Vantage point

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

IT in Punjab!

Mix Punjab and IT and you get some remarkable jokes. One inadvertant joke was cracked by my friend Ameya in the last century when our Engineering class was planning a so-called study tour. This was the initial stage when we were thinking of places connected to our studies (we were studying electronics and telecommunication). We had already decided to go to North India, for the simple reason that "Everyone goes to South India". At that stage we had decided on Delhi, and were wondering which other places we could add, that would have some connection to our studies.

That's when Ameya had this brainwave and said "Chandigarh!!! We should go to Chandigarh!!". The rest of us obviously asked him....why Chandigarh. And his answer has been recorded as one of the more memorable comments anyone in our class made (all such comments are the topic of a separate post!). He said - "Arre, Chandigarh is the IT capital of Punjab!!!!".

All that came out of this answer was a prolonged phase of collective guffawing. Chandigarh wasn't added to the itinerary. We eventually decided to do away with the study pretence and ended up visiting Rajasthan!! (I wrote a couple of posts about mu experience with peddlers on that tour - PEDDLERS ON THE ROUTE - EPISODE ONE and PEDDLERS ON THE ROUTE - PART DEUX).

Anyway, the reason for this post is a joke I cracked today. My first joke in the Bombay office.

Me - You know, if IBM set up a PC manufacturing plant in Punjab, what we could brand those computers as?
Colleague - What?
Me - Punjab Da Puter!!!

On the House??

I am currently in the house-hunting mode. Am looking for a 1RK or a 1BHK flat on rent in Andheri/Vile Parle/Khar, less than 2 km from the stations. Rent limit is 7-7.5ish. Could go higher if I like the flat.

Have been going through the ads in Midday, and talking to some agents.

However, if any of you blog readers know about a place that fits my needs, do leave a comment, or drop me a mail at sabnis(at-the-rate)gmail(dot)com.

Maajhe Haapis!!

I have moved to Mumbai. This is the building in which my office is situated -

Dada does it again!!!

After four rich years, there are still some Indians who keep muttering "Throw Ganguly Out..." in the background. There are questions about his batting technique, his fielding, and even his captaincy.

Yesterday would have been another educational day for these people. But i doubt if they will change their opinions. They will just keep quiet and wait for a failure when they can chant louder. Had the winning team yesterday been New Zealand or Australia, several white-skin-crazy Indian cricket fans would have been singing praises of Stephen Fleming/Ricky Ponting. Yet, these people would feel pained praising Ganguly's tactical brilliance.

It was not only tactical brilliance on his part, but also an ability to keep his cool under enormous pressure. Ever since taking over the reins of the team, ganguly has inculcated in his men a strong self-belief. This team keeps its cool in the most trying circumstances. More so while defending a total.

The Indian pace bowlers of the 80s and 90s had a pathetic record of defending targets. In the final overs, they always ended up bowling too full, and giving the game away. The ability to maintain line and length in a crunch situation often depends more on mental ability than cricketing talent. A player who is from a mentally strong team will not let the situation get the better of him.

In the 90s, we had only one bowler(!!) who had the balls to maintain his line and length in crunch situations - Sachin Tendulkar, who got us famous last-over wins against Australia and South Africa. It warms the heart to see that almost any pace bowler today can hold his nerve even as he bowls the last over while defending a target.

In the last dozen matches that India has played, three different bowlers have stepped up to the task and pulled it off. In the series in Australia, Balaji's last over foiled an inspired fightback from the Zimbabwean middle order. Against Pakistan, in the first ODI in Karachi, it was Nehra who bowled the over with orecision. And yesterday, it was the much-maligned Zaheer Khan, who stepped up and gave the proof of his ability.

The architect of these wins is the captain himself, who threw the ball at those fellows. We don't know what he says to them, but it definitely works. Being instrumental in making a bowler achieve a last over win under tremendous pressure, is something only a great leader can do.

And in Saurav Chandidas Ganguly, we have one such great leader.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Anti-Hype about Bangalore....for a change!!

For the past couple of months I have been criticising the fact that Bangalore became the IT-capital of the country, and have even predicted a reversal.

Well, Premji has started the trend, going by this article - Wipro set to look beyond Bangalore. I'm sure others will follow suit.

I see this as a good sign for all non-metros in India. IT companies will probably spread their operations across 5-6 cities instead of concentrating too much on one place. To be fair to Bangalore, I am sure any other city would have creaked the same way, faced by such an rapid growth.

