What is GST?

The Prime Minister is currently in Japan where he was asked when GST (Goods and Service Tax) will be implemented and he responded by saying that GST will not be implemented by the current government.

GST is one single tax that will replace all existing indirect taxes, and it is supposed to simplify the tax structure quite a bit. Currently there are several different types of taxes and compliance is relatively difficult and time consuming. GST will replace all these taxes and make it simpler for companies and individuals (it will also replace service tax) to comply.

Currently, the central and state governments charge taxes like excise duty, customs duty, VAT (Value Added Tax), Import Duty and Sales Tax but GST will replace all of these.

The problem with the implementation is that states will lose control on some of the taxes they impose and this may result in a tax loss for them. Because of this – negotiations about GST have become so difficult that the PM has accepted that his current government won’t be able to implement it. At this stage, it doesn’t look like the present government will be able to implement DTC (Direct Tax Code) either, and they might as well accept that.

Different countries have implemented GST for different reasons, and they take different forms as well. Some countries have a uniform rate for every thing while other countries have a few rates that are applied across the board. Two things however are clear from their examples – implementing GST has not been easy for anyone, and once implemented, no one has tried to go back so it must work well. For example, Australia first tinkered with the idea in 1980s when it got shot down, and then the idea was re-floated  in 1991 by the opposition, but the opposition had so much difficulty in explaining the tax that they lost the ‘unloseable’ election.

It is difficult to imagine that GST will be implemented easily in India, and when it does get implemented, it will most likely be a complex structure because nothing simple can replace the current structure.

The other important aspect of GST is that it is a Value Added Tax and at every step of the process producers get tax credit with the end customer getting no credit at all.

So to summarize, GST is a simpler tax system that seeks to replace the several types of taxes that currently exist, a lot of countries in the world have some form of GST already implemented, implementation has not been easy for any of them, and GST is a type of Value Added Tax.

Gold funds versus Gold ETFs

2013 has been tough for gold ETFs and gold fund of funds so far, and it also happens to be the only six or seven month time period when gold funds have been down. This gives us a good opportunity to see if gold funds behave differently from gold ETFs during down periods.

Last year I had done a post on the best performing gold ETFs and gold funds and one of the clear trends in that was that gold ETFs gave slightly better returns than gold mutual funds. This is because gold mutual funds have an added expense layer on top of the expenses that the ETFs have to incur. However, there is no brokerage or transaction cost if you buy a mutual fund as opposed to an ETF and this is where gold funds have an edge on gold ETFs. You can also do a SIP comparatively easier on gold funds, and this is another aspect where gold funds score over gold ETFs.

In the six month period so far the trend of gold ETFs doing better than gold funds has been reversed and I find that gold funds have fallen slightly lesser than gold ETFs. Here is the data from Value Research. 

Name 6 Month Return
 ICICI Prudential Regular Gold Savings -17.53
 SBI Gold -17.61
 Quantum Gold Savings -17.9
 Axis Gold -18.05
 HDFC Gold -18.09
 ICICI Prudential Gold ETF -18.2
 R*Shares Gold ETF -18.31
 Canara Robeco Gold Savings Regular -18.34
 Birla Sun Life Gold ETF -18.35
 Religare Invesco Gold -18.44
 Quantum Gold -18.5
 Religare Invesco Gold ETF -18.52
 Axis Gold ETF -18.54
 Goldman Sachs Gold ETF -18.56
 Canara Robeco Gold ETF -18.58
 IDBI Gold -18.6
 UTI Gold ETF -18.62
 SBI Gold ETS -18.64
 HDFC Gold ETF -18.65
 IDBI Gold ETF -18.66
 Kotak Gold ETF -18.67
 Motilal Oswal MOSt Shares Gold ETF -18.69
 Kotak Gold -18.7
 Reliance Gold Savings -18.71
 Birla Sun Life Gold -19.05

As you can see, generally, gold fund of funds have fared better than gold ETFs, and I think this may be because gold fund of funds have a little bit of extra cash parked in fixed income securities to help with redemptions that gold ETFs do not. I can’t think of any other reason why this could be the case.

When gold fund of funds were first introduced I felt that investing in ETFs directly was much better but as time has gone by I have realized that there is very little difference between the two and if you are a small investor then you are better off with gold fund of funds as you save on transaction charges and SIPs are easy to set up.

