Kumara Parvat Trip

Kumara Parvat is the second highest peak in Karnataka (The highest is Mullayangiri near Chikmaglur) located near the Madikeri-Mangalore district border. There are two routes to the hill top, one from Somvarpet(Near Madikeri) and the other from Kukke Subrahmanya(Mangalore district).
We are planning to go by the Subrahmanya route. Does anybody has any prior experience of this route, or has any information to share.

BTW Economist has a nice audio series. Doing Business in XXX (foreign city). If you have time, just listen out what they have to say about the few important cities of the worlds (unfortunately India is still not covered)


DLF (Selling Family Silver)

DLF (real estate developer) reported a net profit of 2145 cr on a revenue of 3651 cr for the quarter ending dec 2007. Sounds impressive! Lets dig a bit deeper.
More than half of this profits came from sale of 1850 cr worth land (assets) to a promoter companyDAL (DLF Asset Ltd) whats even more surprising is that this is not the first time this deal happened. In the past 9 months DLF has sold undeveloped property worth 5,000 cr to DAL.

Why do I think as a bad sign?
1. the asset sale is artificially boosting the profits and is hiding the fact that DLF is not being able to develop and sell property (its core business is failing) It is able to do this massive sale now, but this is not a sustainable business model
2. REMEMBER: DLF is trading at a significant premium to the land bank value. So people are counting on the profits it would have made by developing it. And by not doing this duty, DLF is robbing its share holders their rightful due.
3. Sale of assets to the promoter’s firm never happens at market terms. The prices are affordable and the cashflow/payments happen at their own sweet time. No wonder DAL is yet to pay for the land it acquired several months ago.
4. DAL is a separate firm, and none of the profits made by DAL will ever flow into DLF. As a matter of fact DAL is expected to be listed as REIT (real estate investment trust) in Singapore in the coming months.

As Prax pointed out, DLF has a rotten history and have repeatedly cheated the shareholders. Read Sucheta Dalal’s article on it.


EU puts limit on Carbon Trades from India

Although I do not totally agree with the concept of Carbon Trading (esp the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) credits), but recent move by EU is simply outrageous.
The carbon trading had sponsored over 300 (1/3 of the registered projects around the world) reforestation programs and clean technology implementation in the country. But with this move all is going to stop.

A close friend of mine had plans to buy a large track of Desert Land in Rajasthan for afforestation. Lucky for him, this news came just in time.


“The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race”

This interesting article by Jared Diamond, Prof. UCLA School of Medicine written in May 1987, puts forward some convincing points that humans might be better off had they not adopted agriculture…. Although I do not fully agree with it, it does put forward some interesting points.


How to Avoid the Flu

* Eat right! Make sure you get your daily dose of fruits and veggies.-
* Take your vitamins and bump up your vitamin c.
* Get plenty of exercise because exercise helps build your immune system.
* Walk for at least an hour a day, go for a swim, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
* Wash your hands often. If you can’t wash them, keep a bottle of
* Antibacterial stuff around.
* Get lots of fresh air. Open windows whenever possible.
* Get plenty of rest.
* Try to eliminate as much stress from your life as you can.

OR … You can take the doctors office approach. Think about it, when you go for a shot, what do they do first? Clean your arm with alcohol.

Why? Because alcohol kills germs.


* I walk to the liquor store (exercise),
* I put lime in my Corona (fruit),
* Celery in my Bloody Mary (veggies),
* Drink on the bar patio (fresh air),
* Get drunk, tell jokes, and laugh (eliminate stress)
* And then pass out (rest.)

The way I see it, if you keep your alcohol levels up flu germs can’t get you!!!


Amway (Pyramid Scheme)

What is the fastest way to loose your all your friends and acquaintances?

Join a Pyramid Scheme like Amway or GoldQuest
You need to be a fool to pay money to enroll into one, and then to recover from your losses, you push 10 more of your friends down the same path. What you don’t realize it that in this quest, you have bugged 100 of your acquaintance and not only pitched the idea unsuccessfully, but irritated them so much that they will never ever again talk to you.

