Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Austerity gimmick and "Fat Tax"

Its fun for the politicians to travel by trains, once in a while, austerity or what ever name given to the jaunt. But its a different ball game all togather if they were to burn their fat.

The "fat tax" method if implemented Sharad Pawar may not find it funny to say that he does not fit in to the economy seat and hence is forced to travel business class.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sunday Mumbai

Cricketing Mumbai

South Mumbai - Lazy Traffic Free Sunday

Scoring in the Midst Of High Rises

The moving Numbers that Create Wealth

The Oberoi Trident - much after the terrorists struck

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Mooing With the Crowd

When the crowd is mooing you are supposed moo too.

Shashi Tharoor found that out the hard way when he bleated, errmmm... tweeted.

Then the bleating sheep was found to be black too, and hence in all fairness those on the high pedestal (from where probably they have been guarding the dignity of the poor cattle-like people for many decades) all are for shearing its wool.

Its was a total mayhem when a groomed and perfumed (a tad snobbish too?) minister started smelling like shit to his colleagues because he seemed to be taunting their leaders. Sycophants don't like that and smell an opportunity to exhibit their talent at such junctures. Cattle and poor of the country are just a means to the end. As for the poor of this country they would actually grin through a hundred abuses for a 10 rupee note in exchange. So much so for protecting the dignity of the poor.

If one man has got the hang of things right it was M. J. Akbar who aptly pointed out the linguistic disconnect in the episode when he said -

"The first law of democracy is that what you say is less important than what the other person hears."

It is this insensitivity, probably arising out of staying long periods abroad and then rising to be a minister immediately on returning which caused the humorous / in bad taste (depending on who heard it) tweet.

His tweet coming after his unceremonious eviction from the five star accomodation makes it more suspicious as to being a verbal retaliation on the austerity gurus of the government. The raw nerves were further aggravated by his comments being secretly interpreted as an open denounsal of the milk -less udders of the 'austerity measures holy cow'.

Grabbing the opportunity of the journalistic query, if Tharoor was clandestinely tweeting about the hollowness of the current dramatised austerity drive, he probably was true- its all hat without cattle. After all no MP nor minister is going to continue travelling in the economy class or by shatabdi. Once the GDP growth improves from 6.8% to 6.805% they will throw austerity to the winds and will talk business and travel business class. Austerity probably is a synonym for successful assembly elections which incidentally are around the corner. Tharoor and SM Krishna were probably caught in the cross fire of election politics after some deep thinker in the party discovered the importance of recession and austerity in assembly elections. Then comes Shashi trying to puncture the election balloon knowingly or unknowingly with the cows horns. That's blasphemous. Afterall Tharoor was supposed to be the meek sacrificial lamb and not the tweeting black sheep fighting the cow.

What ever the reality, one thing is sure i.e to avoid contracting the 'foot in the tweeting mouth disease' Tharoor may have to bring in all the diplomatic skills he learnt at the UN. That is certainly required of him atleast to keep the self appointed guardians of the dignity of the poor and courtiers of the kingdom of sycophancy out of work.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Grave Truth About Quota!!

Till death does us apart......., said someone in the throes of love.

But even death has showed its inability to wean away caste from humanity in India.

In bangalore the
government decides to extend reservations to the grave yard too.
Death is said to be a great leveller - but thats for the dead.

The living still continue their fighting, over the dead too.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Not a Bounce Back Yet, But Stopped Going Down.

That's a much needed confirmation coming from Warren Buffet after Bernanke talked about end of the gloom time.

Warren Buffet clearly says - We may have seen the bottom unless something catastrophic happens. But we are yet to see a bounce back.

Thats quite reassuring.

A Testoterone Problem

The Castor Semenya controversy is getting debated all over the place. The South Africans are rallying behind the allegedly hermaphrodite athlete. The athlete and her family are feeling victimised and humiliated. The world athletic body is deliberating and the general public is confused.

On one side I can ask , "Can't the transgenders be allowed to compete?

On the other side, the other female athletes will feel aggrieved in being sexually challenged in a hermaphrodite athletic sort of way.

So what to do? Add another transgender event?

Semenya herself says - "I see it all as a joke, it doesn't upset me. God made me the way I am and I accept myself."

What ever the outcome, the differential testoterone level is creating a lot of head aches across te athletic kingdom.

There is no such confusion in the animal kingdom. Tuscan Abbe was found to be a hermahrodite too, internal testes and all. She is barred from participating in all mares and fillies championships since carrying testes (internal or external) is quite un-lady like.

Tuscan Abbe shook her mane, not in protest but out of habit and went back to munching the green grass. Afterall unlike Semenya the medal goes to the jockey and Tuscan gets only her grass.

You Could Be Jailed For Owning A Share!!

