Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Senselessness in the Sensex

The last week or so (trading week I mean) has seen the flag-bearer index of the Indian stock market plunge by around 20-22%.... Market capitalisation has eroded by 18 trillion bucks (lets just say that its too many zeroes to be counting).. ... Retail investors as always have been pinched worst (I have had a notional loss of 20% or roughly 60k in a matter of 2 days).... In Ahmedabad (the stock brokers' capital of India) police had to cordon off a lake so that people wouldn't jump in, attempting suicide... Once again people (like u and me) are questioning the wisdom of trading in the secondary markets...

Various aspects pertaining to the crash have been dissected and analysts have been unanimous in identifying the "recession" in the US as the main reason for the reverses. The US Fed cut rates by 75 bps the largest cut since 1984 in an attempt to pump in more liquidity into the system (the global financial system apparently).. So what all has gone wrong suddenly?

- Have the phrases "if the US catches a cold the rest of the world sneezes" or worse still "if the US sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold" been proved right?
- Has the Indian markets' over-dependence on FII inflows been exposed?

There might be multiple reasons but what's been most striking (to me that is) have been the vulnerabilities of an Indian investor's mindset and the lack of understanding and deeper analysis of the trends in macro economic indicators by Indian Market analysts. Many of my friends have been talking over the last few days about whether its just time to sell everything and stay with cash... and I find it very amusing

From being one of the most risk averse individuals, the Indian investor over the last 2 years has turned into one helluva of greedy fellow. Greed by itself is bad enough but greed compounded with lack of knowledge is a disaster and that's exactly what we are experiencing now.

- Business new channels providing 24 hr news on markets, stock picks, investment calls etc..
- Mutual fund agents carrying glossy pamphlets with sky rocketing graphs denoting their fund's performance
- Asset management companies providing 'advice' on smart investment strategies
today an average investor has a deluge of information. Information that is confused and misunderstood to be knowledge. Opinions and promises is NOT knowledge. The poor middle class guy has not understood this distinction. Knowing stock codes, brokerage rates, NAVs and issue details does not amount to much. Return on Investment expectations of 30-40% are illogical. I am not saying that every investor should learn "Corporate Valuation"... But investors should atleast know solid investment principles...

- picking industries and stocks that offer long term growth

- Not buying stocks of companies that you aren't too sure about but just because they have been on the top gainer's list

- Realizing that brokers make money only when you buy or sell so there's no point in just blindly believing trading advice

- having reasonable expectations of return. While at an overall economy level companies growing at 20% even the most carefully picked portfolio cant give you consistent returns of anything more than 20% in the long term

- Conviction that the markets are a long term game not a day-day or a monthly one. They might be so for day traders and investment firms (purely because they have a cushion of funds that can absorb losses) but not for you and me

- Moving from a 'sell at every fall' to a 'buy at every fall' mindset (of course aided by a good reason to buy i.e. good companies)

Ok if the Indian retail investor is bad the Indian analysts have fared no better. There has been so much use of the much maligned term "recession". But no value adding opinions given to substantiate the reasons. For starters how many people have bothered to explain to the junta about what they mean by recession in the US economy. In pure macro-economic terms recession is defined as "two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth". Now when we are talking about a phenomenally huge economy like the US growth by itself is at very moderate levels (2-3%).. So negative economic growth is not as much of a shocker as it could be India... In addition to this no detailed opinions have come forth from Indian analysts quoting "US recession" as a dampener on what is driving the possibility of recession in the U.S., in terms of sectors, is it consumer driven, policy driven, industry driven etc..

What is also surprising is that one of major theories that have surfaced in the last decade or so pertaining to macro-economic indicators of developed nations "The Great Moderation" theory has been untouched in opinions and views. Its a fabulous piece on why, if viewed from the experience of the past 2 decades the fluctuations in macro economic indicators are not going to be too drastic or prolonged. In effect they cant have too many shock effects on investment, spending, savings etc..

