December 06, 2008

Essence of Life

" Life is all about meeting people from different walks of life."

"Life is a shade of grey. There are many shades of grey, and so is Life."

'There are some people and some experiences which are not easy to remember and we tend to forget them in the distant memory of oblivion. Those are the people who shaped What you are today and who you will be tomorrow; When God says 'Time's Up', these are the people whom we would wish to meet once again in life, to make our life worthwile'

November 30, 2008

What Now? What Next? Are we still willing to be victims of our own Government?

This initiative by IBN,"Tackle Terror" looks impressive, but every time I look at these initiatives, I wish if its the Government taking this sort of initiative and getting people's ideas and suggestions; but i am disappointed at every occasion. I think it should be the Government, who should streamline its activities, crack down on corruption to the lowest level, pay your officers well, so that they dont have to take bribes. I mean the underlying cause to every problem in India is the GOvernment itself. If some one is robbing a house, its because he has been done injustice by the law, which is why he was forced to take that sort of action, and this applies to ll : poverty, corruption, divisive politics. All we ask for is that to uphold the statement and live up to the democracy's sole objective : a country for the people and by the people. We want citizen's rule, and their participation is necessary and of paramount importance, when the average age of an Indian in 24, and we are being ruled by the likes of Manmohan Singh (76), L.K. Advani etc. We demand a transparent and slick government, who stands with the people. After all the terrorist attacks, no one has developed a hatred for the terrorists, we know they are for that only, but we point our finger at our government; there has to be a justified reason for that. Internal Democracy, Mayor elected by the citizens, and Involvement of Youth in decision making processes, are a few things that come to my mind, as solutions for a powerful India.

November 28, 2008

anger frustration after mumbai rampage

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It is indeed lack of leadership, that we see. India is capable of much more that we assume, only if every element of the system is left to its job, and swayed away from dirty politics. That is what we say today, when NSG commandos, risking their lives, for their kins produced by Mother India. Also, we should ask Raj Thakeray, if he checked the race and origin of the NSG guards, and barred them if they were North Indians. It is due to these political parties like MNS and Congress ( Manmohan SIngh - an evident puppet after todays speech), that our country is don to its knees. Jus requires 20 young men in the name of terrorism, and 1 irresponsible ruler such as Manmohan singh to bring a country as big as India down on its knees.

November 20, 2008

Global Financial Meltdown, US Economy in Recession & Greenback RISING ?? You must be kidding!

Last couple of years, have been scripted with lot of surprises and events that we still fail to understand. We tend to doubt our fundamental understanding of the whole concept of Finance and Economics. Then when we go on to analyse the sequence of events, we put our foot down and say " yes, the butterfly effect is indeed true". A butterfly may flap its wings in Indonesia, which might trigger a Hurricane in the Atlantic. Well, that does not answer all the questions. Does it??

Skipping the first part where we discuss how did all happen, will be a bit too much on this blog, so I shall continue with the assumption that yes, its true we are in the middle of the crisis and US is to be blamed for it. (Many Americans might  suggest or sponsor the Federal Reserve to take a few courses in the leading business schools to learn the basics and fundamentals of Financial Economics!) But how come, amidst all this US recession, the green back starts rising like never before against all currencies in the World ( you might exclude Chinese Yuan from this for most obvious reasons ! ).

Well the first fundamental theory of Economics suggest that when the Central Bank lowers the interest rate, it makes reduces the attractiveness of investing the economy, leading to low FDI and exchange rate depreciation ( which is why we see Japanese Yen depreciated). While the best  of memory is the interest rate in US currently is around 1.5%!! Just to spare some embarrassment for the Federal Reserve, it did this not for kicks, but it wanted to increase business confidence, lending and borrowing and investment in the economy. However, as we all know the the second child of low interest rates is inflation, which is what we are witnessing, but surprisingly these tempting low interest rates did not help business confidence; the banks were still apprehensive about lending and investing, PLAN FAILED - consequence - STAG flation. Well, we are here to discussion what in the world then appreciated the US currency, as all of these suggest that nothing could have helped US greenback, in the coming years.

Well, all was not going wrong for US! Although the interest rates are at an all time low, it seems that the global demand ( from other countries) for US Government Debt has been increasing significantly. The recent events of the bankruptcy of banks have taken a huge hit on  the confidence of the investors worldwide; so the best thing they could think of was to take out all their capital from risky stocks and other risky financial products, and invest it in something safe and with a long term perspective - long term US Treasury Bonds ( which gives around 3.5% p.a on a 10 Year Treasury Bond, compared to negative returns for others). This investment is considered risk free - only when we assume that the after the banks , the Government itself does not go bust !!!We can definitely the US govt for this ( its own welfare , if not the people).

