Saturday, February 28, 2009

Look Ma.. I made it to the Financial Times!!!!!

This is my post on Jan. 24.

On a lark, I also sent it to Tim Harford at his Undercover Economist blog on the FT site.

And... Looks like I made it to question of the week.. ..

He found my question so intriguing, that he even referred it to the Oxford expert on the economics of corruption..

This is possibly the most exciting thing that has happened in a long long time.. I feel like a teenager who shook hands with Obama, like a rock nerd who met Metallica, like a sports freak who has Michael Jordan's autograph..

Ok ok not all that much.. but close..

No one ever published my questions / comments before.. That was one of the main reasons for starting this blog..

Who cares what he actually wrote in his reply!!!

PS: Those of you who are in search of something logical in life, Harford's Logic of Life is heavily heavily recommended..

Friday, February 27, 2009

When good is bad..

You ask anyone around, and they'll tell you that there's a recession going around. There's gloom all around, and most everyone is unsure of what's going to happen in the future..

Then you read this.. India grew at 5.3%.

So imagine what's going to happen if we shrink by 6.2%

And then people ask me why we moved back from the US...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Ground Rules of the Sandgroper Election campaign

I know this is more like Next week's edition than Tomorrow's edition, but it's the next edition all the same. So, like a shameless politician, I shall discount the fact and proceed with the basic ground rules of the election campaign..

  1. Regardless of the ability and aptitude and moral decrepitude of the opposition and our personal opinion of their character, we shall not name names. Thus, you might think that Kalmadi is a corrupt so and so, but we shall not say it during the campaign. Arun Bhatia might be a weirdo, but on this campaign he shall be a noble civil servant. Running for elections requires fortitude of the testicular nature, (or balls one might say), and we salute all those who have shown it publicly.
  2. We may or may not have the best policies or followers. We shall however strive to have the best website among the candidates. Based on number of hits, we seem to be winning the popular mandate.
  3. While we may not name names, we do reserve the right to make fun of the candidates who have shown the above mentioned fortitude to contest the election
  4. We shall not say that politicians are bad people. If they were, I wouldn't be here.
  5. The campaign shall not harp on things that the competition has not done. Instead, we shall harp on what we would do.
  6. We might harp on things the competition has done if it reflects their usual crapola.
  7. We might even harp on things the competition has done if it doesn't make any sense to us.
  8. Unlike other so-called noble politicians, we shall not advertise our candidature through any media outlet other than the internet (and may be cell phone). This is cost cutting at the highest. Therefore for an apples to apples comparison, we shall use only the internet outlets of the competition for our reference material about the competition.
  9. We shall also not require any one to donate anything to the campaign other than their time.
  10. Every campaign blog post shall contain a reference to one of the above mentioned ground rules.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sandgroper's Election Manifesto

I know I promised that my next post would detail what I would do as MP - Pune, and I promptly followed it up with a picture of people believing in evolution..
What can I say? If I want to be a politician, I better learn to break promises..
And you better learn to live with it..
OK… So, here's the situation..
We know the election dates are not out yet.. So, it's pointless to decide what I would like to do once elected, right?
But it is definitely useful to chart out a plan.
So, I am going plan. And the plan goes thus.
Every day, I shall write a "policy document" on what I would do on the topic of the day. So, for example, let's topic #1 is Pune Traffic. What I would do to improve it, yada yada yada..
It's easier this way. I only have to think of one topic a day, for one. People can give me their inputs on what they would like to see me address at priority for another.
Also, it would give me the chance to forever tweak my election campain manifesto.
So, keep watching this space.
Tomorrow's edition: The Ground Rules of the Sandgroper Election campaign.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Things I think I think --- Part 2 (of 3 hopefully)

Where was I???

"The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"..

Is not my favourite movie.. But it is my favourite title.. I don't know why, but I just love the title.. Just the concept of what the title implies, is so nice.. So serene.. That, in 7 words is what a movie title should be ..

The movie may or may not have been worthy of such a title..

No movie can be..

I think the fundamental difference between life in India and the US is this.. When someone in the US sees something (on the TV / freeway / Supermarket) he promptly imagines that it could happen to him.. In India, when he sees it, he promptly thinks that it could happen to anyone but him.. People might be waiting at a traffic light, when they might see someone jump the gun, get hit by a bus, and promptly jump the light themselves.. No bloody clue why..

It's funny that when I say I want to contest the election, every one tells me that I won't win.. I am not contesting to win.. I am contesting to make a statement.. A statement that says that I can do what I want in my country..

Which is not something I could have done if I was born Chinese

That, plus the fact that it would cost less than my mobile phone, to have a story for life..

Slumdog Millionaire.. People here either loved it (lovvvvvvvvveeeeeddddddd it would be more precise), or really hated it.. Me, neither.. It's ok.. I had fun watching it, but not as much as I expected I would.. The adult Jamal does not have the same spark that the kid Jamal had... Plus, my admiration for the kid for jumping in a pile of human shit, was somewhat diluted when I found out that it was actually chocolate.. It's a Bollywood movie.. Om Shanti Om types..