I don't mean to say that the markets are in no trouble. I don't think these are just over-reactions. My point is fluctuations are very inherent to a market that is driven by so many factors. It will remain to be so and will not be a simple upside or downside story... If it were that simple every one would just be a billionaire or will pull out of the market. What's important is for the common man to stick to basics of good investing aided by some elementary knowledge. As far as experts go, they should come out the "sound byte" mode that they are in for the sake of television and try and provide some meaningful (even if contrarian) inputs through valuable research and analysis.
Ok now lets recoup some losses...

(Un)Civilian Honours

26th January this year once again saw a clutch of personalities being conferred with India's civilian honours - Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padam Shri...The lists every year evoke standard sets of responses. Some people are unhappy about names having been excluded, some are critical of a few awardees and some awardees themselves feel that they deserved it "much before" (Asha Bhosle for instance).
This year has been no different. To the Government's credit they have recognised some worthy personalities for these awards. However a few sore points do stick out.
  • Is it right for the sitting External Affairs Minister to be chosen for the 2nd highest civilian honour given that the Government picks the awardees ? Can see a day not far away when politicians like a Laloo or Karunanidhi clamor for awards for their party men like they do for cabinet ministerial berths....
  • In a country with 1/6th of the world's population couldn't we find one name worthy enough to be conferred the Bharat Ratna ... and mind you we have been hit with this "scarcity" for 6 years now.
  • There were these debates that raged for a few days about worthy candidates for the ratna and one should say it was sickening. Lobbying of the worst kind was witnessed and needless to say it was only from politicians....Vajpayee, Kanshi Ram, Mulayam(!!) were some of the names thrown into the ring.... A pity that politics extended its ugly fangs in an attempt to tarnish the nations' highest civilian honour...

One wonders how much longer can these awards successfully continue to uphold their own sanctity... With audience polling, nominations and a Jury moderation CNN-IBN or NDTV awards seem much more meritorious and trustworthy...

Monday, December 10, 2007

I have no worries...is that a worry???!!!

This post is neither an attempt at relationship psychology nor is it a response to a question in the 'agony aunt's' column... Its my take on some marriage basics..

Needless to say being alone last evening was terrible. And alone here means not being with her and does not mean being “Alone” as suggested by the dictionaries.(You cant claim to be alone in the linguistic sense when you have 6 Adults and a kid at home, can you!!!). It was incidentally the first Sunday that we hadn't met (other than the Goa conference) since we had said “Aye”...sheer bad luck. So when AG called me he was just plain unlucky for having called at the wrong time. After some idle chit chat and some run of the mill Tam bashing that he regularly indulges in he had warmed me up for a nasty showdown. He compounded his troubles by mentioning ‘Standard’ stuff like “You spend all your time with her huh?” “Bas, only 2 months and then you are gone” and off I went. Like a fancy firecracker that’s wick has been lit the heat reached me quick and sure enough there was a lights and sound display (more sound than light and of course nowhere as beautiful). Two minutes of mayhem and then I realised that AG was a 'poor thing' that didn't actually mean to be mean and hence didn't deserve this. I mellowed down and some conversation followed, thankfully on a pleasant note. “Goodbyes & good nights” later I started reflecting on why people ask/tell me stuff like....

“So how’s life after engagement. How does it feel to be have lost your freedom ?”

“How does it feel to realize that you are soon going to imprisoned!! Ha Ha (sick laughter)?”

“Aur, Last few months of bachelorhood ko enjoy kar rahe ho?”

“Anxious thinking about married life…hasn't the loss of control feeling hit you yet?”

“How much have you changed already? Sab badal jaayega yaar”
"Courtship period is the best man...sab theek lagta hai....uske baad its not all that rosy"

I know most of these are said in a lighter vein but its hard to not get the feeling that people think that those who are gonna get married should be anxious about getting married. Do some things change for the worse with this turn in life? Do people enjoy life much less given the loss of carefreeness that comes with bachelorhood. Does the burden of a relationship show on your ways in life? Is there a cause to feel for the lack of independence? In short are there some aspects of marriage that one needs to be scared about?

