Laughing in tough times

Karina Wegner is a psychologist in Australia’s sub-tropical Hervey Bay. Karina’s well-researched expert opinion is that “you should have as much fun as possible and laugh as much as you can. When you couple these together, you should be able to keep ‘depression’ (what they now call the disease of the 21st century) away.

“When you enjoy yourself and laugh, you will increase the serotonin levels in your body, thereby decreasing the risk of depression.

When my clients leave my office in Queensland’s Hervey Bay, my practice manager makes sure the client is laughing or at least smiling before they leave.

I have a waiting list of near three months and my clients travel long distances to see the “Optimistic Psychologist.”

University studies have shown laughter can improve your immune system. increase disease fighting antibodies and lower inflammation in the body.

Laughter increases heart rate and blood flow, and has similar health benefits to exercising. Endorphins are released during laughter, which helps to relieve pain, reduce cravings and stress, and slow the ageing process.

Humour can alleviate feelings of stress and depression.

It’s not always easy but when family and colleagues test your patience, put a smile on your face – even forced ones help. Try to find the humour in the situation and make a light-hearted comment. Not always easy, but give it a go!

INTO INDIA shares a few techniques to put a smile on your face:

Look at a photo of your favourite animal (hint – if you look at an Australian Koala you will definitely smile)

Listen to your favourite relaxing music

Sit quietly with no purpose, no agenda, just observe

Visit https://www.projectoptimism.com.au/

Visit https://www.centreforoptimism.com/

Best wishes to everyone and I hope you can find some smiles and laughter in these times – and if you do, share it with others?

Australian fund investing in India returns 69% in 12 months

Mugunthan Siva is CEO of India Avenue Investment Management

Thinking of investing in India? The India Avenue Equity Fund returned 69.4% over a year August 2020 ending 31 August 2021, outperforming its benchmark (MSCI India in AUD) by 14.4% in the same period.

India Avenue Investment Management (IAIM) is a boutique investment company focused on providing investment solutions for clients in Australia and New Zealand who seek exposure to India’s growth potential through its capital markets. Click here for their website:

Over the last month the India Avenue portfolio has started increasing exposure to companies leveraged to urban consumption thematics. Given India’s vaccination drive, it is anticipated that close to 100% of India’s urban population above the age of 20 will be vaccinated (currently vaccinating at a pace of more than 10m per day) by the end of 2021.

Recently they have added stocks to the portfolio which are focused on the food delivery model or restaurant chains and fast-food outlets that are likely to benefit from rising propensity to eat out of home. India’s food delivery market is expected to grow from around US$5bn to over US$20bn1 over the next five years. Factors which are propelling online delivery are:

• Changing lifestyles and eating habits, driven by the lack of availability of time and rising

wealth as well as the rising prominence of the change of household structure in cities.

• Rising digitization (internet and smart phone penetration), particularly amongst India’s

significant millennial population.

• Rising urbanisation of India

• Growing working population, particularly amongst young women.

• COVID-19 has propelled the urge to eat prepared food with contactless delivery points introduced by Zomato, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Dominoes etc.

The number of times Indians eat out rose from 2-4 times per month in 2010 to 6.6 times by the end of the last decade. Additionally, the average spends of a consumer rose from Rs.1000 to Rs.2500 in a month2

This was especially prevalent amongst India’s millennials in Tier I and Tier II city locations. This trend has been accentuated by food technology, social media and marketing, health, and wellness and as well as the evolution of consumer palates for ethnic diversity in food choice.

INTO INDIA has consistently pointed to the large number of vibrant Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities for trade and investment.

The CEO of IAIM is Mugunthan Siva – Mugunthan.Siva@indiaavenueinvest.com

Breathing program making Yale students happy coming to Australia in September

Art of Living – quick, simple program for happiness in tough times

A program from India that is being used at Yale University and many other American universities to improve wellbeing of students – is coming to Australia online.

Starting on 30 September, this short Pan Australia Happiness Program will be held in the Presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who creating the breathing technique that changes lives. INTO INDIA has been doing this program for many years and loves the energy and simplicity of it.

This is a super simple, quick and unbelievably powerful way to have a good day!

If you are feeling alone.

If covid is dominating your mind.

If your breathing is shallow.

If you feel anxiety and stress.

Step in and join a big and strong group of like-minded people who believe in contributing and creating waves of happiness, sharing, and caring that are so much required right now.   

Registration link: www.artofliving.org/au-en/program/6401

Videos: The videos below showcase how Breathing and Meditation can help us become stress-free

James Nestor, author of Breath, on his research & the power of SKY (Sudarshan Kriya)

Take a breath: What a new study from Yale reveals about stress and mental health

Art of Living Australia Foundation is looking forward to sharing this beautiful program with you and your friends and colleagues.

