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...