac which is considered as luxury & for riches where as in the top ten cities of the country a one room kitchen flat comes nearly at same rate which is a basic need of masses, now you can see the problem real estate is facing! Here is where the govt must sit with real estate’s wise minds & then make the provision in the budget & not just going by some sentiments or some senior bureaucrats(with due respect) who themselves has not build even a two stored structure by themselves & tried to sell it!

And in the pain list first comes GST, as  no one will say don’t charge GST but there has to be rationalization in it & in a product like home which is nearly a thousand ingredients assembling outcome, with every item different GST, it’s a mess in the end to summit it & on top of it the client has to pay only 5% of GST that too if it’s a ready possession home then there is zero GST, so the builder is going to get rebate for the GST he has paid, no one has any answer or no one (read govt) doesn’t bother to answer is a bitter fact! And then there are such hundreds of issues at local levels as real estate is local govt controlled business & hundreds of agencies are involved in completing it & every agency wants its cut from the cake named home & yet the builder is supposed to load all these expenses on the end product (read as home) & sale it, which was possible till last few years, not anymore! As somewhere two things has happened, first is the home prices where homes are needed have soured out of buying capacity of the needy people & then the buying capacity also has reduced i.e. money which usually a person would have saved to buy a home, he or she isn’t unable to save that much & both these things has hampered the sale of homes. This aspect is what the budget must take in account via policies or say via taxation regarding the real estate industry, is simple demand of the real estate!

Nobody is saying make the GST or Income Tax zero on homes but at least consider this industry as an essential commodity, agreed the profit earning tendency or margins of the builders must be curbed as well the investors in the real estate also must be controlled from black-marketing type scene with homes (flats or land) but at the same time any business survives on investors as what are even the Nationalized Banks but investors, isn’t it! And see their lending policies or interest rates which are charged for the real estate, they are worst than any private money lender! Sorry my words won’t be liked by many bankers but rate of interest including all the surcharges goes to nearly 16% & above for housing project & then one has to give collateral of nearly equal amount of the loan so that funds also gets blocked & then who is carrying burden of all these interest as well funding cost but the end home buyer, so in the process of safe-guarding the banks (read as their profits) we have taken away homes beyond buying capacity of needy home buyers as well even the builders as with such finance polices no one will dare to be a builder anymore! This aspect is what the budget should cover is what real estate expects from budget!

And lastly a union budget has to be backed up by the execution policies of the govt as then only it gets some sanctity & when I say govt then for me PMC (local governing body), MSEDCL, Revenue, Environment dept, Urban Development, Income Tax dept, GST dept & every that table which ask me for some NOC or to submit some returns, all comes under the tag Govt! All these agencies must be in tune to make the home making easier & faster as then only a builder can build the homes which will be dear to the home buyers pocket & then only the builder will get some money after making a home! After all, why one is in any business may it be a real estate or wada paav stall in first place but to make some money with mental peace & satisfaction & if all three are missing even then there will be the entities in the business but you don’t need a fortune teller what kind of the business it will be then, mind it “Mia Baap Sarkar”, this is what real estate expects you to take in consideration the yearly ritual or festival we call budget!

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.
Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below
www.punecorporation.org
Take your issues to Hon PM at link below..
Think Green, Think Life

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Monu Dubey; a Story of Hope for the Forests!





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“It’s not from where you have come, it’s where you intend to go is what matters most”... Cobe Bryant.

