Dec 31, 2008

Dear Bro...

Dear Bro,

Congrats on your first day. As you take your first tentative steps, I feel I should give you some advice. Hand-holding, if you may. It may sound like unnecessary talking down to you, but please bear with me.

You could not have chosen a better time to come. The world is in turmoil. People are confused. Afraid. Depressed. Outraged.

It was not always like this. When I first came in, people were very happy. They predicted that I would bring much prosperity. Much more than what they already had got before I came in. They crowned me king with great pomp.

I oversaw a great deal of emotions. Happy times. Sad times. Depressing times. I just kept going, stoically doing my job, irrespective of what happenned.

Loads of positive things happenned under my watch. But I never walked around with my chest puffed up. I let the people take credit for it all.

Then, some pretty bad things happenned too. Strangely, the same people who took credit for the good times started blaming me for all the misery. It is a thankless world, bro, let me tell you that.

I hoped things would settle down. But it only got worse. Soon, people were crying for my ouster. Little did they know that I cannot be impeached. I go only when my time is up.

I hoped for some perspective. For people to remember the happy times too, as much as they groan about the miserable times. But, it was not to be.

Soon, my time was up. The same people who crowned me with joy now want to bury me and forget my time. They are crying out for change. They hope you might bring about some of that positive change.

I hope you are up to it, bro. I just hope you can bring back the good times. Ignore the cynical bastards who say nothing will change. They may turn out to be right later, but for now, we need some positive thinking. Remember, man lives on hope of a better tomorrow.

One last thing, bro. By chance, if you fail to bring about cheer, remember that people may curse you too. Don't take it personally. After all, it is not in your hands entirely.

Enjoy your place in the sun, while it lasts.

Much love,
Your much abused elder brother, Year 2008.

Dec 18, 2008

The Perfect Romantic Dinner

I have occasionally been accused of being incapable of romance. Like most things that people say about me, this is also patently false. Allow me to recount one of the most romantic dinner dates (and the only one) I had.


The year was 1999. I was just another hormone driven teenager. Struggling to come to terms with my culture shock of stepping from a sleepy little town into a city which claimed never to sleep!

I was quite a shy guy. In fact, the shy guy. Saying ‘Hi’ to a girl was the equivalent of bungee jumping. Asking one out for a date was the same jump without the rope. Why, even if God pulled a miracle and some girl actually asked, “Can we go for a coffee?”, “No, we can’t”, was my mantra. Hadn’t heard of Obama back then, you see.

Till I met her, of course. I was smitten. Totally. Stars in my eyes. Twinkling bells even.

After four months of nervous stolen glances, I mustered enough courage to say ‘Hi’. Another three months passed before I became comfortable enough to pass one of my infamous PJs in her presence. Surprise, surprise, she laughed. She actually laughed.

Emboldened by my friends’ assurances that ladki hansi toh phansi, I tentatively walked up to her and squeaked, “Would you… er… Can we… er… I mean…?”. Some part of mind realized that I was mumbling incoherently, but then love does that to people. She, like all girls, could read my mind like Sachin reads a Warnie longhop. And she played the perfect square cut, and said, “yeah sure, we can go for coffee today evening.”

Whoopie! (not Goldberg!)

After three Shetty hotel coffees (those were not the days of Barista and CCD, in case you forget!), I summoned all my courage (and the entire pocket money of the month) and suggested a dinner date. Did not even fumble, mind you. And, she accepted.

So, the plan was in motion before you could say 'lucky bastard'. I went home whistling all the way, feet two whole feet above the air. (Note to engineers: metaphorically speaking, before you throw the law of gravity at me now!). I picked out my best shirt, ironed it myself, wore it, found a few creases, ironed it again till I feared it would burn. Took a bath, brushed my teeth, stole a few drops of after-shave from my cousin’s closet, looked at myself in the mirror and thought (hammed?), “There’s a reason why I am called SRK!”

The dinner was at a hotel (decided by her, I was new to the city) that was pricey by a struggling student’s standards. As we sat down, and I opened the menu, I left out an audible sigh. She looked up, and asked, “What happened?”. “Just thanking my lucky stars, for this lovely date”, I replied. I could be charming when the occasion demanded.

As she ordered the starters (Rs.45/-), I was calculating the odds of my charm working with the hotel’s manager. I didn’t order a starter for myself, hoping that she’d consider sharing a plate romantic.

We moved on the main course, two sabzis (Rs.65/- each) and four rotis (Rs.6/- a piece), and suddenly the four crisp fifty rupee notes in my wallet seemed woefully inadequate. “No dessert and no tip should get me out of here alive”, I thought to myself. May be she’ll not notice that I didn’t tip. Or think I was being conscious about money, and appreciate it. Maybe I can crack a smart one tomorrow about how lost I was in her eyes, that I totally forgot the tip, and she’ll laugh it off. “Hope is all you have”, said the angelic inner voice. “And one whole rupee to tip, just in case”, said the devil inside. “Wow, my devil has a sarcastic side”, I thought to myself.

I resolved to tune out these voices, and concentrate on the goddess in front of me. Man, was she beautiful. “She couldn’t have evolved just like that, God definitely created this one”, the angel on the shoulder exclaimed! “Yeah, ignore the stunner in front of you and start refuting Darwinism now. Perfect timing!”, the devil on the other shoulder squeaked.

But it was a beautiful dinner. I successfully managed to tune out the devil and the angel, and even managed a few stupid PJs. She laughed, and heartily at that. Not a polite, let’s-not-disappoint-the-idiot laugh, but a genuine oh-so-cute-giggle. “I can see you are already on cloud nine”, the angel remarked; “so what if the bill is already one hundred ninety nine!”, the devil chipped in. "Wow, my devil can rhyme too!", I thought to myself.

We finished the meal (why, oh why does time run so fast?), and I was already praying to all the Gods that I hadn’t believed in earlier, to somehow make her ignore the dessert. May be she’ll say ice cream is fattening. After all, girls are always weight-conscious. Except the fat ones.

Sure enough, she closed the menu and set it aside as the plates were being cleared. “God does exist, and he just answered your prayers”, the angel was literally jumping on my shoulder. “One coffee please”, she smiled sweetly at the waiter, and then looked at me. “I’ll skip, I’m full”, I replied weakly. "Skip on a full stomach? you'll get cramps", quipped the devil. "Hey, my devil can pun too!", I thought to myself.

“A coffee is just 6 bucks. I surely have 5 bucks change on me”, I said to myself. I didn’t want to fish around my wallet in her presence, so I excused myself and dashed into the washroom. Only to find that I had exactly four crisp fifty rupee notes, no more, no less. Maybe, I can borrow 5 bucks from her. Maybe, she’ll turn out to be this broad-minded types who insist on sharing half the bill. Maybe I can leave my watch here as ‘security deposit’ and bring the money tomorrow. My mind was going berserk and the two voices also did not have any bright ideas.

“Whatever happens, this dinner has been the highlight of your life so far, so go out and face the problem like a man”, offered the angel after some time. “yeah, she might think you have an upset stomach if you sit any longer in here”, the devil smirked. "Wow, my devil can make crappy remarks too", I thought to myself.

So, I walked out, telling myself, “With her on my side, I can face the whole damn world. What’s a few irate waiters and hotel managers?”, and took my seat.

“Thanks for the nice evening, am sure we’ll go out again”, she said and got up to leave. I looked around for the waiter, to bring the sheet of paper that will be my death sentence.

“What are you waiting for?” she asked.

“er… nothing… the bill”, I managed. I was hoping she’d not be present when the time of reckoning came.

“Hum Bill De Chuke Sanam”, she said.



And THAT concludes the most irritatingly long PJ that you would have been subjected to in your life!!!


PS 1: I know, I know, lots of writers before me have made pun of this movie title. But, a little "inspiration" is excusable. After all, it is a Bollywood PJ.

PS 2: Jeffrey Archer uses this 'hotel' situation in at least two of his short stories. And, no I am not comparing myself to him. But you can sure read those to improve your mood after this stupid exercise.

Dec 16, 2008

More on Engineers!

After the last post, I had resolved to myself that I won't write another post on engineers and bad puns. But then, I had also resolved that I'd exercise every day, and not touch alcohol for a year. So there!

Anyways, the reactions from those readers who are engineers were pretty predictable (logical?):
The Chemical Engineer accused me of rubbing Sodium Chloride into his wounds.
The Electrical guy was shocked at my rudeness towards engineers.
The Mechanical guy showed no emotion.
The Aeronautical Engineer flew off the handle.
The Marine Engineer was all at sea and did not know how to respond.
The Acoustic Engineer made a lot of noise, thus betraying his profession.
The Environmental Engineer claimed my mind was polluted.
The Computer guy gave me what looked like a programmed response.
And true to his branch, only the Civil Engineer was polite.
PS 1: After the last post, I realized that those engineers who do read MY posts may not be all that logical, and hence would be able to recognize the illogical puns. So I have decided not to highlight the bad puns with italics.
PS 2: Of course, the fact that the author received a couple of death threats from some of the aforementioned engineers (other than the Civil guy, of course) has nothing to do with the lowlighting of bad puns.
PS 3: I have always been acused of over-doing a PJ to the extent that it becomes overkill. And I plead guilty.

