Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My Daily Office Routine

Walk Up The Stairs, 4th Floor(9.15AM)
Restart Machine
Log In
Play Hanuman Chalisa
Outlook Inbox
Hotmail Inbox
Confusing Musings, Blogspots, & Rediffblogs
Lunch(12.30 PM)
Bus(6.40 PM)

No Tea, No Coffee, No Sutta

Busy life :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Move Over Banglore, Here Comes Pune

Pune is the new capital of traffic snarls, rudely snatching this dubious distinction from Banglaore. I never knew it meant to be this when they talked about Pune's ambition is to upstage Bangalore. The traffic has been left to dogs, Maneka Gandhi please take notice.

Every arterial and peripheral road is choked. The down city areas had always made a strong case of choke-n-block, but what is more alarming are the entry points to the city. Within 100 meters from where city is suppose to end, traffic blockages start. To cross, a distance of a quarter of kilometer it takes more than half an hour.

Reason ? Myopic town planning, narrow entry roads, made worse by encroachment to the fullest, and who are doing these encroachments? The usual suspects like autowallahs, thelawallahs are only the small players. The biggest encroachers are Pune Municipal Transport(PMT) buses!

In the act of blatant flouting of rules, one third of PMT buses stand on the main thoroughfare instead PMT Depot at Kothrud, and Pune traffic department sleeps. Of course, there is no money to make there.

Last, but in no way least the traffic sense of the public, which believes in "see an inch, grab the inch". But then, the only progress will be exactly that - "an inch". Shortcuts never work.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Jumping Javed : Flashback 1992

India-Pakistan encounters have always been no less than the pacy, Hollywoodian pot boilers, with their fair share of numerous ups and downs, but the ones at the World Cups have always been the icings on the cake. Reason ?

Because India hasn't ever lost to them in World Cups.

One such(and in my opinion the best Indo-Pak encounter) nail biting thriller took place in 1992 WC. That WC took place in the midst of our ICSE(Std. X) board exams, and can arguably be termed as the most controversial WC ever.

I have some interesting memories of that match which took place on the fateful fourth day of March. We had our early morning Physics practical, and I had made a terrible mess of that. But post noon proceedings brightened my day up.

By the time I reached home, a young, unadulterated Ajay Jadeja had already played the first important innings of his life. My mom was sore that he had been playing, and smiling beautifully till he was controversially given out caught though ball had clearly grazed the ground.

I had the vivid memory of him from our previous match with Australia where he took the second best catch of the tournament to send Allan Border packing.

But the battle was on. Sachin, who then played in middle order, was playing the innings of his life. Together with Kapil Dev he took India to a fighting 216.

I remember one particular shot, when he beautifully read the slower ball from Aqib Javed and ferociously lofted it over the mid wicket. Wasim Akram, then lanky, was standing well inside the boundary so he couldn't reach it. Ball hit the hoardings, but Umpire signaled it a six. After a discussion with Imran Khan, it was changed to four as the ball didn't go above the boundary wall.

The other shot I liked was when Kapil Dev hit a magnificent six rows back over the long off to Mushtaq Ahmed. Mind you, that was Sydney Cricket Ground - the biggest Cricket stadium in the world.

Of course, Pakistani were chaste in their abuses with captain leading from the front. I could lip read the exact profanity he hurled at the substitute Ejaj Ahmed when latter misfielded at the long off.

The real drama, however, unfolded in the second innings.

Inzamam, unlike now days, opened then, and wasn't yet "discovered" by Imran Khan, which latter dutifully did in semifinal and final. His footwork wasn't as great as it is today because he was trapped plumb in front of the wickets as early as third over. His replacement Zahid Fazal didn't last long either.

It was then when Amir Sohail dropped guard. He first consolidated, and then alarmingly accelerated. Together with Javed Miandad, they took the score past 100. To add to the Indian misery, Srikanth dropped his catch, but made amends the very next ball, when he caught him fantastically at a very short midwicket off Sachin's ball. Sachin that day, it seems, could do nothing wrong.

However, the person who insured victory for India was Javed Miandad. He was in his complete elements that day. First he ran his captain Imran Khan out, for a duck, who again went away mouthing choicest abuses.

If all this wasn't enough, Miandad broke out in a verbal scuffle with the wicketkeeper Kiran More who had made a couple of vociferous appeals for caught behind. To make the matter worse, he started jumping to imitate More in appeal which made Azhar, the captain, visibly angry and he report it to umpires. It was evident that he didn't fix match in those days.

To top it off, he took so many balls for his paltry runs that added tremendous pressure on his side. His final score was 40, for which he took more than 110 balls. Finally his frustrations and miseries came to end when he was clean bowled superbly by Javagal Srinath, who could bowl actual yorkers those days.

Tail buckled easily, with Akram stumped off Venkatpati Raju, the muscles. Match was over as India won by 43 runs with Sachin Tendulkar man of the match.

By then, my flunked physics practical was a faint memory. I still don't regret it.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Billion Dollar Question

Q: Who is the Finance Minister of India ?
A: (in the decreasing order of shock severity)

Murali Lal Desai
Manmohan Desai
Lalu Prasad Yadav
APJ Abdul Kalam
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Yashwant Sinha
Manmohan Singh
Pranab Mukherjee
K Chidambram
P Chidambram

In case you all are wondering what's going on and is this a KBC sort of thing I am pulling at you, then it is not so.

