Dec 22, 2010

Value of good teachers!

Are teachers relevant? The question is horrible in nature. But here in India, are they seen as relevant? In the last 60 years though literacy has gone up, it would be difficult to claim if people are any better educated? Haven't we all, at some time, felt that good teaching can improve a lot many things?

Check this paper on Value of Teachers. (Got the link from Greg Mankiw's blog. One more fine blog to read).  

This one is one of the finest and most relevant economic papers I have read. Though my economics knowledge is limited, I find this paper relevant, more relevant to our nation India than to the U.S. where the author has researched and published this one. 

Quality in teaching in India varies as much as winters in Siberia and summer in Central India. You see a very high standard in institutions like IITs, IIMs, mediocrity in a very large band in between and absolute chaos in a small but substantial percentage of schools. Unfortunately the mediocrity and chaos keep the majority back for their lives in our country. Rural landscape in India has problem of mass absenteeism and this has to do with issues of pay and lack of incentive in opting teaching as a full-time occupation. The paper addresses these and many others issues, only that it is with U.S. in purview.

But we Indians would do well to push some of our economists and policy-makers to find the root-cause of malaise in education sector. We have to fix this soon or be left behind. 

Dec 20, 2010

Spectrum spectrum

While we continue to read headlines on this topic in India, here is something from the US:

AT&T bought sub-700MHz spectrum for LTE technology at 1.93B US$
http://mashable.com/2010/12/20/att-qualcomm-spectrum/

Businessweek says that translates into 87 cents per subscriber - Standard rates. So it is up to them on how many of those potential 300 Mn subs they convert.

And here is an interesting article on Indian Tech Space

Major Pioneer in Technology

Reading Friedman at his best in this article on US Armed forces making big headway into green technologies:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/opinion/19friedman.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Makes me sit up and think of how much US Defence has contributed to mankind. And NASA. Seriously and if they push hard, there inventions enter commercial markets making technologies cheap for civilian users.

As we go green, we need to start harnessing sunlight and heat, wind, tides and other such sources that are abundant and omnipresent. Oil should be one of the alternatives and not the only thing.

This large scale burning of gas needs to go down. Our earth is precious and we cannot afford to leave it high and dry.

Dec 10, 2010

Indian TV - Turning gold into rubbish!

What is wrong with our TV? These channels are making a mess of simple things. The ad-breaks in a movie channel are longer than the actual movie segments.

Ads encroach and actually gobble up bowled balls in cricket.

The serials....the less said the better!

News show clips of serials as news items.

TV no longer holds itself as a primary source of entertainment. Internet, where available, gives total control on what I see/read/hear. Will TV morph into something else? Or will it have to fight for its survival when internet becomes ubiquitous? Time will tell.

Nov 15, 2010

Signs of change...Internet change TV habits

Check this article - while this is known to quite a few of us, the article tells how it is changing people's lives.

A parallel universe to TV and Film

In an extreme scenario, this will make TV irrelevant. But not so soon....TV has a penetration that is far unsurpassed by any other communication device yet produced on this planet. And transmission has reached a huge number of people which gets news, information and entertainment to a majority of people. Internet is still far off.

But soon enough communication world will merge these devices. And check this, naturally TV is bound become one of the devices on which the new communication technology will bring its magic miracles on it.

Nov 4, 2010

Limping Cow - Mumbai, Maharashtra...

So yesterday, I decide to hop on one of those 10 kmph BEST A/C buses to my work (The procurement guys in BEST deserve a Nobel for these 10kmph buses. These buses allow you correctly calculate the time you will spend on the road irrespective of the traffic conditions...that is because they go at 10kmph. Nobel my dear reader...nothing less). 

I go check the schedule, speak to the good man at the depot and there are 7 mins for the next bus.

I decide to wait. There is a bus in the depot and it starts at the time, makes 2 rounds within the depot and goes back to parking. I wait. This is 10 mins. past the scheduled time, I go and inquire again and they say in few minutes. Well it turns out, they had cancelled the bus. The next bus was 30mins. later.  And they cared damn  about the passengers.