It seems as if the future of IT also belongs to Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Delhi and Kochi.

One name that Premji has missed out is Navi Mumbai.

Monday, July 26, 2004

This is Rich!!!

Yesterday when I wrote pakistan weren't aware of the bonus point concept, I was half-kidding. It turns out they really weren't properly aware......and still are not. At least Shoaib Akhtar isn't.

This is what he says today in his column in the TOI - (I cant find the link, so am quoting from memory)

If India beat Sri Lanka by a big margin and get the bonus point against them, it will be bad news for us. However, the way Sri Lanka are playing, it is very unlikely that India will beat them by a margin big enough to earn a bonus point.

Someone, maybe Bob Woolmer, needs to tell Shoaib that the bonus point is now immaterial. Even if India beats SL by the slenderest of margins, Pakistan is knocked out of the tournament. And it does not matter what margin they beat Bangaldesh by. In short, the last bonus point to matter in the tournament was the one pakistan so generously gifted to India.

Nahi nahi, tum lo, tumhara birthday hai....

... that is what India and Pakistan seemed to be saying to each other during the match yesterday.

India, deservedly, lost the match. Most players seem to be under the impression that they are playing practice matches. The only two exceptions are Rahul Dravid and Irfan pathan, who seem to have struck mid-season form pretty early. Pakistan themselves won only because India played worse than them.

Here are a few examples of largesse from either side -

- Indians returning to their butter-fingered days, with more fumbles in the field than an unsure teenager making out. We easily gave away 50-60 extra runs. Which was heartbreaking, considering that Pathan, Harbhajan, Kumble, Nehra and Tendulkar, all bowled very well. With normal fielding, we could have kept them down to 250-odd.
- All Pakistani batsmen except for Shoaib Malik assuming that someone else would make a huge score and out-bat the Indians. It is a crying shame that despite a brilliant 127-ball-143 by Malik, and a generous dose of extras and fumbles, the rest of the Pakistani team managed only 120 odd runs from 180 balls. On the foundation of such an inning they should have easily reached 330-340, and pushed for 360.
- Sachin tendulkar playing and unexplicably slow inning. Granted that he needed to stay there while wickets were falling at the other end, but still his strike rate was abysmal. This, even while his feet were moving well, and most of his drives were coming off well. he wasn't taking too many singles either. It seemed to me like he gave up the chase too early, and chose instead to go for the bonus point. But having made that choice, he played a baffling shot that resulted in his dismissal.
- Pakistan's casual approach after sachin's dismissal makes me suspect that they probably weren't aware of the bonus point concept. Kinda reminded me of South Africa throwing it away against Sri lanka in the 2003 World Cup. Even as the Pakistani coach cribs about the points system, he should ponder at the difference in the Pakistanis' body language in the last few overs. Shoaib bowling with a tiny run-up, Moin missing two simple run-outs, and in general, a laidback attitude from everyone.

This was a match where one saw more bad cricket than good. The worse team lost, rather than the best team winning.

After many years, India find themselves in a do-or-die scenario, where they have to win the last match to reach the finals. To do that, methinks the following must happen -

- Tendulkar should realise that his feet are moving, and he is no more in bad form. If in bad form he could make a 130-ball-140 in the 2nd ODI in Pakistan, he is the King of the one-day game. he is just acting like a King with amnesia.
- Sehwag needs to click.
- Ganguly should remember that a season back, he was finding it tough to get into double figures. Now that he is getting starts, he should make them count.
- Dravid, Yuvraj, Pathan and Kaif need to maintain the level of their game.
- Our tail is not good enough to play 5 bowlers. Balaji needs to be dropped in favour of Patel. Tendulkar can easily bowl 10 overs. Plus Yuvraj and Sehwag can chip in too.

Despite the shockingly unprofessional display at the RPS yesterday, i still back India to win the Asia Cup. they just need to start playing like the Indian team of the last season.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Templar Time

In the past one year, I have made conscious efforts to read books or watch movies without reading reviews that give out even the basic plotline. As a result, in the past few weeks, I read one after another two books dealing with a similar base.

First I read Umberto Edo's Foucault's Pendulum and the Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

And the continuous deja vu was only to be expected.

Both the storylines have been based on the mysterious and fascinating legend of the Knights Templars. And both books were extremely engrossing and un-put-down-able.