I guess everyone would have thought on these lines and come out with their own answers. I did too because I wanted to understand as to why I have no such concerns around marriage. Yes I am not worried and its primarily because of what I feel are the basics in a relationship.

I think the crux of the cynicism that people have when talking about marriage and more importantly the difficulties that married people face in their marriages are to do with just 2 things. Change and Influence (and obviously sacrifices that come about because of these two things).

In most of life’s facets nobody likes changes. There might be numerous occasions when we say we are bored with routine and are looking out for something different but those are platonic changes. In truth we are all deeply entrenched in our set patterns of approach to life. We hate to be pulled out of comfort zones. Status quo is sacred. Especially when we consider things that are part of our day to day lives.

The favorite couch in the hall, the argument with a sibling, mom’s special Sunday lunch dish, the cribbing session with a best friend, what one wear’s at home and outside……….. Lots more like those.

But then do we all take the same paths all through our lives? Obviously not, there are aspects when we accept changes rather well. College after schooling years, a new job, friends at the workplace……. And some more. At the heart of these changes that we take to rather well (albeit after initial hiccups) is the conviction that that its for the better.

And that’s precisely the point that I feel needs some thinking.

Marriage in fact brings about the need for some things that one needs to change. Starting with the small matter of the company one keeps for the rest of their life and of course in terms of thinking, behaviour, outlook, decisions, preferences, lifestyle, socialising and the works. In the first place I think marriage should be preceded by a conviction that its for a life that is going to be better than what it is without it. To go a step further one should be convinced that its going to be the best ever relationship. This should be a given failing which married life would be difficult. People who are about to get married might say that its obvious but in fact this is in fact an egoistically difficult conviction to posses for people who come from well knit happy families. “Oh my god. My parents are the sweetest people around and they have given me all that I wanted and I am having a great time with them, how can I be assured that anything could get better than this!!? How can there be a better relationship especially given that I don't know the other person as well as I know my folks” is a common feeling for such people. But I guess that’s the primary difficulty in the outlook towards marriage and all the change that’s in store. Your current life is great and thank god for his mercies in having given you a great family but there is nothing in life that can’t get better. The fact that your partner is the first familial relationship that you chose for yourself should mean that its the best (sorry appa and amma, this doesn't mean you are any less sweeter but this is the truth). The reason I say this again centers around change. Unless you are convinced about marriage setting you up for a better life any change that comes with it will be a liability.

The second part on change is slightly higher up the value chain (I hate using management terms like ‘value chain’ but I couldn’t think of anything better after half a minute of thinking). It requires understanding of the fact there are somethings that I might not feel like changing but might be pushed to change. (‘Pushed’ as I use it here is not in a negative connotation). Actually such changes do not even need rational explanations, for in life there are somethings that do not have rational explanations. I know this would be taken rather cynically by some but for those who are smirking at this the ideal way to wipe that smirk off is to think about some things that you have done without too much of rationale....Want a sample? Do you remember praying to God before the results of the examinations you wrote were out…. See, the point is rationalising doesn't always work….

The other aspect is influence. Starting from innocuous (seemingly) aspects the influence obviously extends to the biggest decisions that one would be faced with in life. And again the conviction of marriage being a positive turn in life provides an easy answer. An influence from my partner is to be considered as a welcome step in the already complex process of decision making. As a means to being flexible to accommodate more interests. It also requires clarity of thought to realise that pre-existing spheres of influence (parents, siblings and friends) are now input providers and not decision makers (sorry again appa and amma but I know you will understand). Again tough to accept but reality that’s irrefutable. Because marriage actually means independence. In this case its the independence of two people who depend on each other. (I know that sentence is oxymornoish). I strongly disagree with the concept of a “Strong partner and a weak partner” in a marriage. I feel people who feel they are the stronger partners (in sheer terms of providing direction) are reserving the right to be Dominant. Those who feel that they are weaker partners are reserving the right to commit mistakes that they don’t want to held accountable for. Both cases are unacceptable.