Dec 12, 2008

Who engineered this financial crisis?

Some say the financial crisis was caused by lending to people who did not have the capacity to pay their loans back. Some say it was caused by greedy investment bankers hankering after million dollar bonuses. Some say it is light regulations which allowed i-banks to over-leverage.


The crisis was caused because finance firms started hiring more and more engineers instead of the sticking to the traditional accountants.

I have nothing personal against engineers. (or maybe, I do...)

I feel engineers form a very useful part of the the world we live. Who else could build all those roads and bridges, who else could write code so that I can write crap and hit 'publish', who else could make those sexy cars... but the trouble starts when engineers start poking their slide-rulers into areas that they don't understand.

Engineering students are people who take things literally. They apply logic where it shouldn't be applied.

Like this engineer who was asked to write a note on the difference between Equity and Preference Capital.

He wrote, "Equity means a sense of fair play, where one does not discriminate. It means that if the Fed bails out Bear Sterns, it will put money in Lehman Brothers in the name of Equity. Preference Capital means giving shares to investors whom we have a preference for. So, Goldman will give wonderful terms to preferred investors like Warren Buffet."

Or take the case of another brilliant visionary who was asked to give the difference between Long Term Debt and Short Term Debt.

He wrote, "Long Term Debt is the next management's headache. Short Term Debt is the current Government's headache."

He also claimed, "Secured Debt is that which is already tied up, while Unsecured Debt is that which has been let loose." That is another problem with engineers, they are always showing off their brilliance.

I also bumped into this genius from Calcutta who said Debenture Capital need not pay fixed returns because De-benture Capitalists (or BeeCee s) are those who inbest in small start-ups in the hope of selling out when the company grows and don't mind losing money on a deal or two. He hoped to find a BC who can provide seed capital to his latest inbention.

And then, there was this Mech. stud-boy who thought Fixed Assets are those that have been repaired. And the same guy argues with me that Intangible Assets cannot be part of the Fixed Assets, because no even the smartest IITian can fix something which cannot be seen.

And did I mention that Electrical Engineer who considered himself an expert on Current Assets? He said that he could even create a charge on those assets any time the company wants a loan.

One guy, a successful supply chain manager, kept asking that if Stock is an asset, how can Provisions be a liability? "After all, what do you call those provisions which are stocked in your kitchen," he asked smartly.

These engineers I tell you!!!

That's why my prescription for solving the global financial crisis doesn't involve trillion dollar bail-outs, or interest rate cuts.

Just ensure that the logical engineers get the bloody hell out of finance and go back to laying roads and writing code. I can bet my last worthless share on the fact that no team of boring accountants could have come up with exotic derivatives. We accounting guys don't do anything exotic. Or erotic. That's just the way we are.


PS: I normally trust my readers ability to spot hidden (and not so hidden) bad puns. However, in the remote likelihood that some of the people who read this could be engineers, I have highlighted some bad puns through italics.

PS: For Engineers Only: And no, italics is NOT something from Italy. It is when you write text in a 85 degree angle. Like this.

Dec 8, 2008

And the punishment continues...

After the last post on bad puns (which unfortunately for you, was not a pun on the word last), I continue to impose my bad puns on my rapidly depleting readership...

While we made fun of last names last time (again, no pun on last!), we decide that even first names can be made pun of...

So, here goes...

Is that Guy Ritchie the same one who divorced Madonna?

"Let's Mark Waugh for some special treatment", said Allan Donald to his captain before unleashing his bouncers!

God is certainly a skilled artist. After all, he Drew Barrymore so beautifully... (droooool)

Of course, the guy who entered a moment ago was Justin Timberlake.

And now, for the usual below-the-belt dirty ones...

What did Linda Tripp tell Monica Lewinsky? "Let's Bill Clinton for the services performed"

Is that Dick Fuld? (after Lehman went bust!)

PS1: of course, I could go on and on about Rob/Mike/Rose etc, but I'm not that much of a sadist. Not yet.
PS2: If you are a believer, please pray that better sense prevails and I go back to writing about bullshit, or even stupid rhymes...

Dec 3, 2008

Enough of cynicism, let us have some pun!!!

Am tired of TOI's usual 'Sach a pity' when Tendulkar gets injured...

and they always did the 'Wright choice' headline when John Wright was coach and India won anything...

So, I have decided to challenge TOI's monopoly on stupid puns, and decided to come up with some of my own:

Come, watch Tom Cruise past in his bike in MI-2.

It is rumoured that Roger Waters down some obscene lyrics in his Indian concerts to avoid the moral police.

"Is Gordon Brown?" - Does he support Asian immigration?

"Was Anne Frank in writing her diary?" (no offence to the moving narrative)

"Carl Barks at his cartoons, and they quack back at him!"

"Britney Spears to the top of the charts with her latest single!" (yeah right!)

And my personal favourite...

Brooke Shields her chest after Blue Lagoon! (why, oh why do I always think dirty?)


PS: Readers are encouraged to come up with their own. Phonetic puns like "Goldman Sachs people", twisting words like "Is Sharon Stoned?" are also allowed, but it would be better if you can use the name as is.

PS 2: Partly inspired by the sidebar here.

Dec 2, 2008

Why am I so cynical?

Dec 26 2008

Times of India Headline: “Terrorists attack Mumbai airport, 300 dead!!!”

In yet another audacious assault on India’s secular fabric, armed terrorists attacked Mumbai’s airport last night. The shocking incident which revealed the lax security measures in place, has citizens wondering whether anyone is in charge in this city.

Reliable sources revealed that the intelligence agencies had given a warning on the possibility of an attack on the airports soon after 26/11. It may be noted that Times of India was the first to report on the possibility of these attacks.

Police sources said that while airport security was beefed up, and more scanners were installed, they couldn’t monitor the entire perimeter of the boundary wall surrounding the airport. Police sources claimed that it was impossible to watch over every inch of the boundary wall, given that there were many slums adjacent to the airport. Interestingly, both AAI and BMC have been blaming each other for failure to remove the slums, while a local corporator has been opposing the demolition.

Times of India Editorial: “Vote-bank politics lead to security lapse”

We at the Times Group have always advocated that security of the people should not fall prey to petty vote-bank politics. We have highlighted the aspect of slum-lords occupying more and more land adjacent to the airport, and the security implications this presents. All our warnings have fallen on deaf ears, and innocent lives have been lost. It is time that the authorities concerned pulled their act together.

Bombay Times Page 3: “Our politicians are no better than eunuchs” – Shobhaa De

I was about to give my views on Aamir’s sexy look in Ghajini, but this tragedy has overwhelmed such superfluous issues. Public memory is shorter than Aamir’s in the movie, it seems, and we only have ourselves to blame. Our Deshdrohi politicians are more intent on banning films rather than taking care of our security.

The spirit of this city has been broken, but we’ll bounce back, dahlings.

Bombay Times Page 5: “Numerologists blame the number 26”

A leading numerologist has claimed that he predicted the attacks a month back. “You see, the number 26 adds up to 8 (2 + 6 = 8), which is unlucky for India. We had Mumbai floods on July 26, Mumbai terror attacks on November 26 and Gujarat earthquake on January 26. The number 8, if you observe closely, resembles two circles, and is symbolic of the vicious double cycle of natural and man-made disasters that it signifies.”

Meanwhile, another numerologist also claimed that the number 26 was unlucky. “The number 13 is widely known as an inauspicious number. What people don’t realize is that 26 is double of 13, and is hence doubly unlucky. People should stay indoors on the 26th of every month.”

Indian Express Specials: Arun Shourie

Opposition parties took the state to task by highlighting the inefficiency of the incumbent government to act upon the available intelligence. Arun Shourie attacked the government saying that there have been repeated warnings but the ‘spineless’ government had ignored them every time.

“The Intelligence Bureau (IB) had sent a confidential report to the government about the high possibility of terror attacks on airports as early as 2002. A committee on Airport Security had reiterated the warnings in 2007. However, the ministers seem to be more interested in pleasing their party president than in securing the lives of innocent people”, he said.

“It is time to replace this apology of a government with strong leadership. It is time to choose the party with a difference”, he concluded.

Mumbai Mirror: “Local corporator who opposed slum demolition forced to resign”

The local corporator who opposed the demolition of slums adjacent to the airport has been pressurized to resign. Angry citizens have held that vote-bank interests of one party should not hold the country to ransom. However, is it too little too late? SMS your opinion to 2612.

