Monday, December 30

O.K. me went to shenzhen, just across the border into China in the weekend. And it was just splendid, almost as if i was in a european country. Infact, we passed through Hong Kong immigration, obtained a China visa-or-arrival, cleared through Chinese immigration and Customs - all in 15 minutes flat. With the chilly winds welcoming me into China, I pinched myself to confirm that I was in Shenzhen and not Hamburg. The six-lane road in front of me made me feel like on the Autobahns of Germany. There's not a single road in any of our cities thats half as good as Shenzhen's. Our hosts were among 100 odd Indian software developers working for the telecom division of Huawei Technologies. The Huawei Technologies’ Campus is spread over 200 acres with beautiful apartments surrounded by parks and sports’ courts. After the customary introductions, we had dinner at the Indianised-restaurant next door and retired to our guestrooms. Actually all that reminded me our own IIMB campus and Guru's.
The next day we went to the “Windows of the World”. They have erected all the major tourist attractions in the World. And so we walked up to a volcano emitting lava in Italy, had a safari-coaster ride through the Amazon, took a bath under the Niagara falls, marveled at the Manhattan skyline in New York, romanced at the Taj Mahal, saw the Russian ballet, looked behind the Sydney Opera House, leant against the Tower of Pisa, went to the top of Eiffel Tower, crossed London bridge to visit the Queen at the Buckingham palace, met the mummy at the Egyptian pyramids. The best experience was definitely skiing in the mountains of Alps. It was minus 5 degree and we played with snow. By the time we came out, our faces were all red with cold. Finally we did some shopping at the market which had one shop for every country/culture. By the time we finished, it was 8 PM. After a quick dinner, some of us went to a Pub. Actually i was so glad with the place as well as our hosts that managed to have five full-mug beers. HaHa. And all thru out we ended up comparing India to China and finding reasons/excuses for not making the mark. China is indeed a relevation. Hats-off to Mao, Ziang and all the Chinese dictators.

Wish all a very Happy New Year
Feliz Año Nuevo
Nuovo Anno Felice
Glückliches Neues Jahr
Nouvelle Année Heureuse

Sunday, December 29

Delhi Metro Trains run out of electronic tokens after commuters steal them as souvenirs. Emergency intercom on the Metro trains is turned off because passengers were buzzing the driver to tell him to go faster. Delhites are simply unputdownable

And Bikini-clad women to tackle rebels in Colombia. How about giving it a try in Kashmir.

Thursday, December 26

Me going to ½»Í¨Ö¸ÄÏÖ÷Ò³ Shenzhen. Let's see what the Chinese did which we Indians couldn't do. Wait for my post on my experiences.
BTW, Hong Kong had its coldest day of 2002 yesterday when the temperature plunged to -0.3C at Tai Mo Shan. It was really breezy late night and reminded me of the night in Nice,France last year. Most urban areas hit a low of 8C while the rural areas fell to 6C. For Hong Kong, that's bloody cold, considering the bulk of dwellings have no built-in indoor heating. Today is shaping up to be no better. The only saving grace is it's still too warm for snow to develop. But with the humidity at well over 90%, we are getting cold rain. Can we please have some snow? Me alone, but still...that will be something romantic :-)

Sunday, December 22

The sequels to Matrix Matrix took a time to digest, what with some of the scenes still puzzling me. Now comes 2 sequels to Matrix, and they sound much more visually entertaining and otherwise, confusing. 2003 is indeed going to be the year of “The Matrix”. Oh no..have to revisit my fund allocation for movies in the expensive HK theatres :-( Tuf Luk!

Thursday, December 19

Playboy Researchers from Austria and Canada selflessly analysed the bodies of centrefold models in 577 consecutive issues of Playboy, from the magazine's launch in 1953 to December 2001....
When do they invite applications/resumes for carrying out such research? I am dying to be on their payroll hee hee hee
My friends wrote me fantastic responses on my article, show of which are...
Good show boss ! i really liked your style of presentation...its so narrative and everything was like a movie before the eyes...well scripted and edited...Shalabh
Great article....good break on another hectic day.....keep them coming ...:) Divya
bihani what talent...it was really funny...you must definitely write more often...Deepika
Bihani yaar...tum to HK jaake pure shayar types ho gaye ho...i said it b4 n will say it again...lagta hai kuch gadbad hai...Minaxi
Simply amazing comedy !!! I have been laughing throughout your document and half my office feels I have gone mad. Really Good yaar. WAC ( Jayanti ) learnings have finally had an effect :) I suggest either you send this doc to all in our batch( iimb2002) or I will fwd it from your side !!! Its really a good attempt...Sumeet
Good article...Manav
Nice one...kapilan