The good part with both these factors is the commonality of what it requires for success. The Right Partner.Period. All that I need to accept the need for such changes & influence is a great partner. A partner for whom I am willing to change certain things with no pre-conditions of "so you will change that for me?".. without being obsessed about “How I actually am” or “How it actually used to happen”. (as long as it does not affect the values I stand for in life). A partner whom I am willing to be influenced by without necessarily feeling the need to influence. Come to think of it, what would be those things that I would have to change or be influenced on. They would either be things that really matter to either of us or one’s own idiosyncrasies that don’t matter much when one looks at the bigger picture for they are just idiosyncrasies. Does it mean I will be jumping with joy with evry change...not at all... But ultimately will I change convinced that its for the better...Yes I wil....So is it too difficult? NO! NO! NO!

So does that mean marriages wont work if change and influence aren't taken in this light. That is not the case. Most marriages work in spite of these being less than 100%. But then those are the marriages where you feel a sense of loss in addition (“yippee my wife’s going to be away for 2 months”…types :-) ) to all the good times that you experience. Marriages where the idea of change and influence is not reciprocated by one partner are worse off, for one person feels cheated. It takes two to tango.

So that’s pretty much I guess. And I am least surprised that I have none of the worries that people supposedly expect me have about married life :-). I am serious!!! So much so that I feel like recording a standard script and playing it out when next confronted with this enquiry. This is what it would be…

“Hi, Yes, You are talking to someone who recently got engaged and is getting married 2 months from now. YES, it does feel GREAT to be engaged and NO, I am in fact looking forward to marriage. NO, I DON’T feel anxious about getting married and NOR am I worried about losing the ‘freedom’ of bachelorhood. NO not at all, I don’t think I will have a problem changing some things about me and YES I am more than happy to be influenced. BTW I can hear you saying that the courtship period is the best time of the relationship but I wish to strongly DISAGREE because that might be true only if you get to spend lots of time with your partner. In fact I am waiting for the courtship period to end and am sure married life would be much BETTER. And yes, If these feelings change I will get back to you and by the way think of something else as well as a conversational topic the next time around. I have no worries...does that worry you?.Thank you for enquiring and have a nice day”

Friday, November 30, 2007

I can be a soothsayer...

I am suddenly in the writy mood so here’s another one…

The last point in my previous list of learnings was on Linda Goodman and am sure that people might wonder about why I had written that as a learning… So some insights into my thoughts on the Zodiac Circus

As I have mentioned/written a thousand times I am someone who believes that I completely control the path that my life traverses. Most of what has happened to me till now (good+bad) is because that’s the way I made my decisions and I pretty much know how tomorrow’s gonna go coz am pretty sure that it depends on what I did yesterday and what am doing today. If I want something to happen I have it in me to make it happen (or so I think)

Can I represent India in Cricket in the future- Yes of course…If I practice for 6 hrs every day from today and sharpen my skills in about 15 years I can play for the “Above 40”/Seniors Cricket team !!!

Can I dance like Hrithik Roshan – That’s easy for sure. If I decide to amputate my legs and get some artificial limbs fixed I can then train the feet to coordinate with my brain while it comes to dancing. I then would sure be a threat to Roshan Jr.

Can I look like Tom Cruise – Yes by spending about 50 to 100 Million dollars on a series of plastic surgeries I can get close to looking like Mr. Cruise and then life would be a cruise..

But these snide comments apart the point is I can sure dictate the course of my life to reach milestone/objectives/targets that are practical and sensible. That’s what I mean when I say that my life is pretty much in my hands..

