Saturday, February 28, 2009


We are at a strange crossroads now. It is no secret, nor is it up for debate that the US economy impacts that of almost every country except the ones which are protectionist and completely government controlled. Even a country like China, whose iron curtain policies partially insulate them from the volatility of the western economies, is impacted in that there is no more purchasing power for the commodities that they flood the market with.

Reaganomics or Supply-side economics says that an economy is built from up and then downwards. It says that we must make it as encouraging as possible for entrepreneurs to create business, for they are the true producers and providers, and they provide scores of employment to the 'salaried class'. Thus the wealth trickles down to the lowest on the chain, and everyone prospers. This policy earned it the name 'trickle down economics.' It favors great incentives to entrepreneurs and the economic elites with the reasoning that they pay the bulk of the taxes and create jobs and wealth. The incentives range from tax breaks to people as well as corporations, and intellectual property rights etc in order to encourage them to produce more. It sounds theory.

In practice, one must take a lesson from the second law of thermodynamics which says that spontaneous reactions favor an increase in entropy. In layman's terms, it means that left to their own desires, systems (& people) will move to the state of higher disorder. They will act in instincts that are first self-preserving, and then self-proliferating and eventually in the direction of self-prosperity.

The housing and loans crisis is just an example of regulations being relaxed to the extent that every individual and corporation simply does whatever is good for itself. It goes against the Nash equilibrium, which states that in a state of competition, no one person can increase his payoff by changing his strategy from that of the others when the others stick to their strategy. In other words, as Russel Crowe says, (in A Beautiful Mind) each person must do what is best for himself and the team. Complete selfishness untempered by government oversight leads to chaos.

Obamanomics, on the other hand, says that an economy is to be built from the ground up. He says that while entrepreneurs create jobs and supply products, the interests of the buyers and of the salaried class need to be preserved.

Doing that is good for the people who in serious trouble now. However, while one must support Obama in his attempts, we must also realize that punishing the people who produce and pay most of the tax revenue is not the biggest incentive for them to continue producing. It is a time when the more fortunate have to help the less fortunate, but one must be careful to do this without stifling small and large entrepreneurs.

I am inviting all members of the blogosphere, some economic experts, and others laymen like myself to discuss this topic openly and provide their suggestions for upliftment.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sartorial maladies

Let me begin with a confession. I have horrible fashion sense. Now I know many guys out there are afflicted by this malady, but I'm beyond help. I once wore a red colored six pocket pant for over a year (not continuously though!) that would put Govinda's fashion designer to shame.

I have always relied on my mother's & sister's help (did I say help? I meant total dominion) in this department. Cut to the scene of me shopping with my aforementioned fashion advisors. Mom says, "Take these pants and try them out." I proceed to the trial room with the heavy heart of a man approaching the gallows for a crime he knows he committed.

I hate trying on clothes. I go into that tiny room which is built to house only those with bodies so perfect that they don't need to try out clothes as their carefully crafted bodies are the classic demographic that these clothes brands shoot for. As I take my caricatured self into these rooms, I spend most of the time looking at myself in the mirror and not really the clothes I am trying out. I check out my teeth, smile nicely once, give the evil grin twice and frown thrice. Finally I come out with the pants only to see my sister armed with a couple more, giving me a critical look (which suggests unadulterated disapproval) that says, "The only thing worse than those clothes on your body is your body itself!"

Mom beckons, and I sheepishly go to her; she asks me embarrassing questions about the fitting of the pants at various places. I always nod in assent, whether true or false, simply because I'd rather face lifelong discomfort than the ordeal of ramp-walking for my mom and sis.

They both argue over the fashionableness of the clothes, sis always suggesting that mom's taste is too 80's. This argument ends in one of them admitting that I don't have what it takes to pull off a crisp look. Salesmen stare.

I get more clothes to try out; some t-shirts this time. Now, I know what you're thinking, 'How can anybody mess up t-shirt fittings?' Well, that's because you haven't met the master of awkward clothes fits.