Now don't panic and start selling off all your shares. The markets may come down and I might be branded a market manipulator.

This is going to be a law in Russia actually.
This news item in moscow times says that the executives and share holders of companies will be held liable and punished suitably for unpaid wages. The clause about share holder being a limited liability partner may be ignored. One has to be careful in buying even one share of any company and should be venturing out only after ascertaining the levels of unpaid wages. The moment one gets wind of any unpaid wages everything should be sold - lock stock and barrel. Afterall while your shares might be running huge profits in your portfolio you might be cooling your heels in Siberia.

I wonder what treatment will be given to sacked employees accounting? - salaries that should have been paid but instead employee sacked and hence share holders to be jailed? Again what if the executive's salaries are not paid? Who should be jailed? The employees?

Now I know why share holders/promoters interest are closely linked to that of the employees. Infact all are togather in a big mess with the introduction of this great accounting principle.

Honey, I Started Playing Cricket !

Latest of the entrants is Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi.

The Gujarat chief minister is the latest in the long list of politicians who, after taking a fancy towards the game, have tried their hands, often successfully, at running its administration. Union agriculture minister and NCP supremo is ICC chairman-designate, while Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Arun Jaitley is the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association. Congress Rajya Sabha member Rajiv Shukla is the vice-president of BCCI, while union heavy industries and public enterprises minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was only recently elected vice-president of the Maharashtra Cricket Association. BJP MP from Hamirpur, Mr Anurag Thakur lords over the affairs of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. Another political heavyweight, Union non-conventional energy minister Farooq Abdullah heads the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. RJD chief and former Union minister Lalu Prasad too turned into a cricket buff, but his efforts to control the Bihar Cricket Association have ended in a legal tangle.

Whats luring them? The glamour? The money? The free publicity?
One thing is certain its not for the cause of cricket.

The nexus between cricket and politics probably started with a few cricketers contesting the elections. After that the politicians decided to invade the pitch. Now that the politicians have found out the good length spot on the pitch, they started pitching in thick and fast. The pitch will shortly be dug up to suit the people at the helm. Once that is done, you can watch more cricket on the side lines than on the pitch and with so many politicians thronging the corridors of cricket, Iam sure that we may see more of unparliamentary behaviour in cricket than before.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

All That Glitters IS Not Gold !

While trawling through the net for something to write about (since my blogging rate has gone down in the past few weeks I was sort of desperate too, somewhat like wanting to pee but not having enough pee with me )

Thats when I stumbled upon this complaint box thing.

Barclays & Lloyds, the two celebrated banks in UK (world wide too), inspite of the recession are receiving copious quantities of complaints and sorting them out too. Barclays recived about 45 complaints per day and Lloyds around 32.

How do you think the Indian banks are faring? Obviously the new tech savvy private sector banks will have far lesser complaints than those old public sector banks who are just there to employ those unemployable people. The Public sector banks deserve that, since they are alien to that glitzy service of their newer counterparts in the private sector.

"But my dear Watson, you are completely mistaken". I said this to myself when I went through this banking ombudsman report.

Look closely at the situation in India :

  1. Private sector banks had around 12 times and foreign banks around 6 times more complaints than the nationalised banks in 2007-2008.
  2. The private & foreign banks put togather made up around 93% of the complaints received.
  3. But the complaints that reached the ombudsman were lesser at private sector banks indicating higher resolution at bank level.
  4. If comparisons are made as a proportion of the business handled by the nationalised banks and private sector banks and the complaints received by them, the nationalised banks are far far superior. Where as the nationalised banks received only around 4 complaints for every million rupee of deposit and loans, for the private sector banks it was 14 complaits for every million rupee of loans and 20 for deposits.
As someone rightly said - "More glitzy also means more risk too". Government banks though dusty and unwelcoming, may not be that bad afterall.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Indians Prove it Once Again !

We once again proved that we could never be the best. In anything.
Thanks to the cricketers, we could pacify the stunned world albeit after a delay of 24 hours.

We just cannot be the best in anything. Then how come in cricket? Even with all the money and fan following etc. If there was ever 2 great cricket teams in the world they were the West Indies in the late 70's - early 80's period during the Roberts, holding , garner, Lloyd, Richards era and then the Australians from the Steve Waugh time to the initial period of Ricky Ponting.

Indians are no where near to that. They may be individually brilliant, at least a few of them. But as a team we are as far away from the best in the world as the Indian hockey team is away from the the hockey world champions.

How Much Do I work For Myself

Idle mind is a devil's play ground.
Having nothing much to do made me think up something and thus wasting your as well as my time.

So here is what I thought up:

I work for 6 days a week.

1) I pay 30% tax. Hence 1/3 of my working days is eaten up by the government. Meaning I
dont work for myself but for the government.

So that makes it 6-2 = 4 days work for myself.