Having seen these two products since their launch, I now feel that gold fund of funds have an edge over gold ETFs for most small investors.

Dogs that count print their food using quantum computers

It is amazing to think of all the things that Google is involved with and how it is like a giant research lab which has become such an important part of everyone’s lives. Google has recently partnered with NASA to open a lab with a quantum computer — called the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.

On to something more mundane – India and China take steps to reduce their trade gap.

In other news involving our neighbors, 13 Pakistani Police Officers Killed in Blast.

There has been clarification that no tax exemption will be given on the inflation indexed bonds.

Fascinating story about NASA is funding a 3D printer that can potentially print food!

Interesting and amusing story of a person who was hit by lightning, I always thought it was lethal but turns out that’s not the case.

Finally, can dogs count?  

Enjoy your weekend!

Why are bonus shares issued and what are their advantages?

Rajeev posted the following comment yesterday:

Rajeev Srivastava May 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm [edit]

Hi Manshu,

I am curious to know about implications of bonus issue of shares. Is there any existing post on this at onemint?


This is a good topic for a post, and I thought I would broaden the scope a little and answer why a company issues bonus shares and then my opinion on the implications of a bonus issue. I use ‘opinion’ because I’m not going to use any data to share what I think about bonus issues.

Why does a company issue bonus shares?

When a company issues a bonus shares the price of its existing shares come down by about the same ratio as the bonus shares that have been issued. So if the bonus issue is 1:1 which means they are issuing one additional share for each existing share, the market price of the share will roughly halve.

When the price falls, the liquidity of the share improves, and that to me is the primary reason for a company to issue bonus shares. I think an example shows this quite well. What if a single share of a company was Rs. 93,26,940 – how many people do you think will trade in this share?

What if the same share was worth Rs. 6,177? Wouldn’t a lot more people now trade in this share?

The two prices I took were the price of Berkshire Hathaway’s class A and class B shares. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway never paid a dividend, issued a bonus, or conducted a split for decades and as a result their class A share is worth roughly $167,000.

I feel that the primary reason for all splits and bonus issues is allowing the share price to fall in value to facilitate trading.

What are the advantages of issuing bonus shares?

Facilitating trading is the one big benefit of issuing bonus shares, but this is from the perspective of the company, how do investors benefit from bonus issues?

People view bonus issues as a positive action, but I’m not sure why that is. As soon as the number of shares increase, the value of each share goes down in value, so theoretically there are no gains to be had just because of a bonus issue.

I came across a Business Today article about the features and advantages of bonus issues and according to the data they analyzed – there is a good chance that the companies that issued bonus shares rise in the year after the issue. You can read the whole article to see the data they looked at and then their interpretation of it. My own opinion on this is that this is one of those things where correlation does not always mean causation.

The companies they looked at rose, but what about other similar companies? How much did the companies that rose actually rose and for how long? They stopped after a year but what after that year?

I don’t know what the answer to these questions is but I’ve never come across anything that showed without doubt that bonus issues  are an indication that the company will outperform the market.

Tanishq Gold Harvest Scheme Review

Manish Chauhan wrote about gold saving schemes recently and he briefly mentioned Tanishq Gold Harvest scheme in his article and I thought this was an interesting product.

Main Benefit of a Gold Savings Scheme

In the past when I’ve heard about gold savings schemes from jewelers, the primary benefit is that they allow you to save up monthly and build a substantial sum over a period of time, and they also allow you to lock in to the gold price that is prevailing at the time of your installment.

So, if you started the scheme today, they would lock down today’s rate at least for the amount of the installment you pay. This has been useful in the past with gold’s steady march upwards, and is a good thing for people who know they will need to buy jewelry at a certain date.

Tanishq Gold Harvest Scheme Key Benefit

The Tanishq Gold Harvest Scheme differs from these other type of schemes in that sense because they don’t lock down a price for you but instead sell you the jewelry at the rate prevailing at the end of the scheme.

Why lock down your money with them at all then?

The benefit of this scheme is that they give you a discount of sorts, where you pay 11 installments, and then Tanishq pays the 12th installment for you. I’ve seen some articles use the simple interest calculation but that’s not the correct way to calculate the return on this. You need to use IRR to calculate the return as BasuNivesh has rightly done, and I see that the annualized return on this type of this is about 19%.

