Are movies maturing?

In most James Bond, Tom Cruise movies, the bad guy has an innovative idea/product to destroy the world.

But in the MI3, the most interesting thing about this movie was that it had a mention of the word rabbit-foot. All Tom Cruise knew was that it should not land in wrong hands. But it always remained a mystery what this rabbit foot was, how it worked and how it can destroy the world.

Call it deviation from the norm, or a start of the new era, but people do seem to have liked this change.



The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they do not know the game.
Bill Shankly


One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.

Elbert Hubbard


“Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.”
– Samuel Johnson

Humor Photography

Modern Era

employee of the month

chappal chor

multi tasking

how to be successful


Nathula Pass, reopening of the silk route.

Recently, to mark another milestone of Sino-India ties, Nathula Pass has been reopened. It is the narrow land passage between Sikkim and Tibet which was closed for past 40 years. Currently to test the grounds, only a limited number of commodities are permitted for trade, but by the next summer, this list should grow and volumes would increase. What does it hold for India?

1) The north-eastern provinces of India have little economic activity. They are solely dependednt of Calcutta to sell or buy goods. Unfortunately Calcutta does not seem to have neither enough appetite for these goods, nor free capital to invest there. Government has been trying hard to build roads, hydel dams and infrastucture in the North East, but there are not enough industries to utilize it and justify the expenditure. Nathula Pass will open the Tibetian market for these people and hence enabling the north eastern people to get better price for their produce and cheeper prices for goods they buy.

2) Chineese has some really giant plans for this route. For some of its interior provinces, the closest ports will be the port of Calcutta. With chineese manufacturing and demand for goods booming, this could translate into a few million dollars as transit and port charges for these goods and jobs for not only people of Sikkim, but also West Bengal. Also at a later point of time, China might invest directly to upgrade the infrasturcture in the region. No wonder West Bengal chief minister was unhappy that he was not involved in the talks with China.

3) Looking at the Khalisthan movement, one can conclude that the best way to curb millitancy in the region is to infuse economic prosperity and reduce unemplyment. Green revolution gave employment and made Sikhs too rich to even think about seperating. It transformed a state from a millitant border town to one of the pillars of Indian economy. Opening border trade might do just the same for these provinces.

4) If you look at the Indian export/import pattern, you find heavy reliance on ports for the foreign trade. Ports currently are saturated and cannot handle more cargo. So the cheepest and fastest alternative might be opening up a copule of land routes with China, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

5) Border trade has always reduced smuggling. Taking the example of gold smuggling in the seventies and eighties, I would say that most enterprise find it cheeper and safer to pay a nominal customs duty than to bootleg. Secondly by legalising the trade, the government generates additional revenue which was earlier lost to the smugglers. This very revenue can now be used to increase the vigilance and fight smuggling.

6) Lastly and most importantly if India has to accomplish its grand plans for FTA, common currency for ASEAN and better bilateral ties with its neighbours, it has to improve the bilateral trade. Also trade with china depends heavily on agricutural commodities and manufacturing goods which reduces our reliance on IT sector.


Impact Of CRR Cut As RBI’s Strategy

RBI’s announcement read like this:
All the money in excess of the required amount deposited by banks in the CRR account will gain no interest.

With this golden move, RBI reduced its interest burden (something good for the fiscal deficiet) without tinkering with the interest rates. Also it started a new wave of reformsĀ  which forces banks to look for deposits other than the treasury bonds to reinvest it. It will help forge an alliance between public sector banks which have excess captial and private banks which have more people seeking loans than depositing.

Private banks with its stream lined processes, loan mela, and aggressive advertizements have managed to attract most of the loan taking people. Also the hassles of inspector raj and bribery is less which makes the loan taking process seamless. Same person on the other hand will stand in the queue of a public sector bank to deposit money with them. People believe that by doing so their life savings will be guarenteed by the govt. This consumer tendency has created this inbalance of capital distribution among banks. Now this golden move with force banks to sublend money to other aggresivebanks, or better still be more aggresive and start lending.



