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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

27 June 2004

I found this link in Kribs blog. It says Mind reader. Amazing ! But what puzzles me is that when I get my final number and just click the crystal ball without even seeing the chart, the ball shows some wrong picture. Then I check the chart look at them number and then click the ball - wow.. it shows the correct picture! I thought that may be since my mouse touched the number, it had a sensor hint (?!) so it showed the correct connection. So second time around I got my number, but saw the chart without taking my mouse anywhere near, and then clicked the ball... wow.. hit again. correct number. So it means my look at the number reflects on the monitor?? err.. err.. kind of scarry? anyone with some rational explanation?!

Of course - you can trust on Kingsley for any rational explanation :-) here he goes in Kirupa's comment box: " Yep, the spoiler is that, you'll always get a multiple of nine. And if you notice, all the multiples of nine have the same symbol. And this is positively prehistoric. For me, the fun was in spoiling it for everyone ;)"

P.S : Looks like a lot of people - including me - have the luxury of time :-)

24 June 2004

My India.

At the Indian Consulates the visa issuing section is kept busy nowadays as more and more young men seek the Green Card or profess to go on a student visa and many try to extend their stay once they get in. The official handles a difficult task while filtering out the "permanents" and letting in only the "transients". The average Indian himself is liberal-minded and doesn't bother that more American engineers and doctors are swamping the opportunities available in the country possibly to the disadvantage of the Indian candidate himself.

I discussed the subject with Prof. Kalidas of Usmania University who has had a long association with American affairs and culture. His reply was noteworthy. "Why not Americans as well? In course of time they will be Indians. The Indian citizen of today was once an expatriate, a foreigner who had come out of a South Asian or East Asian country. Why not from America too? We certainly love to have Americans in our country."

There are however, two views on this subject. The elderly parents of Americans settled in India pay a visit to them, from time to time (on excursion round ticket), and feel pleased at the prosperity of their sons or daughters in India. After a Greyhound tour of the country and a visit to Kutraalam Falls and Taj Mahal, they are ready to return home when the suburban existence begins to bore them whether at New Delhi, or Chennai or the Silicon Valley neighborhood of Bangalore. But they always say on their return, "After all our boys are happy there. Why should they come back to this country, where they get no encouragement?"

Source – R. K. Narayan in NRAOL ( Non Resident Americans On Line), in the year 2069, in his re-incarnation as an American Citizen.

Puzzled? I just returned from a trip into the future :-)
The Trigger is here !! Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca said that the administration led by George W Bush has made it clear that "we do not oppose outsourcing. What we would like to see in exchange," she said, "is an opening of markets in India and other countries, which in turn provide more jobs in the United States. That is sort of the way it has been formulated."

Well, who said one should not dream?

I did - and hence this cut and paste excerpts of R.K. Narayan from his well-known piece – “ My America” !! Btw, in case you want to read the original RKN, check out here.

I just switched roles for Indians and Americans and India and America!!! Prof. Ainslee Embree of Columbia University became a “Kalidas” of Usmania University!!! And NRI became NRA!! So on so forth :-)

19 June 2004

Post Elections 2004 in India, you know which way the wind blows!!

It is elementary my dear Dr. Watson, it is elementary!! It is the “P” word!!! (To state the obvious, Economic Times editorial folks have caught up on a funny habit of using the “stupid” term – It is the economy stupid; it is the Industry stupid; or it is the dah..dah.. stupid and so on. Right from Swaminathan Ankaleshraia Aiyar – he insists on writing all of his names and his wife’s sir name too – to “Team ET” the entire desk keeps popping up this stupid word all over the pink paper. Often I have felt infuriated at this over dose of calling their readers “stupid” !! And to tell you the truth, and to my horror, I found that I was influenced too – I was almost keying in the words “ It is the “P” word, stupid!!! and then I realized my own stupidity(!!), halted midway, changed track and borrowed another phrase with similar connotations! Arthur Conon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes sounds very dignified compared to ET ’s “stupid” – which may sound camaraderie to some, but sounds absolutely “stupid” to me!! oh. Well, you can’t shirk away a bad influence that easily. It is “elementary” you see… J)

Alright; coming back to my topic today – The “P” word is populism. Make sure you use the right words to impress the public – particularly after May 13th, no one dares to antagonize the “People”. Dr. Manmohan & co., are treading very very cautiously on each of their announcements. The CMP (n Common Minimum Programme, the navigational document drafted by the Congress led coalition government, has all the right words to reassure the public about their intention to protect the “POOR”. Even if you have to announce HARD measures such as disinvestments ( which anyway is a bad word) wrap it in the right silver foil – say use the term “generally” to give you enough elbow room for later maneuvers and in “general” seemingly look “left” while you actually go “right” !! Above all, the key lesson is - NEVER forget to liberally sprinkle the term “Poor” or helping the Poor”, “removing poverty” etc in whatever speech you are delivering – even if you are addressing a bunch of school kids!!