This is a really good return, and you won’t find a similar rate in recurring deposits which to me is the comparable product.

So, if you knew you wanted to buy gold jewelry from Tanishq in the future, I would say this is a handy scheme and that’s perhaps the reason it has 15 lakh customers already.

Disadvantages of Tanishq Gold Harvest Scheme

The disadvantages of this scheme are fairly obvious too.

You are locked in with Tanishq, and can’t buy jewelry from anywhere else; you get the rate of a later date even though you are paying money in advance.

You don’t have the option of stopping the scheme mid way and take your money back once you start the scheme, you have to complete it and then buy the jewelry.

Who is this scheme suitable for?

Thinking of all these factors, I think the Tanishq Gold Harvest Scheme is ideal for people who are planning to buy gold from Tanishq in the future anyway. Save a little every month, and take advantage of their bonus.

For people who want to buy gold jewelry in the future but don’t care if it is from Tanishq or others, I’d say this can still be a better option than a jeweler who lets you lock down on the day’s rate but that would depend on how much you think gold will appreciate in the next year.

For people who want to buy gold as an investment, I’ve never felt jewelry was a great option because of the making charges, and the loss you incur when you go to sell it back, and you should instead look for options to own gold coins or gold ETFs, e-Gold etc.

India’s Possible Electricity Export to Pakistan

I was surprised to read that Pakistan is contemplating importing 1,000 MW of electricity from India as I wasn’t aware that this has been discussed once earlier in 2012 as well.

Pakistan faces shortage of electricity regularly, and needs some short term measures to bridge the gap between demand and supply, but the surprising part to me was that India is not a surplus electricity generator itself, so how can India export electricity to Pakistan or for that matter, any other country?

I started by seeing if India exports electricity to any other country, and it appears that India does export electricity to Nepal with plans to start electricity exports to Bangladesh as well.

I think these are the only two countries that India exports any electricity as I couldn’t find any information on exports to other countries.

Among its neighbors, India imports electricity from Bhutan and that’s because Bhutan has surplus electricity generation.

According to MOSPI data – India consumed 6,12,645 GWh of electricity in 2010 – 11 so the 1,000 MW electricity export is a rather tiny amount, and I think this is more of a diplomatic step aimed at improving relationships rather than a measure that will have any meaningful impact on India’s overall trade or electricity production and consumption.  In that sense this is probably similar to the 1000 metric tons of onion imports from Pakistan back in the early part of 2011, except that Pakistan didn’t have an onion shortage of its own.

Update: As xyz has pointed out in comments below, we can’t estimate how much electricity we will end up exporting based on the information currently available and therefore my conclusion is inaccurate. I have canceled out that part of the post, and I apologize for my oversight. 

India – China Trade Imbalance

India and China have a very skewed trade relationship in terms of relative importance of one to the other. China is by far India’s largest trading partner with a total trade of $75 billion between the two countries in 2012, but India doesn’t feature very high in China’s list.

I was curious to see how big a trading partner is for China, and I wasn’t able to get to 2012 numbers, but I did find China’s trading partners for 2011, and here is how that list stands:

Country or Region Exports Imports Total Trade Percentage to Total
European Union 3560 2112 5672 22.14%
United States 3245 1222 4467 17.44%
Hong Kong, China 2680 155 2835 11.07%
ASEAN 1701 1928 3629 14.17%
Japan 1483 1946 3429 13.38%
Republic of Korea 829 1627 2456 9.59%
India 505 234 739 2.88%
Russia 389 403 792 3.09%
Taiwan, China 351 1249 1600 6.25%
Grand Total 25619

Numbers in 100 Millions USD

This is how it looks like in a graph.

China's Trading Partners
China’s Trading Partners

A lot of people have the misconception that since India and China have similar populations, the trade numbers are also the same, but this is simply not true. Like it or not, India is a lot more dependent on China for trade than China is on India. India also runs a massive trade deficit with China, and that’s the reason why India has been and needs to push China to allow import of more Indian goods and services to even out the trade balance between the two nations.

Just Dial IPO Review

Justdial offers local search services where you can search for a service around you using your cellphone, SMS, or just the internet. In fiscal 2012 they addressed 254.3 million searches on their platform, and that shows that it is a fairly big platform. I don’t think there is another local search engine in India that has these kind of numbers.

Just in case you’re wondering, Google said sometime ago that it addresses more than 100 billion searches a month. 