Jet Sahara Deal

I do not know if Goyel had anticipated it or he adapted himself to get the best of the market condition, but it was a master stroke. 

1)      Sahara technically does not own anything. All its valuation was on the basis of the parking slots, foreign travel rights, trained pilots and crew. Either Jet could go the expensive way to buying them out, or could engineer the collapse of Sahara, and pick and choose whatever it wants.

2)      Jet’s argument that only reason it withdrew was because of the time it took to get all the approvals. Well in a highly regulated industry like Indian Aviation, you cannot exist unless you know lots of government officials and ministers. It is a little hard to believe that both the CMD of Jet and the Sahara Pariwar did not have sufficient number of friends to get the required approval. Remember Sahara pariwar is always questioned for the mysterious source of finance, and its close ties with lots of political big weights.

3)      Remember that Sahara, was a full service airline and most of the spoils of it will go to other full service airlines, namely Jet, Kingfisher and Indian Airlines. Indian Airlines does not have the much needed approval to expand, and they are not aggressive enough to make the best of the present situation. Kingfisher operates in too little routes to benefit much. So Jet alone stands to gain the most from the current situation.

4)      Even this 100cr is supposed to be returned. So Jet had 2 options, either pay a few thousand crore and gobble the entire airline or pay 100cr and get the most Value for money from it.

5)      If the Sahara goes under, or discontinues a lot of its flights, then the landing rights, parking and hanger bays will go for auction. Now I was looking at the finances of most of the airline companies. Almost all of them are bleeding because of the accumulated losses. Almost all of them have booked billion dollar worth of aircrafts. So there will not be too much free capital with them to have a bidding war where the winner has paid dearly and actually lost.

6)      I quote from the Air Deccan release which they gave when they went public. “.. Indian aviation industry is headed for a consolidation…” So if you thought that Jet missed an opportunity, then rethink. There will be lots of airlines going bankrupt when the boom flattens out. Only difference will be that Jet (the only airline in India which is making profits) will be in a much better position to buy them out.

Update: Jet Airways posted losses this quater, and its financial condition is not very well. And its stocks are trading at a 515.65 which is near its 52 week low. I wonder how big restructuring budget Jet would have required if it was made to absorb the losses of Sahara also.


Do you know which beer are you drinking?

Frankly, I don’t. I cannot differentiate one from another. So I conducted this test to find out if I am the savorly challenged person around or there are hordes like me.

IT industry is considered to be filled with people who can drink pitcher full of it, so they could be no better test subjects. There is one friend of mine who drank a whole 750ml bottle of beer in 19 seconds flat (I do not think I can even drink water that fast)


So with this aim in mind, I started with the most freely available human resources at my disposal. Company colleagues! I stocked the bar with 6 different kinds of beer, 5 different kinds of soda (for the tea-totlers)


Beer I picked up was:

1) Kingfisher (stuck to Premium variation only… as strong and lager might be too close for anybody to judge)

2) Fosters

3) Castle

4) Cobra

5) Knock Out

6) Hayward’s 5000


Everybody was encouraged to have a sip, smell and sample them before they were handed out the unknown drink. At later point of time, to simplify the competition, I also allowed people to taste all the 6 brands after the test, so that they could make a second guess.


To my surprise, out of the 15 contestants who gave the test, only 2 could correctly guess their brands. Being a dice player, I thought the odds of the random guess would be around 3 correct guesses. The most interesting observation was when I asked the guy who seems to be the foremost proponent of organizing beer parties on 3 different occasions, his favorite Foster’s beer, and all 3 times he went wrong.


Now there could be only 2 reasons why people could not detect their favorite drink

1) They lack what it takes to be a connoisseur

2) All the different brands taste the same, and it’s a marketing gimmick which decides what price to be quoted for which.


