Sunday, February 10, 2008

Post 370 : Movie Quotes - The Departed (Lobster House Conversation)

BILLY Don't look. There’s a white van across the parking lot?

COSTELLO (lifting and looking at his sketch) They don't have directional microphones.

BILLY What, do you got x-ray vision?

COSTELLO (not taking his eyes off his sketch) They don't have directional microphones.

(BILLY registers what seems to be inside information.)

COSTELLO (CONT'D) People looking at you make you selfconscious?

BILLY I don't know.

COSTELLO Why? They’re minuses. They can’t tell the difference between a rock star and a career criminal.

BILLY Anyone not a criminal is a minus?

COSTELLO What are you soft? That's not what I said. Eat something, Jesus Christ, we got a nice day by the water. Sun's shining, gulls are up...Nice smell of ozone...

COSTELLO (CONT'D) You know if your father were alive and saw you, sitting here with me,
let’s say he would have a word with me about this, in fact, he'd kill seven guys just to cut my throat. And he could do it, which is something you may not know about William Costigan, Sr.

BILLY He never, ah, I mean never?

COSTELLO He kept his own counsel. He never wanted money. You can't do a thing with a man like that. Your uncle Jackie needed a lot of money. But even though he got his money from me, he also would kill my entire fucking family if he saw me here with you. And I think about this.

BILLY So what are talking about here?

COSTELLO Fact is you're not a guy fresh from the zoo who wants to run a spring water distributor and I don't see you up the dog track as a general manager.

BILLY Look at it this way. It's like a tuba. I want to see if I can get something out of it.

COSTELLO You ever think of going back to school?

BILLY With all due respect, Mr. Costello, school’s out.

COSTELLO Well that's your problem. Maybe someday you'll wake the fuck up.
(He gets up and leaves the table, leaving BILLY sitting there. COSTELLO stops to speak to the priests.)
COSTELLO (CONT'D) Good day, Fathers.

PRIESTS (terrified and simultaneously) Good morning [day], Francis, good morning.

COSTELLO You recall our chat? "I am as God made me", was that what you said? May I remind you, God don't run the bingo in this archdiocese.

YOUNG PRIEST May I remind you, Mr. Costello, that pride comes before the fall.

COSTELLO What comes before the Fall is the Summertime.

COSTELLO (notices that THE NUN is heading back to the table.) How is Sister Mary Theresa doing? We had a tasty relationship before she took her vows. Enjoy your clams, cocksuckers.

Post 369 : Movie Quote - The Departed (Cranberry Juice = Period?)

BILLY (enters the bar and asks for) A cranberry juice.

WELL-DRESSED SCUMBAG AT BAR (sitting next to him) It's a natural diuretic. My girlfriend drinks it when she got her period. (to BILLY) You got your period?

Post 368 : Movie Quotes - The Departed (Billy is inducted as the mole)

QUEENAN You can sit.

QUEENAN (CONT'D) Do you know what we do here? My section?

BILLY Sir, yes, sir, I have an idea...

SGT. DIGNAM Whoa, let’s say you have no idea and leave it there. No idea. Zip, none. If you had an idea about what we do we would not be good at what we do. We would be cunts. Are you
calling us cunts?

QUEENAN (not looking up from papers) Staff Sergeant Dignam has a style of his own. I'm afraid we all have to deal with it.

SGT. DIGNAM (getting to business, hard) You have family connections down in Southie. Through your father. Tell us about your uncle Jackie.

BILLY Uncle Jackie was a carpet layer for Jordan Marsh.

SGT. DIGNAM Uncle Jackie was a small-time bookie who tended bar at the Vets in Somerville.
He got popped by Nicastro in '95. They found his body out by the airport.

BILLY That's right. (tightly) I remember his funeral.

SGT. DIGNAM (cruelly) Closed casket?

BILLY That's right.

SGT. DIGNAM You tell anybody at Deerfield -that is, before you got kicked out for whaling on a gym teacher with a folding chair - you had an uncle met his demise like that?

BILLY says nothing. Eyes luminous.

SGT. DIGNAM (CONT'D) I got a question. How fucked up are you?

SGT. DIGNAM Let's look at the rest of the family tree. Your maggot uncle Tommy Costigan--he's another goof-- got busted selling guns to federal officers. Among many, many, many other departures from, ah, "normative behavior".

BILLY What's this got to do with me?

SGT. DIGNAM Why are you pretending to be a cop?