The Hindu: “Left leaders blame privatization of airport for security lapse”

Members of the Politburo blamed the privatization of the Mumbai airport for the lapse in security. “The private contractors are only interested in lining their pockets, and do not care for the lives of the passengers”, thundered Mr. Prakash Karat. “We have always opposed private interests in critical areas like airports. Did any of the AAI-run airports become targets of terror?” he asked.

The Hindu Editorial: “Social inequality will eventually lead to terror”

Many of the people in the slums live on a monthly income which is far lesser than the cost of even a no-frills airline ticket. They observe the crass consumerism in the airports where a sandwich costs more than their weekly pay. No wonder some of them were disillusioned enough to provide base for some of the terrorists. While this paper by no means condones the act of the slum-dwellers, it is pertinent to note that a large part of Bharat is increasingly sidelined while India hurtles forward in lopsided development.

DNA Headline: “Citizens to go on candle-light march”

The citizens of Mumbai are fed up of being subjected to terror day in and day out. It is time for active citizenship. A silent candle-light protest march is planned on December 27, at 5.00 p.m. “Enough is enough. It is time the elected representatives took us seriously. We will protest till action is taken”, said a college student.

“We will not allow the terrorists to pull us down. We will book tickets and fly tomorrow, just to show them that they can’t challenge our society,” said a businessman.

PS 1: All newspaper names are real, since I was too lazy to think up spoof names. I apologize in advance for any insult, so don’t throw your lawyers and libel suits at me. These are some of the newspapers I read. I have a friend in HT, so I decided not to do my take on Vir Sanghvi.

PS 2: If you happen to be a cop, I'm NOT in collusion with any of the terrorists. All this is speculation based on today's newspaper headlines.

PS 3: I am not much of a believer, but I do pray that none of the above actually happens.

PS 4: Long post, I know. Not humourous, I know. Not serious enough, I know. Just a follow up on the cynicism that has built up over the past one week. This too shall pass. And then the PJs will be back!

Dec 1, 2008

Outrageous apathy or apathetic to outrage...

It would be an understatement to say that the events of the last few days have shaken me. The mood ranges from helplessness to despair to anger, but strangely has settled finally on cynical.

My first reaction was that of every angry citizen. Which is:

Confirm that all your near and dear ones are alive. Check.
Thank God for that. Exchange stories on how close you were to the site, how lucky you feel to be alive etc.

Salute the brave police force, army, NSG, fire brigade, hotel staff. Check.
Forward smart ass sms-es to all and sundry.
The spirit of Mumbai cannot be broken by a few gun wielding terrorists!
Where is Raj T hiding? The NSG came to Mumbai’s rescue, not the MNS.
God may forgive the terrorists, but we will fix their appointment with HIM. Etc. etc.

Watch the repeated gruesome images on TV. Check.
Change channels, just for the heck of it. All of them show the same images. Some of them may gloat about the wonderful work of their cameramen. Etc. etc.

Rant about the insensitivity of Burkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai etc, while watching their programs non-stop. Check.
They are beaming live images, compromising on the commando operation! They are asking insensitive questions to the victims’s families, and to the survivors. They are sensationalizing the incident. Etc. etc.

Rant about the callousness of the panel of experts lined up by those channels. Check.
The usual suspects would be Alyque Padamsee/Prahlad Kakkar (‘the South Bombay angle’), Shabana Azmi/Mahesh Bhatt (‘the minority angle’), Shobhaa De (‘the socialite angle’), Rahul Bajaj (‘the business magnate angle’), Rahul Bose (‘the intellectual actor angle’), Rakhi Sawant (‘the outrageous quotes angle’), and one spokesperson each from BJP/Congress/Left (‘the politics angle’). That the same ‘experts’ are lined up for every issue from gay rights to smooching in Bollywood, from economic slowdown to terrorism, does not deter outraged citizens from ranting “Do these guys know anything about ground realities?” Etc. etc.

Rant about the spineless opportunistic politicians. Check.
Why did Modi go to the scene of attack before Manmohan? Why wasn’t the PM more emotional in his speech? Why did Shivraj Patil change his outfit in the middle of the crisis? Where was Raj Thackeray hiding? How can RR Patil call this a ‘minor incident that happens in big cities’? How can RGV accompany the CM? Etc. etc.

Rant about the system failures. Check.
What was the intelligence doing? Why don’t we have NSG type units in every state? How can lathi wielding policemen be expected to counter AK-47 wielding terrorists? What happened to the federal agency which was supposed to co-ordinate intelligence from various agencies? Why did it take 15 hours for a relative to claim the body of a victim? How many more attacks before the country takes it seriously? Etc. etc.

Think up ways to show ‘solidarity’. Check
We’ll go to Leopold and have chilled beer. We’ll arrange candle light marches. We’ll donate blood. Join a ‘Say NO to Terrorism’ community online. Etc. etc.

I must confess that I went through each and every one of the above emotions over the last 3-4 days.

Then, thanks to my perverted understanding of a glorious religion, which tells me that what is destined will happen no matter what. And it happens for good. And, if you die today, you always have the next birth to fulfill your remaining dreams.

So, I finally settled on the easiest path. Pure cynicism.

Come and shoot me. Bomb me to hell. I just bloody don’t care.


PS: Neither does the state. But they won't say it outright...

Nov 19, 2008

What an idea sirjee...

I normally refrain from commenting on the madness called the stock market, especially since some people naively assume that working in a financial services company gives me some special insight into stock prices.

But, for once, I want to think aloud whether there is something that I am missing here... Any views from more informed people are welcome...

Swan Telecom sold 45% stake to Etisalat for USD 900 mn... i.e. Valuation of USD 2 billion for the company.
Number of subscribers: 0; Number of towers: 0; Assets: Only the license.

Unitech sold 60% stake to Telenor for Rs.6,120 crore... i.e. valuation of 10,200 crore for the company (equivalent to USD 2 billion approx. at Rs.50 per USD).
Number of subscribers: 0; Number of towers: 0; Assets: Only the license.

TTSL sold 26% stake to DoCoMo for USD 2.7 billion... i.e. approx 10 billion valuation for the entire company.
Number of subscribers: approx 29 mn; Towers and assets existing, need to find out the exact number.

Now, in the midst of all this, why would a company which has approx 30 million customers, more towers than all these guys, more assets than all these guys, be going for a market cap of approx Rs.12,000 crore (i.e. USD 2.4 billion)...

Have Telenor, Etisalat and DoCoMo over paid? Or is the stock market undervaluing this company for hiring Abhishek as their brand ambassador?

In other words, what an idea sirjee!


Disclaimer: Stock market investments are subject to market risk! The author does not hold any position in the stock, and does not advise any one to buy/sell the same.

Nov 17, 2008

SRK's Laws...

Warning: What you are about to read may be riotously funny or extremely stupid, depending on whether you are the author or not. Either ways, proceed with care.


SRK’s Law of First Mover Advantage: Laugh at yourself, before others do!

SRK’s Law of Second Mover Disadvantage: Laugh at your own jokes, before others don’t! (he he)
SRK’s First Law of Sadistic Pleasure: Chicken is merely tasty. What makes eating it fun is the bird-brained vegan chicks heckling you for being a barbarian.

SRK’s Second Law of Sadistic Pleasure: Chocolate is merely tasty. What makes eating it fun is snatching it from a three year old, popping it in your mouth and saying, “Magic! It disappeared!!!”
SRK’s First Law of Low-brow Humour: If a joke can be told in two ways, choose the sicker version.

SRK Second Law of Low-brow Humour: If a joke can be told in only one (nice) way, make up a sicker version.
SRK’s First Law of Road Rage: If there are ten cars speeding along, and an idiot decides to jaywalk, yours will be the car that runs over him.

SRK’s Second Law of Road Rage: If there are ten idiots jaywalking, and a car decides to speed along, you will be the one that gets runs over.
SRK’s Law of Anatomical Paradox: The rounder your waist, the more pointed the barbs about it.

SRK’s Law of Anatomical Non-paradox: 'Lean and mean' is not a cliche. Lean people are really mean.


SRK’s Law of False Modesty: Beauty and brains don’t go together. I have neither beauty nor brains.

SRK’s Law of True Immodesty: Beauty and brains don’t go together. Is that why beautiful girls don’t go out with me?


SRK’s Law of False Expectations: When all the three million people who read your blog expect a good post, give them a crappy post like this.

SRK’s Law of True Non-expectations: When all the three people who read your blog expect a crappy post, give them a crappy post like this.

Nov 13, 2008

The story behind Children's Day

Warning: Slightly long. Especially with all the links included.
Once upon a time, long long ago, there lived a man who had a famous tryst with destiny. He was supposed to have been very fond of kids, and was affectionately called ‘Chacha’.

