Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

Inflation โ€“ itโ€™s such a mess

A man explained inflation to his wife thus:
โ€˜When we married, you measured 36-24-36. Now you’re 42-42-42. There’s more of you, but you are not worth as much.’
– Lord Barnett

That my dear friends, is the essence of the devil called inflation. In more complex terms, and hence economically speaking, Inflation is a rise in general level of prices of goods and services over time. There are many measures of inflation – the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and then there is the GDP deflator and then there is Excess of money supply – in short, economic and finance newspapers make every effort to confuse the common man using such jargon, thereby making money, instead of explaining it through a simple Lord Barnett’s joke which everyone would have understood. [Feminists who can’t see the joke in it can go take a hike, and probably buy The Economic Times or The Wallstreet journal]

I like Zimbabwe. No, not the cricket team – they suck big time. I love their penchant for huge numbers. Nowadays, they only talk in millions, billions and trillions. Rich country perhaps. For example, their inflation is just 2 million percent according to the latest figures. Look at that number, isn’t that music for any Finance minister of the country? Or for instance, look at this bill for one dinner – isn’t this fantastic? How rich must the people be to write a 1.2 billion Z$ cheque? And how much would you tip the waiter on this bill? Wow, the calculation in itself is mind-boggling. Wonder how the Zimbabweans do this day in and day out? They certainly love huge numbers – the bill and the inflation are living proof of it. We should all seriously consider moving to Zimbabwe if we ever want to grow rich…or atleast feel rich.

And what is the inflation in India as per latest figures? A paltry 11.42%. How much does this 11 and some change percentage measure up against 2 million percent? Our inflation pales in comparison. No wonder that still 40% of our population is below poverty line. Tchah! And can we even dream of writing a million rupee cheque for one dinner, forget a 1.2 billion rupee cheque? Nope, not in my lifetime atleast. Such sad state of affairs. On top of that, the media goes gung-ho about inflation over-shooting, food prices rising beyond our means and all that crap – ah, the media is so dumb! Why doesn’t someone direct them towards the map of Zimbabwe I say! [And not to speak of the country I currently live in – USA – inflation is a trivial 4% and the whole country is almost in tears and tatters! Uh!]

The government proves my assumption time and again – they are just a bunch of jokers. I sincerely wish for some meritocracy instead of this bizarre bureaucracy.

Let me not even start speaking of the effects of inflation on Zimbabwe. If everything was set right today, the country would take atleast 10-15 years to recover – and I don’t see that happening in the near future atleast. 2 million percent of inflation is something like – the robber asking the passenger in the train: “Hurry, give me the money, before it loses more value” or the realistic situation of giving two gunny bags of money to buy one loaf of bread.

But what is wrong with the Indian and US media? Isn’t the increase or decrease of inflation a normal part of every country’s economic cycle? Shouldn’t the media analyse what are the causes of inflation? Is the artificial price of Oil (currently at $142 a barrel – inspite of major supplies being held up in Persian Gulf due to political reasons) a cause for worry? Isn’t the sudden increase of food prices a direct effect on some of the insane economic policies undertaken (like the one to produce Ethanol through corn, a staple food) or due to large-scale hoarding by merchants in India? And seriously, any inflation above 6-8% is not worth reporting. Unless a country is in deep economic problems, the rate of inflation is always going to come down very soon from these double-digit percentages – sensationalizing issues when there are none has become a habit, leading to dire consequences.

I suggest the media take a chill pill, rest for a month or so and then comment on inflation. Experts say this inflation is a bubble and there is only a requirement for a prick for the bubble to burst. I sincerely hope this prick, whoever he/she is arrives soon enough and douses this mindless fear and fire for good.

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Back after a loonngg hiatus!

1) Back after the longest gap in my blogging history of 3 years. There was really no reason nor excuse why I didn’t or couldn’t blog. I was working my back off for the past 3 weeks, including weekends; my online life of Orkut, Twitter, Gtalk and others have been dormant to say the least – but heck, I had time to talk to my friends, read a book etc., but didn’t have time to blog. It was not really the issue of I didn’t want to blog – rather, it was this notion of coming up with a blog every Sunday evening, every week – and I just couldn’t resist looking away from my laptop on every Sunday evening for the past 3 weeks. Heart of hearts, probably didn’t want to blog – but most probably too lazy to blog.

2) Interesting things happened over the past 3 weeks. The first of the lot is that I got hooked to โ€˜Leave it to Psmith’ by PG Wodehouse. I have read PGW before, but this book was something else. The sheer hilarity, brilliant use of metaphors and the twisted situations in the book was immensely enjoyable. Definitely recommend it to anyone who has an inclination for PGW’s style of humor. Awesome.

3) Bloopers on chat conversations are hilarious. What makes it even more enjoyable is that you can only imagine the other person’s reactions – and imagination, for what it is, is wild. I have committed as well as faced many bloopers, but since this blog is restricted to the past 3 weeks, I had this wonderful encounter with a lady friend of mine (I digress, but I am having immense difficulty coining a word for a girl who is in her late 20s but unmarried – teen is stupid, girl sounds young, lady sounds old, woman sounds insulting and female sounds degrading…any thoughts?) on the office communicator. She is based out of India, in the same assignment as mine and the following conversation ensued –

Her: Hey! Wassup?