DIGNAM Your old man was a hump from Southie. Baggage-handler at the airport. Family's all criminals except your old man.

BILLY And one priest. Since you seem to know everything.

DIGNAM I ain't sure about him, either. Last I heard he was happily married to a 12 year old boy and living on a beach in Thailand. Family's dug into the Southie projects like ticks. Lifers down there. Three decker men at best. You grew up, however, up the North shore. La di (fuckin') da.

DIGNAM (CONT'D) You were kind of a double kid, I bet, right? One kid with your old
man. One kid with your mother. Upper middle class in the week, and then dropping your 'r's and hanging in the Southie projects with daddy the donkey on the weekends. I got that right?

SGT. DIGNAM You have different accents? You did, didn't you. (You little fuckin' snake.) You were different fuckin’ people.

BILLY You a psychiatrist?

SGT. DIGNAM If I was I'd ask you why you're a Statie making thirty grand a year. And I think if I were Sigmund fucking Freud himself I wouldn't get an answer. So tell me, what's a lace curtain motherfucker like you doing in the Staties?

BILLY Well. Families are always rising or falling in America. Am I right?

QUEENAN (appreciative, kindly, looking up from his papers) Who said that?

BILLY Hawthorne.

DIGNAM What’s the matter, smartass? You don’t know any fuckin’ Shakespeare?

QUEENAN We have a question. You want to be a cop, or do you want to appear to be a cop. It's an honest question. Lot of guys want to appear to be cops. Gun. Badge. Pretend they're on TV...

SGT. DIGNAM A lot of em just want to slam a nigger’s head through a plate glass window.

BILLY I’m all set without your personal job application, Sergeant.

DIGNAM (after a "we got a live one" glance at Queenan) What the fuck did you say to me,

BILLY Sir, with all due respect, sir, what is it you want from me?

DIGNAM Hey asshole, he can’t help you. I know what you are, and what you aren't. I'm the best friend you ever had on the face of the earth. I'm gonna help you understand something: You're no fuckin' cop.

QUEENAN He's right. (Billy looks at Queenan) We deal in deceptions here. But what we don’t deal with is self deception. In five years, you might be anything else in the world, but you won't be a Massachusetts State trooper.

BILLY You sure of that?

QUEENAN I'm sure of that.

DIGNAM Guaranteed.

QUEENAN (looking up from his papers) You don't have much family.

BILLY (deciding this on the spot) I don't have any family.

BILLY So what do I do?

QUEENAN During the war, Churchill used river mines. He'd float them down the rivers into Germany. They'd either hit something, or not. That's what we’ll use you for. I'll float you down the river. The rest will happen. Or it won't...
By the way, this isn't police work for peanuts. There's money behind this operation. You won't be paid as a cop, but there is a bonus involved. Tax free.

DIGNAM Luck of the Irish. All that and you're still young enough to fuck undergraduates.

QUEENAN We can't conceal that you've been a trainee. You'll be convicted of a crime. We're thinking that a guilty plea to assault and battery might make sense.

DIGNAM Given your nature.

QUEENAN You'll serve enough jail time to convince anyone that it's no setup. You'll be on probation. The whole nine yards.

DIGNAM I need you, pal. You've already pretended to be a Costigan from South Boston.

BILLY Every weekend...Sergeant.

DIGNAM Perfect.

QUEENAN Do it again. For me.

Post 367 : Movie Quote - The Departed (Is there a difference between being a cop and a criminal)

Jack Nicholson (COSTELLO)

" When I was your age, they would say, we become cops or criminals. Today, what I'm saying to you is this:
When you are facing a loaded gun...
What's the difference?"

Post 366 : Movie Quote - The Departed (What the church wants us to do)

Jack Nicholson (COSTELLO)

" Church wants you in your place. What sort of man wants to be kept in his place? Do this don't do that, kneel, stand, kneel, stand...I mean if you go for that sort of thing..."

Post 365 : Movie Quote - The Departed (What the niggers dont get)

Jack Nicholson (COSTELLO)

" Twenty years after an Irishman couldn't get a job, we had the presidency. That’s what the niggers don’t realize. If I got one thing against the black chaps it's this. No one gives it to you. You have to take it."

Post 364 : The Departed

Saw The Departed, with my wife (this was my 2nd viewing). I loved it. Could not help but marvel at the screenplay and onscreen interplay between the characters. Worth the 600 I spent on this DVD.