And the latest to catch on this band wagon of “Poor” and “Poverty” sprinkled speech is none less than Mr Julian Schweitzer, Director, Human Development, South Asia Region, World Bank. Read on what he has to say to sustain economic growth for human development.

16 June 2004

Somehow China has always been a sort of benchmark for many in India. I feel the China comparison is ingrained in our collective psyche. If FDI levels surge there, immediately comparison is drawn here that ours is paltry. If US president visit there we start discussing when was the last time that US prez visited here. When international sports event take place we start counting the medals tally – in comparison of course (though the numbers are always a case of comparison of Mountain and mole hill in sports.) In every social and economic index the comparison is inevitable. Often the better performances are explained away with “ oh, that is a communist state / in a democratic country like ours you can’t do this or you can do that or this…” Nonetheless, by many parameters China out did India and we were looking for an opportunity to out do them.

Now, it looks like, the moment has arrived. Here is a story, which says that MNCs prefer India to China to open shop.

The sum up of the key reasons are: Profit margins are higher in India than in China due to various factors; Indian companies honor contracts better than the Chinese ones, the legal system is clear and effective to make things easier for settling complex business issues; Banking system is in perfect order with NPA (non performing assets) much lower in over all banking scene; media is alive and kicking in a vibrant democracy to make course corrections; and above all Indian voters are intelligent to over throw an erring government once every five years.

Cool !! So, the MNCs are shifting base to India from China? I want to see more numbers to buy this story. However there was one aspect in this story, which I quite didn’t understand. The reason number one in the story says that MNCs are not able to produce for local market in China and book profit, because the local manufacturers – backed by the State – compete among themselves and sell at impractically low price. Now does that mean Indian consumers are paying more for the products from these MNCs assembly lines here?

I guess it is worth going deep into it and find out why should I pay more for my washing machine, if the quality is the same as it is made in China. Any explanations from readers? But that reminds me of another issue. That the MNCs need not worry about the “State Backing” of local manufacturers in China. That would amount to protectionist measures and since China also is a member now of WTO, perhaps the protectionist measures should go there too? Or am I being too naïve?

However, the story concludes that so long, India has been the proverbial tortoise to China’s hare when it came to economic growth. “Maybe, now the tortoise is all set to overtake the hare.” The story ends.

But looks like the correspondent hasn’t heard about the modern Hare – Tortoise story yet!!

After losing the race, the hare reflected on the reasons for its failure. It realized that it was over confident and has taken the success for granted. It decided to be more alert and invited Tortoise for another race. This time the hare was fast and quick as its nature and won. – Moral of the story “don’t take things for granted and be fast and quick.

Now Tortoise began to think. It invited Hare for another round and this time the Tortoise changed the route. Hare began fast but there was a river en-route. The hare stopped wondering how to cross over. The tortoise swam across and won. Moral – Make strategic planning to use your core competency.

By now both had become friends and decided to compete as a team. Hare carried the tortoise on its back for the first half of the race. When the river came, the tortoise carried the hare on its back and they won the race as a team. Moral- individually one may be brilliant. But when you work as a team against a common situation, you are able to utilize the advantages of each other and win as a team.

Now apply this story for a global international trade scene with China and India as Hare and Tortoise.

13 June 2004

"I know in my heart that Man is ... Good... What is right will Always triumph...."

The words inscribed in Ronald Reagan's Grave. If any of you have noticed the entire sentence, could you please share with me? However much I tried, I could not read the complete sentence hidden by the guards near the coffin.

(added later on:
Venkat gave the full sentence : here it goes.. "I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life."

thanks Venkat.)

Even as thousands of people paid tribute and leaders and kith and kin spoke moving words warmly remembering the former president, BBC also chose to discuss touch upon the issue of glossing too much over the Reagan era as somethng of a golden era which it really wasn't. I felt it was not in good taste, though the observation was made only as a passing reference.

That aside, the last journey of the former US president was really touching. Particularly the warm remembrances from his children. Patti Davis had earlier told a magazine about how her father could not have given a better gift in his last breath, when he opened his eyes - which had not opened for days together - and looked at her mother lovingly as if to say one last time - I love you". This, I guess, would now be part of the legacy Reagan had left behind. A loving husband leaving a final gift for his wife of 52 years.