Justdial makes its money by advertising, and the way that works is that they have sponsors that pay to be displayed along side the organic search results that Just Dial shows.

So if I search for pizza home delivery near Chembur – Just Dial shows me links from Pizza Hut, Dominos etc. and then towards the right they have links for Pizza Craft, Smoking Pizzas etc. which are their advertisers and have paid to be listed there. You can see an example in the screenshot below. Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 2.02.00 PM

Justdial is debt free, cash flow positive and profitable so obviously the local search business is doing well for them. The company made Rs. 2,770.2 million in fiscal 2012 with a net profit of Rs. 522.8 million. The cash from operations was Rs. 1,166.05 million last fiscal. The EPS last year was Rs. 6.54 and it was Rs. 7.19 in the nine month period this fiscal.

The price band for this IPO is Rs. 470 to Rs. 543, so if you were to just annualise the EPS last year – the P/E ratio at the lowest multiple is about 49. So, the IPO is richly valued, however, there is a safety net in the Just Dial IPO so retail investors are at least guaranteed that their principal is secure for six months.

This IPO is akin to PSU disinvestment in the sense that proceeds from the IPO will go to existing shareholders, and the company won’t get any of the money. When you look at how much cash the company has generated over the past, and the capital expenses, it does seem like there is no need for the company to raise additional cash so in that sense I feel that the company isn’t losing out on anything, and the current market conditions give the promoters a good opportunity to cash out a little.

Retail investors will also get a discount of Rs. 47 and I feel that anyone interested in IPOs or direct equity this might be a good option to dip your toes in. However, IPOs haven’t done so well in the past few years and the general optimism in the market along with the rich valuation of this particular IPO makes me feel that it isn’t that great a deal for investors.

Understanding Inflation Indexed Bonds

This post is written by Shiv Kukreja, who is a Certified Financial Planner and runs a financial planning firm, Ojas Capital in Delhi/NCR. He can be reached at skukreja@investitude.co.in

Budget 2013 had “next to none” changes for the Indian taxpayers, investors or savers. As far as the investment options are concerned, some minor changes were made in the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) and a new kind of bonds got proposed to be introduced from June 2013.

Most of you must be aware about it by now, these are Inflation-indexed bonds (IIBs) or inflation-indexed national security certificates which will link their capital appreciation to inflation rates.

High inflation has left Indian investors earning negative real interest rates and that ways, it has reduced their purchasing power also. Investments by Indian households in financial instruments have also dipped to its record lows in the recent times. IIBs, by definition, are meant to provide protection against inflation to its investors.

The basic idea behind launching these bonds is to incentivise Indian household sector to invest in financial instruments rather than buy gold and thereby hedge the investors’ investments against high inflation and lower the gold demand here in India.

As per the Economic Survey of 2013: “Gold is considered as a hedge against inflation. Investors, especially in the middle-class, invest their savings in gold, which, in turn, has created a huge demand for the yellow metal. This necessitated imports, resulting in foreign exchange outgo, causing concerns for the RBI and the government. Like gold, the investment in IIBs would help hedge against inflation.”

India is the largest importer of gold in the world as people have a charm of owning it as jewellery and they also have a view that the gold prices always increase over a period of time, even if there is a small fall in its prices in the short term.

India imports a large percentage of its gold consumption and makes payments in foreign currency for the same. A rise in gold demand and its imports results in a rise in demand for dollars which is a big negative factor for our economy as it results in a fall in the value of Indian rupee and a higher current account deficit (higher imports – lower exports). Ultimately, it results in even higher inflation.

IIBs are not new to the financial markets. The RBI had introduced inflation-indexed bonds some years ago, which, however, did not take off due to poor response. It was then decided to re-design the instrument.

RBI has been advocating the re-introduction of IIBs for quite some time now and it also brought forward a technical paper on IIBs in October 2010.

IIBs – Good for the Govt.

IIBs benefit both the investors as well as the issuers. Research suggests that during inflationary periods, the government’s weighted average cost of market borrowings through IIBs would be cheaper in comparison to nominal dated securities and thus it would be able to raise its required borrowings in a cost effective manner. It also suggests that the nominal interest payouts would be in line with the revenues of the government, leaving minimum mismatches on account of inflation.

Also, if the government succeeds in its attempt to attract a portion of investors’ money invested in gold or gold-linked instruments towards these IIBs, then it would reduce our import bill to some extent.