Post 363 : Ustad Amir Khan

Up until yesterday I had just a few songs by Amir Khan. Yesterday picked up a collection of his on Times Music. Wont say much, words fail me, my faith in humanity is restored. I have started believing in paradise and heaven.
Ustad, take a bow.

(Take note, the recordings have this raw radiosih feel of an era begone....very different from the recent classical stuff you get to hear....and yet, the lack of technology does not abbreviate the inherent beauty of the genius called "Ustad Amir Khan").

Post 362 : Shoba Narayan - Love is a lie that rewinds.....(from Livemint)

Miss Narayan writes very well. What does she write. She writes a column called "The Good Life" in a Mumbai Business Daily (which is not a yellow one....ouww!!). She does takes on southern India Music, outdoor adventure (for some even southern music is an "adventure"...wicked :-)), and her circumambulations.....More of a blog than a magazine write, but some unlucky folks like me will never get paid of writing :-)

I liked her recent post, where she takes on defining an vague emotion called "love". (You must hear George Michael's take on Queen's "Somebody to love" live at the Wembley Stadium, its an awesome version).

I have reproduced her piece below, also available at


Love is a lie that rewinds, a tie that binds

The thing that makes the world go around; makes clouds part and rain fall; opera music hit the high note and flowers arch to each other

The Good Life Shoba Narayan

Yo bro’! This here piece is ’bout love. In the spirit of Jay-Z, Sean Paul, Eminem and Snoop Dogg; who inspired the beat and rhythm of these words; the Dandakam of this prose if you will. Words about love. Yes, indeed.

Looking glass: Secret notes, arguments, even children, are all facets of love.The thing that makes the world go around; makes clouds part and rain fall; opera music hit the high note and flowers arch to each other. True love, they call it, the fools. Some even die for it, like Juliet and Devdas, Salim and Anarkali. Shah Jahan gazing at his beloved’s grave: A monumental erection for a wife too dead to appreciate it.

Forgive this cynic here but love is a mirage. An oasis that shifts and disappears as the caravan approaches. Something that exists only in the celluloid world; behind the falling curtains of Shakespeare’s plays. True love, you say. Figment of the imagination, I say. A lie that is repeated over and over again. By rock star rappers who want to go platinum; by minions and manikins to sell tickets and entice tourists who are way too giddy to realize that they are being had; by doctors peddling misery and Prozac to sombre souls who wonder why it has passed them by.
What do you think about love, I asked. A few married couples sat in the grass. Citronella candles at twilight. A chaat party in progress. Ragda Patties and red wine. Sated and tired—after swinging the kids on a hammock; after putting away dirty dishes; after chasing babies and changing diapers; after arguing a point in an undertone; turning a cold shoulder; switching on Dumbo on DVD before finally, yes finally, lolling on a blanket. Exhausted. Couples in love; much married anyway. With kids and dogs. A house in the suburbs. Whitefield perhaps. Or gated Palm Meadows.

Love, said the American man, is compatibility. Nothing mystic about this man. He of the wide smile and fairly intelligent wife. Love is compatibility, he says. When fights aren’t vicious and points agreed upon. Then we are doomed, said one couple, for we argue way too much. But arguing is good, someone soothed. It rounds the edges, smoothens a marriage so it becomes a pebble—rolling through water and sand, pain and provocation. Unstoppable. Resilient against the boomerangs and monkey wrenches that life throws. Arguments are good, they said. They strengthen the bond. Create endurance. Better than silent sex. Silences anyway; sometimes louder than words. As for me, I just don’t know.

Love is a bad decision taken in the heat of passion, said the bachelor with more affairs than he can count. Like all bad decisions, it happens in the best of times, he said. Quoting Dickens perhaps. Or our host, my combative friend. Change the lyrics, said the bachelor. The words exchanged during marriage. Yes, those very ones that make liars of most of us. ‘Until death do us part?’ Give me a break. In this day and age? ‘Through thick and thin?’ When divorce is easier than make-up sex? Oh, puhleeze. Get real. Change the words. Marriage isn’t eternal love. It’s just…legalese. Won’t hold together in this fast-forward, party-packed, spouse-swapping, we-be-cool world. Sex in the city. Carla Bruni. Polyandry. Protocol for Sarkozy. As for me, I just don’t know.

Eternal love exists. I’ve seen it. The kind of love where the woman waits for her man by the door. Not one day or two but every evening. Waiting for him to come home from work simply for the pleasure of seeing his smile when he sees her at the door. He leaves love notes when he goes to work. Pasted to the mirror, behind the stove, between her clothes, inside the shower. He imagines her smile when she spots his notes. That to him is enough. Yes, my friend, this type of love exists. The man was my teacher; my sculpture professor. His wife, a potter. He died; she still lives on cigarettes and fresh air.