Arguing with BEST is useless at best and hopeless at worst. BEST prides itself to be the best public bus transport company in India.But you know the fact is exactly that and only that much. It is and can be the best one only in India. Step out to leaders in public transport like Singapore or London and BEST will rank where India ranks in most other scales. And this incident summarizes the story of Mumbai today.

A proverb in Marathi says, "Vaasrat langdi gaay shahaani." Loosely translated, "A limping cow is a leader amongst the calves". That is what Mumbai is and Maharashtra is. It is only basking in the glory of its past. I think the past created in last 2 centuries. 

We all know about the able and adarsh leadership we have today. If you feel I am too harsh, then here is a challenge - Keep them as ideal and give their example to your children for next 5 years. If you cannot, accept I am right. Really, is there any leader worth his or her salt in this so called great state. And is there any future? Am I pessimistic, oh yes I am! 

See the roads, the urban infrastructure, the vision (or blindness) of current administrators (no they are not leaders), problems plaguing the state like power, water, employment, crime, land scams....have we even moved from the 70s? And look at other states. With its leadership position, Maharashtra should have been the perpetual outlier in the game, dictating terms to rest of the country....instead what we are is a sorry bunch of guys. Maharashtra and Mumbai are limping cows amongst other calves. Wait till one of them grows up.

Warning - This blog is a rant. But I think this opinion is shared by many....millions.

Oct 26, 2010

Telecom update and challenges thrown by internet

Check this article on GSMA MBB on developing world's nos. in terms of telecom lines.

Of about 6 billion people, 2 billion are yet to be connected. And overall 40% growth is still waiting to happen.
No wonder these countries are seeing phenomenal investments.

And now to something funny and scary at the same time. The power of free speech and the power that internet gives to thus emancipated speakers.

NY Times article on how internet is influencing tourists. Though for individuals it may be distressing, unmoderated comments on incidents that are best classified as "outliers" can wreak havoc on businesses.

How to control and manage? No argument here, businesses have to find way out and ensure correct image is portrayed. It is an additional load on their PR and corporate communications managers.

Oct 15, 2010

Our Rivers - Contempt and Compassion

Living in Northern suburbs of Mumbai, I happen to cross a river every day. I hear cries as I cross the bridge. The life of the river, the pure blood is poisoned. The soul of the river is killed each day bit by bit.

The friends of the river, the birds and animals who sometimes travel large distances to enjoy the water in hot summer day, no longer come. The black poisoned water is nothing but a health hazard to them. And so it is to us.


As humans we have displayed nothing but utter contempt for mother nature and its rich resources like trees and rivers. I paste here pictures of the Poisar river here, no wonder the river is now a sewer. And the story is no different about any river, anywhere in India (and may be outside). They are no inhospitable and uninhabitable thanks to our unrestricted flow of effluents and waste in them.


Such contempt over years has not benefited us or anyone. In fact we are poorer today. And if we don't do anything now, we are leaving a barren planet for our progeny.

Its a shame we cannot respect and love such a beautiful planet.

Oct 14, 2010

Blog Action Day - 15 Oct 2010 - Water

Change.org is arranging a blogactionday event for Water. Very interesting topic and very relevant. Have registered my blog and will be posting a blog on 15-OCt-2010.

http://blogactionday.change.org/

Bloggers please note.

All folks - please support and try to create awareness on water.

Oct 10, 2010

Luv Kusa - Movie Review

Indian film industry is moving up the technical ladder and nothing makes it more evident than the animation movies. What started with Hanuman is now been taken up by other movies and Luv-Kusa is a welcome addition.

The movie about Lord Rama's son is impressive in using animation, music, creativity and yet sticking to the Grand Epic of Ramayana. With the focus on Luv Kusa, the movie also continues the original question that Ramayana asks about Rama - Was he right in asking Sita to leave?

The movie begins with Lakshman leaving Sita in the forest. Luv Kusa are born to her and they grow up as talented children. Especially mentionable is the Ramayana recited by the young princes to their father (they still don't know Rama is their father).