Structure of Inflation-Indexed Bonds

First tranche of Series I IIBs will be issued by the RBI on June 4, 2013 and it will carry a fixed real coupon rate which will be announced by the RBI in due course. The principal on the IIBs will be indexed to inflation and the coupon will be calculated on the indexed principal. So, the investors will receive inflation-adjusted interest payments periodically on the indexed value of their initial investment.

At the time of maturity also, the investors will get inflation-adjusted principal repayments or their original principal investments, whichever is higher.

Unlike many other countries where the CPI is widely used, the RBI has decided to use the final inflation numbers based on the wholesale price index (WPI) for setting the coupon rate on IIBs. As per the RBI – “Unavailability of a single CPI representing the consumption basket of all sections of society in India renders it impractical to be used in indexation of IIBs”. In the past also, WPI was used for indexing the capital indexed bonds (CIB) wherein principal was indexed at the time of redemption.

RBI has also announced that the final WPI inflation numbers with four months lag will be used as the reference WPI inflation. This is because many a times final WPI deviates widely from the provisional WPI, with even directional changes.

At present, the Office of the Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GoI releases the ‘provisional’ inflation numbers based on WPI with a lag of two weeks and ‘final’ inflation numbers based on WPI with a lag of two and a half months. For instance, provisional inflation numbers for May 2013 and final inflation numbers for March 2013 would get released on June 14, 2013. So, for indexation purposes in IIBs, final WPI inflation of May 2013 and June 2013 will be used as the reference WPI inflation for 1st October, 2013 and 1st November 2013, respectively.

How exactly it works

For example, assume an IIB issued at a face value of Rs. 1000 with a real coupon rate of 3% paid annually. If the annual inflation comes out to be 5% at the time of coupon payment, the principal of the bond would be re-calculated as Rs. 1050 and the coupon payment would be Rs. 31.50 i.e. Rs. 1050 * 3%.

Inflation-Indexed Bonds (IIBs):

Face Value: Rs. 1,000

Real Coupon Rate (or Inflation-Adjusted Coupon Rate): 3% per annum

Inflation at the time of Coupon payment: 2% or 5% or 8% (Three Scenarios)

Coupon Payment (in Rs.): [1,000*(1+2%)]*3% = Rs. 30.60 (or 3.06% on Rs. 1,000)

Coupon Payment (in Rs.): [1,000*(1+5%)]*3% = Rs. 31.50 (or 3.15% on Rs. 1,000)

Coupon Payment (in Rs.): [1,000*(1+8%)]*3% = Rs. 32.40 (or 3.24% on Rs. 1,000)

On the contrary, if there is a deflation of 2%, the indexed principal would be Rs. 980 and the coupon payment would be Rs. 29.40 i.e. Rs. 980 * 3%. However, at the time of maturity, as the principal to be received back can’t be less than the original face value of Rs. 1000, so it would either be the face value of the bond i.e. Rs. 1000 or a higher market price.

Index ratio (IR): Index Ratio will be used for indexation of the principal amount and will be computed by dividing reference index for the settlement date by reference index for issue date (i.e., IR set date = Ref. Inflation Index Set Date / Ref. Inflation Index Issue Date).

Tenors of the IIBs: First tranche of Series I will be issued for a tenor of 10 years, which is considered as the benchmark period in most of the dated securities. It is expected to have different maturities later on.

Issue Size: RBI plans to issue IIBs of Rs. 12000-15000 crore this financial year in various tranches and each tranche will be for Rs. 1000-2000 crore.

Reserved portion for Retail Investors: 20% of the issue size in the first tranche has been reserved for the retail investors. Series II of IIBs is expected to be announced in October, which will encourage exclusive participation from the retail investors.

At this juncture, it makes sense for the govt. to issue IIBs and it would help investors also in diversifying their asset portfolios. Moreover, investors will be able to participate in more productive assets rather than gold, which has cut down the financial savings dramatically. But, it remains to be seen how these bonds would evoke response from the investors this time around

Also read Deepak Shenoy’s post on Inflation Indexed Bonds as that has some good thoughts as well.


How to prepare for parents coming from India to USA?

I’ve often seen that when your parents first decide to vist you in the USA – a lot of time and energy goes into preparing for the visa, but once that is done, you don’t prepare as much for what they are going to do when they reach the country.