2) But no. I have leveraged i.e I have availed a housing loan and a vehicle loan (the legitimate dreams of an Indian middle class constituent). Both togather amounting to 5 times my annual pay. I pay 10% tax on both of them.

Hence 5 multiplied by weekly working days = 30 days.
10% of that means 3 days. These 3 days I work for the bank from whom I took loan.

3) So in total 2 days for tax + 3 days for loan = 5 working days for others.

So , just one day working for myself ? That's pathetic.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A 'V' and a 'W' and Now a 'Square Root' !!

As the "green shoots" of the economic recovery supposedly became visible, the guessing game on the shape of things to come hottened up.

Some said it will be a 'V' - shaped recovery.
Some proffered a 'W' shaped one.
Some others say a double dip recession is in the offing after the initial euphoria.

Now a new theory has come in. Liz Ann Sonders says , its more likely be a 'Square Root shaped one. That sounds quite plausible.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

High Profile Political Deaths in India

YSR's death is being discussed and covered like that of a national leader. The media now a days is very successful in creating a high class suspense thriller out of a terrorist attack or a politicians death. People love to watch the high octane drama, even though later on they may criticise the same.

But we are not here to look at the functioning of the media.

I made list a of the premature & untimely deaths among the Indian political leadership. The scales are tipped heavily on the side of congress.

The list :

Congress : Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi (Assassinations); Rajesh Pilot, Dr. Shrikant Jichkar (Road accidents); Madhav Rao Scindia, O.P Jindal & YSR (Air crash).

BJP's share has not been alarmingly high in Pramod Mahajan (Shot) & Sahib Singh Verma (Road accident).

The scales seem to be clearly tipping in the side of the congress.

Is it because they are the major political party and in power mostly and hence its leaders were targets of assassination attempts and that they get to travel by choppers and chartered flights?

Or is it because of some mysterious orchestration by destiny?

Friday, 4 September 2009

CEO - Encoffination Pvt. Ltd !

Yes you heard it right- "encoffination" as in - 'putting the dead body in a coffin'

In Japan its a package deal to cleanse and prepare the dead body, conduct or help in the wake and then complete the subsequent cremation. The company offers the complete package deal or individual deals for a particular part only.

It can also be pre-booked for one's own funeral too. Relatives are just left with conveying the death intimation. Rest will be taken care of by the company. Neighbours and relatives need not swoop down and take over in the grief ridden absence of the family members. Everything is arranged professionally.

I also never knew that an oscar winning film was made on this kind of a company official ("Departures").

Also notice the similarities in the post creamtion procedures of the Buddhist Japanese and the Hindu system. The "urn"; "Bone collection"etc. Surprising is'nt it?.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Neat Dirty Bra !

Honestly It has not crossed my mind whether - 'does my partner change her bra everyday'?

I wear a new vest every day when ever I wear one. But it never occurred to me to check on the female side of things. I probably took it for granted or just never really thought about it.

From what I read here I gather that the female side of the story is always more intriguing than the male side.

Is it so with Indian females too? I dont know
A great Indian dirty bra poll may need to be done.


Inspite of reading widely I go blind many a times. That's why after the galmourous tech savvy Chandra Babu Naidoo left the political helm in Andhra, I turned blind towards the Andhra Pradesh politics. Till recently I did not know that YSR was from congress (not that it mattered).
My ignorance made him unpopular to me.

On the 2nd of September 2009 afternoon during a friendly chat with someone from Andhra , it was, that I learnt about the dissappearance of the state's chief minister. Since then things have changed a lot.

I was glued to the media, trying to keep track of the search operation updates. That's how I came to know a lot more about the person that YSR was. Now I see why he upstaged Chandra Babu Naidoo. He was popular - a people's man.

Its a bit late in the day for me to know about him. But I still can live with that. But he does not.

Its sad that a state loses its chief minister in this fashion.
Its sad that his family loses his presence in such a way.
Its sad that another 4 families and the loved ones lose their lifelines.

The fault may lie with anyone (or everyone) from the dead chief minister himself to the DGCA, the pilots or the technicians who maintained the helicopter. But its extremely unfortunate that 5 men die of something that was clearly preventable.

She Went To Venus and Then Aliens!

His wife has been to Venus- she insists.
She went in a triangular shaped UFO and found the planet to be very green.
She knew Tom Cruise in her previous incarnation and would'nt hesitate to remind him if she met him.
She also claims to have been abducted by aliens once.

He says - " The average man chooses his mate from among unmarried women. I chose mine from among all women."

Thus he married a 'married-woman' and probably instigated a divorce.

Both make a good pair.

He is the Japanese Prime Minister elect and she - his wife.

Japan inspite of being othodox allows freedom of expression I guess, unlike our rich culture which mostly is aimed at throttling freedom through a false sense of propriety.