Thankyou friends...your response gives me a reason to smile in HongKong and an encouragement to write more :-)

Wednesday, December 18

Blame the GODs Wherever you look, there is bad news. There is global slowdown. There are no jobs in the market. There is no happiness, no reason to celebrate. IndiaTimes.com has a solution. A internet mahayagna to appease the GODs. No, me not joking!! So next coming up would be a mahayagna for the Indian cricket team in the World Cup, sponsored by Coke!!
I wrote my first article today in Hong. My tryst with destiny
Finally it was 4.30. My family had been waiting since morning or rather since the day I arrived in Surat for that moment. All this time, my aunt had been teasing me with all sort of questions Ms. X would be asking me. I took pity on my poor uncle trying to imagine his ordeal. Same questions, I guess? Atleast I had got training from Mac and Bcg, poor he…just out of college and into the hands of my aunt.
Ever since college, I had always found girls staring at me. First I thought it were the smart guys with me. Then I suspected my zippers. Soon I started to believe it were my ‘Rahul Dravid’ looks that did the about-turns. But after 4 years of abject, dismal failure to hook a girl I took comfort in my friends’ opinion that it was Dravid’s bad performance on the field that were the cause of my loneliness.
And finally the day had arrived. The only thing I could read about Ms. X in her BioD was that she is a CA. Now this is not exactly a qualifier having myself gone through the pangs of CA, but more of a disqualifier. Reflecting on a marwari wedding BioD, I wonder what has a guy to do with a girl’s uncle’s business, the girl’s grandfather’s birthplace and the girl’s mom’s favorite dish? A typical BioD would have the entire autobiology and geohistory of the girl’s family, but nothing about the girl. And to meet the undekhi, unjaani pagali deewani si, i left home.
There she was, a cross between Meg Ryan in “You have got mail” and Sonali Bendre in “Diljale”. I must admit I was taken aback by her smile with a small dimple reminding me of pretty Ms. Zinta. Three actresses in Three seconds and all my thoughts on late marriage, career, disqualifier CA went out of the head. And in came, sweet little things I wanted to talk during those twenty minutes of solitude, her and me. And then I bumped onto the front seat, the car having come to a screeching halt. We had arrived at the house of Ms. X
Sundeeeeeep, Hello. I am Sreeeeevijaynath, Sreeeee for short. This is my wife, your-would-be-sister-in-law" Mr. Sri introduced a big woman wearing a kilometer of saree to me. And at the same time, pangs of pain and hurt engulfed my brains. If the mini-elephant whom Mr. Srivijaynath Timbaktu, calls my-would-be-sister-in-law then I am definitely going to be meeting up with atleast a panda very soon. And if this guy is already calling her my-would-be-sister-in-law with so confidence, I suspected my uncle giving his ‘zabaan’ to convert their ‘dosti’ into ‘rishteydaari’ in true ‘hindi philum’ style.
"Hello," me said shyly. "Nice meeting you Auntiji. Er, umm, bhabhiji. No, I mean sisterji."
They had told me on campus. First impression is important. And here I was, doing the opposite. But then it was better rather than being hugged by a panda and feeling like being LIVE on National Geographic for the rest of my life. I felt like a sacrificial lamb being led for slaughter
How much do you earn? Why Hong Kong? How much will you save? Will you ever come back? Is it a courier company? ……………Three men, in mere-se-jyaada-safed ultra-surf washed kurtas were firing questions from all sides. I was sure they were from the Mafia with the “Godfather” inside me shouting, “Go for the mattresses”. I was being questioned “Chinese torture” style. And just when I decided to run like mad, one of the three musketeers said, “She’s my daughteeer”.
All my ideas on pandas and bear hugs proved wrong. My GOD, she was a fully-grown elephant. There she was, a cross between an old TunTun and a young Guddy Maruti. Her sister now seemed to be just a khate-pite gharane ki sweet little thingie. The elder sister now came and told me to go inside and have a one-on-one chat with her. She added, “Stay at least four feet away from each other and don’t take too long”.
I would stay ten feet away from her, for fear of being crushed to death if she falls. I decided to run, run like mad and maybe break the world record and win a Olympic medal for India. But I couldn’t…I tried hard…the sisters had caught my hand and were pulling me towards the cage…none of my mba school fundaes could have helped me. I was about to be a martyr on the altar of lust and greed. And I cried hard ‘No, let me go’ and suddenly there was a big thump. I felt as if they had broken my hand. A strong pain ran across my body. And I saw myself lying on the ground. I had fell from the sofa I had been lying on the last night, watching “You have got mail” in my bunker-room in Hong Kong.
Oh!! a nightmare….Not again.