So when it comes to stuff like Horoscopes, Sun signs, Moon Signs, Star Signs and predictions I am very very skeptical to the point of being rudely dismissive…

But then when your lady love swears by the Zodiac and holds “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs” as the Holy book of humanity over and above the Bible, Gita or the Koran you can’t just help but pay some attention to the topic can you? And that’s exactly what I have been doing for sometime. I read some Linda Goodman stuff (courtesy a book gifted by her) and it had not a single good thing to say about Leos (I am one…now people who know Leo characteristics please don’t start abusing me). Its not too pleasant a feeling to read lousy stuff about you page after page is it? So I said goodbye to Ms. Goodman and instead decided to opt for the innocuous yet extremely popular daily forecasts(to just see if they work) in Deccan Chronicle (an additional outflow of Rs. 1.50 per day as The Hindu does'nt feel the need to publish daily Zodiac forecasts)

I have been doing this for sometime now and I should say that it’s a revelation, and No I am talking about the predictions being true. At the risk of being beaten up by her I should say that I can confidently take up a job of writing daily predictions from today without knowing a thing about the stars, planets or constellations.

After careful Analysis I have found a pattern in the way these things are written. Read any bit from any newspaper/magazine and I can tell you that it would fall into one of these patterns.

Let me explain the patterns now

The Irrefutable truth – This one really bugs me a lot. This has advice that can never be turned down simply because its so obvious. Like you know “Actors should rehearse well”, “Accountants should try to reconcile statements”, “Students should practice math”. Now who on earth can disagree with that!!

Smart Hedge – This is a Risk Management professional’s delight. “You might be tired after a long week’s work but the weekend will prove to be a good break”. Come on!!! All of us always have bad days at work and great weekends don’t we. There’s another one…. “People exposed to the stock markets will see profits, however be aware of chances of losing money”…WOW these guys are better than asset management companies.

The Mega Serial mantra – “Loved ones will cause despair. Family problems might keep you worried. You will do well not to argue with your spouse” Ho-hum… as though I do not know the pitfalls of an argument with my spouse…who wants to get beaten up anyways …gimme a break

Feel good factor – who would not want to hear about “You might meet someone interesting”. “Its time for romantic escapades” Its always time for escapades just that money does'nt grow on trees and even if it does I can climb a tree for nuts

Proverbial punchlines – “Opportunity knocks on those who try”…. “Don’t be deterred by failures, keep trying”

With these five rules anyone can write predictions… Believe me… you can, just try. Ok if you still aren’t convinced lemme give you a sample

“Share brokers might have to buy or sell shares today to survive. If you are planning a vacation do your best to not think about expenses and pick the best options, however spending money is not the only way to have a good vacation. Your children might not listen to what you say and might argue with you incessantly. You might have good things said about you by someone you know. Remember that there is no substitute to hard work.”

See, One single outlook for the day that nobody can ever argue with…. Such are the ways of the soothsayers!!! Now tell me can't I be one?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Naughty smile and numerous things that followed

I have had my fair share of situations in which I had to make some tough decisions... Typical crossroads where I have had to necessarily pick one path and take the plunge. But I was aware that the BIGGEST decision in my life was still pending. The one concerning the choice of a life partner. I had to search for, find, meet, talk, consider, discuss and decide about the one with whom I would spend the rest of my life. Knowing me my parents and close friends seemed to agree that Sriram indeed would take some time to do all this. "6 months at the least da" was dad's emphatic forecast and I couldn't disagree with that...

Then someone up above smiled at the misplaced confidence that a seemingly confident 26 year-old had about himself and his estimates...Thankfully it wasn't a wicked smile but a naughty one :)...and I met her... The rest as they say is history - just that in this case it was history made in 1 day instead of the expected 6 months. For once this "I control my destiny and I am pretty sure about what's in store for me tomorrow" guy was elated at having been proven wrong.

The last 3 months have been great... and here are some very pleasant/interesting things that I have discovered.