If I was asked to pick one, I would rate Eco's book higher because of the sheer depth of research, and the imaginativeness with which the whole story has been weaved together. Brown's book is more of a thriller, with only the basic facts about the Templar lore given. Foucault's Pendulum is like a mini-encyclopaedia of the topic.

I would heartily recommend both books. For those who like thrillers, TDVC and for those whole love reading about history, FP.

p.s - Ramanand, whatever i have learnt about the secrecy surrounding Templars further vindicates the fun we make of your "Freemasons!!" question at the Boat Club. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

More About Farenheit 9/11 and the Bush's Re-election

Okay, I guess I need to make another post to clarify my views about Bush even further.

First let us take the point of Dave Kopel's response being fallacious. Someone asked me to point out which ones specifically were fallacious. Here are a few examples.

Deceit 1 - Mr. Kopel says that Moore "creates the impression that Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida".

Just because Kopel got that impression, does not mean it is a deceit. Anyone who has a decent memory of events that happened four years ago will remember that Gore never celebrated victory in Florida. It is very clearly, a campaign rally.

Deceit 2 - "Moore thus creates the false impression that the networks withdrew their claim about Gore winning Florida when they heard that Fox said that Bush won Florida."

Here Kopel himself is indulging in hair splitting. He argues in detail that Fox was not the first network to retract the claim of a Gore win in Florida. That is fine. But the point Moore makes is that Fox was the first to claim that Bush had actually won Florida. Clearly there is a difference between "retracting Gore victory" and "declaring Bush victory". And Fox was the first channel to claim a Bush victory, as Moore alleges.

Deceit 6 - Shortly before 9/11, the Post calculated that Bush had spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route, including all or part of 54 days at his ranch. That calculation, however, includes weekends, which Moore failed to mention.

Did all presidents before Bush take off from Washington every Friday night? I remember Clinton meeting Nawaz Sharif on July 4 to diffuse the Kargil tension. The point is whether there were weekends included or not is immaterial. The point is that 42% of the time was spent at vacation spots, and not in Washington. Even if you take the 28% time(weekends) away, you have a dude who spent around 20% of his working days on vacation. That too when he had just taken office.

Deceit 7 - Fahrenheit mocks President Bush for continuing to read the book My Pet Goat to a classroom of elementary school children after he was told about the September 11 attacks. Moore does not offer any suggestion about what the President should have done during those seven minutes, rather than staying calm for the sake of the classroom and of the public. Nor does Moore point to any way that the September 11 events might have turned out better in even the slightest way if the President had acted differently.

Well, Moore does not seem to claim that the President's staying in the school made matters worse. Not a relevant argument.

Deceit 18 - Moore points out the distressingly close relationship between Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Prince Bandar, and the Bush family. But Moore does not explain that Bandar has been a bipartisan Washington power broker for decades, and that Bill Clinton repeatedly relied on Bandar to advance Clinton’s own Middle East agenda.

This is classical "tu coque". What is relevant is Bandar's (side joke - a bandar(monkey) being friendly with Bush....ROFL!!) and the Saudi royals' close links with Bush.

Most of the deceits listed are like this. Notice, I say "most", not all. Some of them are pretty valid. Hey, I am not saying Moore's film is perfect. There are bound to be mistakes, some inadvertant, some deliberate. Starkly noticeable is the complete absence of any mention of Israel. My opinion is that the film is based, by and large on facts. And what Dave Kopel does is split hairs, very rarely challenging facts.

Now moving on to some more clarification. Please read my post once again. I have just appreciated the documentary, its collation of facts, and its potential to be damaging to Bush. Nowhere have I said that I support John Kerry against George Bush. Why?

Because I don't!! My support, for whatever it is worth, goes to George Bush.

Why? Because I am an Indian, and for me it is India's national interests that matter. I am not going to get caught up in excessive Leftist propoganda, and support a guy who is even more idiotic than Dubya.

As things stand right now, India's interests are served better by a Republican administration than a Democrat one. The Democrats themselves are not peaceniks with white wings and a halo around their head. The sanctions that crippled Iraq were carried out by the Dems. Remember Madeline Albright's chilling statement about the 5 million Iraqi children dying being a fair price. Be it Kennedy's Bay of Pigs and Vietnam, or be it LBJ's Vietnam adventures, or be it the numerous adventures in Latin America, the democrats have proven themselves to be as imperial.