Well, what better tribute I can give to the name which was living legend not just because of he was Super Star of Basket ball but a great athlete & an inspiring personality which ignited millions of kids across the world with his attitude towards not just game but life! It said about Cobe that he was the first to hit the court (basketball ground) & last to leave even in practice but that’s what makes you great! And when my sharing is about one young man which may not be as famous as Cobe but does it always needed to make big on the scale of name, fame or money to become great! Certainly not, as even the smallest acts or achievements can make you feel great & that’s what matters most isn’t it?
Well, won't stretch your curiosity much, the name I am referring is some twenty six odd years old Monu Dubey! He is related to wild life & he is not any world class wild life photographer or researcher or forest officer, neither he run any NGO regarding wild life conservation & he is not even associated with any “Save Tiger” activity as a volunteer! He is a wild life tour operator who owns a small resort on the border of Pench National Park in village Turia, MP! Many will say what’s big or great in it, there must such thousands of Monu’s all along the country’s forests & what make them great as they are earning money by selling wild life rather isn’t the wild life tourism is a disturbance to the wild life, let the poor animals live in peace! And it’s not just wild life conservationist (well, there are many versions of this species actually) but the system which is supposedly work to protect forests i.e. Forest Dept, many officers of the same also thinks on these lines & I don’t blame any of them & we haven’t yet understood the concept of conservation of wild life in first place! Sorry, my this statement will look a bit bold &  leave apart Monu , many of you will doubt on my capacity or ability to comment about wild life conservation in first place & I don’t blame you for that also! Indeed I am a civil engineer & a builder by profession but then what a civil engineer or a builder does, can you answer this question? I know simple answer is a civil engineer builds buildings, structures which causes maximum damage to the wild life & a builder just makes money out of such buildings! Hundred percent right but other side of this answer is its conservation of the worst species on this earth, yes we the humans as for whom a civil engineer builds all these buildings & to whom the builder sells these buildings & makes money, now answer that also guys!  Answer is we the humans buy all the homes & use the structures like bridges, industries, dams which are build by the civil engineer who helps in conservations of humans species, isn’t it? So, who better than me can comment when the subject is conservation as may it be a tiger or a leopard or a jackal or a frog or a fish or a flamingo or a maldhok (list is endless) or may it be humans, rules of conservation are same & they are give enough space & food to the species along with some privacy & the species survives on its own, simple funda, isn’t it? But when applicable to any other species than humans it’s not that simple as apart from humans no other species is privileged with civil engineers or builders or has industries build to make the products for life’s comforts etc etc & this is why Monu is great!

Sure you must be confused, where the track is going; well let me tell you something more about Monu Dubey & then will explain logic of this off-track sharing! Some eight years back I used to see a young, lanky & smart boy as a driver in Pench National Park & going by the age he was very enthu (to show the tiger to the tourists) & a times reckless also when its tiger sighting to his tourists & has been paid for the recklessness by the park authorities! But then he must be hardly eighteen years old then & just started his career with wild life as a gypsy driver & at that age we all are enthu & reckless but then Monu was something more than that! He was confident & loved his job, not just because he used to get paid but for what he was doing i.e. making people see a tiger. Again many won’t like it as wild life is not just tiger sighting, yes I know that stuff that every species in jungle is equally important & so yet a fact remains 90% tourists comes to forests to see the tiger & I see no wrong in it as our govt’s tourism dept’s also advertise (read encash) tourism on the tiger only! As first job by me is to make the city people to come to forests & then only they will like the forests & then follows the conservation part, is a sheer logic. And for that as I always say, the first timers in any tiger park (forest) must get to see a tiger so their lover, affection, tempo, and interest whatever you call it, to visit the forests gets conserved & indeed tiger has that magic in it!

