Sunday, May 31, 2009

Archie proposes to Veronica! Betty, hang in there!

He did it. After years! Archie Andrews, the red head in Riverdale, proposed to Veronica in the latest edition of Archie comics. And I am thrilled to bits, simply because, it means, Betty Cooper is still single!

Betty is the type of girl that I would love to take home and introduce to my mom. She is down-to-earth, seems to have her priorities right & has her range of interests in life intact. So what if she is not as rich as that 'attitude-heavy' Veronica; Betty has character; Veronica has everything only from her dad with nil individuality. Ok, Veronica fans will counter by saying that she lives life king-size, can afford all the goodies in life etc. But, sorry, those things are ephemeral; Betty is the exact type of girl that I would call the most durable option a guy can ever consider. 

Archie is someone I am fond of, yes. But, the guy has seriously lost it in terms of being dreamy-eyed about Veronica. It is like saying every single guy in India will not settle for anybody less than Katrina Kaif or the old heartthrob called Madhubhala or Madhuri Dixit. 

Well, I think I need to get hold of this 600th edition of Archie comics. Been a while since I read it. But hey, Betty, don't you worry. You have enough number of guys out there that will root for you! Hang in there!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Indian National Congress to cross 272!

It beat all pre-poll predictions. Every discernible political expert had to swallow hard to digest the election results in India yesterday. For the first time in nearly 2 decades, India voted for a stable government. I last remember this being a foregone conclusion, before Mr. V.P.Singh thought it better to introduce caste-divisions in education (Mandal Commission, 1989).

But, irrespective of the party that has got the mandate, what is good for me to see is that India has voted in stability; a majority government. I was getting the strong feeling that the great Indian growth story that most pundits have been harping about for the last many years, was under severe threat, thanks to the constant bickering in the political class. More than anything else, fractured mandates always gave me the feeling that it was never economics at its best, but political convenience being accommodated into economic policies.

That should change now. And hopefully, the Congress will get a touch smarter and go into the government with some buffer i.e. not stop at the majority mark of 272, but go up to 300. Simply because they need to guard against elements such as Mamta Banerjee in this goverment. (remember the way she booted out the Nano project from Bengal?). I think she has 18 seats in Parliament from election. So if the Congress manages 300 seats, it will not be hurt even if Mamta misbehaves on the UPA's economic policies & threatens to back out- the Congress will still have 282! Am not trying to be pessimisstic, but realistic. Coalition politics has taught all of us in India, as to who is progressive and who is not. And it is better to take those lessons and be better off from such experience, as we enter a new phase of the Indian polity.

Of course, the best news for me is that the Left has been decimated. About time too, I would think. They are seriously not in sync with economic realities of the day. I mean, an average working class citizen cares a damn about regressive policies - he is bothered about his infrastructure, water, taxes, retirement kitty et al. Not some ridiculous trade unionist-led backward policies. Yes, those unions have their place in the economy - but more from a sense of participative & constructive dialogue with management/decision-makers/polity; not like the Left, who are so out of sync with economic realities. The anti-climax for me, is that the same leaders in the Left Front, live a very rich ostentatious life in New Delhi & talk about the lower classes and their lack of benefits in the trade unions. Hypocrisy at its best!

And to the man himself. Dr. Manmohan Singh. I had written a blog article about him a few years back in terms of not discrediting him etc. The man has gone about quietly doing his job, without compromising on his principles. He is also a classic example of a technocrat (NOT a politician) who knows what is good for India's economics. Singh is, indeed, King!

Let's see if this stable mandate translates into economic realities that we have been dreaming of & talking about for so many years. The Congress & the UPA combined cannot get a better platform than this to propel India well & truly into the 21st century. I live in hope now. The basics of the Indian polity has been restored - i.e. a majority mandate for a leading political party. That, I would think, is a good starting point.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The cheerleaders at the IPL

They are eye-catchers for sure & they get the crowd extremely excited by their wonderful expressions of happiness near the stands. I am talking about the cheerleaders at all the IPL games in the current tournament in South Africa!