What makes me wary of Kerry and co, is their zeal about reviving the CTBT debate. From an Indian point of view, this is uneasily reminiscent of the Clinton era when the Americans acted like bullies with us.

Kerry's views about outsourcing to India are well known. Why the hell should I support a guy who has only bad things to say about my country, when we are taking American jobs fair and square. We ain;t stealing them. It is just economic reality.

So if you compare Kerry and Bush from an Indian viewpoint, there are very few plusses for the Democrat. So for what it is worth(not much I know), my support goes to Bush.

I am not afflicted with the pre-PVN-Rao disease of thinking about the world before thinking about India. I was disappointed by people poring out on the streets in India to oppose the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Where are these people when we need to protest something relevant? Can someone provide me with details about candle-vigils or support rallies on the streets of Baghdad or Kabul when 52 innocent lives were lost in the blast in Mumbai last year?

Basically, no one gives a damn about extending "moral" support to us. It is all about national interest. And thinking from a national interest point of view, all Indians not bitten by the left-bug should hope for a Bush win.

Of course, I am amused at why the Republicans came up with an idiot like Bush to lead the country. And why the Democrats come up with idiots like Gore and Kerry. But let us support the friendlier idiot, George W Bush.

The Worst Interview Ever

Rajkamal, a batchmate from IIML, has posted on his blog, a true story that  about his eventful(and how!) summer placement interview. Read about it -

I see, icy eye

This is the sort of stuff that you forward to your address book.

Mee Mumbaikar :)

I have been assigned a Bombay posting. So next week onwards, I will be a Mumbaikar. Back to the land of superb public transport and pliant rickies. A land that is just a 3-hour drive from paradise. :)

Monday, July 19, 2004

The Heat on Bush - Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore will probably always find it difficult to live up to Bowling For Columbine which won him an Academy Award. But with Fahrenheit 9/11, he comes pretty close to doing so.
F911 and BFC are two different documentaries. BFC was better because of Moore's analysis of the rising number of gun-related crimes in USA. Half of that movie was facts and half of it was a well articulated theory. F911 is more fact-based. Moore has worked hard to gather facts that strip the current American government naked. And he has done so by using information that is available largely in the public domain.

The first I heard of Moore was when I came to know about his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards when he lambasted Bush for waging war on Iraq. At that time, I thought he was one of the many celebrities voicing their opinions. However, F911 shows that Moore has been collecting evidence against Bush, right from the time he became President.

The documentary asks many questions that would make a Republican voter squirm in his seat. For instance, why, when all aircrafts were grounded for days after 9/11, and even celebrities like Rick Martin were forced to cancel their concerts because of the same, did the Bush government work hard to get 24 members of the Bin Laden family out of USA? Whenever you suspect a person of committing a crime, and he is absconding, don't you expect the police to interrogate his relatives to unearth some information? Then why were the Bin Ladens flown out with top priority? Why were only 11,000 troops were sent to Afghanistan, while 120,000 were sent to Iraq? Why are American soldiers in Iraq? These and many other questions which no Replublican can answer.
The first half of the documentary concentrates on collating facts about Bush and his connections with the Saudis. It examines the suspicious connections that almost all members of the Bush administration have.
The second half, is a bit like a Vietnam War Movie. Disillusioned, frustrated and disappointed soldiers and their parents wondering, "Why are we in Iraq?". In one amazing scene, Moore stands outside the Capitol with a Recruitment Officer of the US Army. he first informs us that out of the 500 odd Congressmen, only 1 has a son who is enlisted in the army and serving in Iraq. So Moore and the officer start asking Congressmen if they would enlist their children in the army. It is funny to see the alacrity with which the Congressmen escape from Moore.
F911 gets it point across loud and clear. If Bush loses the forthcoming election, then i am sure this documentary will have a large part to play in it.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

How to Learn Kannada in One Second

If some of my colleagues are to be believed, you can learn Kannada even faster than you learn Bengali. To speak bengali, all you do is use words from English or Hindi, but speak them with a heavily pronounced lisp. The bengali I have spoken thus has been understood by all my Bong friends. However, then do not seem responsive when I ask them why they keep talking about their goldsmith's bungalow (sonar bangla?). Anyhoo, the point of focus here is Kannada.

So yes, a few colleagues of mine hypothesize that Kannada is the same as Hindi or English....all you need to do is add an "aaa" sound after every word, and a "vaa" sound within the words.

So "My name is Gaurav" in kannada becomes "Myaa nameaa isaa Gauravaa".