The worst thing that mankind did for itself was to define God in human form.. So, God has a gender, has a face, has a name, has kids, etc.. So, when one man's God differs from another man's God, we have problems..

I really wish that I had studied a little bit of economics growing up.. The more I read of the topic, the more exciting it sounds..

Number 16 - 11 were typed like 4 days ago .. Tata went tata at the last minute before posting.. Luckily I have a habit of copying everything on Word whenever I have a doubt that something like this might happen.. Good for me.. Would have missed my eternal sunshine confession

Ten years ago, almost to the day possibly, I did something that I play again and again in my mind.. It was the final of "Mr. Personality" contest, and I was killing.. In the minds of the audience, I was the clear leader till the last round.. When Beauty Pageant style there was a single question round.. I was asked, besides the computer, which is the best invention of the 20th century.. Totally stunned, I gave a crap answer saying all are equally good, but I would go for contact lenses or something.. Came second.. Everyone consoled me that there would be next year .. (I was in the third year of college).. The next year the contest never happened.. So, I have replayed that answer again and again in my mind for the last 10 years.. And every time I see something new and interesting, I think of how that could have been my answer 10 years ago.. If I had to do things all over again, this would possibly be the only thing I would change.. It's so trivial that I possibly should let it go..

But it was the closest I have ever come to winning something on my own..

Since I am on confession mode, I am going to confess this.. My grandfather, who died 4 years ago, still comes in my dreams as if he were alive.. I was never there when he died, since I was in the US.. The last I saw him alive, he was fine and dandy.. Even though I knew and he knew that the meeting could be our last, we parted as if there's always next time.. His death was sudden, and possibly that's why at a subconcious level I have not yet come to terms with it.. That, and appearing for my board exams are the recurring dreams that I have..

My wife says that she will vote for me only if she knows what I stand for.. SO I promise you guys this.. My next post will contain my manifesto..

It's ironic, but Annika, Neil, Rohan and Tvisha have a combined age of 7 years. All of them have email ids and blogs.. They live time zones apart.. But everyone knows what happens in their lives.. There you go.. Network capacity.. possibly a better invention than the computer..

I must write this, since I am on confession mode.. Most straight men are afraid of gay men.. It's not fear as in fear of heights or snakes or any of those sorts.. Not a mortal fear.. It's just that most straight men are willing to get laid with just about any woman if given a chance.. They just assume that all men are equally horny, and therefore by association, gay men would therefore like to do it with any man they find, even the straight ones.. And that they don't want.. So the fear..

By now you must have figured out that there is no order of preference for this.. It's not in any priority or anything.. Just whatever is coming to my mind is coming on paper..

I am going to write a story in a novel format.. I don't care if no one reads it.. The story is building in my head.. And especially after reading 300 pages or so of the White Tiger, I am convinced that if that chump can get a publisher, I can too.. If I don't get a publisher, I shall blog the story.. Might be better.. don't you think..

I think Rafael Nadal has the potential to be the best tennis player the world has ever seen .. And I am crying like Federer when I type that..

Phew!!! 25 .. Finally.. Gosh.. Even my mind is not used to thinking so much.. Over 3 days even.. And Thanks to Tata Indicom, I didn;t even need to have 3 separate posts..


Monday, February 02, 2009

Things I think I think - Hopefully 25..


I've kind of challenged myself to come up with 25 things to think about.. no other reason, than Anand had 25 things.. He's a professional writer .. Not fully professional I think, but he has published a novel.. That makes him a pro writer.. If I can write 25, I can at least say I have the potential..

I wish 30 years were not so long.. I'd love to go through them again but it's just too long.. So, if one were to ask me, if I'd do it all over again, I'd say only if it can be done in 45 minutes.. I have a meeting at 4..

Writing is tough.. Especially when you challenge yourself to write.. There's a quote I read somewhere once.. "Where were the critics when the paper was blank???"..

Life came full circle recently.. I wrote a recommendation letter for someone for admission to graduate school in the US.. Two guys actually.. And both have got admissions to at least one school.. SO, I have some contribution to this you can say.. Which means if I really apply myself, I might get someone to read a story of my own..

Facebook is fun.. But I wonder how long it will stick with me.. I have a 7 month itch so to say.. As usual, like most of the social networking sites, you end up meeting more people from the past 30 years.. But, once the fad part of it goes, I really really doubt I'd be on it this time next year..

Chatting with old friends these days is tough.. Honest.. Those who are better of than me, hardly get a chance to write back.. Those who aren't are the ones online.. And I feel mighty guilty for being doing well.. So, I assume that those who're doing better than me are not writing back, partly because they feel guilty themselves..

I really wish I could swear more often in public.. There are times when swearing in public is liberating.. I can't swear or write obscenities here.. Too much of a "family" audience if you know what I mean.. I need like a secret blog or something.. Anyone with a better idea??

I think I shall make this a 3 part series.. It's easier that way when everyone has gone to sleep..

So "jor se bolo.. Mata ki Chowki.."

Kya Chirag pahunch paayega apni manzil tak??? Kya Tata Indicom dega uska saath?? Kya koi usey vote dega election mein??

Dekhte rahiye... "Things I think I think"..