Well luckily I had another control test to justify my notions. The Cola test!

This time 25 participants and most of them took both of the tests. The Cola used were

1) Pepsi

2) Diet Pepsi

3) Coke

4) Thumbs up

5) One mystery drink without the label.

To make the competition a bit challenging, I discouraged people to sample these drinks beforehand.

To my surprise, almost 1/3 of the people could guess the drinks accurately. 2 of them just looked at the glass in sunlight, smelled and accurately told me which drink was which. To discount for flukes and random guesses, I made them retake the test. Luckily most of the retakes were also accurate.


The only explanation I could think for this could be

1) The taste of beer fluctuates drastically between batches.

2) The taste depends on chillness. So it changes a lot from the time u take the first sip to the time u finish it. Hence the mind is not able to register one particular taste with even the brand you relish.

3) All the breweries use similar raw material and processes. Hence they come up essentially the same product, but different packages.


The crazy world


1. All men are extremely busy.

2. Although they are so busy, they still have time for women.

3. Although they have time for women, they don't really care for them.

4. Although they don't really care for them, they always have one around.

5. Although they always have one around them, they always try their luck with others.

6. Although they try their luck with others, they get really pissed off if the woman leaves them.

7. Although the woman leaves them they still don't learn from their mistakes and still try their luck with others.


1. The most important thing for a woman is financial security.

2. Although this is so important, they still go out and buy expensive clothes.

3. Although they always buy expensive clothes, they never have something to wear.

4. Although they never have something to wear, they always dress beautifully.

5. Although they always dress beautifully, their clothes are always just an old rag".

6. Although their clothes are always "just an old rag", they still expect You to compliment them.

7. Although they expect you to compliment them, when you do, they don't believe you.


Free Market Solution to Archaeology

Archaeology as a profession faces two major problems. First, it is the poorest of the poor. Only paltry sums are available for excavating and even less is available for publishing the results and preserving the sites once excavated. Yet archaeologists deal with priceless objects every day. Second, there is the problem of illegal excavation, resulting in museum-quality pieces being sold to the highest bidder.

I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke provide funds for archaeology and reduce the amount of illegal digging. I would propose that scientific archeological expeditions and governmental authorities sell excavated artifacts on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for the excavation and preservation of archaeological sites and the publication of results. At the same time, they would break the illegal excavator’s grip on the market, thereby decreasing the inducement to engage in illegal activities.

You might object that professionals excavate to acquire knowledge, not money. Moreover, ancient artifacts are part of our global cultural heritage, which should be available for all to appreciate, not sold to the highest bidder. I agree. Sell nothing that has unique artistic merit or scientific value. But, you might reply, everything that comes our of the ground has scientific value. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every artifact has potential scientific value.

 Practically, you are wrong. I refer to the thousands of pottery vessels and ancient lamps that are essentially duplicates of one another. In one small excavation in Cyprus, archaeologists recently uncovered 2,000 virtually indistinguishable small jugs in
a single courtyard, Even precious royal seal impressions known as/melekh handles have been found in abundance— more than 4,000 examples so far.

The basements of museums are simply not large enough to store the artifacts that are likely to be discovered in the future. There is not enough money even to catalogue the finds; as a result, they cannot be found again and become as inaccessible as if they had never been discovered. Indeed, with the help of a computer, sold artifacts could be more accessible than are the pieces stored in bulging museum basements. Prior to sale, each could be photographed and the list of the purchasers could be maintained on the computer A purchaser could even be required to agree to return the piece if it should become needed for scientific purposes.

It would be unrealistic to suggest that illegal digging would stop if artifacts were sold on the open market.But the demand for the clandestine product would be substantially reduced. Who would want an unmarked pot when another was available whose provenance was known, and that was dated stratigraphically by the professional archaeologist who excavated it?


I found this article in one of the printed materials. Unfortunately they did not quote the author's name so lets assume it as unknown

Photography Quotes

Benjamin Franklin