Every time a batsman scores a sixer or hits a boundary in the IPL, the crowd erupts. That has always been the case with cricket, right? At least, the one-day international variety of cricket changed the involvement of the crowds immensely at cricket stadiums. But, what we are seeing in the IPL is new. Something, all of us had seen on television while glued to the NBA action every year - those games had extremely colourful cheerleaders with their pom-poms & going berserk every time a three-pointer or an aggressive basket was scored.

We see that translated, adapted & now extended to cricket. Right, into our own game! That has created ripples in our midst, simply because, whenever a four or a six is hit, we now have cheerleaders leading the crowd with the cheers for the respective teams that they are supporting.

I am not too sure if these girls actually understand the game in depth (no offence meant to the fairer sex!), but they have added immense colour to the way the fantastic game of cricket is celebrated. We now have dancing steps, pom-poms, mini skirts, sleeveless tops, songs, fast dance, tap dance, break dance, jumbo smiles and colour of various types to go with every smash hit to the fence by the batsmen, or, wickets taken by the bowler.

There are various types of cheerleaders too - the extremely vivacious, the pretty, the genuine beauties, dance experts, others who are there for sheer flamboyance & looks etc (am not getting into the details in public!). There was a commentator recently in one of the IPL matches who said that the batsmen were incentivised to hit the big shots towards the cheerleaders & getting the momentum in their favour! Now, that's called incentive, for sure!!

The whole thing may be an outcome of successful sports marketing (a field I'd love to be involved in)! And it has changed the way the game is being celebrated. More than anything, the IPL has combined fantastic marketing with the thrills of man's old celebration, dancing. And to get to do that in a global scale, in front of the whole world, in extremely regulated conditions (no obscenity allowed, technically!) has changed the crowd's involvement in the game. I wonder if this can be extended to badminton, hockey, or football...!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Warren Buffet & Bill Gates at Harvard- good CNN show

I have this back of the mind feeling that CNN is a channel that only cares about stock markets, CEOs, and high profile delegates & journalists reporting from the best places in the world. They sure did live up to their reputation today, on their show Back to School, where they hosted two extremely rich people of our generation - Bill Gates & Warren Buffet.

It was a unique show where these 2 vastly admired gentlemen demonstrated how their temperament and personalities are so diverse, yet, effective towards the things they do. These two guys were at Harvard, that famed institution, giving out tips to current students from various streams, about how they got to where they did in. And not all of what they said was purely related to their work life - there were good jokes, extremely good one-liners, talk about deeper issues affecting mankind, what are some of the mistakes they made, how their average work day looked like, the real story behind the first time they met in 1991(Bill nearly didn't make it as he was busy in office) et al.

I found the show quite freewheeling in nature, where young to-be-graduates asked these two men questions, only to try and learn what worked for them so very well in their lives. I particularly found Warren Buffet to be extremely chirpy.I thought he had a brilliant presence of mind to quip and create some sensational humour on stage that had the students in peals of laughter.

Very nice show, CNN. Well done. The punch line for me was Warren Buffet's answer to the last question by a student, 'how do you measure success?'. The investment banking legend said, when you are old, my age, and have friends & family and business associates still caring for you and loving you and making time for you (though they may not have the time), that is the biggest success possible; 'coz everything else, is passe.

Sanity...after the recession

A lot has been written about the current downturn being the worst ever seen in the last century (ignore the 1930's Great Depression, for a second). And enough has been said about the credit excesses of the American financial system that had such a wild & cascading negative effect around the world.

I just feel that the lessons learnt from the last 8 months will lead us to a world that will be quite regulated. More than anything else, I am convinced that we will enter a world that will restore some level of sanity in the way business is done. The economic boom for a majority of the time in the last 2 decades, had led to wild business excesses that were never caught in the light of the good times. But, the current recession has taught us that bad things will be found out eventually & people will have to pay a price for continuous excesses.

I therefore think, that in a strange way, this killer recession of 2008-09 was a much needed correction factor for the business world to be given a serious wake up call. I just hope the lessons learnt now are only used to create a saner environment in the future (am convinced, it is required).