Davis repeated this last memory of her father once again at this sunset ceremony at Simi Valley. Some of the memories remembered by the children actually helped to lighten the heaviness of the situation - like when Davis said; she was crestfallen when a fish from her aquarium died. Her father gave it a funeral ceremony in the garden and when they buried the fish her father told her that the fish would be happy now "back in its home"; happy in a place where there is no misery and there is no pain and no suffering. " I thought immediately," Davis remembered, " why not kill all the fish in the aquarium, so that all of them will be happy in a painless world?" How could the audience not laugh at this - notwithstanding the heaviness of the atmosphere, charged with grief?!!

11 June 2004

It is interesting. Did any of you check out the audio blogging? It seems there is a problem in audio blogging from India. I am yet to try it out. Meanwhile, if any of you have faced problem, it is because the number you dial for audio is orinating in the US. - source FAQ of audio blogging.

So, I guess we need to mobilise enough bloggers writing in to the "Blogspot" asking them to activate the facility in the other parts of the world. I have written to them. Have you? :-)

09 June 2004

Sometimes, while reading famous and scholarly writers, you may feel disappointed in lack of research to substantiate their theories. Often we just ignore this feeling with, “such – a- big- name; if he/she- said -so, it- must- be- right…” kind of thinking.

I highly regard Ramchandra Guha, well known writer and historian – Often I have admired the amount of research he puts in his works and the depth of his viewpoints.

But in his column, “Past & Present” in Hindu, this Sunday, he argues that it is wrong to say that Sonia’s “renunciation” (I put it in inverted commas to respect the cynical views that what she did was not renunciation but just smartness !! – those who have been reading these pages know my exact stand on the issue.) was keeping with Indian tradition. Guha says that actually non- renunciation is the Indian Tradition. I feel Guha’s theory is contradictory and lacks sufficient examples in way of substantiation.

He says Nehru had “threatened to resign as many as on 7 occasions”. – this itself is against the focal point of his essay. So, Nehru did exhibit a trait of renunciation – though he didn’t actually resign.

Next Guha cites Indira Gandhi. This example is perfect. She had absolutely no qualms in accepting the crown.

Next example is Rajiv Gandhi. Now, if I remember right, Rajiv Gandhi might have accepted the crown with out much resistance after the assassination of his mother. But then, his reluctance to enter into politics itself is much written about and sort of Congress folklore now.

And with these three examples, Guha builds his theory of non – renunciation as the trait of Indian tradition. I am sorry Mr. Guha, I am not convinced yet. You have drawn historian T.N. Madan also to elucidate that in Hindu tradition “sanyas” is only one stage of a person’s life and that texts and doctrines lay much emphasis on girhasta also.

I would have liked to read more examples from the Hindu mythology or texts.

07 June 2004

A conversation in Delhi: (imagination of course:-) )

" we want justice. we want equal rights too."

"it is no.. no... No reservation. no quota."

" no you must consider our plight! we want reservation. at least 30%."

" ok... baba.. ok.. We'll consider reservation in future as per populer sentiment."

what's it? women's reservation bill again?

Now, don't say...oh.. no.. not again. It is done to death.

For a change, it is " Men's resrvation."


At LSR,Delhi. now if you have lived in Delhi, you will know that LSR - Lady Shri Ram College is a college for women. And so far it has remained exclusively for women. Well, I said, so far. Because,

Breaking News in NDTV: Giving in to popular demand from men, LSR may consider admitting men into the college. "well if there are so many men out there who are keen to come and study here, we may consider their wish and allow 30 % reservation for men in our college." said the spokesperson of the college.

May be we'll have an echo here in Chennai ? - Queen Mary's to begin with ? :-)

03 June 2004

It is interesting. While everyone – particularly the pink papers - was crying hoarse about “jobless growth” in the post liberalization period, ET carries a survey which actually shows a growth in jobs in the organized sector. It says that employment in the organized sector has shown a rise in 2002-03 after continuously declining for five years, according to quick estimates from the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) that covers over one lakh establishments. The increase is about 3% to 7.89 million.

Similarly after shouting from the roof tops about increasing fiscal deficit, here is a ET leader which talks about shrinking fiscal deficit, which says that the fiscal deficit for 2003-04 has actually come down to 4.57% of GDP, from 5.36 last year !! The narrowing of gap is attributed partly to the Rs. 16,048 crore mopped up from the disinvestments and partly due to a jump in tax revenues.

Whatever the reasons are, what puzzles me is that why are the pink papers taking note of these positive signals of the economy now? Pre budget hints to PC?!

Btw, Indian electorate and the world’s perspectives are obviously very different. How else do you explain this ?!