Sunday, June 14

The third attempt
Am back after 3 1/2 year hiatus when the Indian main stock index had its best run ever, followed it with an even more spectacular fall, and is showing some false signs of running up again.
From a new city, probably a tad wiser , hope to focus on some of the beauty we take for granted and miss noticing them
Be it a kid jumping on a puddle of grimy water, the babble of a three-year old, a bird feeding its chicks. And being in Mumbai, I rather not miss welcoming the flamingos, the first rain clouds (alas they are still hiding) and the Mumbai trains, which is an evergreen topic always.
With a kid around, will have lots of instances to post, be it in words, pics or ...
Hopefully I will continue

Friday, December 30

My 2006 predictions

The positive ones

1) Indian stocks will continue the rally at least till the first quarter end. P Chidambarm will present yet another dream budget, predicting fiscal deficit at 2.5 percent of GDP

2) Mobile tariffs , air fares will slide further

3) Bihar will have one full year of governance without lalu

4) America will not invade another country under the global war on terrorism banner/ India may win the Security Council seat

5) Sania Mirza will reach the quarterfinals of a major, probably Australian Open and Indians will go gaga. And ET will have a Sania brand story Tendulkar will surpass 40 centuries and ET will have, you know what Tendulkar Brand6) offshoring, outsourcing in the manufacturing space will begin

7) India will have 30 new car models, especially from the Merc, Audi, BMW, Nissan stables/ Tatas will finally replace the Sumo

8) FDI in Indian media will scale the 26 percent, FDI in Indian retail

9) Toyota overtakes GM as the largest car maker

10) I’ll lose weight and earn a fatter paycheck

The negatives

1) Stock market closes 2006 at 6000 points (sensex). PC budget remains a dream once again

2)Indian cricket gets caught in the dada et al controversy forgets cricket. Jagmohan Dalmia stages a comeback into BCCI.

3) India economy starts floundering. Some industries enter the decline space

4) Call centers start migration towards other low cost English speaking nations

5) Left pulls the rug under Congress feet. American economy continues decline. China finally accepts growth numbers were cooked

6) Some of the upstart airlines in India, start fading out. Infrastructure woes are not addressed in the country

7) A coup in Pakistan

8) East Europe grapples with more regime changes, which is as usual backed by the America

9) Indian media loses some of its best brands, TV continues its clown act.

10) I’ll grow an year older.

And finally Happy new year

Tuesday, December 27

Pitfalls of Universal education.

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar in his weekly TOI column. Some words of wisdom, once again from Swami .

“Research suggests that if children cannot read after two to three years of education, they probably never will. They may be promoted regularly and complete school, but they will be functionally illiterate, and their many years of education will not improve their incomes.

Lesson: Indian education must focus above all on early reading skills. If that is not achieved, all subsequent schooling is a waste. Why are schools so weak in teaching poor children to read? Because, …….better-off children typically enter school with a vocabulary of 2,000 to 4,000 words, and have often started reading already at home.

But poor children typically have a vocabulary of only 600 words, and have never read at home.”

But for once i counter Mr Aiyar's views

As usual, I fell for Mr Aiyar’s well researched, lucidly written web. But a few minutes later, realised my folly—I realised, I have blindly begun to tread the same rationale path of a celeb.

Mr Aiyar, to start this column, dwelved on the rich-poor divide and its effects on literacy or rather functional literacy, and backed it up with the results of an NGO Survey.

I reckon the survey could have a few errors. And I base my assumptions on a self made, micro survey. I recently happened to interact with a group of kids reading at some of the best or at least the “hep” schools in a South Indian Metropolis. And I concluded their command over the language was as naked as a student who sits in a regional medium school. And next, these kids, never read anything that is in their mother tongue.

To add to the kids lexicon is the garbled, obfuscated slang. That’s starts with the pedantic, “hey mon, tell me da” to I did that only dude” and …….

At least the poor do not try to speak English supposedly. Instead they chaste speak local language’s. Isn’t knowing your mother tongue well enough to read and write functional literacy?

Wednesday, December 21

Xmas cake

Come Christmas, I remember my ageing family doc, who stays next door. Nope he isn’t our neighbourhood Santa Claus. Well to an extent he is , as he gives us our Xmas cake

For over 2 decades, we have had a very strong bonding with this renowned pediatrician. In return for the cake and annual consultation, we run over to his house on Christmas, help ourselves to more cakes and hand him a worthy gift.