All this while, dad is looking for a parking space on Gokhale road.

The thing about memories is that that the average ones keep flitting on and off, the good ones rarely remain clear except the feeling, and really good ones stay fresh (for easy recall when the train journey is long and there are twenty people sharing standing space on my toes); but the really embarrassing ones stick. My attention to detail has always been poor, but these examples of sartorial ignominy are picture-perfectly etched on the inside of my skull.

I have moved on, live in NYC now, and I shop for myself (if and only if I cannot drag protesting female friends with me). I make my share of mistakes.

Someday, I will have a wife, and this chain of events will resume, more embarrassing than the old ones, mainly because Murphy has chosen to be a companion for life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Corona with a twist of lime

"So we were just having coffee…"

"Wait a second, you said you were in the lab all afternoon and evening yesterday, so this coffee…?"

"I knew you would not miss that; it was over breakfast!"

"Alright dude! I knew you would eventually reach the finish line!"

"Wo to theek hai, but you won't believe what she said…"

"You mean when you told her that the only reason you were going out with her was because you wanted to get closer to her hot friend?"

"Are you nuts, there is no way I'm gonna tell her that! She actually looked me in the eye and said those three words"

"Uh oh! And you are not serious at all? I mean your scheming date with her was two months ago; I assumed that you had feelings for her now…"

"Well, not really…I mean she is not bad, but I don't feel anything special for her…by the way, I contacted that hotter friend of hers, and we did go out; she moved to Toledo that's all"

"So you broke that off, then it is fine na…just forget her, and keep it going with this chick!"

"Dude, you remember that Epidemiological conference I went to last weekend?"

"Yeah sure, the one with…oh…you mean….Toledo?"

"Yeah, it was a great weekend!"

"Okay, so now what? Which one?"

"Right now, I don't know; all I know is that I'm feeling guilty because this chick says she loves me…and I don't feel it for her"

"Are you sure she really loves you?"

"Come on yaar, only guys say that line without meaning it"

"Well…I just think you have no reason to feel guilty"

"Yeah? Why?"

"Remember that weekend last month when your 'I love you' girl went to meet her parents in Vermont?"

"Yeah sure, she even called me from there"

"Her parents are dead, and it cannot be a coincidence that the college soccer team went to Vermont that same weekend; and that her ex was on that team…honestly I can't believe you did not connect the dots soon enough"

"Oh, then I need not feel guilty I guess…"

"Only of sheer naivete, chal let's order our beers now"

Monday, February 2, 2009

PDAmn it!

The day a country becomes truly literate is when it understands the term "None of your business". The Delhi high court has stayed an FIR against a married couple caught in a compromising position saying, "How can an expression of love by a married couple by stealing a kiss in public be construed as obscenity?" I must be drunk or wasted or something else…for I seem to want to hold on to the slowly fading position that even though there are many stupid people in this world ruining it further with their influence and decisions, high court judges would still be predisposed to intellectual liberal forward thinking and critical analysis.

We have to take one of two stands here: either people demonstrating their affection publicly is right or it is wrong. How is it anybody's business whether the 'offending' couple is married or engaged or whatever? It simply should not matter. Having said that, I agree with the court's decision that public display of affection is okay, but they did for the wrong and the most moronic reason. I cannot believe these give such amazing license to married people, but a guy and his girlfriend (dare I say a guy and his boyfriend!) kissing in public is a major no-no.

Let's grow up, and face the facts.

The only thing that matters here is whether we regard PDA as obscene or not. The fact that the offending parties are married or in love or not is incidental and not worth our time anyway. This ruling needs amendment.

Until then, guys and girls, if you wanna get naughty, keep a mangalsutra in your pocket for exculpatory reasons while we celebrate the mind-numbing stupidity that is this ruling!

PS: This is completely unrelated but buddy (a fellow blogger and great friend) celebrates one year of blogging. Here's wishing him many more years of happy blogging! You made me laugh, cringe, cry…and what not. I may not (make that "will not") always agree with you, but you never cease to make me think, and I appreciate you most for that.