The final confrontation between the sons and father is also good though it could have been better. All in all, the movie is excellent and, we as the audience should encourage these movies by seeing more of them. And that was the sad thing today as there were only a few occupied seats in the theater today.

3.5 out of 5 stars for Luv Kusa.

Advent of Solar Power - New Series - Part 1

I have been writing about renewable energy for quite some time. After a hiatus, I come back with the same theme. Except that, now I am having a feeling that several politico-economic forces are now coming to a point where the relevance of solar energy is increasing and capturing a greater mindshare in people's minds.

First up, the recent attacks on fuel convoys in AfPak region have cause the American military to reduce reliance on fossil fuels : U.S. Military Orders Less Dependence on Fossil Fuels. US Defence has been a pioneer in so many inventions and innovations (computer to computer networking, light materials, non-stick coatings,...the list is endless) that it is impossible to ignore this as a speck in the landscape. This will prove to be a turning point.

In US again, California's struggle to improve the share of renewable energy sources to its energy hungry population is well known.

As European economies force their citizens to enter the difficult phase of austerity, there will be no choice but to either reduce energy consumption or reduce oil dependence. To ensure the wheels of economy turn whilst they cut down on the fiscal excesses, Governments are bound to prefer the latter. Hence the argument for renewables.

More in the next post. And this time, the post will come in a weeks time.

Sep 30, 2010

The Big Short - Book Review

Well, what do I say of this book!

As someone who was in the thick of these things in the spectacular collapse that happened in 2008, it is amazing how a book like The Big Short gives you a view in what happened in retrospect. I was a student while the collapse happened and we were grappling with the possibility of being unemployed despite passing out from one of the top ranked institutes in India.

So what happened?

Michael Lewis tells us the story of collapse through the actions of 3 protagonists - Steve Eisman, Dr. Mike Burry and Cornwall Capital. The protagonists realized the otherwise obvious fact to finance professionals. They also realized how mechanization of certain processes had converted real risk into a meagre assumption. The story then moves into how these protagonists converted their beliefs into bets that made enormous amounts of money for their investors and themselves.

The story also explores the difficult side of this story, especially that of Dr. Mike Burry of Scion Capital. The most interesting story is that of Cornwall Capital who were small time guys but made it big after having foreseen the future of the grand hubris at Wall Street.
The book defines that all 3 realized that the impact of this problem will manifest when the teaser rates give way to real rates and the subprime borrowers are no longer capable of paying EMIs.

Having said that, the book does leave you wanting to know more especially about the collapses of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. It touches it but does not elaborate on it.
Also, the story speaks volumes (though not directly) on how it is necessary for regulators to remain in control. Check this article by Mike Burry on how the powers that are missed the boat.

Finally, the book is fun. You will enjoy it more if you at least know what stuff like derivatives mean (not in detail but at least high level). Recommended reading for those who want to know more on the collapse. But not for those who want to do a deep dive study.

Aug 22, 2010

Lafangey Parindey - Movie Review

Lafangey Parindey is a nice entertaining movie. It begins well and by midway you are immersed in it. The pace and the grip slackens in the second half. While the movie ends ok but I certainly missed a well-rounded climax.

Neil Nitin Mukesh is a kick-boxing champion and aspiring to be don Nandu. Pinky(Deepika) is a skate-dancer and aspiring to win a talent show. They are neighbours from same Mumbai locality.

Nandu is out with a local don on a hit, it goes wrong and they speed away. Pinky's world crashes when she is hit by a car and she is blinded. Nandu is on the wheel when he hits Pinky.The local don takes the blame for hit but cops sense someone else was there. Meanwhile, Nandu's guilt forces him to use his blindfolded fight skills in reviving the dancer within Pinky.

Such movies dont have great surprises in end, else they wont work in India.The movie is nice but the end left me a little disappointed. It could have been better. While Neil and Deepika are good, the supporting cast is great. The music is good.

All in all decent one time watch. A pukka Hindi masala movie.

Aug 15, 2010

Make-believe Worldclass...

