Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New India Film Festival and Interview with Nandita Das (MoMA)

I had my fill of Indian Cinema at the New India film festival at Museum of Modern Art. Five movies (so far) with three of them introduced by actors/directors. The souvenirs include autographs of Nasserudin Shah and Nandita Das.

Nandita Das, an actress I greatly admire was here to talk about her debut as a director in Firaaq (Search/ Quest) which showcases the aftermath of riots in Gujarat. Here is the text of my interview with Nadita Das published at desiclub.com

Movie Update: Firaaq (Nandita Das), A Wednesday (Nasserudin Shah), Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (Abhay Deol), The Voyuers (Bengali, Buddadeb Dasgupta) and Quickgun Murugun (Tamil/Telugu).

Reviewing India's election

You may call this an optimistic take on the Indian election but it seems logical that after quite some time this year's election results favour someone who has been out of focus of the business of governance for a while, the Indian voter. Read this article explaining how the Indian voter is the real winner of the lastest Indian National elections. My take may might sound unusual yes, but I am convinced of the outcome

Book Update: The Time Machine & The Invisible Man, both by H G Wells.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Talibanization of Pakistan - II

The concluding part of the the my article at desiclub.com explores the consequences of a talibanised state and the future of the country. Read it here

Friday, June 05, 2009

Lessons from Jim Rogers' life - a gift to us & US

Take a guess as to which country is being mentioned in the following paragraph.

The country X enjoyed a huge bubble in the _____. When it burst in _____, prices collapsed, sending the economy tumbling. Regrettably, the government and the 'central bank of the country X' kept trying to halt the natural, cleansing effects of this recession by propping up many of the companies in trouble. Just as a forest fire serves to clear out deadwood and underbrush so that the forest can renew itself, recessions help to ensure healthy future growth. In 'the country X' , the business that should have been liquidated became "zombie companies" surviving, albeit barely, on government's artificial support. Everything was Band-Aided with quick fixes. While this delayed a decline, it also postponed the country's recovery. A country can actually spend more money trying to stave of a recession than the recession might cost.

You probably think that I am talking about USA. However this is a passage describing 'the lost decade' of Japan by Jim Rogers. Though Jim mentions in passing that America followed the same route in 1970's, he might as well be presaging what may be coming ahead, considering the way the American debt & fiscal deficit has ballooned. To use a cliche, "History repeats itself." As Jim mentions, a country can spend more money trying to avoid a recession than the recession might itself cost. Sounds even more familiar. After all, only last week the Fed chairman Ben Bernanke pointed out that US needs to control is spending & deficits. Of course he did not talk about the fact the balance sheet of the fed itself has been increasing in size as it has been buying just about anything - mortgage backed securities, corporate debt and the T-Bills issued every few days by the US government.

But, lets come back to Jim Rogers, the guy who made enough money to retire at the age of 37. The book in question, " A Gift to My Children - A Father's Lesson for Life and Investing," is packed with knowledge and wisdom. In his own words,
the book is different from his earlier books in the sense that its about the larger lessons distilled from his experiences. Lessons about thinking for yourself, using common sense, learning history, philosophy and languages and making the world a part of your perspective. Lessons, which we all could use. In less than 100 pages Jim packs lessons that can use at all stages of your life and earlier you learn these lessons, the more you can get from them.

As a aside note, according to Jim, 21st century belongs to China. He does not like India and Russia as investment options. So much so that he has moved to Hongkong & is making sure that his two daughters know Mandarin.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Indian winner at Spelling Bee: A story without a happy ending

Last week, in a repeat of last year a child of Indian origin won the Spelling Bee, a contest among American school going children, yet again. Infact of the 11 children who made to the final, 8 were of Asian origin, of which definitely 6 and probably 7 were Indian.

Its easy to be tempted and say Indians or Asians are a smarter race and overlook the logical and more rational conclusion that most Indian & Asian children generally end up working far harder than their counterparts. Read my article Indian winner at Spelling Bee : A story without a happy ending published on a website for South East Asians