Monday, December 25, 2006

Madras in Margazhi

There is no doubt that Margazhi is the most pleasant month in Chennai.Music performances and Thiruppavai discourses compete with each other for the number of places where they are held.If you are a connoisseur of arts and a spiritual aspirant,you are doubly blessed to be in Chennai around this time.

It is interesting that we keep learning newer things every year about Andal's magnum opus.It is a delight to know the various levels of meanings attributable to the same pasuram.If one hopefully keeps growing spiritually every year,one will savour a different Thiruppavai every year.

Having darshan of the Lord in the temples early in the morning is an additional bonus.Spending Margazhi in Chennai gives us enough maturity to see through the remaining months of the year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

we are not winning.we are not losing.

President Bush was at his obfuscational best when he rationalised about his adventure in Iraq."We're not winning.We're not losing."Then what are we doing? Should more lives be lost before there is a definitive answer?

Saturday, May 06, 2006


The overblown Kaavya Viswanathan episode should expand the meaning of "sophomoric" to include "plagiaristic".Till date ,the meaning has been (courtesy:wikipedia):

"In the US, a sophomore is a second-year student. Folk-Etymologically, the word is said to mean "wise fool"; consequently sophomoric means "pretentious, bombastic, inflated in style or manner; immature, crude, superficial" (according to the Oxford English Dictionary). While it appears to be formed from Greek sophos, meaning "wise", and moros meaning "foolish", it is in truth from the word sophumer, an obsolete variant of sophism [1]. "

This seems to be the season of plagiarism.Raytheon's CEO recently published a plagiarised version of managerial ideas.The Board denied him a raise,as a consequence.Incidentally,as the saying goes,if you copy from one source,it is plagiarism.If your sources are multiple,it is research.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Judas:Image makeover

The Gospel of Judas now disclosed by National Geographic will become an important part of Christian literature.Apparently a product of Gnostic philosophy,a la the Gospel of Mary Magdalene--a trigger for the Da Vinci Code-- ,it rehabilitates Judas.A traitor is converted into the most faithful.Gnostics are said to have possessed a secret knowledge of how people could escape the clutches of their material bodies and return to their spiritual origin."The codex is a Genuine work of ancient Christian apocryphal literature" is an interesting quote found in the NYTimes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Flight Safety

Last year,a domestic flight landed in Tambaram instead of Chennai.It was piloted by a Russian who mistook "right" for "left" in the directions given by ground-staff while landing.

Recently,an Air Deccan flight from Coimbatore to Bangalore landed on grass overshooting the runway.The pilot was a Nigerian.

A couple of days back,the maiden flight Air Deccan flight from Chennai to Tuticorin had a Columbian pilot in command.

Are we not escalating the flight risk?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Greenspan's mumbo jumbo

How much is Alan Greenspan's mumbo jumbo worth?

Penguin has agreed to pay $8.5 million for his memoirs.He says," I do not intend to dwell on personality aberrations, except as they affect policy decision-making - which, of course, always involves personalities" .This is probably the least confusing statement ever by Greenspan.Alas!One has to wait till next year before the book is published.

Majesty of the Courts

Following observation of the Supreme Court comes not a day too soon:

"Courts are not tape recording machines. They have to play a participatory role. People have started feeling that criminal trials are like cobwebs where small flies are getting caught and big people are dashing through. Courts have an over-riding duty to maintain public confidence and uphold the majesty of courts. The interest of society is not to be treated with disdain. The duty of the court is to uphold the majesty of law".

Stability of any society depends on the reliability of its judicial system.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Insensitivity and intolerance

one of our ministers hasoffered Rs.51 crore to anyone who would do away withthe cartoonist.A religious court in U.P.,exercisingits global jurisdiction,has issued a fatwa against thecartoonist.. It may be simple logic that an insane response to aninsane act is an aggravation and not a solution.But,weneeded a Mahatma to remind us that 'an eye for an eye'makes us all losers. Among animals and birds,a deviant is immediatelyisolated and its influence ring-fenced.It is only inthe biologically most-rational species that a rogue iseither deified or demonised to such an extent that hisbehaviour becomes self-sustaining and acquires a largefollowing. Once animals and birds start emulating humanbehaviour,there will be total anarchy.Let us pray thatanimals will remain as animals.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Pedestrian and the car

If the pedestrian moves before the horn is sounded,something is wrong with the car;if he does not move even after the horn,something is wrong with the pedestrian.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Treasury Skills

InFeb,2005, I took charge of treasury function though Ihad no prior hands-on experience.When I entered thedealing room for the first time,I could notdistinguish it from a gamblers'den.Swaps,options,swaptions,derivatives--it was allmumbo jumbo.I had no option but to pretend that Iunderstood all this.Every trader said that he/she wasmaking money ("was in the money")every day.Was freelunch possible in treasury? Soon I realised that when marked to market,ourposition would turn negative.Around the same time,RBImade MTM disclosure compulsory for derivatives also.Istarted sharing such info with others in theorganisation.I was shifted fromtreasury.Transparency,I learnt,is the eighth deadlysin in treasury. In the brief period I was in treasury,I understoodthat multitasking is de rigueur for a trader.Nothaving a conversation on a mobile ,while on twolandlines already,is considered infradig.A trader isnot worth his pay if his attention is not constantlydistracted by his BlackBerry and the Bloombergmonitor. In India,hedge derivatives have a betteracceptance.Speculation is a no-no.The mantra is:"Hedge if you can;fudge if you cannot;but,never admitspeculation."Every trader reflexively claims,"Ihedge;my predecessor was speculating."Once, I heard atrader say,"My predecessor was speculating;mysuccessor will do the same.I do only hedging."How didhe know what his successor would do?"Foresight",boasted the dealer.My takeaway was,"Atrader ,in addition to multitasking,must be capable ofmultisights also." Performance-related bonus is a strong incentive fordressing up figures.Figures don't lie,except intreasury.Given the intense competitive pressures,thetipping point for a normally ethical person to adoptdishonest means is reached faster.The irony is thatprofits/losses are determined more by market movementsthan by trader's skills.It is unfortunate that plaindame luck masquerades as performance.