Contact for further information – Rohit 

Art of Living Happiness Program and Sri Sri Yoga Facilitator

0423 531 787

“Make others comfortable and you will see that Nature will take care of your comfort” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Affordability and lack of credit holding back India’s digital economy – but not for long

Nitin Jain is CEO and principal fund manager at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management (Singapore)

While predicting rapid growth, Nitin Jain of Kotak Mahindra Asset Management (Singapore) says there might be one catch – the India digital economy has to overcome one big hurdle – affordability. This is matched by a shortage of consumer credit.

Nitin Jain explains:

With per capita incomes of about $2,000 and large infrastructural challenges, to offer a value proposition at a mass level is extremely challenging, and requires large capital.

2021 has been a breakout year with more than $20bn in funding so far this year and almost $10bn in July 2021 alone. Prior to this the average was just $8bn-$10bn per year.

The future is looking bright for India to become a credit-rich country enabled and backed by data. Fintechs with buy mow pay later (BNPL) businesses will help fuel the data backed credit boom.

With one of the youngest economies with about 1.4 billion people, the highway to growth is long.

India already have more than 100 million users on Amazon, and travel, transport, ed tech, food tech, gaming, SaaS in enterprise and mass, are seeing millions getting added every month.

Traditional businesses tend to grow in an algebraic way, but digital businesses are growing at geometric scale and some potentially at logarithmic scale. 

We as investors are keenly analysing these changes and investing in upcoming opportunities and remain hawk-eyed on potential disruptions.

A vibrant digital ecosystem throws in immense possibilities of large capital coming to India.

Tens of billions have been invested by global investors in Chinese internet businesses and India is at a similar stage and with the recent chaos, potential realignments can accelerate the flows.

Y2K was a watershed moment for India IT services and 20 years later, Covid-19 will likely be a watershed moment for the Indian digital economy.

Getting lost in Higginbothams – amazing bookshop in Chennai

You can get lost in Higginbothams – or, at least, I have!

On Chennai’s Mount Road, Higginbothams has stood tall and proud since 1844. Said to be the oldest bookstore in India, it was founded by Abel Joshua Higginbotham—an India-born Englishman.

After an unsatisfying career as a seamen, Higginbotham became the manager of a bookstore in the basement of a Methodist chapel. He bought and ran the store for 60 years with his youngest son, before switching to the current Mount Road location.

The bookshop is housed in a grand, colonial structure and still carries an old world charm with wooden furniture and tall stained-glass windows.


LIC Building, 116, Anna Salai, near Regional Passport Office, Chennai.

Tony Abbott might have overstated it – but he is more right than wrong on India

Tony Abbott wants Australia to make a big shift towards India and away from China.

Despite some hysterical responses from two former Aussie PM’s, Tony Abbott has by and large got it right on India and we should work towards the closer relationship he believes is possible – and necessary!

Consider this verbal stoush:

“The answer to almost every question about China is India. Although currently not as rich as China … India is perfectly placed to substitute for China in global supply chains … India has revived the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, and the first in-person Quad summit is expected before the end of the year. Under Modi, India has invited Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercises that will soon involve India, the US, Japan, Australia and also the UK … It will be an impressive show of strength, demonstrating the democracies’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific … If Australian business and officialdom were to make the same effort with India that they’ve long made with China, there’s potential for a ‘family’ relationship with India that was never likely with China.”

– Former prime minister Tony Abbott in The Australian (10/8/21)

“No, (Abbott’s comment) is just wrong. We all agree our relationship with India has been underdone over the years … India has got a very deep longstanding protectionist political culture. They weren’t even prepared to sign up to RCEP … You have got to be realistic about what you can achieve in terms of trade. They are different countries, different economies. We should be aiming to have much stronger deeper relations with India …  Every prime minister should and will do that. But the idea that can sort of delete China and insert India is just nonsense.”

– Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull at a La Trobe University webinar (10/8/21)

“We have got to be deeply realistic about one thing (about the Quad). Is it the assumption of future Australian governments, like Tony Abbott’s view in today’s press, that the Indian navy is going to go steaming into the South China Sea to defend Uncle Sam’s interest if the balloon goes up over Taiwan? I think not   …  We need to ask some very hard military questions about the core strategic utility of this (the Quad) for the longer term … We need to go into this with wide eyes open, not the blithering idiot remarks we’ve seen from Abbott in today’s newspapers.”

