30 October, 2007

Where've all the kids gone?

Yesterday was by far, the best day ever, to travel on a bus in Chennai. With all the schools, colleges, ad other educational institutions closed for the floods, the busses were all between empty and an agreeable crowd. No getting stamped, No having to make excuses in Tamil, No sweating with someone else's sweat. Oh boy, the list goes on! Even more interestingly, a ride that would normally take me an hour on a Monday evening took just 25 minutes yesterday.

Which led me to a really catchy idea. Why not completely do away with school's and colleges. The busses will return to being the preferred mode of commutation. And we can solve the problem of overcrowding on the roads too!

**

Sunday in Chennai was beyond what anyone could actually imagine sitting in their sitting rooms and watching the afternoon movie. It was raining mad all day (Lets say for 22 out of the maximum 24 hours) and whats more it was flooding like it floods in my home village in Kerala after it rains for 3 weeks on the trot and they open dams. Yes, one day of rains, and I was wading home in knee deep water.

Now dont say that's fun. Of course, it was fun. But that's only if you dont look at the water. Filled with all the dirt on the dirtiest city in India! (okay, you may come with stats to disprove that, but Chennai is dirty. dirty. dirty. period!

Well, that's why they gave an off for th schools and colleges. But would you believe it, in the morning, there was absolutely no indication that it was raining huge cats and mighty dogs just the day before, or that I waded back home in knee deep water! Neat (and maybe a trifle cleaner) roads, and a dry, if not clear sky.

Which again led me to think. Occasionally it should rain this bad. So a lot of people will get holidays and can sit at home and see movies and eat and talk and no, i didn't forget, sleep! The rest of the city can go about their jobs in peace, especially travelling in empty busses.

**

Yesterday the Sensex touched 20000 (finally!, for people like me who grow impatient when it takes so long to move on). CNBC had a rather bleak celebration, which clearly indicated that theyd rather it stayed at 20, if not 18, till it dies, for want of interesting ideas. Even the newspapers were muted in celebration. Okay, I said muted. That's muted in write ups, not in volume. The Economic Times was a 30 page edition. But that pales compared to the Business Standard (70 pages) and The Financial Express (hold your breath, a whopping 96 pages).

**

PS. Actually even today the busses werent very crowded. Infact I didn't actually see any student on the bus today. Either they took to the holiday mood a little too much, or well, a sudden idea, maybe someone from the Govt also noticed what I did and, oh if only was true, actually ordered the closure of the schools and colleges.

29 October, 2007

Arms of my father

There is a place that I know
Where I need more often to go
A place of amazing comfort and rest
Where a smile is never rare
And Your love is as free as the air
And I lack for nothing
When I can see the love in Your eyes
And know that it's all for me


I fear nothing at all
When I'm safe in the arms of my Father
And if ever I fall
I take comfort in knowing That You are there

(David Chumbal - Vineyard Music)

09 October, 2007

18 till I die

The stock market has always been known to spring surprises. The latest surprise is that there is no limit to the surprises it is willing to hold back. In August, most analysts (including myself, though of course, I still hold on to my views) predicted doomsday for marketeers and the most sluggish period since 2001, which was when we last had a bear market. The sensex responded by having an amazing bull run of 2000 points which had most wise men (again, including me) steeped in losses, apart from leaving them in various stages of depression!

And then today, when it was expected (ok, for a change, I wasn't on th wrong side) to finally give up and crumble under the heat emanating from the friction in the negotiating rooms of the UPA-Left coordination commitee, heralding the fall of the Government (which automatically equates to a fall in the stock market) we have another 1000 point run, the fastest 1000 points ever, and the highest intraday gains, again, ever!

Now Mythali Mukherjee on CNBC TV 18, (and if you still havent heard, I get to watch TV all day at office, albeit CNBC) is very much a la Mandira Bedi on Set Max. She shrieks whenever a stock hits a new high, just like Mandira cheers every boundary scored by India. And she wears Indian colours in the newsroom when India played the final against Pakistan last month!

CNBC, on its part, is bent on commemorating each thousand point milestone for the sensex in a unique way. 15000 was marked by a lot of gimmicks in th newsroom, coffee mugs inscribed with 15k, and what not. But well, it was understandable, as the mark was hit after about 6 months. But 16000 came in just 2 months, and everyone in the newsroom was singing on behalf of the index, "Im on sixteen going on seventeen". For the newspapers the next day, it helped that Yuvraj chose that very day to vent his frustration against Andrew Flintoff, the England team, and the world at large together by hitting 6 sixes in a single over. So the headlines were more or less a combination of the 2 achievements, SIXteen was what it was called.

When 17000 came buy just a week later, it was obvious that noone, not to mention the press, was prepared for it. We just heard a recycled version of 'Sixteen going on Seventeen' with the masculine voice saying "Im on seventeen, going on eighteen, Ill take care of you"

Well, maybe it was the effect of this assurance, when 18000 happened in just another week, CNBC was ready. They had an altered version of Bryan Adams' '18 till I die'. They did it quite well, and was just done, when realisation hit Udayan Mukherjee, the chief newsreader. He mused aloud "But wait, do we want the Sensex to be at 18000 for the rest of its life?" muahahahahaha

The next time they played the song (and they play their chosen song for the rest of the day) the chorus was muffled.


PS: If you thought CNBC has interesting ideas, thats just because you dont read the ET. Its headline simply said '
ADULTS ONLY' (with the A encircled like in the movie posters, and the caption read 'At 18, you can blame it on the raging libido. Boys may have to make way for men as sensex hits a record high of 18200 on the back of eye popping rallies in Reliance and Reliance. From here on, it's no longer for the faint of heart. The illustration for the article was a pic of Catherine Zeta Jones from 'All that jazz' in the movie Chicago, cigarette in hand!
But well, coming from the Economic Times, it isnt surprising. It presented the 2007 budget special with front page exposure to all 007 heroines, prominent among them Ursula Andress just emerging from the sea!