As for the rest of us, there is the tie that binds. Children perhaps. A sacred pact with sanctity so deep, so pervasive, that you don’t question it. It ain’t easy. No sir, it ain’t. Especially when he insists he is right when in fact he isn’t; when she insists on doing it all and then playing martyr. I get no help from him, she says to her girlfriend when she thinks he isn’t listening. But he is. And he’d help if she let him do it his way. She stares at his shuttered face flicking the remote glued to the match and thinks of the sacrifices she makes. When his aunt calls—the one she can’t stand—and says that she is coming to stay. For two months. When he disrobes and drops his clothes on a neatly made up bed. Yet again. When she is late. Yet again. Almost done, she yells from the bathroom. He likes to be punctual. Oh, what the hell? The concert started half hour ago anyway. I can’t stand her. Oh, God, I can’t stand him. How did we ever get into this?

Something happens. A new moon rises. Clouds part. Rain falls. He hands her an umbrella as she races out the door. She rubs Vicks Vaporub on his throat. He likes it even though he doesn’t believe it works. She comes out of the bathroom in her green sari, sashaying like she owns the world. Their house anyway. He holds open the door. She gives him a sideways smile. Suddenly all is well.

She knows that his eyes dilate when he is mad. Standing in a party. Nobody can guess. But she knows him; she can read his mind. He knows her fears even though she smiles. Nobody can tell. They think her confident, sassy even. But he knows.

Is this love? Or are they merely a habit that each can’t bear to lose? As for me, I just don’t know.

Shoba Narayan knows that her prose runs the risk of appearing pretentious in this piece. But she wrote it anyway. Write to her at

Friday, February 08, 2008

Post 361 : Lee Gomes from WSJ - Culture of worry guides the Microsoft Yahoo bid

From WSJ, Livemint.....

An article about Microsoft, a company I sincerely admire for its genetic code. This piece by Lee Gomes, further dissects the Microsoft Culture. Read on and enjoy.


Culture of worry guides Microsoft in Yahoo bid

That you don’t automatically get one market leader by combining two market laggards seems true in this case as well

-by Lee Gomes; Lee Gomes writes the column, Portals, in the ‘Wall Street Journal’

While Google has smart search tools, everyone else does too, suggesting that Google has become the power that it is largely because it has become a brand, like Nike.

Its name is easy and fun to say, and works as both a noun and verb. Its home page is calm and clean, and its rainbow logo somehow manages to simultaneously convey both tie-dyed earnestness and high-tech savvy.

Microsoft has never been particularly good at this sort of brand management. Its advertising, for instance, has always seemed generic and unmemorable, the sort of thing you would expect from marketing committees sitting around looking at PowerPoint slides.

Which is one of the reasons it’s hard to understand how Microsoft’s Google forays will be any different with Yahoo under its roof than (before).

What exactly is Microsoft going to do? Hire more engineers? They are hardly in short supply now. Expand its data centres? That’s putting the cart before the horse. Execute a strategy better? When it comes to success in the search business, Microsoft hasn’t exactly written the book.

The usual observation about mergers—that you don’t automatically get one market leader by combing two mar-ket laggards—seems true in this case.

However doubtful it is that Microsoft’s anti-Google offensive will actually work, Redmond’s bid for Yahoo is a reminder of why the company is one of capitalism’s greatest success stories. Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and their crew can always be counted on to worry about the portion of the glass that is one-fourth empty.

Two weeks ago, Microsoft issued the sort of quarterly report usually seen of a company in finest mettle. Redmond’s sales were up 15% and profit double that, excluding certain deferrals. And the rest of the year, it projected, would be just as sanguine—certainly unlike in the economy as a whole.

Elsewhere, that would be a mandate for staying the course. In Redmond, though, they were crossing off days on their calendars, waiting until Friday, the first day of February and thus the first opportunity Microsoft would be able to truthfully state, “Okay, Yahoo, it’s been a year since we talked to you guys; where’s the beef?”

Microsoft remains obsessed about Google because it reads the same things everyone else does about how Google’s style of free, “in the cloud” computing means the slow and steady decline of Windows and Office. That’s a technical debate, one in which both sides have good arguments. But...Microsoft’s pattern is to assume the worst and charge forward.