– Former prime minister Kevin Rudd also at La Trobe University

“The one thing we should not be doing is saying to India, this is to line you up to be the next member of ANZUS to take on China. I agree with what Kevin said, that equally just plays into the paranoia of China … We have to just move gently, avoid extravagant language (with India) …  Frankly, extravagant claims of the type we were talking about a moment ago are not helpful.”

– Malcolm Turnbull again

“India is the world’s emerging democratic superpower and my god don’t we need another democratic superpower in the world right now. Isn’t it so important that a country like Australia do everything it can to ensure India does take its rightful place up there at the head of the world’s great democracies.”

– Tony Abbott, Australia India Address (17/8/2021) 

Well, what do you think?

India second to China for APAC startups and globally third largest unicorn ecosystem

According to GlobalData, Indian entrepreneurs received US$ 16.9 billion in venture capital investment in 2021, second only to Chinese peers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

According to GlobalData’s financial transactions database, 828 venture capital financing agreements were reported in India between January and July 2021, with a total declared funding value of US$ 16.9 billion.

Flipkart raised US$ 3.6 billion, Mohalla Tech (ShareChat) raised US$ 502 million, Zomato raised about US$ 500 million, and Think and Learn (Byju’s) raised US$ 460 million in India between January and July 2021.

“While several of the top major countries globally saw a drop in VC financing value in July compared to the previous month, India managed to display growth despite a decline in VC funding transaction volume,” stated Mr. Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData.

India has becoming a digital-first economy as smartphone usage has increased and mobile Internet has become cheaper. As a result, IT firms have benefited the most from this trend.

According to GlobalData, India has the world’s third-largest tech unicorn ecosystem, after only the United States and China. VC investors are showing interest in companies in e-commerce, social media and social networking, food delivery, edtech, and digital payments at the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mr. Bose.

Australian Trade Minister announces boost to India FTA talks at launch of Australia India Chamber of Commerce chapter in Canberra

Major announcements made at launch of Canberra chapter of Australia India Chamber of Commerce.

The Australian Trade Minister, The Hon Dan Tehan MP, chose the launch of the Canberra chapter of the Australia India Chamber of Commerce to announce both a speed up to negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement and an update of the India Economic Strategy.

The Minister said he had asked former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to visit India for meetings around the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (which is an FTA).

He announced to the AICC that both countries were hopeful of concluding negotiations this year – a dramatic ramping up of the pace.

The Minister pointed to trade and investment in areas such as critical minerals, infrastructure, energy, technology, agribusiness, education and space.

AICC in Canberra is led by Tony Huber, a Director within DFAT and former Consul in Mumbai, and Deepak Raj Gupta, former Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

If India’s tier 1, 2 and 3 cities attract Mercedes, maybe they should attract you?

India’s High Commissioner to Australia, HE Mr Manpreet Vohra, spoke at a recent Australia India Chamber of Commerce function

Really interesting comments made recently by the outstanding Indian High Commissioner in Canberra – His Excellency Mr Manpreet Vohra:

We all know the mega cities of India such as Mumbai, and everyone wants to be there, but what about the tier 1, 2 and 3 cities which account for:

50% of all Mercedes Benz sales in India

60% of Amazon sales

50% of the entire digital economy

You can see why India is set to be the world’s fastest growing large economy in the years 2021 and 2022.

Well done to the Australia India Chamber of Commerce for this event.

There are so many great Indian startup stories – and much more to come

Mr. Girish Mathrubootham started Freshworks without any special help, nor did he come from wealth.

There are so many startup and unicorn stories in India today – and we know there will be more tomorrow.

Consider Freshworks which began eleven years ago and is now a huge firm with more than 3,800 team members and offices all over the world.

Mr. Girish Mathrubootham started Freshworks without any special help, nor did he come from wealth.

“We were only a six-person company operating out of a tiny garage in Chennai over eleven years ago. I didn’t have a gilded CV or come from a wealthy household, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming big.”

“I recognise that not every creator is as lucky, which is why as an angel investor, I have funded more than sixty startups,” he continued.

Now Girish Mathrubootham of Freshworks, Mr. Manav Garg of Eka Software, Mr. Shubham Gupta ex-Matrix, and Mr. Avinash Raghava ex-Accel have teamed together to establish a founders-first company called Together Fund in an effort to boost entrepreneurial enthusiasm in India.

The fund, which has a US$ 85 million initial capital, aims to assist India’s finest SaaS entrepreneurs in building, scaling, and winning together, therefore creating India as a true product country. Together Fund is India’s first and only venture capital fund run by founders. They operate some of India’s most well-known SaaS businesses in addition to being founding partners of Together.

The future of startups and innovation is looking good for India.