Unfortunately, his fondness for kids was so overwhelming that he started treating grown up adults of this country as little children who did not know how to take care of themselves. Thus, he took it upon himself to tell little children who called themselves industrialists as to how much they can produce; and to tell little children who called themselves consumers as to how much they can consume. Why, it is rumoured that he even took it upon himself to tell us to fast for one day in a week, for our benefit. After all, every parent knows what is best for his/her children.

And to ensure that the innocent children of this country do not suffer when he is gone, he inducted his daughter and taught her to carry on his good work. He had brought her up well, and she exceeded even the Great Man in her determination to take care of the little children of this country.

Like the Queen of Hearts (or was it the King?), who used to yell, “Off with their heads”, she decided to kill poverty by ordering, “Garibi hatao”. When the poor people did not obey her command by becoming rich, she decided to take over banks and hand over money to the poor people. When they still stubbornly refused to become rich, she gave a tight slap to the children. After all, every parent knows that little innocent children need to be disciplined once in a while.

She also followed her father’s example and brought her two sons to act for the benefit of the little children of this country. But one of her sons was tired of caring for so many little children that he decided to limit the number of children. Unfortunately, before he could implement his well thought out solution to the problem of scarce resources, he was called by his Heavenly Father (or his grandfather in heaven?).

The Queen of Hearts continued to serve the best interests of the little children by taking over more banks and giving them more money. When some of the little children thought they had grown up and asked to move out of the house, she got furious and beat them black and Blue, so much that Stars floated around their heads.

Some of the little children got angry with her, and decided to send her to her Heavenly Father. Her second son reluctantly took over the show, and decided to teach the naughty little children a lesson in physics, which is known as Newton's Third Law of Motion across the world. Except that the 'reaction' in this case was the same violence and highly unequal. But he explained it away with another lesson in physics. After all, he had to show that he was highly educated.

But he had not been a good student of his mom’s teachings and decided to let the little children have their way, albeit in a limited way. However, he decided that a neighbour in the South was a little child who needed some lessons, and went about providing some training for some unruly students. But those ungrateful students decided to test their learning against their own teacher, and he also had to leave to meet his Heavenly Father (and grandfather, mother and brother). And the young dream became a nightmare.

He had not taught his children about their responsibilities towards the little children of this country. So, his children did not come forward to lead, and they found The Insider instead. The Insider, by stroke of genius or luck (we wouldn’t know) decided to bring an Outsider to head the finance ministry. And, the Insider and the Outsider decided that the little children of this country had enough of mollycoddling and asked them to grow up fast. Some say they were arm-twisted into doing this by a rich uncle from abroad, but we will give some credit to the insider. After all, he had taken the trouble to learn thirteen languages.

Once the Insider left, a succession of pretenders came and left. Only one of them (who was also accused of being a pretender with a mukhota by some people) could manage to last for a decent period of time. He made the little children grow up even faster. However, just when he thought there was some shine after all these years, the little children decided that they had enough of him.

So, the little children who had grown up somewhat, decided to go back to the Great Widow of the Grandson. She surprised the little children by handing the job back to the Outsider. However, the Outsider was Left handed who tied his right hand behind his back, and he could not do much. At least not as much as was expected of him.

So, the little children of this country now look to the Great Grandson. To his credit, he has made the right noises of how the little children need to grow up and take care of themselves.

So, dear children, in honour of the Grand Old man who treated all of us as children, his child the Queen of Hearts who took over banks to give us money, her children, and their children, the old man’s birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day. Here you go, have a chocolate for the occasion. Remember, eating too many will harm your teeth!
PS: This post should not be taken to construe that the author opposes the Hand or supports the Lotus. The author is a notorious fence sitter in most areas, and more so in politics.

Nov 11, 2008

A tale of two people

Two persons have dominated the news in the past week. And both of them have made me think a bit (which I must admit, is an activity that I do not indulge in very successfully).

The first guy won a contest that is held every four years in a country which, at least in principle, aims to elect the person most qualified for the job. The second guy announced his retirement from a game in a country, which at least in principle, aims to select the person most qualified for the job. Both events have been called ‘historic’.

The first guy came from obscurity and is now all set to resume his role of leading his country (and by default, the globe?) to a promised better future from the current crisis, and is now expected to hog the public consciousness while doing so. The second guy had already led his team (and by default, his country?) from a crisis to many a success, and is now all set to step away from public consciousness (with nothing but memories of dedicated fans to keep him from oblivion). Both are destined to be remembered for long.

The first guy was criticized for being too young for the job, and suspected of not having the requisite experience to deal with issues. A call for change won him the job. The second guy was criticized for being too old for the job, and all his experience of dealing with issues were discounted in favour of fresh talent. A call for change lost him his job. Both however proved that age has nothing to do with the job on hand.

The first guy is hailed as a ‘messiah’ and most people have already decided (before he starts) that he cannot fail. We can only hope he proves people right. The second guy was called a ‘pariah’, and most people had already decided (before he started) that he cannot succeed. We saw that he proved people wrong. Both prove that what people say should not matter.

Many supporters of the first guy have no clue about why they are supporting him, and seem to be doing it because it is the ‘in’ thing to do. Many critics of the second guy have no clue about why they are opposing him, and seem to be doing it because it is the ‘in’ thing to do. Both prove that there are few people who speak because they have something to say, while the majority speak because they have to say something.

Some of the support for the first guy can be explained from the fact that the alternative was deemed to be too bad, from what people had seen for the last eight years. Some of the criticism for the second guy can be explained from the fact that the alternative was deemed to be too good, from what people hoped to see in the next eight years. Both prove that, fortunately or unfortunately, you are not judged on your merit alone.

The first guy never used his racial identity as a reason for electing him, instead choosing to concentrate on what he thought was best for his country. And yet, his win is proclaimed as historic (already! since he is yet to start on the job) purely because of his race. I wonder whether Jesse Owens would have been called great before he won his four golds, for merely becoming eligible to participate in the Berlin Olympics. While the race has definitely suffered discrimination in the past, the guy personally has not.

The second guy never used his regional identity for selecting his team-mates, instead choosing to concentrate on what he thought was best for his country. And yet, his (forced?) retirement, after all he has accomplished, is proclaimed as another example of injustice to the region. I wonder whether 11363 ODI runs, 7127 Test runs, and numerous Test wins overseas are still not enough to call him great. While the guy has definitely suffered discrimination in the past, the region has not.

Both proved that while discrimination is a reality, a sense of victimization is not the solution. A fact that is unfortunately lost on some of their supporters.

Barack Hussein Obama and Saurav Chandidas Ganguly – two dissimilar people who seem to have a lot in common.

Nov 7, 2008

Punter's poetry...

Been a pretty long time,
since i did any crap rhyme,
that's probably 'coz
was busy watching Oz
squuezed like a lime!

Anyways, if Punter could write limericks, here's what I guess he would've written...

T/20, ODI or a five day test,
We were the lords, the very best;
but on this tour in the land of the curry
i have faced more than a worry...
frankly, i'd rather go home and rest!

Our spearhead, the wonderful Brett Lee,
he hurls the ball, only to see it flee...
So, I throw the ball to dear ol' Mitch
but he too fails on this flat, slow pitch
the bloody Indians can hardly hide their glee!

The next guy I see is Staurt Clark
akin to a dog with no bite, only a bark
God, I need a Shane and a Glenn
If I have any hope of saving my men
from being carted all over the park!

Oh, I also have a spinner called White
who doesn't seem to know how to flight
My other spinner is the part-timer Pup
expected to lead us to the next World Cup
But for now, he's being hit out of sight!!!

My big man Haydos is just back
out once again (!!!) to swinging Zak
And godamn you, it's definitely not funny
to be Ishant's and Bhajji's favourite bunny
this Indian team is real hard to crack...

I can't find one decent fellow
who can wield a confident willow
I sorely miss my all-rounder Roy
why did you go fishing, dear old boy
now, my team is as limp as an empty air pillow!

Oct 22, 2008

Happy Diwali

Warning: Long post. One part senti, one part stupid, all badly shaken and not stirring.
(Putting it up early since I am on leave during Diwali).

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived a little brat in a town near the foothills of Ooty. He was a normal child in a normal town.

He had a typical middle class upbringing. Parents who strived to inculcate ‘values’ in him, blissfully unaware that all their efforts would go waste some twenty years later. Parents who stretched a rupee like only middle class moms and dads can, ensuring that the brat is never short of all the things he needs, but slightly short of all the things he demands.