Nothing new in this post.

Same old rant....Mumbai will compete with Shanghai in few years? Well...with this infrastructure, may be that is a plan for the next millenia.

At the moment, it takes 2 hours to cross 15 kilometres. So the roads are so great, they bring your vehicle speed to 7.5km/hr.

So in which time are we? Even bullock carts or horse carts 500 years ago had better speed. Oh but they did not have potholes then. I keep forgetting the ease of life then....

May 22, 2010

Why humans raced ahead! - WSJ Editor's Pick

This is a very very interesting article from WSJ. It is an Editor's Pick article.

Evolution and Creativity

The article argues that collective intelligence or innovation of the species helped the human beings race ahead of the rest of the species. This is similar to the argument of wisdom of crowds in capital markets.

Read it!

Telecom News / Views - 22-May

Bidding Strategies - Analysis by Business Standard

FCC Report on wireless and competition

Lightreading BWA Spectrum Bidding

May 17, 2010

Rise of e-Governance

So New York Times reports close to 80% users of net accessed at least 1 Government Service.

This is interesting because it shows the trends of internet users is moving towards using it to more effective uses. It also means that Governments worldwide are now getting closer to citizens through internet.

For  nations like India, eGov services are fast rising.

The worry is that a majority of Indian population is still not having internet literacy or internet access. That is one that may get partially taken care of by mobile broadband. Yet, my opinion is that landline broadband is the way that most of the nation will be covered.

May 16, 2010

IPL vs. T20 World Cup

Major differences between IPL and the T20 World Cup...

1. World knows all officials of IPL (The famous LM & Co.). No one knows who runs T20 WC.

2. TRP IPL > TRP T20 WC

3. TRP IPL related off-field news >>>> TRP T20 WC related news

4. TRP of Deepika Padukone in IPL >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nothing to compare! (Divide by zero error if fed in computer)

5. IPL lasts for one whole year or is it 2? T20 WC completes in a week. (Or is it relativity?)

6. IPL has fields as large as tennis courts. T20 WC has grounds that are as large as a the Pacific Ocean (At least that is what Indian Players like Ravindra JAdeja feel!).

May 12, 2010

Mobile Mania and Music Quality - Net Gain!

The New York Times is running an article that discusses how the spread of mobiles as music devices has brought down the quality of the music being reproduced. What the article misses is the service that these devices are doing to artists across the world. 

Consider the dynamics of the previous era of music:
1. Gramophone Disc and Player
2. Audio Cassette and Player - Smallest Size - walkman
3. Compact Disc and Player - Smallest Size does not fit in a pocket.

All the 3 above are oversized, they have limited song carrying capacity but each had reached good sound reproduction quality. Now, consider the mobile phone that fits in your pocket and can carry theoretically hundreds of songs in a small chip. 

Mobile phone is a device that is almost omnipresent. So the number of music fans who can access music has increased manifold. Earlier it was restricted and mobile phone has brought about this change.

It is like that classical question of recent times - who sold most cameras in India? Not a camera manufacturer but a mobile phone manufacturer.

So yes, I am sad for the loss of quality but am happy for the music lovers and for the artists. Especially the artists, who otherwise had a much smaller audience. 

May 9, 2010

From Do-Not-Call to Do-Call

Moving from Do-Not-Call to Do-Call will suddenly create tectonic shift in this important market.

What it does is it empowers the phone users to prevent the marketing companies from calling them. Interestingly, the do-not-call was supposed to help the mobile users but it has been read that it is not as effective as it was hoped to be.

Would be interesting to learn if the do-call registry model has been used in any country other than India.

Mar 11, 2010

Harishchandrachi Factory - Movie Review

My blog has been on a breather for a month almost. I have moved to Mumbai and hence the break. 


Well, I saw Harishchandrachi Factory in the intervening period and I must say it is one of the best movies ever made. Why I say so?


Look at the topic - How was the first movie in India made? 100% documentary material. And what do the movie makers do? They do magic!