It is possible to yield so much of emotional space for another person in my life and there is not just this much but infinitely more space available if its for just the right person.

After a long time I am genuinely missing someone... over and over again...week after week...trip after trip....even phonecall after phone call... (The last time I really missed someone was in Oct 1998 when I went back to campus after a Diwali visit to home and I big time missed my parents).

362 KMs is a terribly long distance....

The mobile phone is not a necessary evil....its telecommunications' blessing ... and yes it is possible to have a 4 figure mobile bill...

SMSsing from a run down Nokia 6030 is not a pain...its a wonderful exercise to keep your fingers in shape

Indian Railway's Tatkal reservations open 5 days before the travel date - but its not a very sensible option (you can't burn money coz you have it)- and the Indian Railway website is slowest in the afternoons.... You don't have to necessarily travel by 2nd A/C, 3 rd A/C is ok as well...

It takes exactly 7 minutes to reach Park station from Central if you time your walk/jog well..

Sometimes the wait for the meeting is much better than the meeting itself because the meeting ends with the start of a wait while the wait actually ends with a meeting....

Evaluating honeymoon packages is a potential area for a doctoral degree...there is so much to think and decide about... Warm places vs. Cold places, Sea vs. Mountains, History versus Activity, customised vs. managed.... Its tougher than the toughest Optimization problem that Prof. P.Singh presented us with... and ya travel agencies' sales people are sweet talking but predominantly dumb

"Primary", "Secondary", "Stockist", "Invoice", "WISDOM", "Synapse", "Closing", "SMS Centre"are all terms that you need to appreciate, understand and even feel for....

Indypop is a popular, liked form of Music!!

There are things regarding which I actually worry about for the fear of not wanting to disappoint ...(unthinkable given my history)

Physics in not of practical use coz it doesnt explain why 16 gms might be too less in terms of physical mass but can be an immensely heavy and painful emotional baggage to carry, and now I completely understand why...

There is so much more to learn in the English language - many words have a variety of meanings -and the faster you learn the better

Linda Goodman books are well respected and read (revered actually)....and none of her books are good to Leos ....

There are so many more...these are just the tip of the iceberg...and its not even been 3 months... ... and these are just from my side.. Given the character that I am, I can bet that she has learnt a lot too...

The best learning has been that there is no limit to how much I can feel for a person I have known for such a short time.....Am sure there would be a zillion more for both of us as time passes on...

The loveliest part is that I am loving the experience of learning stuff while being in love.... Thanks to the one above for the Naughty smile...

Monday, August 27, 2007

I just remembered

This is one crazy post and junta pls ignore it....

Its just that I remembered my blog after a couple of months and felt bad about not having visited it at all in quite some time. I was having this wonderful conversation last evening with someone I know now and we talked about loads of stuff. We chanced upon Blogging as a subject and for all my bad behaviour towards my blog, of not just caring about in the recent past I just realised that I still love "it".

So here I am back just taking a look at it..... Theres nothing more to it than just a quiet promise that I will try and continue the Blogger-Blog relation ship :) a bit more dilligently than in the past. I guess am pretty serious about the promise coz am actually typing this out while at work, during the time that I took out for lunch. So no more for now but hopefully a lot more for later.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Charity begins at home

The last few days have seen our PM talk about "corruption spreading like cancer" and "need for Corporate big-wigs to give back to the society". Noble intentions indeed, but its saddening to note that the responsibilities of the government in these spheres seem to have been conveniently ignored.

Political and Bureaucratic corruption is perhaps the biggest sap on our resources today and the PM and the party in power are directly accountable for this state of affairs. Before making utterances that appear to be noble the PM should touch his heart and ask himself about what stops him from launching an all out offensive to root out corruption in the Government. The lack of political will is writ large on the face of the PM. Being a honest man with unquestionable integrity is great for starters. But that's a hygiene requirement. It does not translate into much.