This was the question a MTV VJ was asking to the various people in "the financial capital" of India - Mumbai, which pays highest amount of taxes in India, and a few section of people didn't even know who is the guy responsible for it.

If you are doubting whether she went about asking this in some Dharavi slum, let me clear your doubts. She asked this to the young, educated crowd in various multiplexes, malls, and perhaps in some reknowed colleges of the city.

I always believed it is the intelligent, enterprising, hard working people, who come from outside of Mumbai, are the ones who are the driving engines of growth of the city. Rest are simply the bogies, reaping the benefits of others' hard work. This confirmed my belief. Left on their own, they will be as ordinary as anybody else.

And a few idiots from "bogies" want to kick out the "engine". That's what you call suicidal tendencies.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Vidai Geet

Vidai Geet by Dr. Narendra Tandon. Brings tearful joy to our eyes.


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Friday, January 06, 2006

ULIP Is A Killer

This is in investor's interest.

They say, if destiny doesn't kill, ULIPs can. Then your dependents can claim the insurance, but that doesn't mean one has made a good deal as Ashish has learnt the hard way.

ULIP is Unit Linked Insuarnce Plan, as most of us know. They give us insurance, while the money stays invested as a mutual fund. The broker will promise you that whenever you want your money back, you can withdraw the amount, and you will always get an increased amount.

That is where the trap lies.

As Ashish said, it is neither here nor there. First of all, the moment you withdraw your money, your insurance cover is lost, and which was exactly your basic purpose.

Secondly, this ULIP mutual fund is too mutual to the comfort, meaning hereby, it increases hardly at the rate of a fixed deposit, with no guarantee of increasing at all. So you are neither insured, nor you have invested.

And the lastly it is VERY costly. The best option is go for a term insurance instead which is dirt cheap, and invest rest of money directly in Mutual Funds.

Still not convinced ? I will give you an example of my another friend who got fooled by this "insurance-cum-investment".

He gave Rs 48,000 to Bazaz Allianze, for a twenty year old inusrance term. In return, he would get an insurance of 19.20 Lakhs, and also that money will be invested in an ULIP Mutual Fund,which he can withdraw anytime after three years.

Had he gone for a term insurance plan, it would have cost him Rs 8500 per annum for 20 years ie Rs 1,02,000 at the end of twenty years.

And had he invested that Rs 48,000 in an established mutual fund say HDFC Tax Saver(Growth), which has given 42% percent compound interest for last 10 years, and we assume it keeps on going the same way, the scenario at the end of twenty years would be like this.

In orginal scenario with No Eventuality -
Cost: Rs 48,000.
Return(at the rate of 6%): Rs 1,53,943.

In orginal scenario with Eventuality -
Cost: Rs 48,000.
Return(at the rate of 6%): Rs 1,53,943 + Rs 19,20,000 = Rs 20,53,943.

In latter scenario with No Eventuality -
Cost: Rs 1,02,000.
Return(at the rate 42%): Rs 5,33,34,487.

In latter scenario with No Eventuality -
Cost: (Less than equal to) Rs 1,02,000.
Return(at the rate 42%): Rs 5,33,34,487 + Rs 20,00,000 = Rs 5,53,34487.

Now you can make out easily because figures are before you. Of course, mutual funds are governed by market there is no guarentee for returns, but then it is true for a ULIP mutual fund as well.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Fund Offer

Crooks, as a breed, largely exist in two subtypes. The first ones are the thug types. A typical school/college drop out, stoutly built, may be an ex-romeo in the neighbourhood. Their profession can include a diverse portfolio - thief, pickpocket, local extortionist etc.

Since, all these are proven guttersnipes and vagabonds, they are easy to sight. Most of these guys exhibit furtive glances, and indulge in surreptitious activities. We all make sure to never cross their path in a wrong away.

The other subtype is the white collared crooks - the exact opposite of the aforementioned ilk. They are not easy to sight since they come under the garb of pretension. Only our instinct can save us from them.

S/He can be the innocuous looking credit-card person, who would offer a "free" gold card for three years with a 10 lakh insurance, and then you will receive a silver card instead, with the auto-debit facility you never signed to, an insurance only in the case of air-crash death(about which that person had failed to inform), and of course, the credit card fees at the end of twelve months.

It can also be the girl with pleasant voice who every eleventh day offers you, again, a "free" loan, and fails to explain whatever that means.

For my unsuspecting colleague, it was the lady in the HDFC Bank, who turned out to be a crook, when he had gone to buy HDFC Tax Saver mutual fund(ELSS). It was the first time he was buying a mutual fund, so he was bit tentative, and she made good of his tentativeness.

Instead of giving HDFC Tax Saver, she made him fill the form for Fidelity Tax Fund, which incidentally was a New Fund Offer(NFO). My friend naively thought it is the same thing so he did what she said. She did this day time loot because these NFOs offer much higher cut to the brokers in order to publicize.

Luckily, I had asked him to photocopy the fund form, and as soon as I saw that, I could make out the obvious. He immediately blocked those cheques, and saved himself the trouble.

So everyone please look out for such crooks, and invest in those mutual funds only which have the proven track record, not the NFOs.