Me: Hey! How u doing? Nothing much, same as usual.

Her: Ahh…it’s so boring here ya!

Me: Come here (as in..to the US)…and I’ll have atleast someone interesting to go out with.

Her: I’d love you

Me: ๐Ÿ˜€ really?? ๐Ÿ˜› wah!

Her (hurriedly): I’d love to, I’d love to…sorry sorry!

Me: naah, you don’t have to correct yourself, I didn’t get offended ๐Ÿ˜‰

Her: ya ya ya ๐Ÿ˜‰ these bloopers I tell ya…dangerous!! ๐Ÿ˜›

Me: ahh…damnnn! For a moment, I was the happiest guy in the world! ๐Ÿ™‚

Her: Heheh!

Me: ๐Ÿ˜€

4) The past weekend, my organization set up a leadership training programme for the entire 2 days, 8:30 – 6:00. I am one of the millions in the world, who tend to believe that waking up before 8 on weekends is a crime, if not an offence. However, I dragged my feet along to this training, and expected myself to laze around in the programme, wake up on Monday morning and turn out to be the biggest and most influential leader my organization has ever seen. Fortunately, that was not to be and I ended up listening to most of the programme, which was conducted by one Mr. A. However, A had an interesting word he would throw more often than not. Some samples –

– I am going to give you a fantastic case study, which offers some fantastic insights and which will lead you to fantastic solutions.

– I am about to tell you a fantastic example about this fantastic guy who did this fantastic thing.

Not to mention his most commonly used word, the entire programme was fantastic..err…great, thanks to Mr. A! ๐Ÿ˜€

5) I have observed for the past three years that my blog undergoes some sort of rejuvenation once in a while, especially when I take such a long break. Hopefully, this break will steer the blog in a slightly different direction, making the reading experience more enjoyable than before. (too much funda, no? ๐Ÿ˜› )

IPL Out, Boredom In!

Now that the seemingly-never-ending IPL tournament has ended, albeit with lot of brouhaha during the closing ceremony and a fantastic final match (by some quirky turn of fate, every IPL tournamentโ€™s final is a very close contest โ€“ IPL World Cup final, ICL final and now this!) โ€“ it is time we take stock of how different sets of people would react to the end of what has been the most exciting tournament in a long long time.

Men in India: For one and half months, they were not short of entertainment between 8PM-11PM. On some days, there were two matches on the same day. It was โ€˜more the merrierโ€™ for this particular set of people. They used to come back from work/colege, take some rest and watch the entire match till they dozed off to sleep. Getting used to T20 cricket is like getting used to marijuana โ€“ the more you have, the more you want. From today, these men would have no entertainment, nothing to look forward to at night. Their evenings would once again turn into a dull-drab affair. They would begin to ask questions about how unfair the tournament was, in that it ended only after one and half months. As with all other issues in life, they would lament themselves in the men-only group at work/college.

Women in India: This set is the most excited of all that this tournament has finally ended. They were the biggest opposition of IPL since it was slotted in prime-time and hence not allowing women to watch their serials โ€“ serials which usually continue for approximately 4 years with infinite number of saas and bahus, 257 relatives and 100 children, all in a gigantic house where almost every other day there is a festival/death. Women had to bear the brunt of cricket being discussed all day all night at home โ€“ driving them close to insanity. How could they miss their daily dose of tears from Tulsi and evil shenanigans from various other stupid bahuraanis? Alas, they found out at the end of IPL that producers of these serials did not take the story forward by much during the past one and half month (as they did for the past one and half years) โ€“ they rub their hands in glee at the prospect of watching all serials all night till another cricket tournament takes over.

Desis in the US: IPL was a topic of much elation, with heated arguments and discussions โ€“ taking place during the most productive hours at work โ€“ from 1030 to 1330. Battlelines were drawn between states and the respective teams. Completion of deadlines was secondary to discussing the latest goofup in team selections or the brilliance of a new strategy. Each one pitched in with their own theories and best practices in T20 cricket, unmindful of the frenzied atmosphere of NCAA/NBA championships around in the US. Weekends were a breeze โ€“ with two matches on every day of the weekend (and with benevolent softwares like Sopcast and TVUplayer), it was one big party for one and half month.

Politicians: (Yes, they are usually neither Men nor Women!) Last heard they were bickering about reservations in the IPL teams. Karunanidhi was especially upset that Chennai Super Kings lost to an unknown desert team Rajasthan Royals, and decided to take up the matter with the unMan-mohan singh, calling in for reservations and progress of the Tamizh state. Vasundhara Raje for her part has declared that Royals win has been a befitting reply to the wily terrorists who dare to blow bombs in Jaipur to cause impact to maximum number of people. Rahul Gandhi has called for a greater cohesion in the Congress party much like Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super kings but not like Deccan Chargers and Bangalore Royal Challengers. Prathibha tai (in case you forgot, she is our Honorable President) has decided to talk with ghosts and spirits to help Delhi Daredevils win next time.

As the IPL drew to a close, much like the primaries in the US โ€“ President Bush sat smiling in the White House watching IPL and the primaries on two different television sets asking himself, โ€˜Now, how and where should I seek fun? Maybe I will bomb another country before Novemberโ€™ and proceeded to call his Generals to the White house!

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