They make a 100% entertaining package that has loads of 24-carat comedy and information. It does not dilute the challenge that Phalke had to overcome in his endeavour to bring "Drama on the screen".


So it begins with Phalke and his son going to a movie screening in British Mumbai. And they are mesmerised. Then begins the story of Phalke's restless mind in getting cinema to India. His family stands by him and he is shown as a loving husband and father. But he is a crazy innovator.


In that he almost loses his eyesight, people call him a lunatic, he sells of most of his property, he moves to a remote suburb (if you know Mumbai well, listen to the behind the back comment about Dadar made by Phalke's neighbour and you will know what I am saying :) ) and other such incidents.


Then there are the challenges of convincing people about lending money for his creative work, travelling to London (and finding vegetarian food there), bringing back the equipment, finding actresses for the lead role and so on.


It is all magical. You are transported back by a 100 years. The production is fantastic - Mumbai has never been shot so beautifully. The lines are very very witty. The actors, especially Phalke's family, have done a fabulous job. 


And interestingly, as you laugh at the comic lines or things happening on screen, you start realising how difficult it must have been for Phalke to make a movie at a time when it was not even a concept. So what could easily have been a serious documentary or a movie that is more on the offbeat track, the movie makers have produced a fine entertaining comedy that makes sure you are engrossed in making of the first movie of Raja Harishchandra!


This line of Ashok Kumar from Mr. India is somewhat similar, "Imagine telling Emperor Akbar that you can talk to anyone in the world on telephone!"


And I recommend this movie to even those who do not speak/understand Marathi. The whole movie is self-explanatory.


Rating - 4*.
Link to IMDB site

Feb 8, 2010

Ishqiya - Movie Review

What a movie! There was a time when I used wonder what ails our industry to have some nice classy movies? What does Hollywood eat to make stuff like Blood Simple or Usual Suspects or LA Confidential? Well, time has come that Bollywood has started making intense, interesting and intriguing movies. And yes, Indian cinema is getting all these elements in a single movie.

The movie begins with an accident in which Vidya Balan gets widowed when her criminal husband dies. In a different town, Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi run away from a big goon with his money. They plan to escape to Nepal with the money.

They had once helped Vidya Balan's husband and so reach at her place with the intent of getting help in their plans. The goon traces them there and gives them few days to return money.

Now things start unfolding in a manner they both had not imagined. Both Shah and Warsi start falling for Vidya Balan. And she is much more than what she seems.

What happens? Well I suggest you see the movie to find out.

The dialogues are funny, witty and add to the intrigue. The songs are brilliant. Background music has lot of stuff that reminds of Western classics. Acting wise, Vidya Balan is great! She never seems overawed by Naseeruddin or Arshad. They both are great as well. The best part is the plot and the direction.

Welcome to the new Indian cinema. Enjoy!

4* out of 5*.

Feb 5, 2010

Fiscal Deficits - View and counter view and others

Here are 2 articles about fiscal deficit. They take different views but they are being said in different contexts and are meant for different kind of economies.

Business Standard about India's budget

Paul Krugman in NYTimes on Fiscal Scare Tactics

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Something unrelated: Is Solar power picking up? Here is a NYTimes blog on it.

Jan 31, 2010

Rann - Movie Review

Rann is an OK watch. It is not bad but not great either. Ram Gopal Verma is in his element in places but is generally not able to decide when to stop. So Rann comes out as a drawn out, at times weary movie.

The story begins with Harshvardhan Malik (Big B) as a reputed journalist and the head of a channel. The channel is facing problems of falling viewership. His son (Jay played by Sudeep) and others in team are trying to convince him to change somewhat to ensure higher TRP. 

There is a spy in his team who seems to be leaking vital information to his biggest competitor, Mohnish Bahl. Then there is the politics of the land where Huda and Pande are the leaders. 

Big B breaks a big story and causes a political earthquake. His TV viewership shoots up. But there is a problem of which Big B is not aware. Riteish Deshmukh joins Big B as a fresh recruit with all the idealistic thoughts. He suspects something and investigates.