As a result, parents get terribly bored during their stay, and what should be a great holiday is reduced to weeks of boredom. There are several things that you can do to prepare for your parents who are visiting the US from India, and this is definitely a situation where a little planning can go a long way.


The first thing of course is the long flight. Non stop flights can be 15 hours, and other flights can make your journey extend up to a day or more. That alone is enough to discourage most people from flying. This is a long flight, and it’s not going to be comfortable for most people, but in reality it isn’t as much an ordeal as most people think it is either.

I’ve found that drinking a lot of water, having your own entertainment like loading a movie or two on your laptop, wearing comfortable slip on footwear and having ear muffs make the journey less arduous. It will never be a cakewalk, but these are simple things that you can do to make it a little easy to travel.

 Jet Lag

Jet lag can easily ruin the first week of your vacation, and you should try to beat the lag to whatever extent possible. The thing I’ve seen work for me best is to go to sleep only during the night no matter how tired you are when you reach your destination.

You can go out during the day and get some sunlight, meet people and do things that don’t strain you physically, and also keep you going throughout the day. Keep reminding yourself that you are trading a few tough sleepless hours for several jetlag free happy days. Here are some tips to beat jet lag.


These days you have great options to get Indian TV channels in the US, and if your parents are visiting, then you should definitely have the TV set up so they can see the same shows they were seeing in India. Find out the channels that they are used to watching, and then get a package that has all these channels. You may not get everything, but you can cover a lot of channels by researching thoroughly.


Even if you think your parents won’t move about much without you, it is better to get them a cellphone or if they have a cellphone then you can get a prepaid SIM card so they can keep the phone with them when they go out without you. You don’t want them in a situation where they are outside and don’t have an easy way to contact you. Prepaid cards are really cheap and all major carriers offer them.

You also need an easy and cheap way for them to call India so they can spend time on the phone without worrying about the bill. Things like Vonage, Google Hangouts, Skype etc. work great for these, and  you can choose an option that is most convenient for them.

Health Insurance

Buying health insurance is quite necessary for parents because if they fall sick then the doctor bills in the US can be really substantial and you don’t want to go through that.

You can buy a plan very easily in the US and I feel that’s better than buying health insurance from India. It’s not that the health insurance bought in India doesn’t work or there is a lot more deductible but from the few examples I know, you will have to pay money up front, and then claim the insurance money later on. While an American insurance from something like Seven Corners gets cashless facility, which is preferable.


The lack of public transport in most places in the US can become a big problem as parents can’t move about on their own, taxis are often too expensive to be used as a regular option, and that leaves very limited choices.

Some cities have van-pools or para-transits that can become a viable option, I think of these as a slightly better version of shared ricks.

How these work is they have a set area that they service, and you can call them up to come and pick you up from your house and then drop you at a certain location say the gym or the mall, and then call them back up and ask them to drop you back home. They are really cheap, and usually safe as well. You can read about one such service called the Pace Bus Paratransit service here to get a better idea of what I’m talking about. 

Weekend Getaways

It will most likely not be possible to spend a lot of time with your parents during the week when you have to go to work, but you can plan the weekends so you see something new every weekend. Most big cities have several places you can visit on a 3 hour drive, and that means a day trip or just staying a night, and returning next day. You don’t need a leave for such trips, and if you can find a handful of these then you will have the weekends to look up to.

Weekday Activities

If your parents did something regularly in India then try to find the equivalent in the US. The gym is an easy one, swimming is another one. If they were engaged in something that can also be done in the US then you should definitely explore it and see how practical it is to get them to do that in the US.

The other side of this is to try out new things which they never did in India, but are easily accessible in the US. You can look up golf lessons as one example, it isn’t very physically demanding, and not very expensive either. If you find three or four of these type of activities, that might be enough to fill up the day for the most part.

Visiting Friends and Relatives

I think social interaction is what parents miss the most when they are in the US, and if you have friends or relatives near your place that you can arrange lunch and dinners with that’s another good option to spend time pleasantly.


I always feel that you can make any situation better by being prepared and this is certainly one of them. Prepare well in advance, talk to your parents, talk to your friends, get ideas and don’t let a potentially great idea get ruined by boredom! You’re only there because of them, do all that you can to make them feel that way!

Finally some great ideas from IndusLadies on this topic.