Archive for February, 2008

The unbearable depression of being (a mediocre)

February 22, 2008

All my years from adolescence to adulthood, I thought I was more than a mediocre. I convinced myself every day every hour that someday sometime I will find something I will excel at. Now at the cusp of 30, I’ve realized that there is nothing really that I do well. As Kurt Cobain said, ‘I am worse at what I do best’. Unlike Kurt, I do-not really feel blessed for this gift. So what all did I try…

books – kafka, marquez, murakami, joyce all put me to 8 hours of blissful sleep. I’ve failed to grasp what/why they were trying to convey. Personally, the different literary techniques (stream of consciousness, symbolism, magic realism) are all symptoms of thought disorder.

computers – Pablo Picasso said, “Computers are useless. They can only give answers”. I don’t even know what questions to ask. The only times when query results have made me happy were the results from ‘youporn’ :-). All computer programs I’ve written so far either crashed or gave the three letter word ‘NAN’ (not a number) as output. The only saving grace — my company still has not fired me, but that might change soon.

geography – Someone asked me the location of Burkina Faso and I told him it was a country in south africa (well i got the continent right!)

gmat – After reading 10000 blogs of past/current MBA students, I thought an MBA might help me to improve my personal and professional skills and to shape my career to the best of my potential (not that I have much potential). I decided to give the GMAT. The score I got — LBS, HBS, GSB, INSEAD would not even piss at me.

history/current affairs – I thought I was good at military history, until I started watching history channel. Everytime I pick up ‘The Economist’, I feel depressed. I cannot comprehend that I am living on the same planet as people in Darfur, Chechnya or Bhutan. But what do I do? Eat like a pig and sleep like a baby.

philosophy – Objectivism, subjectivism, existentialism, nihilism, rationalism, empiricism all sound the same to me. I wonder if Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Poincare were inhabitants of another planet.

music – I can not tell the difference b/w beethoven’s fourth and mozart’s fourth or the difference b/w a clarinet and flute acoustics. The only time now I listen to music is when I do not want to talk to my boss.

science – Even after reading the idiot’s guide to Einstein, the Theory of Relativity sounds greek to me. Every time, I look at Boltzmann transport equation, I wonder if I even have minuscule amounts of the matter people call brain.

sex – The organs are about to decay due to lack of any stimulation. Did I mention I come from the land of kamasutra? I’ve more sex in my brain than in my groins.

six pack – Even my mirror is ashamed to reflect my one pack. I should have listened to Payton Manning….mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fattest dog of them all?

sports – The teams I play volleyball for are at the bottom of their leagues and of course, I’m part of the reason (rather I’m the reason). I still cannot swim in waters with depth more than 5 feet (I’m six feet tall). Adventure sports – I piss in my pants every-time I think about whitewater rafting, skydiving or bungee jumping.

socialising – I do not drink, dance or date. Girls prefer at least six hundred feets between me and them. Unless the world is shrinking or starts shrinking, the probability of reducing the proximity remains close to zero. Socialising as of now is restricted to watching office space every friday night.

stocks – Investors in the sub-prime market should look at my portfolio to stroke their ego.

So, what am I doing in life? But what is life? According to a friend of mine, life is an incurable sexually transmitted disease. So I guess all I am doing is living the disease.

Like Uncle, Like Nephew — Amchi Mumbai

February 19, 2008

circa 1960 – Bal Thackeray starts his ‘Maharashtra for Maharahstrians’ campaign. The S. Indian migrant workers (’lungi-wallas‘) and the businesses of South Indians are attacked by Thackeray’s cronies. After the S. Indians, the Gujratis bear the brunt of Bal Thackeray’s campaign.

2008 – Raj Thackeray attacks the N. Indians (and Amitabh Bachchan) for not respecting the Marathi heritage or not doing enough for Mumbai. He accuses the N. Indians of taking the jobs away from the local population. So, what about the jobs created by Ambanis, Wadias, Tatas…?

Its time for the Thackerays to stop trumpeting their regional propaganda and spoil the cosmopolitan character of Mumbai. I’ve never understood the terms ‘True Marathi’, ‘True Tamilian’ or ‘True Indian’. What is the difference between ‘True Indian’ and ‘True Human Being’? ‘True this’ and ‘True that’ are nothing but jargons of populist politicians who donot have real issues to talk about. Would the Mumbaikars stand up and tell Mr. Raj Thackeray to shut up?

Vir Sanghvi on the Thackerays in his weekly column ‘Counterpoint’:

Mini Me and Dr Evil

Lula – pragmatist rather than populist

February 19, 2008

Brazilian stock-markets took a nosedive when Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva came to power in 2002. The investors were suspicious of his left-leaning economic policies. But Lula proved them false. He has maintained pragmatic socio-economic policies unlike Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Cuba’s Fidel Castro or Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. His antipoverty schemes are being exported to other countries.
Economist Article – ‘Brazil – Happy Families’
The Brazilian funds in the ‘BRIC’ family of funds might be the slowest-growing, but they are also the most stable. Investors are in for long-term investing.
Economist Article – ‘Brazil – Land of Promise’
Brazilian production of electricity from sugarcane looks more promising than US production from corn. Lula and his government created concessions for seven federal roadways and privatized two banks. Hopefully the corruption scandals tainting the PT will stop and reform process will continue.

Kosovo

February 18, 2008

So, Kosovo becomes the sixth republic to secede from the Federation of Yugoslavia after Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro.
Economist Article – Kosovo – Independence Day

US, UK, Germany, Italy and Japan have already endorsed the new country. As expected, Spain, Serbia, Russia and China have expressed concerns.
BBC Article – Recognition for new Kosovo grows

Does Kosovo sets a precedent for N. Caucasus regions, Basque, Tibet, Catalonia, Kashmir…? I am waiting on the reaction of the Indian government on Kosovo and if they would apply the same standards to Kashmir.

Kosovars, congratulations and good luck!

Religion in India

February 10, 2008

The latest edition of economist has an article on religion in India.

Economist Article – India’s Christians – The cross they bear

Are the fundamentals of Hinduism so weak that we need state laws against conversion? Lawmakers and politicians need to take a closer look at what’s happening before passing these laws. Most of the conversion is happening in tribal areas/states that lie in the insurgency corridor (Naxal corridor). The insurgency corridor is a product of the wide gulf between the poor and the rich. The state governments need to provide the basic facilities to the people who need them the most. The idea of buying religion may sound preposterous, but selling it is not. If I ever have to choose between feeding my family and abandoning my religion, I’ll feed my family without a second thought. But that’s just me.