There is not much of suspense but I will not reveal more of the story.  There is the climax which is very long. The movie could have stopped a good 20 minutes before it actually did. The climax scene has Big B speaking long sentences that are made of good 30-35 words. The dialogue writer I think must have used every word in Hindi language in that ramble.

Who shines? Sudeep and his girlfriend are very good. Probably the most complete characterizations in the movie. Big B is quite flat - may be a problem the way script is written. It is good to watch Riteish in a different, more serious role. But he too wears just one expression throughout. Mohnish Bahl, Suchitra Krishnamurty, Rajat Kapoor are all ok in their roles. Gul Panag is unnecessary in the film. 

There is nothing that we don't know. Nothing that is stunning. And in the climax, Ramu takes the easy way out. When deciding between glory as a good analyst of human psyche and possible box office success, Ramu has opted for the latter.

All in all, see the movie if you don't have anything else to do. Else wait for it to come on TV.
3* out of 5*.

Jan 26, 2010

Sunday - Avatar Review, Sufi Music, Good Marathi Food!

So this post is not much of anything specific. We 3 friends started by catching the morning show of Avatar.

I found it awesome. James Cameron has finally made a movie that has a storyline. And the effects are stunning. The movie is set in 2154 where the humans are trying to seize control of a planet from its inhabitants. The natives are shown as more "humane" towards nature of their planet. The corporate honcho and the army guy plant a ex-Marine, Jake Sully, in the locals in his Avatar form. He goes and becomes a part of them and eventually leads them to fight back.

Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Lang are all great. In fact I found the hero a bit flat. But the effects are amazing. I did feel the movie to be a bit long but was a great watch. That 3D is an irritating thing simply because it darkens the entire thing. The next innovation may be when it does not get that dark.

My rating - 3.5* out of 4*. Enjoy it in a theater near you!

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In the evening, we went to a Sufi Music program which was awesome. I had earlier written about Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia playing at IIMA campus. This was similarly amazing. The charm of such music is that the folks singing are perfectionists who have perfected the art over many many years. The music takes you to a different world, different universe. Amazing!

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We closed the day with Marathi food at Yashasvi, the restaurant in Maharashtra Sadan. Perfect, simple, Marathi food that gives a lovely conclusion to a nice weekend. Just one small thing, its puran poli can be better. Zunka and thecha are great.

Jan 9, 2010

Sherlock Holmes - Movie Review - Excellent movie!

Rating ***1/2 out of 5*. 

Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant movie! It is fast paced, witty, sometimes comic, action packed and ends with a bang.

What is done in this movie is that it has made Holmes a sort of James Bond of the 19th Century. It has been many years that I have read Sherlock Holmes stories. But from whatever I remember, this movie presents to us quite a different man. In fact, this Holmes is an explosive mix of supreme deductive powers and equally supreme physical powers!

Robert Downey Jr. as the legendary detective and Jude Law as his trusted Dr. Watson shine in this movie. In fact everything shines....including the plot.

The movie begins with Holmes and Watson stopping a crime from being committed. They apprehend Lord Blackwood in an act of Black Magic. Blackwood is hanged to death. Blackwood resurrects himself and then begins the game of smoke and mirrors. He challenges and lures Holmes into traps and Holmes continues to investigate for a larger plan. A group of people from a secret society also ask Holmes to stop Blackwood at any cost. They fear Blackwood is upto something immensely sinister and his abuse of magical powers needs to be stopped.

Irene Adler, shown as Holmes' love interest is also a very intriguing character. She has been hired by a mysterious rich man to lead or mislead Holmes to something.

Holmes, Watson and Irene investigate. The investigation is a mind-blowing roller-coaster of action and suspense. Viewers are almost breathless when the movie ends. And it ends well. Ties up all the knots and gives a nice closing to it all.

London of late 19th Century is brilliantly depicted. Hans Zimmer's music is terrific. And the action is fantastic. Guy Ritchie shows how Holmes first plans his action and its effects and then actually executes it. This is done in several scenes and sometimes the effect is humorous. The dialogues are witty. And the suspense opens up slowly and carefully.