However, even value-inducing parents have their weak spots. And every brat is born with the mysterious ability to recognize them. So every year, during Diwali, the brat saw to it that the rupee was stretched further and more crackers were bought than was affordable. And the parents usually gave in. Just so that the brat’s face can light up as bright as the sparklers he held. Just so that his spirits may soar as high as the rockets he lit up. (The same brat would grow up and look at crackers as a perfect way to “blow up money”, but we are not in the brat’s boring miserly present, but his stupidly nostalgic past).

Thus the crackers were bought. A big, fat carton of them. Multi-coloured sparklers. Rockets which went straight into the neighbour’s first floor window. Flower pots which nearly blew up the brat’s face the year before. Ear-shattering bombs which thankfully did not kill innocent people but merely made them deaf. And other utterly useless stuff which strangely fascinate a young brat.

The brat, like all his fellow brats, followed a curious tradition of ‘sun-bathing’ his crackers, in the belief that exposing them to the sun made the rockets soar higher, and the bombs to burst louder. The brat never questioned whether it was scientifically true, as the brat never had a scientific bent of mind. (Never would too). But every day, for a week before Diwali, the brat would lovingly spread his treasure on a mat under the hot sun, taking the crackers out one by one, visualizing the pleasure of bursting the crackers. And every evening, at sunset, he would carefully pack the treasure back into the carton, one by one.

The brat also visited fellow brats, to compare their treasure to his. And always came away a bit disappointed. He was too young to understand why his dad couldn’t buy some more crackers. After all, the fellow brat’s dad worked in the same company. But, the brat’s mom was an expert in child psychology, and always managed to make the brat feel that he had the best cracker collection in town. (The grown up brat takes a moment to bow to her genius).

Anyways, to cut this boring story short, the D-day arrived. And the brat took his treasure chest to the verandah, and started lighting up his crackers one by one. Even his genius of a mom couldn’t take his attention away from the rapidly diminishing pile of crackers. The brat remembered the Mahabharata story and fervently prayed for a never-emptying vessel of crackers.

Presently, two kids (we can’t call them brats by any stretch of imagination) from down the street came near his door. They were poor kids, whose parents did not have a rupee in the first place for them to stretch. The kids just stood by in a corner, and watched wistfully as the brat proceeded to burst his crackers with glee.

The brat’s mom, ever generous to a fault, called the kids over and handed them one cracker each. Not a packet, not even a few, just one each. She might have had the mind to hand over more, but the brat would have none of it. He, like Arjuna of the “I can see the eye of the bird and nothing else” fame in the Mahabharata, could only see his near-empty stock pile and not the kids’ plight. He threw a wild tantrum, he screamed, he flailed his arms, he kicked the ground, he cried, he acted stupid. He even threw his precious treasure pile on the ground and ran inside the house crying.

But the brat’s mom held firm. She just took the opportunity to hand over more crackers to the poor kids. She then coaxed the brat out of his favourite crying place in the fartheset corner of the room, and taught him to watch the joy in the faces of the kids as they took turns to burst the crackers. She even made the brat hand over a few crackers to them.

It would take a few more years for the brat to realize that there is more joy in seeing the poor kids lighting up crackers than bursting them yourself. The grown up brat wishes he would remember the joyful faces of those kids more often than a once-a-year-senti-attack.

Apparently, value-inducing parents and their brain washing have a more lasting effect than the grown up brat would care to admit.

Happy Diwali people. And much prosperity too.

Oct 21, 2008

End of an era...

This tribute is coming some 10 days late, blame it on the hectic work life...

Entered our consciousness in the 90s.

A trend-setter.

The one who inspired a dozen clones. And was eventually overshadowed by some of those very clones.

Managed to win the adulation of a set of die-hard supporters.

But was also the object of wide-spread ridicule. Mocked by many, spoofed by the likes of MTV.

The subject of many a fierce debate, over media shows, blogs, campus discussions.

Known to evoke emotions of maniacal support or downright hatred.

And when the end was announced, a great majority heaved a sigh of relief and said it was long overdue.

While a small set grieved the end of a legend.






Yes, dear friends, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki ends. Life will never be the same again.

PS: On a totally unrelated note, Sourav Ganguly also announced his retirement. But, I will leave better writers to do the tribute.

Oct 15, 2008

Kidnap - not the review

I have been watching a lot of movies lately. The more movies I watch, the more I feel that I am a contrarian movie critic. Movies which a lot of people like, I normally don’t. Movies which are panned by many, I normally appreciate. Vivah was one. Kidnap is another.

Director Sanjay Gadhvi is a genius. He belongs to the league of the Wachowski brothers. After all, he has put so many hidden messages about the current politics of a foreign nation in a bollywood film.

Unfortunately, most of the film critics got too distracted by Minissha Lamba's cleavage and failed to appreciate the hidden message in the movie. Even GreatBong, who could derive messages on Chinese diplomacy from a Shakti Kapoor video, missed this one. Sigh.

Luckily for you, there are some people like this blogger who look beyond the cleavage (not without great difficulty, let me assure you), and try to decipher the hidden nuances in the name of public interest.

Don’t believe me?

What’s a hypothesis ‘without laying facts on the table’, to borrow a friend’s oft-used expression:

First, we have the Old Man. He played a soldier once upon a time.

And now, he plays a hardliner, who needs an assistant to just list down his enemies. He is too old for action, but sadly doesn’t realize it. And thinks he rules the world.

Next, we have a hot lady who once played hockey.

Now she plays a mom. Not just any mom, but a strict one who advocates abstention for her kid. The kid doesn't seem convinced and dresses up as if getting pregnant is her sole objective in life. Now, how many hockey moms who preach morals to promiscuous daughters do you know?

Then, we have their opponent, whom we shall call Young Man. Athletic build. Smart looking. Displays mature skills (like driving a car, helping out friend in distress) at a very young age. And the Young Man has suffered discrimination in his youth.

In a telling scene, we have the Old Man chasing the Young man. Young man climbs higher, widens lead and leaves Old Man panting and huffing in his trail. Prophetic? Time will tell.

Young Man makes the rules, and Old Man has no chance but to play by them. Every time he tries to play it differently, he faces road blocks.

Most astute viewers would have got the message by now.

But Gadhvi is a genius, who also ensures that he caters to the masses.

Thus, we have the most blatant clue: the leading lady.

Symbolic of the economy of the country-the-director-shall-not-name, stripped bare, drowning, but still intent on artificially pushing up ‘assets’ to gravity defying levels. Too dumb to realize the crisis and the danger, but somehow clever enough to stab the same person who ‘understands’ your need to ‘clean up’.

As I said, Director Sanjay Gadhvi is a genius. Pity, the critics don’t get it.


PS: Images from google search. Any who has copyright, kindly consdier yourself acknowledged.

Oct 7, 2008


I come home tired... log on and wish people 'Happy Budday' on orkut... and then, just log in to gmail...

and I go... WTF??? WTF WTF WTF???

So finally, Ms. Shetty of Big Brother fame realizes that this SRK is the real star...

and I get this...

I have had Nigerians mailing me to give me a million dollars... I have Viagra sellers offering me miraculous 'performance'... I have even had offers to have my you-know-what lengthened... and a very nice girl calling herself 'Jane' had even offered to show me her bedroom pics...

But this is the first time that some nice looking chick has sent me a mail saying I like your profile and I want to know you better...

Trust me darling, so do I...

For starters,

How the f*** did you get my mail id? and which part of my non-existent profile interests you?


PS: All those smart-ass friends who want to hint at "your time has come da", shut up...

Oct 4, 2008

Dear Mr. Moore...

Recently, I received a mail forward which was an example of the typical reaction to the Wall Street mess. Outrage at the bailout, calls to ‘tax the rich’ and ‘reduce CEO pay’ and so on...
Except this was written by Michael Moore ( , and I used to think he was a cool guy known for his docu movies...

Anyways, here’s how it starts:

The richest 400 Americans -- that's right, just four hundred people -- own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion -- the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the "bailout." Why don't they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They'd still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Interesting start. Exploit the emotion called jealousy and capture the reader’s attention. Except that, what is the crime of these 400 Americans, except that they happenned to be successful and made some money. None of the people in the top 20 are connected to Wall Street (except maybe Buffett, but we know he did not do sub prime). I am too impatient to go through the list of the entire 400 names to find out Wall St connections. If you, as a taxpayer, are outraged at ‘paying for someone else’s follies’, then I fail to see the logic behind asking someone else to do it, just because they happen to earn more.

Then, Moore goes on to propose his version of a bail out plan...


How about indicting people who had no income and no assets, but wanted a house? Oh, but they are poor, honest Americans who got caught up in the asset bubble. And we are on their side.

2. THE RICH MUST PAY FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT. They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned.
a) Every couple who makes over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over $500,000 a year will pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years.
b) Like nearly every other democracy, charge a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This will raise more than $200 billion in a year.
c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders will forgo receiving a dividend check for one quarter and instead this money will go the treasury to help pay for the bailout.
d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raise the corporate income tax back to the level of the 1950s, that gives us an extra $500 billion.

