Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stock market travails!

After its most recent tremors, our very own stock markets have recovered very well. They are still hovering below the all time high reached a few months ago, but are above the psychological 15K mark.

"Sub-prime", "yen carry-trade" & 'political instability" were the buzz words bandied about by the wise men when the markets were on thier way down. With the uptick , we are hearing rumblings on India's long term potential. There is an explanation for every move and trend. A guru to spout wisdom.

Which ever way, the ride is exhilarating! Enjoy while it lasts but don't bet away your children's college fund.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Janus faced!

Here we are, a society that is progressing very rapidly. We seem to have it all. The steel and glass buildings, the fancy malls, the designer clothes and the fancy cars. We also have a rapidly evolving middle class with its bank employees, BPO staffers and door-to-door salesmen. They say that the Indian economy is set to grow at 9%+ for the next several years. If that does happen then in the next 25 years or so we will be the 3rd most wealthy nation in the world.

All this glitter hides a dark underbelly of our rapidly evolving nation. The fruits of economic liberalization have not fallen into every one's lap. The have-not's far outnumber the haves. The dispossessed are an alien nation resident inside this modern India. This perhaps could be the reason why crime and corruption are so rampant; so hand-in-hand. There are, I am told, several folk more than willing to take on a "Supari" (colloquial for contract killing) for measly amounts of money. A slow judicial system and a sluggish (thuggish?) law enforcement machinery lets people get away with almost anything.

Nowhere is this more visible than in the Indian state of Bihar. For the last 2 days, the news channels have been beaming the plight of a thief brutally thrashed by ordinary people, almost beaten to death, for attempting to steal a gold chain. With two cops in mute testimony. These custodians of public safety then decide to get a piece of the action. What follows next chills the heart. The man is dragged by his feet tied to a motorcycle, across a road in Bihar (imagine the state of a road in Bihar) for a fair distance. How this man survived is a miracle. I will not even venture into the possible long term psychological damage to the man's psyche if he survives this ordeal or the social stigma.

Would you say that you live in the same country? Perhaps you do, but mostly you don't. Because all this happens far far away from all of us. We react in horror, discuss it around at the next coffee break and then forget about it. Till it happens again. And again. There is, I am sure, a way to take everyone along on this ride to prosperity and happiness. There is a need for a new messaiah.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A little late, but here I am!

A small fraction of any group constitutes early adopters. Yours truly cannot lay claim on being an early adopter for anything I have ever done. There is this basic comfort in letting others venture into something very early on and learn from thier experience, sometimes laugh at thier misery and very rarely feel sorry for not having gotten onto the bandwagon a little earlier on.

That nagging feeling finaly prompted me to sign up and create an account. As they say, better late than never. So here I am. Finally with my first post.

As I settle down to write this, on a Sunday afternoon, I am wondering what most folks do on a lazy weekend afternoon. Having stuffed one's face with high glycemic stuff and perhaps a beer or two induces a kind a lazy indifference to the general state of affairs in the world. To vegetate in front of the TV or 'crash' seem perfectly acceptable options to many. I, on the contrary, suffer from quite a different sort of a problem. That of life slowing down so dramatically over the weekend.

Pace of life has accelerated so dramatically over the last several years that living has morphed into a manic monday-to-friday routine. Over the week, this routine, takes me to several interesting as well as not-so-interesting places; in front of people one likes as well as others you want to desparately avoid. After the frenetic pace come the weekend with its dramatic slowdown. Most of my buddies need to 'recharge" thier batteries and resort to becoming sloths over these two afternoons. I am, on the other hand, grappling with what to do when the collective energy of an entire race is down to its lowest.

Over the last several years, I have whiled away these precious moments of my life in the mundane to the bizarre. Reading books, listening to music, watching the tube is the mundane. Learning Salsa or yoga, gardening, plumbing, scanning classifieds in search of a good land deal or a used car or whatever and actually calling people is the bizarre. Wonder what most of you out there do. Is it any different than what most of the world does on a weekend afternoon? If it is, kindly enlighten me. Maybe your afternoons are spend in an even more bizarre manner. Maybe you have a better outlet for the excess energy.

The weekend nights are quite a different matter altogether. Last night (a saturday), a friend and I choose to hit one of the newer watering holes in Bangalore. A place that goes by the name of "Vayu". This place being on the top floor of a mall was very windy. I guess the owners had the same windy experience and decided to name thier newest venture as such. It is a very well laid out place with an "inside" section which is covered from the elements and an "outside" section where all the party animals strut thier stuff. A huge bar lines up one entire wall with very enthusiatic bartenders. A kind of a lounge bar atmosphere, low seating, good to great music, hookah's, interesting array of cocktails and plenty of PYT's makes for an happening place.

This friend of mine being several miles higher up in the IQ scale rambled on about intelectual stuff (with proper references mind you), I concentrated on my beer and the PYT's in my immediate neighbourhood. One adventerous bartender managed to wow the drunken crowd with his antics where he tossed around several bottles of alochol which had been lit; without dropping any. The Bangalore police, which has a reputation for playing spoilsport at 1130pm, decided not to visit this place tonite. But such is the fear psychosis induced by the men in khakhi that the management of this fine establishment promptly closed the bar at 11pm and got the crowd out of thier premises by about 0000 hrs. All in all a very nice place I say, the bar antics notwithstanding.

I trundled home at an unearthly hour and woke up with a reminder of last night's excesses. Sunday evenings are the worst with everyone just chilling at home. I am left with no option but to wait in anticipation for the adrenaline boost that will come on a Monday morning.