And Monu knew this fact & that’s why I see no wrong in his enthusiasm which sometimes goes overboard to make his tourists see the tiger & then he was too young also then. Years passed & the young Monu started capturing images of tigers first & then the forests as well other species too & being an internet media genre, he understood importance of sharing these images with outer world too. So even I wasn’t visiting Pench often the FB platform kept me updates of Pench as well Monu. And then the young boy who is getting matured knew just driving gypsy as  driver won’t take him where he wanted to go & slowly he started making friends with tourists & for that being in touch even when they have are not in Pench is important & with internet & social media that’s possible, all one needed to use that which Monu did! And then he was just a driver so if the rooster system doesn’t makes his name (well, rooster system is by which turn by turn the drivers & guides get to serve tourists so as all of them can get assured income) he won’t be able to go in the forest & that’s hurdle for his ambitions. So he targeted owning a gypsy by himself & then come next step i.e. owning a stay place for the tourists (read as hotel or resort). I don’t know much about Monu’s family background except he is local Turia boy (village of entry gate of Pench) but sure he wasn’t having much of wealth inherited except a small piece of land near forest gate in Turia. Most important aspect for the hard core wildlifers for their forest trips is a clean, decent place near to entry gate as that make commuting to the gypsy’s’ as gate easy & saves time as well if you enter the forest first then chances of big animals (read as tiger, leopard, sloth bear) are more as their main movement time is early hours of morning. And from that point also Monu’s place was perfect as luxury isn’t a big item on agenda of wild life photographers but convenience & cleanliness is, which Monu knew with his exposure to many wild life tourists. And that’s exactly he induced while making his resort which has become instantly popular among wild life photographers. Though I had not been to Pench yet when I decided this winter my first call was to Monu only & right from arranging my pick up from Nagzira to booking safaris to dropping us back at Nagpur airport, everything was arranged by Monu with perfection & most importantly he understands communication promptness & its value a very rare aspect in our fellow countrymen especially those who are in service industry!  And I was happy the young boy has grownup now as he couldn’t come with us on any ride (safari) as he is busy in managing many things on cell phone & on net. And now no more he has to click wild life photographs on cell phone or a basic digital camera but has nice modern cameras with 300mm plus lenses & has clicked some real great shots, one of which has been won award in Sanctuary magazine also! The resort with ten plus rooms is nice & cozy & mostly full & in total Monu has provided employment to nearly some thirty odd youngsters from nearby villages around Pench forest in this process!

Frds, it’s not the gypsys’ Monu owns or the resort he has built but this last aspect i.e. employing the local boyz of the Monu’s journey which makes him great in my eyes. As you travel towards central part of India from Pune & post Aurangabad crossing Nagpur & most of MP, every youngster (despite of gender) wants to head towards Pune or Mumbai thinking that’s only option left for their career. On such background here is a boy who didn’t joined the rat race of running towards the cities but opted to stay where he belonged & survived & flourished, that’s great! Or there are those who want to join govt service & no govt can provide job to every individual of this population is a fact. And then those who can neither go to Pune nor get a govt job, the only option (for most) left is keep doing some petty things or surrender to illegal trades. And when you are residing near forest like Pench then we all know what kind of illegal trade it will be, right from poaching of animals to forest cutting to illegal fishing, there are many avenues available for such youngsters & there are entities also who are happy to show some rupees to these youngsters & make them surrender to jump on wrong side of the law! And then once you jump on wrong side of the law, then there is no coming back is a hard fact of life which most learns too late! What Monu has done in Turia , Pench in that journey lays the conservations’ solution; as only if the people around the forests survives happily with the forests then they only will make the forests & the animals within survive & grow; and for that we need more & more Monu Dubeys' around every piece of forest! It’s very easy to sit in city like Pune or Bangalore with a fat salary package & buy some fancy gears of photography & click wonderful images & get applauds for it & call ourselves wildlifer or saviors of wild life but its youngster like Monu are the real saviors of the wilderness as they decide to stay with the forests & make both of them survive. And such stories must be shared by not just few wild life lovers but by forest dept’s of all the States as well “Mai Baap” govt’s HR Ministry as this is what we need , an entrepreneur with business mind & heart of a wild lifer as or else do mind the conservation will remain just a conversation!

This mid February 20, Monu will start his new innings as a married man & what better marriage gift I could have given him than my this sharing, which I wanted actually to give him  a lot earlier but then as in forests they says, every moment has its own timing, so this is! All the best Monu Dubey, don’t stop here as your job has just started, mind it as today the threat of extinction looms on not just tiger but every single species of birds, tress, animals & fish but we the humans & people like you are the Hope, is all I will say!
Monu Dubey : 09685770170

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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