It’s the manic-depressive opposite of complacency, and one sees evidence of it in big and small ways. A dozen years ago, when there was talk, much like now, of the Internet being a threat to Microsoft, the company made its browser better than anyone’s, and became the Web’s best friend. In large part as a result, the company enjoyed years of astonishing growth.

While that’s an oft-told tale, consider one of the less-publicized features of Vista, which shows some of the same dynamics at work.

In the months before Vista’s release, there was a lot of talk in tech circles about how hot new tech trends such as “RSS feeds” and “desktop widgets” were going to be the future of computing. Microsoft dutifully built them into Vista, and announced them with some fanfare. Computing remains unchanged. Microsoft, though, lost nothing for hedging its bets. It wins even when it loses.

Is Google-style computing really the threat to Microsoft everyone thinks it is? Office, one of the pillars of the Microsoft edifice, would seem the most at risk. But there’s been talk of “feature bloat” and “upgrade fatigue” in Office for many years, and still Office 2007 is here, with Office 2008 (or 2010) on the way.

As for Windows—or, at least, some sort of substantial desktop operating system—it’s hard to imagine the Web making them obsolete. To the contrary, the many new and amazing things happening online—video, telephony—may well need an operating system to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Microsoft cares about Google not because of the money Google makes on advertising—Redmond would happily cede that cash flow to Jerry Yang, as long as it could keep Google out if its hair. But it’s hard to see Google’s percentage of the search pie shrinking.

Perhaps the best Microsoft can hope for is that the economic value attached to search will diminish, maybe through the rise of social networks or something entirely different. (It) can also hope that it is strategically overreacting to this threat the same way it has strategically overreacted to all the others. Sometimes, it pays to be a nervous wreck.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Post 360 : Piya Tora Kaisa Abhimaan (Raincoat)

I have seen this movie and heard this song a 1000 times over. The female version by Shubha Mudgal is awesome... Its better than the other 2 versions on the album (deja vu...just like Le Chale by sunidhi chauhan from "My brother Nikhil" beats the other 2 versions hands down).

Has some vintage Gulzar in scintillating form. Gulzar is so damn good, the metaphors and imagery are so stark and so out of ordinary.

Here goes the lyrics and my own translation. Stole the lyrics from Sharvari's site. Its a sign-o-times that this was the only site which gave me lyrics to such a lovely song. Try search for some Annu Malik trash song with inane lyrics and google will return a million entries.

Lets not lament, lets enjoy Gulzar and Shubha (I am a big fan of both, have 6 classical albums of shubha mudgal. love her voice, and her ability to 'inflict' pain.). I have given a shot to translate it for your benefit, might do a bit of shoddy work at times, my urdu sucks.


Kisi mausam ka jhonka tha jo is deewar par latki hui tasweer tirchi kar gaya hai/Its been one of those strong winds, that has upset the (straight) symmetry of the photograph (hanging) on the wall
gaye sawan mein ye deewarein yun seeli nahin thi/In the last spring, those very walls were not damp
na jane kyon is dafa inme seelan aa gayi hai,/Not so sure why, but yes, this time around these walls are (definitely) moist
dararein par gayi hain/they have begun to crack, to seep
aur seelan is tarah bahti hai jaise,/the leaks have begun to flow with an unusual force, very similar to
khushq rukhraron pe geele aanso chalte hain/how the wet tears have flown down my dry cheeks

ye baarish gungunati thi isi chat ki munderon par/This rain used to hum on the roof's skin
ye baarish gungunati thi isi chat ki munderon par/This rain used to hum on the roof's skin
ye ghar ki khidkiyon ke kaanch par ungli se likh jaati thi sandese/It used to trace(write) messages on the glass windows
girti rahti hai baithi hui ab band roshandano ke peeche. /It used to keep chattering from behind the closed doors (or Roshandano could mean a flower)

dupehrein aisi lagti hain, /The afternoon felt (barren) as if it were
bina muhron ke khaali khaane rakhein hain/A chessboard without any of its pawns
na koi khelne waala hai baazi /No one (around) to make a move
aur na koi chaal chalta hai/No one defending from an (pending) attack

na din hota hai ab na raat hoti hai sabhi kutch ruk gaya hai /Neither does the day rise, nor does the night set, all of that motion has stopped
wo kya mausam ka jhonka tha/(Its )All because of a bout of ill weather
jo is deewar par latki hui tasweer tirchi kar gaya hai /That the photograph on the wall now appears tiltled

The last line and the first line of the poem is the same, yet I have translated them differently.