Excellent movie. Watch it in a cinema hall!  

Jan 6, 2010

Economics, Globalization and News Focus

Economics deals with distribution of scarce resources amongst their seekers. Globalization has brought about a subtle competition between nations in pursuing smart economic policies. Sometimes they group together or raise barriers. Countries often attempt to replicate another country's successful policies. Sometimes desperate times invites pressure from other nations that force a country to follow certain policies.

In the past few years the term BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa has been used more and more often. The reasons being that these are the growth markets that attract investors. Also, they attract sellers of various products & services from across the world because of their size and potential.

Now, some very interesting commentary on what long term and short term of economics in human history is and how effects of changes being done today will manifest in future is discussed in this NYTimes article. What I find particularly interesting is the author's comment that a nation should consider the option of being dislodged from being the top one in the long run as acceptable.

The article is also relevant to nations which are aspiring to be leaders in the new world order. It certainly takes courage to make decisions that sometimes feel incorrect in short term but help the nation and the world in the longer run. I guess, when a nation transforms at core, it also is able to muster the courage needed to make such decisions.

The article correctly points out on how news is generally focussed around major events. Now, we in India, exactly know how news on items like Economy and BRICS is played. Hype on everything is the norm, a small M&A activity by an Indian company and media may conclude that India has dislodged every other country in everything including baking croissants. The second problem is the excessive focus by business media on the stock market. Stock market is one of the indicators on how the economy is doing, but it is not the only indicator. Stock market is also correlated to international markets and foreign fund flows. So using only stock movements to understand the state of economy is obviously not correct.

Jan 1, 2010

Missing DoorDarshan on New Year Eve

Yesterday, the last day of 2009, end of decade, moving into new year, resolute on the new decade, optimism overflowing from people's eyes...ok I need to shut up and move on.

So I was seeing TV and the fact is that I could find nothing that would remotely interest me. Mostly it was some rehash of year's headlines, replay of same movie trailers and songs that have been played on channels a zillion times, comedy shows that make most of the content for  most a few news channels. I checked DD National too and what was on it could not stop me from moving to the next channel. It made me nostalgic about the late 80s.

People in 30s, who grew up in India in mid/late 80s have witnessed the cable TV explosion in this country. And they certainly know what DD was before the cable TV advent. DD was like a pizza with all the toppings - pepper, corn, tomato, olives...everything (now you know I am a veggie). It had Chhayageet, Mahabharat, Saturday evening movie, The World this Week, Surabhi and so many other things.

While the above toppings were weekly fare, people also awaited its annual fare - the New Year Eve program, Holi Haasya Kavi Sammelan, Coverage of Grammies and Oscars etc.

The New Year programs were a grand mix of everything. It was like an abridged version of what DD was. A bit of news, some songs (and by some I mean 10 at most), lots of contextual comedy stuff and some live programmes.

In particular, I remember the first time I was mesmerised by Javed Jaffrey doing his "I do not have bones" dance. There used to be those spoof shows. There was some controversy over BVO, on which I think it was, Harish Patel cracking some hilarious jokes or Raja Bundela trying to construct the spelling of Czechoslovakia.

The best part was all this was a compact package of 2 hours or so. Starts at 10pm, finishes at midnight, the channel says Happy New Year and off it goes. Amazing.

No, that was not the best part. The best parts were the discussions on these programs on the following day in school, some idiot getting caught trying to pass one of the jokes from the program as his own and the attempt to show off who remembers the most of the program.

Well, these days the TV does not stop, the viewer has to muster the courage to go to the power off button. These days there is no need of news wrap because you have been fed the same news 24x7 till you have learnt it to the last headline and you no longer wait for that 5 minute magic from Jaaved Jaffrey because there are like a million copies doing rounds on 50 channels.

I guess I had a great new year eve remembering those good old days. Perhaps they are good old just because  I was young then and am slightly older now.

Disclaimer

All the opinions expressed are of the author only. Any action taken by readers on the basis of this blog is entirely at the readers' risk and they are solely responsible for the same.