Saturday, December 24, 2011

Somewhere along the line..

... savings went from money in your bank, to getting 30% off in a year end clearance sale..

... we went from 30 minute news telling 24 hours worth of stuff, to 24 hours news giving us 30 minutes of worth..

.. pushtaini jaaydaad became monthly EMI

.. Shahrukh Khan became a bigger star than Amitabh Bachchan, making crappier movies..

.. cricket matches went from simple bat vs. ball, to cries of war..

.. we went from expecting rewards when doing right, to avoiding getting caught when doing wrong....

.. I went from a human being, to a human resource

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's only thoughts.. and thoughts are all I have..

What is it about a blank piece of paper (or MS-Word, actually) that makes me forget my thoughts?

This morning, I had this great thought, almost Buddha like, which made perfect sense, and I made a mental note to write about it. The mental note is there, but the note seems blank. Like the piece of paper you leave in your shirt pocket and it comes out of the washing machine. It’s there, and you know what was on there, but the details escape you. It could have been your friend’s number, or maybe the bank account you need to transfer money to, or the medicine you had to pick up on your way home.

Like I have always been thinking as to how a perfect blog post would be something on how we pay attention to too many things, but very little attention to detail. Details are something like the plague in the medieval times, where we avoid them whenever we can, and someone infected with this affliction is an accursed individual who either should be avoided or needs to be taken to the neighborhood tantric. Also, how we keep confusing ourselves between informative data and an alternate reality where anecdotes rule. How rising above the noise, is impossible when there is a choir of anecdotal trash playing in your head

I don’t know why, but the details escape me.

Another fabulous one still in my head, (always, “still in my head” never on the blog) is how all I am exposed to from everyone around is a gigantic marketing campaign about a gazillion times larger than what Shah Rukh Khan came up with for Ra.One, and how everything about what I see on TV, seems made up, with the single purpose of some valuable goods in my possession (money, votes, TRPs) being handed over to someone else, with nothing really valuable in exchange.

I think I even had a title for that: “Your lips move, but I can’t hear what you’re saying”!!!

Or maybe it was a title for something else.

I was going to write a stinging post about how the Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar would be a bad idea. I don’t have data to prove why it would be a bad idea, but it seems like a bad idea, so it ought to be a bad idea.

Or how the year 2011 was weird because we had autocracies toppled in favor of democracies, and democracies hung in to inaction, calling for some autocratic leadership.

And how, at the end, we all may not get what we deserve, but we definitely deserve what we get. Just depends on how long you define the time horizon

Or how, we’re all doomed because Mamata Banerjee’s mother died last week, thereby robbing mankind of the one person who knew how to handle her tantrums. Or how I have this great idea about Manmohan Singh’s secret diary (well, that’s not so bad, I think I could write that in a jiffy, it will be a simple copy of whatever Soniaji says)

Similarly, there was one where I wanted to write about one of my favorite teachers in school, Mrs. R. Kulkarni teaching me a nasty lesson on how I should not accuse people of anything, if I have not personally seen them do it, and how that is the only thought that keeps coming to my head when I read Facebook posts on my wall, which tell me that Rahul Gandhi and his foreigner friends gang-raped a party worker’s daughter in 2009.

I have always wondered why we don’t believe a word of what our boss says, but every random word on our FB wall is gospel. The world would have been a better place, if everyone was in Mrs. Kulkarni’s class.

But I digress.

My personal forgotten favorite, is the one where I wanted to rant about Facebook making me more eager to please other people so that they “like” everything I say, write, link, paste, upload and whatever else that it is that we do on Facebook. I also wanted to ramble on about how Facebook really contains very little actual information (status updates, photos, maybe messages), and a whole bunch of tripe masquerading as information. A glorified web aggregator – where people insist on putting on my “wall” junk, in the hope that I will further like it and comment and nothing else. I mean, do people get paid to do so much time pass?? Where can I apply?? – and all that..

But, as I said before, the details escape me.

So, if you think blogging is easy, it ain’t so. You can’t just conjure up an 800 word post with ideas and little else.

Or can you?

The devil, as they say, is in the details.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The best sentence I have read today... Or maybe this year...

"….The politics of growth are difficult because those who lose from change are always present and are often more numerous and perhaps even more deserving than the present winners, the capitalists, the business people, the international mega corps; but today's losses and gains are fleeting, the permanent winners are the workers and consumers of the future who will know only the benefits of productivity."

Tyler Cowen

India and the Promise of Productivity

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Grouchy Marks..

It's easiest to do a job, when it is someone else's job.

I mean, when it's not your responsibility to do something, it is just so easy to come up with a plan for execution, the "metrics" and the perfect formula for success.

Somewhat like final year student projects, life is rosy, there is world peace, and water in your taps.

I could design the ICC Test Championship, plan how the Lokpal should be structured or help re-structure the Euro.

All during my lunch break.

I don't have to worry about the consequences of a poor design. I take my flights of fancy and if the sky has to be a shade of fuchsia, well, so be it.

But when it is your responsibility to do something, that's when real life has to be tackled.

Like legal obligations, laws of physics or simple likes and dislikes of other people

Minor details – pesky little irritants – with no business to interfere in my grand plan of worldwide domination.

They should be banned!!!!
Damn them!!!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Things I learnt when I went back into a classroom

-      A lot of your interest on the subject being taught depends heavily on the professor. But even more depends on you. If you don't pay attention in class, you will almost definitely not maintain interest in what is being taught.


-      A good way to pay attention in class is to maintain eye contact with the professors.


-      Another good way to pay attention in class is to pay the fees through your own pocket (or your nose)


-      I realized that my intense animus towards the morning shave would be described by most economists as "Diminishing Marginal Utility".


-      If I try that line of reasoning with the wife, I stand at risk of being a victim of some other Diminishing Marginal Utility myself!!


-      Accountants are historians. My respect for these historians, who record the passage of time in terms of money, has gone up by orders of magnitude when my damn Balance Sheet refused to tally


-      It went up even further when I realized that for centuries, they did their magic without MS Excel


-      Analyzing data is easy. Interpreting data is a completely different animal.


-      Mentee is a word in the English Language.


They say a day has 24 hours. Over the next 21 months, I will find out very closely if they speak the truth.