I don’t know where he got his figures from, but I am assuming they are right. Now, the rich people and the corporations are usually smarter than Mr. Moore, and they’ll simply find a way to avoid the surcharge. Move their incomes to tax havens at the worst case.
Now the stock transaction cost: Simple economics – increase in trading costs means lower volumes traded, which means inefficient price discovery which means more opportunity for your much hated Wall St. people to ‘influence’ prices.
And why should only the stockholder prove his patriotism? Why not the salary earner, interest earner? If wages and interest are to be paid before stockholders in good times and in liquidation, isn’t it fair that those very parties contribute to the bail out before the stock holder does?

There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, pay down each of these mortgages by $100,000. Force the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner can pay on its current value.
And let's set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not "bad risks." They are our fellow Americans (emphasis mine), and all they wanted was what we all want and most of us still get: a home to call their own.

Ever heard of moral hazard? I am assuming you have, since you are protesting against a bail out to greedy bankers. But, what is the message you are sending out now? People, when the next bubble comes along, do go out and borrow more than you can. Then default. After all, you are my honest, hardworking fellow American. You are not at fault. Let the greedy banker take the hit.
What next? Our honest fellow American wants a car. No problem, borrow and default. Want a college degree. Borrow and default. After all, should the bank’s profit come before our fellow American’s education?

4. IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GETS ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A "BAILOUT," THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that's how it's done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank "owns" that house until I pay it all back -- with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk -- and necessary for the good of the country -- then you can get a loan, but we will own you. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.

Ok, I can’t really find fault with this. After all, the Swedes proved how it works. But, owning a company is nothing but indirectly owning the assets of the company. If you default, the bank doesn’t come and declare, “Thou shall be my slave for the next twenty years”. It just takes the house. So, the US Treasury can just take the mortgage assets and be done with it, instead of owning the whole goddamn company. Same to Same. If you can’t value one portion of the bank’s ‘assets’, how are you going to value the whole bank?


And the US should add two letters to its name and become USSR?


How large is acceptable for you? Should Wal-mart have only two stores? Twenty? Two hundred? What if they can have more stores and apply supply chain management on the bulk and reduce costs so that goods are cheaper for our fellow American? No, they are getting too big. Slice them up!
Maybe it is time for a new Moore's Law: "The size of the companies will halve and the cost of the goods double every two years"

... "If you can't explain it in two sentences, you shouldn't be taking anyone's money."

I wholly support this man. We’ll ask all our clients to give us a two line project report: “Plan to set up power plant. Will burn coal, generate power, sell and make money” and voila, we’ll give him the loan he wants. Makes my job easier.


Psst... did our PM get in touch with you on his visit to the US? If the owners of the company do not have a problem with how much the management is making, who are we to question them?


I’ll agree with one part of the argument. Give people the option to invest their pensions in safe treasury bonds which earn a rate just better than inflation. And another option to invest some in equity, which may give higher returns, but can be wiped out too. Now, trust the average honest fellow American to choose his future wisely. After all, if he is greedy enough to choose equity and exotic derivatives, FDIC has no business protecting it. And if he is willing to gamble on his future, you and I and the FDIC have no business in trying to stop him.


Ha, one sensible point. Sad, it took eight nonsensical points to come to this. And just to nitpick, the sky might fall. So, I would rather watch TV and discuss how I can find a shelter. Plus, if no one is watching TV or reading news, who will support your plan, Mike?

If we really are itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don't we give it to ourselves? Now that we own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a people's bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And now that we own AIG, the country's largest insurance company, let's take the next step and provide health insurance for everyone. Medicare for all. It will save us so much money in the long run. And we won't be 12th on the life expectancy list. We'll be able to have a longer life, enjoying our government-protected pension, and living to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused so much misery are let out of prison so that we can help reacclimate them to civilian life -- a life with one nice home and a gas-free car that was invented with help from the People's Bank.

And where will this ‘low-interest’ loans be funded from? From the tax of the honest fellow American? And this is permanent funding, not a one time bail-out? You are too good man. If I was in US and you ran for office, I’ll be voting for you.

PS: Sorry for the looooong post... half of it was his lines, so you can blame him partly. And of cousre, I havent pasted the entire plan here. You can read it from the reference given at the top.

PPS: I am not very good at economics. Else, I could have ripped him apart better. Sigh.

Sep 30, 2008

I-banking PJs

I know Schadenfreude is a bad thing, but it is only an excuse to come up with some truly pathetic PJs...

People who are offended are welcome to come with their own version of project financier PJs...


Investment banking CEOs used to have an anthem which went “We work with the best! We have only carrot, and no stick!! We are the studs!!!”
After the crash, someone replaced ‘st’ with ‘d’ in their anthem…
… and even in their stock options!


Investment bankers are paid big bonuses for their brains. But of course, as basic economics says, the scarcer a thing is, the higher its value.


What’s common between London and Wall Street?
Both have a Big Ben, who does nothing but make periodic noises.


Why was the investment banker butchered?
B’coz he called himself ‘Master of the Universe’ (MOTU) and ‘Greatest of all time’ (GOAT). Now we all know what happens to a MOTU GOAT…


More when another bank goes bust... tragic that realization dawns very late that being a bond trader doesn't come with a license to kill...

PS: I still wouldn't mind being an investment banker...

Sep 24, 2008

Peace Activists kill Iraqi Civilians

One fine day, some peace activists decide to go out and shop around for a banner saying ‘Unite for World Peace’. Their intention to buy this banner has provided a ‘price signal’ to makers of cloth to produce more banner sized clothes. These producers of clothes in turn have provided another ‘price signal’ to cotton farmers around the world to grow more cotton. Since every country doesn’t have cotton fields, some of them have to import the cotton from other countries which produce more of cotton and less of ‘Unite for World Peace’ banner-holding people.

Now, the need to transport the cotton has provided a ‘price signal’ to makers of ships to manufacture more ships. Even people who are not sailors know that ships are not powered by wind. Sailing boats maybe, but they don’t carry cotton.

Anticipating the increase in the number of ships, the demand for oil goes up. Since oil is a scarce resource (at least economically), the production of oil cannot be increased as per the whims and fancies of the peace activists. So, oil’s importance as a strategic resource increases.

Iraq is a region rich with oil resources. Since the demand for a scarce resource is seen to be increasing, countries like the United States decide to acquire more of the scarce resource to increase their world superpower status. After all, even Dubya knows the golden rule that he who has the gold makes the rules. Ok, oily rule in this case, but please bear with me.

So, on the one hand, the increase in demand for oil caused by the decision of certain activists to hold banners has provided an economic incentive for the United States to attack Iraq. Of course, they call it the war against terrorism and search for WMDs, because they don’t want to attract other peace activists carrying more banners. Even the US knows that there are only so many countries in the world that you can bomb for oil. They learnt it in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, most (maybe all) countries hold US dollar as the reserve currency. And use it as the transactional currency for international trade too. So, with all this global movement of cotton and ships, higher foreign trade takes place, leading to more demand for US dollars to settle these trades. The US Government is only happy to print more and more dollars for the world to consume, since paper is cheaper than the dollar. Or at least was, since the financial crisis hadn’t happenned then. The US is thus being indirectly financed by the governments across the world. The US uses this ‘money’ to make war, and kill Iraqi civilians, which they justify as ‘collateral damage’.

Thus, the 'butterfly effect' of activists uniting for world peace has far-reaching, unintended consequences of starting a war, and killing innocent civilians.

Horrified at being accused of such a crime, the peace activists decide to troop back to their houses and have a nice cup of coffee. Oh wait, that sends a 'price signal' to coffee producers to ship their coffee to other countries...

I don’t know if this is an example of the ‘Chaos Theory’. Chaos Theory is a favourite of a certain egoistic South Indian actor to make random films and make them sound intellectual. I don't know whether such a 'Grand' theory can be applied to jobless bloggers writing random posts and trying to appear intellectual.

Long P.S.: Economics is an relatively confusing subject. Or at least that was my excuse for not getting a grasp of Economics. That is why I firmly believe that it should not be dumbed down for the masses.

I have had the opportunity to read some interesting books like Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist over the past year. While these books are good for a quick read into the quirks of the world, they should not be taken too seriously. It is like watching Rang De Basanti. Laugh at Aamir’s antics, have a temporary crush on Soha and the firang chick, enjoy Rahman’s music, but for God’s sake don’t go out and plan to shoot a politician. Not that they don’t deserve it, but still...

So, coming back to my point, casual readers of economics should not indulge in thought experiments on their own. Especially when the readers are such that they have to be experimented on to see if they can actually indulge in thought. Like yours truly.