We are in a situation where we have come to accept corruption as a way of life. Rooting it out seems to be too much of a dream. If upliftment of the poor is the objective the PM would do well to focus on just two things right for starters.
1) Ensure that every paisa that's allocated for Education, Primary health and Agriculture as subsidies, support prices etc. reaches the targeted population.
2) Root out corruption at least in these three areas by removing lobbying, political interference, bureaucratic misdemeanours etc.

This by itself would serve to help a substantial population grow out of the pangs of poverty. Till such a time all these noble intentions would be constured as mere posturing and lecturing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Big Bother and an unlikely winner…

Last week was really weird with the mind-boggling media coverage and the scrutiny around the happenings in the UK Reality TV Show “Big Brother “. While Shilpa Shetty in a bid to boost her sagging career definitely did herself a lot of good by accepting 3 Crores to be a part of a show, even she would have been pleasantly surprised at the publicity that last week’s events have generated.

There is no denying the fact that the comments made against Shilpa were in bad taste and smacks of big-headedness. But some issues are being missed.

The point is, when you have a show that’s primarily trying to capitalise on selling private moments and reactions in a bunch of people’s lives you are asking for or rather fervently hoping for nasty things to be said and done. Now is that a justification for racist comments to be made, guess not but there’s only that much importance that one should attach to it. What if one of the participants had commented about the accent of a Spanish woman? (one of the remarks made about Shilpa was about her accent). Would we have considered it racist ? Maybe not. The problem is that of we being self-apologetic about what we are. I think Indians who raise a hue and cry about this issue are burdened with embarrassments about the way we look, speak and react in day to day lives. That to me is unwarranted. All sensible souls around the world irrespective of race are sane enough to admit the existence of various diversities. So when some Jade from the corner of the street who is probably not even capable of spelling India right at the first go, passes idiotic comments, the maximum that we might want to waste as a reaction should be “oh-really…God save you”. And what did we find ? Every media house worth its name (and even those who aren't worth their name) devoted a sizable % of their air time covering this episode. The Indian government opened diplomatic channels to condemn the actions. I am certain that there were much more important issues that warrant utilisation of resources. Jade and her gang in Big Brother …Don’t even bother. Stooping so low to react to an insult is worse than the insult itself.

Also, as a nation we should get rid of our hypocritic double standards and wake upto realities in our back yard. If any experience of watching Big Boss (the Indian Cousin of Big Brother) is enough qualification(I watched exactly 3 episodes), I can say that our version is more racist. We had a couple of struggling TV “stars” commenting about a South Indian participant that “she is apparently an actress, obviously you cant expect better looking things among Madraasis (the all encompassing category that south Indians are clubbed under by some people from the north)”. Another set of participants in one of their late night gossip sessons said something like “Anu and Carol are ‘models”, you expect them to encourage men to be all over them” and so on…….. lets leave the show behind for a moment

Lets pose a questions to ourselves – the common folk. We would have all come across or even contributed to comments traded by North & South Indians about traits such as accent, intelligence, behaviour and colour. So were those instances of racism? If so, then where did this anti-racist streak in us suddenly crop up from? Or are saying that its ok if we don’t appreciate our diversity but its not ok if foreigners fail to appreciate it. Now at the Government – There are still real issues of racism in India with Dalits not let into temples, not allowed to contest panchayat elections, people from the North East being discriminated against when it comes to jobs and a whole lot of things (now don’t tell me that all this is regionalism or casteism and not racism- its all garbage from the same dump). Affirmative and punitive actions aimed at correcting such practices have long been on paper with no real momentum. So lets not waste our time raising a diplomatic row about a wannabe celebrities ramblings. Far more important things should occupy a developing nation’s government’s “to-do” list.

Alas, who’s benefited from all this? Jade I guess – there was news that she got £30,000 to do it a bare-it-all interview about what actually transpired in those few days. Huh....So much for all the wasted effort