I haven't quite bought into this hypothesis, because of a tiny incident that happened some days back.

A group of us IBM-ers were standing outside the office, with the intention of going to Forum in Kormangla. The few rickshaw-wallahs there did not seem to grasp what we were saying.

IBM-ers - "Forum?"

Rickie - "kannnadaaaaa gobbledegookaaaaaaaaa"

IBM-ers - "Forum Kormangla?"

Rickie - "someaa moreaa kannadaaaaa gobbledegookaaaaaaa"

And so it went for a few minutes. That's when an esteemed colleague of ours came out of the office and joined the group. He took stock of the situation, and waved everyone aside saying "Let me handle this. I can get through to them."

Then, moving his hands like Murali bowling two doosras at the same time, he said

"Fvaaaaaaarrraaammmmaaaaaaaaa Kvaaaaaaaarrrraaamaaaaanggglaaaa......"pausing to decide that he should tell them it is a mall, he went on "Mvaaaaaaaaaaallaaaaaaaaa".

Our laughing was drowned out by the much louder guffawing of all the rickshawwallahs.

We eventually managed to coax a rickie into taking us there by the way.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Gaayab Aaya Gaayab Aaya...

For all those exasperated movie-goers who saw Tusshar Kapoor in a movie and said "I wished he would just disappear", there's great news. Ramgopal Varma and Prawaal "Darna Mana Hai" Raman have just found out how to bring out the best in this YACSS (Yet Another Constipated Star Son). Just make him invisible. But then, there is another catch. If you make someone like Tusshar Kapoor disappear......would the audience even notice? :P

Okay okay, jokes apart, this is one movie I am really looking forward to.

Tusshar Kapoor and Antara Mali star in Gaayab, the latest offering from everyone's favourite Factory. Tusshar talks about the movie with Suku in this interview.

From the trailers that I have seen, it seems to be a slick and interesting film. The theme of invisibility, though not a new one in Bollywood, is sure an under-utilised one. Mr. India, the Shekhar Kapoor directed smash hit of the 80's is universally considered one of the milestones in Indian film history.

However, just the trailers make Gaayab seem very different. It does not seem as if the protagonist, after turning invisible, does only goody-goody superhero stuff like Arun from Mr. India. His mentality seems to resemble that of Aftab Shivdasani's in the Prawaal Raman's Darna Mana Hai. Anyway, all this is conjecture and only after watching the whole movie in the theatre can one comment on it in greater detail.

Where Varma and Raman have got it spot on is Tusshar's casting. He will fit the role of a loser to the T. So though he says in the interview that he prepared a lot for the role, I am sure the director would have wanted him to just be himself. ;)

Friday, July 09, 2004

Destruction of Public Money

I have read some extremely naive comments on my blog in the last few days. A few excerpts -

- The money being spent especially the amount for rural irrigation and infrastructure would yield rich dividends if used properly.

- developmental expenditure is always a postive sign because it is something that would improve the standard of living in rural India..

- Forget about the fiscal deficit its not a big problem at the centre its the states that has to watch out.

It is common knowledge that Rajiv Gandhi said that only 15% of the money earmarked for the poor actually reaches the poor. Such is our government machinery. Not just our machinery, but any government machinery, always has inefficiencies. The simple reason is the people in charge of spending the money are not accountable to anyone. It is not their money. Which is why socialism has been such a big failure in all countries it has been implemented in.

The state can not be trusted to use our money properly. The emphasis should be on reducing the state's role.

To those who naively believe that public investment is a good thing, let me ask you this. What has public investment done for the country since independence? Nothing. Then what has changed that makes us think that things will be any different from now on? It is the same kleptocratic set-up.

Those who think fiscal deficit is a non-issue and compare it with the United States, let me add a few more things that are different. India sets very low targets of revenue collection, since it does not tax most of its citizens. Even these low targets, it fails to meet. Plus a huge chunk of the government's expenditure goes into paying salaries for its huge inefficient machinery. Just throw your mind back to 1991 if you think central fiscal deficit is not a matter of concern.

A Critique of Wisden's "Rest of the World Test XI"

Wisden has come out with its lists of a "Rest of the World" teams for both forms of the game. For those slow on the uptake, these teams do not include any Australians, and have been framed with the concept of the Super-Series next year, when Australia will take on the ROW teams in 1 test and 3 ODIs.