Sep 22, 2008

I sometimes wonder...

  • Why do I feel my mom is being unduly superstitious in going to a temple and praying for good health for the family, while I don’t feel superstitious in investing in the stock market and hoping for a profit? After all, both of us are anticipating good things, and asking it from entities we neither understand nor control.
  • Why do some parents feel it is completely within their right to determine the career and marital choices of their kids (thank god mine are liberal enough), while arguing for the merits of a referendum in Kashmir? Shouldn’t free choice apply to one’s family before it applies to a whole state?
  • Why, after every terrorist attack, is there a call for ‘moderate Muslims’ to speak out and denounce the attacks, while no one asks me (a decidedly non-violent Hindu) to speak out and denounce the attacks on churches in Orissa/Karnataka, and no one asks my Maharashtrian friends to come out and denounce Raj T? After all, if silence in the face of atrocities is also a crime, shouldn’t it apply to everyone?
  • Why do some people claim that reservations are bad since “caste doesn’t matter in modern India”, and then happily allow their parents to specifically narrow the search for a marital partner within the same caste?
  • Why do I support market economics and free trade, and oppose Mamata’s agitation at Singur? After all, laissez faire should mean that the Tatas negotiate with the farmers and the Mamatas of the world, with the state as an impartial observer.
  • Why does it feel completely natural to me to support free trade and laissez faire, after having been through 12 years of subsidized education? Why do I fail to consider that in a laissez faire economy, I might have passed out of school with a debt much larger than the one I have on my head now?
  • Why do some people of my caste have no qualms in slapping a mosquito dead and spraying ‘Hit’ on a cockroach, while turning up their noses on hearing that I ate chicken for dinner? After all, you personally killed the mosquito and the cockroach, while I just happened to eat a chicken that was already dead.
  • Why does the thought of wife-beating seem so detestable to me (no, I am not saying this just to impress my lady readers, promise), but the concept of ‘disciplining’ a child with a pat across his cheek seems ok to me? Shouldn’t I be treating all violence as bad?
  • Why do people who claim to be open minded and liberal stop recognizing the freedom of others to be close minded? Aren't the people who demand that others be open minded behaving in the same totalitarian manner as the society they seek to ‘reform’?
  • Why do I write such random nonsensical blog posts rather than sticking to my PJs and limericks?

Sep 12, 2008

All the world's a stage...

Imagine the world is a stage… and all the people have the freedom to pick and choose what to do…

Many would vie to be the lead actor. Little realizing that they have neither the talent nor the ability to do justice to that role. Some of them would be thrust on the stage, to vie for the lead, just because their fathers had essayed that role at some point in life. Some, because they happened to be at the right place at the right time. And the rest, for some unknown reason, because every thing in life cannot be explained in simple cause-and-effect terms.

The more successful ones would know that the role they play may be heroic, but they are not necessarily the heroes. Their very success lies in the fact that they can depict the heroic qualities without possessing the said qualities. But a great many of them start thinking, “Hey, I am a real hero. Look at those guys struggling away for his bit role. And that dumb struggling starlets screwing around for a role. Fools, all of them.”

A lot of intelligent women would line up to play the ‘dumb bimbo’ role, secure in their awareness that the role they play has nothing to do with their real persona. They flirt with the hero, the villain, the director, the producer, and if needed the make-up man and the spot boy. They make each of these guys feel like they are the most important in the world, just to advance their own career. As each of the guys vies to do their willing, and follow them around like lost puppies, the women think, “Look at those guys grovel for a little attention and some occasional sex. Fools, all of them.”

Some would revel in their ability to play the anti-hero. The guys whom everybody loves to hate. They know that while they might meet a gory end, they’ll get to enjoy all the booze, vamps, drugs etc., for a majority of the time. While the ‘hero’ struggles with his goody-goody image. They would think, “look at the guys who hide their marriage from the public to maintain his ‘image’ while I hit the party circuit with two starlets wrapped around each arm. Fools, all of them.”

Some would reject the pressures of public scrutiny on stage, and prefer to remain back-stage, however ensuring that they hold the right strings. These people have the vision to bring together other people, engage their talents, and provide direction to the cast. These directors take a story, and render them on stage for the benefit of millions. Some of them do not have so much skill, and resort to copying visions of others. However, they think, “The hero, for all his heroics on stage, needs my instructions on what to do. The heroine will dance topless if I ask her to. And these 'stars' think no end of themselves. Fools, all of them.”

Then there are people who don’t try too much in life. They prefer to sit back, and watch the other fools on stage. High on the sense of power that comes from the knowledge that all the mighty fools up up there live and die by their applause or the lack of it.

Some of them might even write about the other fools making an ass of themselves for all the world to see. Forget the fact that the writers themselves have achieved zilch in life.

This is one such fool…

Sep 8, 2008

A Wednesday... kinda review

I know I had said that I won't review movies, but then, rhyming is something that I don't resist...


As I was wondering what to do last saturday
trying to make the most of the weekend holiday;
my friends call me for a late night show,
for once, I decided to go with the flow
And thus, I ended up watching A Wednesday…

It opened with a sea side shot of Anupam Kher,
within a few minutes, he was roaring like a sher;
The reason was a phone call from Nasserudin Shah,
whose superb acting made audiences go wah wah
Seemed like this movie was gonna be worth the fare...

But soon, the film started to run thin on logic...
But my friends told me, "enjoy and don’t nit-pick"
A TV crew gets free entry into a private air base?
Or was the security winked at Deepal’s un-pretty face?
But everyone else was too caught up with Nasser’s magic

Every terrorist was a stupid screaming caricature
Not at all expected for a film of this stature!
The politicians were there just to be mocked,
but the audience is already raving that the film 'rocked'
I just don’t get it, but then mebbe, that is my nature…

Cliché after cliché, my mind was soon in a fog
I was almost ready to write a trashy blog,
Just when I thought “oh damn god, all is lost”
and was ruing over the pricey ticket cost
Nasser bhai delivers a god-awesome dialogue!!!

But in this sad age where Singh is Kinng
and actresses are full of nothing but bling...
Just for that one god awesome speech
From an excellent actor far out of reach
Praises of this movie, I shall gladly sing!!!

Sep 2, 2008

Socha Hai...

A new mother, a kid who shits too much and my juvenile crap...

Tera Diaper Peela Kyun, Itna Geela Geela Kyun
Ganda Kyun Hai Zameen,
Skin Mein Hai Narmi Kyun, Maathe Pe Hai Garmi Kyun,
Tera Aur Do ‘Paunch’ Kyun Nahi

Pet Ho Gaye Kum Kyun, Lean Hain Ye Bosom Kyun
Chaand Do Kyun Nahi,
Duniya Mein Hai 'Dung' Kyun, Behta Peela Rang Kyun,
Sardardein Hain Kyun Har Kahin

Pocha Hai… Yeh Tumne Kya Kabhi
Pocha Hai… Kya Hain Yeh Mail Sabhi
Pocha Nahi To Pocho Abhi…..

Behti Kyun Hai Har Gadi, Roti Kyun Hai meri Munni
Sirf Girti Hai Kyun,
Daant Kyun Hain Toot the, Saare Kyun Hain Toot The,
Badan Pe Khujli Hai Kyun
Locha Hai… Kya Tumne Kya Kabhi
Locha Hai… Haan Yeh lafda Sabhi

PS: I know this is bad... kya karen... control nahi hota...

Sep 1, 2008

Those are my principles...

and if you don't like them... well, I have others. - Groucho Marx

Some conversations that I overheard left me wondering about the impact of this quote…

The 2 principal characters, let's call them Mama1 (M1) and Mama2 (M2)...

M1: Hello mama, how are you? Long time since we met…

M2: I am fine indeed… and yes, you are right, it has been a long time… So, all well in the family? How is your son doing?

M1: He got into engineering at XYZ college. He would have got into an IIT if not for this Arjun Singh and his stupid reservation policy…

M2: Oh, I see…

M1: What to say, mama? Long after discrimination based on caste has vanished, these politicians still want to milk the issue for their gains! Slowly, these people are taking over the nation. We are educated people. We don’t discriminate based on caste. Our ancestors used to do that. Why, we even allow our maid into all areas of the house except the kitchen nowadays.

M2: That’s very progressive of you indeed…

M1: And I heard that the high court is giving incentives for inter-caste marriages. Such sacrilege! We are not saying that our caste is higher than yours. But we look for brides only within our caste. It is just that we are more comfortable with people who follow our own customs and traditions. After all, what’s a daughter-in-law if she can’t appreciate Thyagarajar?

Both mamas go back to The Hindu and their filter kaapis… Silence ensues…

M1: Look at this news, this dalit man has been arrested for beating up his wife!