According to wiki:

“A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, usually without any product or service being delivered.”

Common traits:
* A highly excited sales pitch, the whole time the presenter will try to sell you an idea of becoming an entrepreneur, having others earn for you etc, but he will never bother to tell you what work?
* Little to no information offered about the company unless an investor purchases the products and becomes a participant.
* Vaguely phrased promises of limitless income potential.
* No product, or a product being sold at a price ridiculously in excess of its real market value. As with the company, the product is vaguely described.
* An income stream that chiefly depends on the commissions earned by enrolling new members or the purchase by members of products for their own use rather than sales to customers who are not participants in the scheme.

Pyramid schemes work on a simple principle:
Enroll a fool and rob him by asking him to pay an exorbitantly high membership fee or buy some trinkets. Then make your customer your employee. By paying him a small fraction of the revenues, ask him to rope in his entire friend circle.
If you happen to be trapped in one such presentation, then you will realize that the whole time the presenter will talk irrelevant stuff.

Here is how my meeting went:
1) He will say how a bottle of cold-drink/greeting card which costs 10/- in retail actually costs a few paise to manufacture and rest all the markup is because of the distribution costs.
Well if you do want me to be a salesman, then please do bring your product catalog…. but you will never get a chance to see it. Also you would realize that even though he is a salesman for the same company, his intentions is not to sell you its products… his sole intention is to enroll you as a member.

2) Then he will keep on going about how life of a salaried guy sucks and he does not get due compensation for the business he brings to the company
well sir, I earn a 7 digit salary (INR), so I am not complaining and if you do have a solid business plan, then do explain it to me… but then you will realize that all he wants to do is touch your emotional chords.. he has nothing substantial to explain.

3) He will keep on saying, if you enroll in members, that you will get a commission from the business they bring….
Well sounds exciting, but what is the business? how do you guys make money… all you will get is silence.

4) Then he will draw complicated diagrams explaining how you will earn money etc.
Here you will realize that none of it revolves any logical business. I agree you were a fool to enroll in the first place, but that does not mean that the world has an endless supply of fools to rob from? After all the fool and his money soon part, so my probability of finding one in time is really bleak.

5) Then he will go on and explain how big the company is, how much is its revenue etc.
Good, so the company has already cornered the entire business space… now how will I find room for expanding.

All they are selling is the idea to get rich without putting in efforts. Well there is nothing like a free lunch.
If you know one, then please let me know.


Circle of Life

Ruhi has published a nice flowchart which can solve almost all of the life’s problems.


3 things to do this year.

I was going through the mint’s list of 100 things to do in India and 3 things caught my fancy.

1) Paragliding

2) spa

3) bicycle trail to Chennai


HTC Advantage 7501

The only thing constant in life is change.

My workplace hardware has progressed from a stack of desktops:

to a nice board

to the smart sleek new phone by HTC
(If you can call a 400gm device with 126 MB of ram as a phone)
htc 7501
my workplace has transformed a lot 🙂

Miscellaneous News

Alternative to Speed Governors

For the past 2 days the taxis, trucks operators in Bangalore, Karnataka were on strike protesting against the proposal to install Speed Governors (in lines of Blue Line busses of Delhi).

The impact was so severe that several factories and offices including the Toyota Plant had to stop its operations. The authorities say that those drivers who already comply with the prescribed limits should not worry and these devices would only restore discipline on the streets.
While the drivers say that already due to congestion on Bangalore Roads the automobiles crawl at an average speed of 17 Km per Hour (about 10 miles per hour) so these speed governors would only result them in spending a 10-15K INR without any perceivable benefits to the public. Also speed Governors in Delhi have failed miserably. Tampering is rampant and hence they lead to no improvements.

On a lighter note, my friend Aparna forwarded me an Out of the Box solution for the problem