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!