M2: Oh… wife beating is bad indeed…

M1: We are educated people. Progressive minded too… we don’t consider women inferior to men in any way…

M2: good, good…

Back to browsing the newspaper…

M1: This country is going to the dogs… Look at this lady’s gall… she has filed a case in the court, demanding entry for women at Sabarimala… thankfully, women in our home respect tradition… they still isolate themselves during those days so as to not pollute the house…

M2: Hmm…

M1: Why can’t these women respect century-old customs and traditions… We have given them voting rights, education, freedom… but this is taking things too far…

The Paper, again…

M2: mama, look at this Kashmir issue. We have given them everything, money, special rights under Article 370 etc., and they still want independence.

M1: We are educated people. We don’t support violence. We want Kashmir to have a plebiscite for self-determination. After all, we don’t want to rule people against their will.

M1’s son enters…

M1’s son: namaskaram, mama…

M2: Hello, how are you? Heard you are studying engineering. All the best…

M1’s son leaves after saying the customary namaskaram…

M2: that reminds me, didn’t your son want to study journalism?

M1: Ah, he wanted to… I dismissed that as misplaced enthusiasm… I enrolled him into engineering… After all, who knows what’s good for the child other than the parents? We have their best interests at heart...

Aug 25, 2008

Succumbing to Temptation...

She was the most beautiful ‘item’ I had seen. Looking extremely delicious, sitting pretty with an inviting look. Seducing me. Tempting me to reach out. Making me drool like a pup which has eyed a bone.

One look at her, and all my self-control just melted away.

I knew that the effect was not just on me; everyone around me was also eyeing her with a lustful gaze. Even the girls in the vicinity kept looking at her, jealous of her effortless ability to draw attention from their bling, muttering to themselves, “She makes us look fat”.

As I drew my eyes away with considerable difficulty and tried to move away, her delicious fragrance kept me rooted to my spot. She had a sizzling scent, one which jolted my senses in a pleasant sort of way.

She evoked a strange sense of possessiveness in me. When I saw her in another man’s arms, all I wanted to do was go up to him, kick his ass, and take her for myself.

She had this mysterious ability to make me loosen my purse strings with abandon. She knew she was the best, and she demanded a heavy price knowing that no man can resist her charms.

She was like a drug, extremely addictive. I can never forget the feeling I had when my lips first touched her.

She was HOT. SUPER HOT. A DEFINITE SIZZLER. I knew this affair was not good for me. Every time I had given in to her charms, I had endured the torture of a guilty conscience and en empty wallet. My friends knew my weakness for her, and constantly taunted me. I was immune to them.

In spite of the fact that I had burnt my fingers many times before, the temptation was too much to resist.

I finally gave in.

I called the waiter, and said “One sizzling chocolate brownie please”. And I gave in to her charms “one last time.”

Until the next pang that is.

PS: Inspired by the line “Bips looks decidedly edible” - Raja Sen, review of Bachan Ae Haseeno.

PPS: I read rediff reviews. Sigh. And get inspired by such crap. Double sigh. Such is life...

Aug 18, 2008

Azadi? Kai ka azadi?

Teri maa ki…”, cursed Raju silently as another car zoomed past him, splashing muddy water all over his uniform, the only one he had. “Saala, tera baap ka sadak samjha kya?” he shouted, knowing fully well that the driver wouldn’t hear it inside the air-conditioned confines of his car.

Raju was wet, hungry and in a terrible mood. He hadn’t eaten anything since morning, except the greasy laddoo that had been handed out at the flag hoisting at the municipal school early morning. It was raining heavily and the potholed roads were going from bad to worse. Plus, he had managed to sell only twenty flags. “Saala, aaj kal desh bhakti ka naam hi nahi raha”, he muttered to himself, “bade bade gaadi mein baithe aish kar rahe, ek jhanda nahi khareed sakte?

Priced at Re.1 each, the flags fetched him a commission of 25 paise per flag. He had hoped to sell 100 flags at least, so that he and his mother can have a decent masala dosa each. He wouldn’t buy one for his father. “baap nahi, shaitan hai woh”, he thought, “roz peeke aata hai, aur maarta hai”. But the way things were going, it looked like they’d have to settle for a wada pav each.

Raju was an enterprising boy. He sold all sorts of trinkets at traffic signals to fund his meals. Not that he had much choice. His father had been a drunken loafer for as long as he could remember. His mother toiled hard, but all her earnings were duly deposited, half at the arrack shop and half at the local pawn broker’s shop.

He had great hopes for the Independence Day. People who shooed him away from behind their tinted windows everyday, would usually buy the National Flag. Or at least he hoped they would. After all, five years’ experience at various traffic signals across the city had taught him that most people find it hard to say no to the Tiranga. But, this year, even that was not working. The country was surely going to the dogs.

Saala, woh khiladi log bhi aur medal nahi jeet rahe”, he grumbled. The day after Bindra won the gold, he had managed to sell double the number of newspapers at the signal. He never knew who Abhinav Bindra was, nor what an air-rifle is. But, thanks to that bespectacled shooter, Raju and his mom feasted for a day.

Kahin bum-wum toh phodo saale”, Raju prayed sometimes, especially on days when the attractive people in the car refused to buy the newspapers, “Sensex doobe, Mallika kisiko chumma de, ya toh Saif aur Kareena ka jhagda ho jaaye. Kuch toh lafda ho jaaye”. Anything to sell the godammed papers.

Presently, he came across an old man walking along the footpath, who beckoned him and bought two flags. The old man was a freedom fighter, and was started talking nostalgically about the glorious days of struggle. Raju stopped to listen, out of courtesy for the old man, but more so because he was bored of standing alone at the signal for hours on end. Plus, those precious flags were not selling anyways.

As the old man finished his story of non-violent marches in the face of sustained lathi charges and concluded with “aisi dilaayi is desh ko azadi”, Raju thought to himself, “kai ka azadi. Mera baap daaru se azaad nahi. Meri maa mere baap se azaad nahi. Main bhook se azaad nahi. Yeh joh bade bade gaadi mein jhanda khareede bina shaan se jaa rahe hain, woh apne kaam, paise, status, dikhave se azaad nahi.

And as his stomach growled with emptiness, he muttered, “Azadi gaya tel lene, koi jhanda toh khareedo yaar.

Aug 1, 2008

The Century!!!

First of all, yippieeee, woooohooooo, hurray, dhinchak dhinchak dhinchakdhin and all that happy sounding terms...

Ladies and gentlemen, please stand up and applaud the monumental effort... this is my 100th post!!!! *raises bat to crowd, looks up to heaven*

For a guy who cribbed recently about everything being measured by numbers, it is ironic that I feel so happy about this...

But, when I started the blog with a typically crappy post, I never thought I would continue to write gyaan for so long... ok, ok, i know there are people who have written posts by the thousands, but I still feel good...

I have written about happy times, I have written about senti themes, I have written stupid rhymes, I have cracked the most idiotic PJs, and typical of me, I have frequently written about crap... and more crap... and indeed, more crap...

I have wished for girlfriends, listed my previous crushes, even made up a proposal to say to the most unfortunate girl on the planet... though after calling them the unfair sex, I don't entertain much hopes of any girl falling for me...

I have cribbed here about my lacklustre social life, I have highlighted here my disinterest in movies, about how I spend my weekends doing nothing.

I tried my hand at writing stories once or twice, and realized that it takes far more skill than what I originally thought... but I still plan to write fictional accounts more and more...

I have attempted to question my religious belief by mocking a lot of things... God, priests, godmen, astrology, numerology, astrologers (again and again)... if each of them curses me even once for such stupid posts, I can look forward to rotting in hell for a long time to come...

However, I wouldn't say I am entirely rational... when things go wrong, I find it easier to blame my friend, or my birthcharts... although I finally end up accepting that sometimes things get screwed up and it is all because of me...

I have also mocked life at a b-school (attitudes, jargons, placement process, presentations, group discussions, their know-it-all behaviour)... it is but natural, since most of my blog writing happenned during the two years of timepass that they call MBA...

I have also mocked a lot of random other things... bollywood babes who refuse to kiss, salma hayek and her god-given gifts (drool, excuse me while I wipe off the drool), b-schools with outrageous ads, my students, an expensive IPO, compulsory social service...

If you think this blog was all about mocking things around the world, I should assure you that I have tried to do some thinking too... I keep thinking about whether man created god or vice versa, whether man makes his own destiny, whether your entire life boils down to a roll of a heavenly dice... and I must confess that I am thoroughly confused about it all...

All said and done, I have thouroughly enjoyed this blogging thingy, and hope I can get to the double hundred real quick... wish me luck!!!


PS: Thought long and hard about a special topic for "the century post", but couldn't choose any one topic... so, decided to go back nostalgia lane, and found that I do enjoy reading my old posts!!!