Thursday, May 21, 2009


I recently came across the following (true) facts:
  1. Statistically speaking, all girls in Delhi are called either a) Pooja or b) Neha
  2. All taxi drivers in Delhi are thieves
  3. Bhojpuri movies' 'dashing young heroes' are usually middle aged, balding and paunchy men
  4. There is a thriving satta bazaar in Delhi
  5. Mumbai goons have no chance against a) Delhi police and b) the Delhi chill
  6. Cyrus Broacha is funnier in real life than in a funny role

All these were gleaned from a watching of the latest (and only in a long long time!) Bollywood noveau middle house cinema offering - to wit - 99.

The movie is a good timepass watch, entertaining in parts, and with good, believeable characters (except Soha Ali Khan as the eponymous Pooja, in a role so wooden that environmental enthusiasts will embrace her as worth preservation!). Mahesh Manjarekar, Vinod Khanna, Boman Irani and a really good guy called 'Kuber' provide solid performances. The scripting is good, and the situations (while over the top) are believeable.

Definitely worth a dekko.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Gaga over Yaga

Yaga Venugopal Reddy, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 2003-2008 is being credited as being the 'saviour of the Indian financial system' from the impact of the global meltdown (a newspaper articles' words, not mine!). The dude sure seems pretty prescient in hindsight, since he moved swiftly (and with little regard to the netas in the government, it must be noted) to quell what seems now to be an obvious bubble in real estate prices and unsecured credit by raising interest rates. No wonder the guy is in great demand as a speaker at various international fora on financial system stability and the role of central banks.

What Reddy did during his tenure seems all the more amazing now since at that time, it seemed quite a contrarian and rather obstinate thing to do. Indeed, if Greenspan had done what Reddy did, perhaps we would not have this catastrophe of a credit crunch on our hands and perhaps many millions of jobs would not be lost. It is therefore instructive to see what Reddy thinks now.

Interestingly enough, in an interview with Mint, he says: "that the underlying inflationary pressure in India is very high" and that "one should take into account the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and not the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) while taking monetary and fiscal measures. In contrast to WPI, the country’s most widely tracked weekly inflation index, CPI reflects the price of goods at the retail level. For the week ended 25 April, WPI inflation was 0.70%, but CPI for industrial workers continued to be high at 9.63%, for February 2009 (the latest available number)." Bang on!! I always laugh when I hear strange numbers each week on CNBC: Inflation is now 0.2%, now 0.5%!! Huh?? Nothing seems to be becoming cheaper (except petrol, the price of which was reduced in February), so how can this be?

He goes on to say "the challenge before the authorities is unwinding the packages in due course. Otherwise, vested interests (will) develop in some stimulus packages and that will add to the inflationary pressures." Further: "You cannot do recovery at any cost. Your recovery has to be at an appropriate price.” The guy is still being farsighted and rightly indentifies that the focus on blind copying of 'stimulus' by our government (for populist reasons perhaps? or for bailing out property 'developers' who really deserve to be bankrupt) could be sowing the seeds of future pain and degrowth in India.

I wish we had more courageous (and sensible!) people like Yaga at the helm of economic policymaking!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Celebration!! and a new beginning...

This is the 200th post on nothing-spectacular! When I started, I had no idea that this blog would become such a natural and integral part of my life. I hope this journey continues...

This post is special for another reason. The beta version of the Five X Capital website is launched! Please visit and send in your comments / suggestions / brickbats. The site is till date the only thing I have to show for 7 years of education and 3 degrees (BTech, MTech in Computer Science and MBA)!!!! A humbling experience...

Green shoots notwithstanding...

Not wanting to be a party pooper, I can't help but feel uneasy while publishing the following pictures (obtained from The Business Insider). While this may of course not happen, it would hurt no one to be cautious!
First up, a chart showing that a 30% rise does not mean that the tide has turned: such rallies were common in other long term downtrending markets (Nasdaq 2000, Nikkei 1990s, Dow Great Depression, and current credit crisis). Of course, this argument falls flat if one argues that the current credit crisis is not as severe as the others - but it seems to me that it should definitely be more severe than the tech bust of 2000-01?
Next, a really long term chart of the S&P Composite - note that all bottoms are formed when the index moves substantially below the long term trend line. Will it defy history and stop at the line, or will it go below, as it always has?
Points to ponder! Is cash going to be king?

Reverie of a hazy afternoon

Its really hot outside - the hottest April in Delhi in 50 years, the media would have me believe. It is torture to do anything in such heat - anything but sip a cool drink, that is. The telly bleebs on while I listlessly check the time and trawl web pages on enabling the login/password feature on the wife's company's website.

On comes a corny song from the rustically named 'Singh is Kingg'. Neha Dhupia lights up the screen. I flip channels to IPL II (private thought: what a disaster!). The mind lingers still on 'Singh is Kingg'. I think - hey! I rather like Neha Dhupia. I wonder why this is so. I dont really like Katrina Kaif. Nor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. I positively detest Shilpa Shetty. Sonam Kapoor is ok. Vidya Balan is embarrassing. Why do I like Neha Dhupia?? I think its for the same reason I like Gul Panag.

I think I like her because of her roles - Mithya. 12:30 ki last local. Some shady Kareena Kapoor movie where she is the elder sister. I like her (as I do Gul Panag) because she seems to be able to hold her own in a tough world. Able to give back as good as she gets. Able to stand out, and not blend in with the crowd. A strong lady. Trying to be different (in weird ways though - by undressing and making provocative statements). But hey, still different. Still unique.

The mind slowly focuses back on reality. The login/password feature beckons. I trawl more pages. The heat gets worse.