First let us take the test team

1. Michael Vaughan (13 votes, capt)
2. Virender Sehwag (14)
3. Rahul Dravid (20)
4. Brian Lara (20)
5. Sachin Tendulkar (19)
6. Jacques Kallis (14)
7. Mark Boucher (16, wk)
8. Shaun Pollock (10)
9. Shoaib Akhtar (17)
10. Steve Harmison (19)
11 Muttiah Muralitharan (22)

My Comments

- Michael Vaughan's inclusion has more to do with class than form, because his batting form has hardly been spectacular. I would prefer Jaysuriya. Even his captaincy is yet to be tested enough to be honoured at such a level. But then, there aren't many other choices to lead the team are there?

- Virender Sehwag got the maximum votes amongst the test openers. I hope those complex-ridden Indians who still keep pulling Sehwag down, will finally realise that he truly is a class act.

- The middle order is quite predictable. However I would still play Tendulkar at 4 and Lara at 5.

- Kallis, Pollock and Boucher kinda select themselves as well.

- Shoaib I am fine with. But Harmison, again, too early. I would pick Pathan instead.

- Murali is the king, chucking or no chucking. But let us see if he maintains this status after a doosra-less phase.

The presence of two Englishmen in the team can only be attributed to the "Henman Syndrome".

Henman Syndrome is a result of the near starvation that England has faced in the world of high profile sports wins. So starved are the English of a winner, that they have elevated Tim Henman to a level much higher than his talent deserves.

Similarly, so rare has consistent and attacking batting become in English cricket today, that Michael Vaughan is hailed as a great. And so awestruck are they at a fast bowler picking wickets regularly that he is immediately elevated to the World level.

De-saffronize Education........and De-Pinkise it too, please!!

It is good to hear that NCERT is de-saffronising education, i.e remove the idiotic fundas injected into textbooks by Saffron loonies.

That I am fine with.

But the sad thing is, it seems as if education is going back to the Pinkised form, i.e the Marxist/Leftist influence.

Just many lines in our school textbooks were dedicated to Adam Smith and how many to Marx & Engels?

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Explain, Chids!!

How can you do this -

  • Government proposes to wipe out revenue deficit by 2007/08 against 2008/09 target set in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

    while you do this -

  • Rs 3,500 crore subsidy for Antodaya scheme under which, foodgrains would be provided for the poorest of the poor.
  • Irrigation programmes to be restructured to complete the projects. Rs 2300 crore (Rs 23 billion) provided for accelerated rural development programme.
  • One lakh irrigation units will be revamped using assistance from NABARD. Fifty per cent subsidy will be provided for such schemes.
  • On scheduled castes welfare programme, an allocation of Rs 1,180 crore has been proposed, marking an increase of Rs 1,137 crore.
  • For welfare programmes of Scheduled Tribes, allocation of Rs 1,146 crore has been proposed. It marks an increase of Rs 1,087 crore.
  • Budget proposes to increase the subsidy under the Health Insurance Scheme. For individuals it has been raised to Rs 200, Rs 300 for a family of five, and Rs 400 for a family of seven.
  • Rs 8000 crore for Rural Infrastructure Development fund to be provided.
  • Equity support of Rs 14,194 crore and loan of Rs 2132 crore to be given to the PSEs including the Railways during 2004-05.

    ........... and many many other sops!

    Surely, the cess on my salary won't cover all this, and wipe out the fiscal deficit?

  • Thanks for the 9,000, PC!

    The Union Budget is being announced today. Haven't gone through all the highlights, but the immediate gain, on a personal front is one of 9,000 per year. :)

    The IT-exemption limit has been raised from 50,000 to 100,000.

    Thanks Chids!

    But then again, you will be taking some cess from me. So I guess we will be even.

    The Laloo Model of Success

    The Laloo....or should I say Lalu Model of Success amazes me because of its sheer simplicity. Of course, such a model could work only in a system set on socialist roots.

    Lalu first says a lot of things which serve to lower the expectations of the general public to a rock bottom. In this he is supported by the soundbyte-hungry media, which gives even minor matters like "what to serve tea in" more news-space than a terrorist attack. He gets us all thinking "Railways to gaya". He spews out a lot of "pro-poor" stuff, which basically means "anti-rich", leading us all to believe that he will make us pay through our noses for upper class journeys.

    And then he comes out with something very mediocre, like this rail budget.

    By this time, our expectations have gone so negative, that even a zero seems positive.