Now the question is how does this relate to appreciating US dollar. Well, surprisingly the correlation between EUR/USD and 30 Year US Treasury Bond is a staggering -0.82; which means that every 1 %  increase in US Treasury Demand, implies a fall of 0.82% of EUR/USD. So people are cashing dollars and buying US debt, which appreciates the dollar against Euro.

However, there are factors as well. Consider the US trade deficit. it fell from $60 billion in July 2008 to $56 billion in September. Also look at the oil prices it was over a $120 a barrel and now it hit less than $50 a barrel as on November 20, 2008. US being the largest consumer and importer of oil, will definitely reduce its oil bills by this development, leader a improved trade deficit ( around $40 billion). This means less USD is going out of the world economy ( outside US) and investors want to invest in the attractive long term US treasury Bonds. So the demand for dollars is definitely increasing, and given the short supply due to lower import bills, calls on a reasonable explanation as to why the greenback is rising.

An important point to note here is know the how exactly the USD travles arounf the world. The thumb rule is that whatever USD goes out of the US economy ( it only goes through the economy, no other bank or any WORLD bank issues USD), comes back in the economy, in some form or the other.  For instance, China holds the largest reserves of USD in the world ( around $2 trillion), and like many other countries it keeps USD as the reserve currency. Governments lend to each other, trade, and invest in US economy with USD, but it can also hoard a lot of its reserves in USD, creating a shortfall in the general supply of greenback currency. However, the most obvious investment of all the governments who keep USD as their reserve currency, is US government debt ( US Treasury Bonds); and as we have already stated, by doing this keeps USD within the economy and its given highly negative correlation with Euro and other major currencies, is evidence enough for the appreciatiing US Dollar.

June 09, 2008

Environemental Crisis

In India, diesel comes cheaper than petrol ; justified, as industry and agriculture are dependent on diesel, even though producing costs are higher for diesel, the government subsidises it. This is exploited to the advantage of the vehicle owners, who enjoy the subsidised diesel and buy those diesel guzzling cars as a better and cheaper alternative to petrol and hybrid versions, doing an irreversible damage to the environment. 

I see a solution here, to avoid the social cost, and would liek to see excise duty to increase, which would make diesel expensive for private vehicles, at least. The irony is that Government of  India is losing both ways - subsidizing something which costs them more and paying a cost of the environment too. 

India uses dirty diesel, i.e the sulphur content in the diesel is very high, which other countries have ULCD diesel - which has ultra lower content of sulphur. We are paying heavily for our environment. The emmisions from this dirty diesel is carcinogenic and worse than smoking a cigarette, when it comes to health concerns.

And to add on the trouble, high end cars worth RS 15 lakhs to Rs. 50 lakhs, have a diesel variant and people buy,as itwould save on their petrol costs. Shame on us! when we can afford the costlier petrol , we still go for the cheaper variant, which directly or indirectly affects our own health in a bad way. We are putting our own and our future generations health concerns at stake. Just a bit of awareness towards the environment, would be appreciated and would be the first thing a person should know, when he call himself qualified or educated. 

Also, I would like to see the government banning the diesel variants of the high end cars, in addition to increase in excise duty. 

June 08, 2008

Philanthropy ??

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What gift do you expect, when you score a ninety in a board exam? What do your parents promise to give you, if you would attain a first in your degree, or top the school, or come first in the class? A 'Swatch', A Pulsar motorbike, A Personal 'Honda civic'? .. Well its not the story everywhere. 

An 18 year old boy, from a rural village, who does not have any midnight oil to burn, or to even rent books, cracks an IIT exam, and guess what he promises his Mom! HE would buy her a gas stove, and she would not have to burn her eyes everyday, because of the heat of coal. Funny ? Shocking ? Pitty ? . `dont be ! because the reason he said that, was very realistic and most likely to happen. After everything he has proved of his skill, he still find find it difficult for renting books, and does hard labour under some' National Rural Scheme; in India. Shame on us, that he cannot afford the travell expenses to the test centre. 

Its time for us to look at the frivolous expenses that we do everyday, and it could transform some people's lives. We should take on the responsibility to sponsor these children and get them in the mainstream. I hope you share the same opinion. I think its time you should.

June 04, 2008

Destination or Journey?

We say,  we are successful, but we do not know what the parameters are? We talk about perfection, but we do not know how to define perfection.And yet we go on to judge ourselves and others, and what is the basis of all this? 