Christmas eve for us as kids, used to start with staring across into his house. Every time the door opened our hearts would flutter. And when the maid finally emerged carrying the cake box …… guess u can imagine our reaction.

Years later, none of us are at home for Christmas, but still the cake and gifting tradition continues. Only now my parents take the cake well past New Year, while we finished it before Christmas noon.

Tuesday, December 20

Tennis chimp

Was reminiscing old times, especially my tennis court days.Was a serious contender at one point of time and read and re read the Tennis Magazine, played and replayed recorded Tennis matches. Right from the Lendl-Wilander era to Edberg-Becker till Sampras-Agassi.Like any clever clever chap, I wanted to analyse the games of these greats and inculcate their strong shots into mine. Did I say inculcate, nay then, wanted to ape them.

The result, yup u guessed it. lemme dwell on the some of the shots I was enamoured with.

Stefan Edberg’s arched back, legs parked parallel, seven o’ clock service. That was the first one. Prepared by viewingfour replays, reading the Tennis Magazine’s section on serve like Edberg some half a dozen times and finally practiced under the 3’o clock scorching sun using my shadow as the guide.
Over time, Sampras’s service caught my fancy. I immediately altered my stance to the slight drooped, head and chin up complete with the tongue hanging out stance, and tried the last minute shoulder power generated serve. Bingo it worked, but I couldn’t play long. I used the injury too and said I had a ligament tear, blue blooded Sampras right.In between those two tried following servers like Ivanisevic, Rusedski and yes, Steffi Graf too.

I stuck to my own forehand till I saw Mark Philippoussis and then tried the body weight forward shoulder rotating forehand, only to give up. It turned into a damp squib. Unfair right, cos Philippoussis’s did generate loads and loads of power.

First aped Sergi Bruguera’s unorthodox backhand—hold the racquet upright like an axe and whip it in the last minute with a slight hint of topspin.And then Sampras made Wimbledon his home and I wanted his one-hand backand. Precisely during that time I read a report on how Sampras changed from double fist back hand to the one-hand and what wonders it did to his junior rankings. I promptly adopted it and was whacked out of the court by the youngest kid.Then got rational and adopted Kafenikov’s double-fist backhand.

who else Boris back Becker, but I fine tuned it to exclude the acrobatics.

Sampras ‘in the air ‘overhead. Only that I couldn’t jump.

Monday, December 19

Jack n Jill stocks

Some new faces were just catapulted into India’s richest by Forbes Asia.. Not that am a great fan of this exercise.

Other than regulars like Premji, and Ambanis, the list has Sunil Mittal of Bharti, online poker game operators Anurag Dikshit, Vikrant Bharghava . Jet Airways Naresh Goyal, property developer Kushal Pal Singh Suzlon’s Tulsi Tanti too feature.

One common thread in the new comers list is the rollicking stock market. And the subsequent IPO’s from these faces.

Jet Airways , the largest Airline operator in the country, crept into the black post its IPO recently and in the process turned Goyal into a billionaire. Ditto with Suzlon’s Tanti and Sunil Bharti Mittal. They have cushioned themselves in the list right after unlocking their stake in an IPO.Yup there are others as well like Dikshit, but he is as Indian as Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal steel is. As for Kushal Pal Singh, well he is Gurgoan and Gurgoan is him atleast now.

A sceptical over view of these names, just reveals that it could be a Jack and Jill case. Going up the hill to come tumbling down. Nope, I aint saying that the fresh shares are mere blips in the demat account. But they just could be. Based on just one if-What if the market crashes.
Can happen right? Citibank investment banking division says Indian market is over valued by 30 percent. Lets discount the sanguine view that Sensex would cross 16,000 by mid ’06 and assume it crashes. Lo behold, Jet Airways, Suzlon would definitely turn laggards, thanks to their high premiums. As for Bharti Mittal, am sure he will be counting his moolah at least, cause he is selling big time. Not AirTel connections alone, but stake to the likes of Vodafone and co.

PS: Speaking of riches, I remember an Economic Times survey of the richest names in a trading community. The survey lauded 10 wealthy people and spiced up their names. Except that, the research was a bit skewed. Community folks smelt the handiwork of one wealthy family, which actually occupied the top slot in the list. Why, the last spots were filled by candidates from that family or rather branches of that family. It happens right