Tuesday, December 17

12 more days to go for 2002. And the Top 10 lists for all sorts of things are already coming up everywhere. And there is a Top 10 unheard of in earlier years. That is the Corporate Scoundrels Top 10 for 2002. Top 10 I am not there :-(

Monday, December 16

BusinessWeek article argues that the decision to not issue Qrtrly estimates(my last blog) is bad for Coke's stock. To Quote
The fundamental flaw in Coke's logic is ignoring the fact that the primary problem in Corporate America is not with investors' short-term focus on quarterly results, but with management's desire to achieve short-term goals.
And when the investor is looking more at Qtrly-EPS figures instead of the long term performance of the business, managers are bound to make Quarter based decisions. But then isn't a manager's supposed to keep the investors in the company happy? Its more a question of principal-agent relationship. So the problem is definitely investor's short-term focus. And Coke is right!!
Well done, Mr. Buffett !!


Prince Harry's DNA Very stupid. Infact the British fetish to lap-up whatever is there in the media about the royal family(and specially Diana) is driving their media to greater stupidity. Now they are after Prince Harry's DNA to ascertain his parentage.

Sunday, December 15

Till now Wall Street regulators had been addressing the symptoms. Finally, a company(coke) does seem to be addressing the problem. The Coke revolution. Similar measures by other big corporations would solve the problem of CEOs managing 'quarters' rather than 'business'. And the small shareholder - well he is same as before.

Friday, December 13

Indian Institute of Percolation HaHa one of the finest satires on IITs. I must say, there was one(who prides himself on solving mathematical puzzles) i met recently who told me "Obviously, you are not interested in mathematics" as soon as i told him that i am a commerce graduate.
CNN's Pakistan Bias. Combine this with the media stronghold on the American populace and you have a strong recipe for hatred towards India. While staying with Americans last autumn, I could feel them having a strange symapthy with Pakistan(before 9/11). This petition was long overdue. After all, managing media is an art the Pakistanis have excelled in. But the natural receipient of this petition should be the Indian government. Managing our image is long over-due

Wednesday, December 11

As good as it gets...cyberbegging. Our own ET shows the article(Source: Reuters) on the art of ebegging. You can also see some of these creations here on cnnmoney

Tuesday, December 10

Hamtaro Hamtaro is owned by 10-year-old Laura and speaks a secret hamster language with his hamster pals, known as “The Ham-Hams.” Together they maintain a protective watch over Laura and their owners, Laura’s friends. Going by the following this cartoon character has generated, i would love to see it sooner than later. Originally from Japan, its being now released in the US. My second most-awaited tele-program, after Mr. Potter II.
"Lower executives play touch football. Middle-class executives play tennis. Top executives (John Snow, Treasury Secretary designate) play golf. MORAL: The higher the executives, the smaller their balls."
-- --The latest from cnnfn

Friday, December 6

Indian Air Force
An interesting comparison of capabilities and resources of the IAF and PAF. As in all many other things with us, IAF seems to be having resources but completely mismanaged. Any war could prove to be disastrous for India and gives us reason enough to sit back despite all the terrorism.

H-1 B for Indian Barbers A case for Indian barbers being granted H1-B visas. After my last hair-cut, i am all for a few of them in Hong kong.

Thursday, December 5

Teen Fashion
In the US, the number of high-school students who say they’ve never had sexual intercourse rose by 10% between 1991-2001.
Reason: a sense of their own unreadiness, the desire to gain some semblance of control over their own destinies, religion, parents. Haha. Visit any posh colony or hep school in India and one will realise, we are goin to overtake the Americans in this field too. Did i hear someone saying, Christina Aguilera’s video !!


Agree
China exporting deflation due to low labor costs. Thats the only way to ensure employment for its huge working population. Better to ensure 2 meals for every citizen rather than 4 meals for half and empty bellies for the rest(a sure fire way of social unrest, we keep talking about this in India). I sound like a capitalist-turned-communist :-)
Disagree
China should start spending those greenbacks to import more, rather than maintain a trade surplus. The article ignores the fact that China with its huge NPAs and money-guzzling state enterprises needs these trade surpluses for quite some years to clean the state sector.

Sunday, December 1

American shoppers spent $1.43bn on 1 Day (day next to thanksgiving) at just one shoppingchain, Walmart. Now thats equal to 12% of the annual sales of Reliance($11.7 bn), the biggest private sector company in India. India's largest FMCG company HLL annual sales is $2.2bn. Whew, where are we?