If we talk about success, we generally mean how many milestones you have achieved. I hindsight, if we look back at things, how many such milestones have we achieved,  1 2 3 5 10 20 . its countable, but how much time have you spent on going through all this is uncountable - could be years. If you take the example of a mountain climber- he sets for reaching the peak of the mountain, and spend days and nights in tough weather. When he reaches the peak, he looks around, sighs in relief, enjoys the view and prepares for descent. On his way backs, he reflects at the journey, and sees that he spent 15 days climbing to the peak of the mountain, and when he actually reached, he just spent around 2 minutes. Was the whole achievement about 2 minutes, or was it much more than that. He then comes to terms, by saying that he indeed enjoyed the treking bit, felt the thrill and adrenalin flowing through him. This passion and zeal of the trek was the most interesting bit. And in life, when you look back at  all the peaks, that might tell you what u had done, in descriptive terms, but if you want to know, what was it that you had achieved and rejoiced, it would be the whole experience. Its about the journey, and not always, the destination. And in retrospect if you feel that you have not enjoyed the journey, its time to change your goals and head in a way, where  the process, the journey is worth giving a shot. One might say, he graduated on the 24 th of April 2006, but that does not sum up his graduation event. He actually spent 3 years * 365 days * 24 hours, and things  that he did during this period, is what graduation is all about. And we should set on a journey only for the love of it, and not because its the tempting destination point that you are looking at.  We should realize the importance of a jouney, before its too late to realize that we actually kept on chasing destinations, which once formed a part of the dreams, and we achieved it, although failing to live in the current climb - enjoy the journey - make the most out of it. 

"Live the journey, and not in the glory of the destination" 

May 22, 2008


' Life' seems to be a very short word, but in in fact , it encapsulates so many events and happenings. When you say - LIFE, means such a big span of time, but when you live it, time flies ,a making life too short. We tend to forget our past very easily, as if it were just a one-day event, or a momentary thought. At the age of 20, we tend to forget, what small incidents led to our being today, and how those small things have made us different- different from others. Some dont even bother to go back and live those moments, and 'Respect' them. some believe, they would do that someday, but life is too short- 'short when you live it ,a nd not when you say it).  A man cannot always live in the past, but when those things come back in our subconscious mind, we yearn to go back and live them again once. 

I have come a long way. Long way - not by distance but where I used to be, and how things around me have changed. When I look back at things, when I was in my thirteens, I remember  the apartment we used to live in. Living as a joint family, in a small house, was so exciting. Not a single time, was there silence, and air was filled with chatter and televsion noise.. My two elder sisters, they were opposites, and we had assumed that our life was around each other. Now, I live in a bungalow, a huge house, - although it should sound more fun but it isnt - my sisters are married, and i dint realize their absence, until one night after my elder sisters marriage,  when I was not getting sleep and switched on the light to find didi and chat with her, about anything - esp mom's tantrums. They are into their respective lives, and so am I, but this dint seem to me, about 5 years ago.

When i return home, I cannot go into the parking lots, of the apartment, and play cricket, lock and key with my sisters and cousins. I cannot run with food stuffed into my mouth, and i cannot wait to go downstairs and play cricket with my apartment friends. Suddenly, these things make me feel that childhood is oozing of energy and is so vibrant, where as now, life is no more the same.  i feel so tied down,and wish if i could reverse time.

October 14, 2007

The problem with india

In today' s world, the buzz word in evry industry is " outsourcing".India, previously known to be a third world country, does not figure out any close to the previous reputation. No one dares to term INDIA  as a third world country, because the West knows that whatever they are wearing and consuming everyday has a "made in India" or perhaps a " made in China" tag  attached to it. The West people have also remembered India as the place where 'technology " comes from. Apparently, Indian accents were alien to the world and whenever an Indian tried to put his thoughts across the other person's mind, the person concluded he was speaking some language that was no where near to English; the same accent in heard everytime you dial a customer care service of any bank or electronic company. Gradually, India is building its image, as a centre for call centres. 

A decade ago, noone in their wildest of dreams did think that an Indian company, can actually break the barriers  of its sluggish economy and the restrictive government policies and unneccessary intervention, cross the national boundaries and go GLOBAL.Last year, TATA acquired Corus and became fourth largest steel producer in the world. the merger between Arceleor and Mittal, is a milestone, worth keeping record of. Reliance is conquering every barrier to business and recently Reliance industries aquires a loss making Malaysian company polyester - " Hualon corp " for $250 million. Indian companies are actually out in the fieldaspiring to o cross boundary and grow a company, that an Indian could only dream of.

Everything seems to be going India's way. the growth rate of 9 % every year, compared to the 3 % we had in the 1980s. Everything seems to be on the rigth path, but what is the bug that is preventing us from reaching the zenith of sucess. India has got everything it needs to be a developed and dignified nation- Energy resources, Capital reserves, Skilled Labour, Investment in every sector, strong Army.. what is lacking. 

There seems to be a black cloud which is  hindering the progress and halting us unnecessarily in our modern revolution.

... to be continued                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

July 19, 2007

The trouble with India


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