Post 359 : Charity of Life - Rajeev Nair (Tehelka)

Probably the only magazine I still regularly read (on current affairs, that is) is Tehelka.

In the Feb 9th issue of Tehelka, read a nice article called 'Charity of Life', its not very insightful, it tells us what we already know, but yes, at the same time it is so goddamned true.

Here it goes, reproduced.....


Illustration: Sudeep Chaudhuri

AT THE NEWSPAPER I USED to work at, the canteen contractor had a way of keeping the administrative staff in good humour.

His boys would slide a tomato dressing over the fish fry or sneak in a boiled egg under the rice served to the P & A staff — the true caretakers of the canteen. It irked us to no end. After all, in a newspaper hierarchy, shouldn’t reporters figure above the P & A?

If respect doesn’t begin at home, is there anything to be expected of the public? We had the audacity to raise the issue at nothing less than an editorial conference. A silly move!

We were assured an “ego massage” and no eggs or tomato dressing. So we — a small group of entry-level reporters and subs — decided to boycott the canteen and even the 10 paisa tea that was supplied at our desk. It was war with the contractor — as if he cared.

Years later, I was in Dubai when a former colleague wrote to tell me the sad end of the otherwise rebellious story. The canteen contractor had died. “It took his death to break our resolve [of not stepping into the canteen],” he wrote. Suddenly, it didn’t matter whether we were fighting for a “cause.” Our action looked mean, immature and egoistic. It was a reminder that only till death do us fight. After that every shred of hatred, every grudge loses its edge. Living, we can hold them out. But death evens it out .

Right now, how many people don’t we love to hate? Whom we will happily envelope in scorn? Whom we feel we can live without? One, a few, a handful, an awful lot? But we know we can get away with an apology, a nod, a kind word at some point in time. If not today, tomorrow for sure. With death, we blow all chances.

A recent story from Kerala made headlines. A man, the father of five children, all from a single delivery, ended his life because he could no longer take the anguish of his long struggle against poverty. He left behind the five little girls in the care of an ailing mother. The news threw open all the doors of charity. Poets, social workers, government representatives, politicians, neighbours all flocked to the family with support. Funds were set up for the children’s welfare; hospitals rushed in with care for the mother.

A sad man’s death finally served the purpose his living life could not.
Why has death opened the doors of kindness when life couldn’t? Why did a man have to pay with his life for a little humanity? Had he, the living he, approached the very same poets, social workers with his story of persistent suffering and total penury, would the response have been the same?

In a country the size of India, at least one-tenth of its population mired in a life of misery, how many deaths do we need for true acts of charity to take their course? Are we doomed to mark the genesis of charity at the altar of the ultimate — death?

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 5, Dated Feb 9, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Post 358 : Romancing the absurd

Ajit Dayal, runs, Quantum investments and an investment management firm in the US. He writes well (starting today, I am going to qualify further adding that he "usually he writes well"), and is a great guy. I have worked for him in some capacity in the past and hence have the fondness one has for his or her previous employer.

Yet, even the mighty have to fall, even the straight lines have to dance on the absurd sometime.....I am referring to his recent flier encouraging folks to invest in gold over stocks. (I once also worked for a over-the-top gold jingoists (called

Ajit, you have lost me today.....

I have reproduced the flier at the end of this post.

Note the height of stupidity when he says gold cost 850 usd in 1970s and today it is still at USD 850 and hence gold is the ultimate hedge against currency devaluation. Whoa!!! am I losing something.......Am I stupid or what?

First of all, I hate this pegging business. If you peg "A" vs. the rest, it will depend on the instant you snapshot/and what you peg against on how the scales tip. Lets take an example. If you peg 100 USD of Gold vs. the a barrel of petrol today, I can bet 10 years later petrol will have outperformed gold by over 3 times. On the other hand, if you peg 800 USD worth of gold vs. a collector's edition Mont Blanc, the return in 50 years could be way beyond your wildest imagination. If you peg 100 USD of gold vs. 100 USD worth of Infosys stock - you never know, it could tip either way. If you pef 100 USD of gold vs. Countrywide Financial....yes, gold will win baby.

I hate it when seasoned investors like Ajit Dayal, try and take us for a ride. I refuse to believe that Ajit himself eats the smuck he is trying to palm us.....If that is even remotely true.....I must admit I am such a poor judge of people.

Reproducing the badly written, schmooze article.......enjoy it, if only for a good laugh and to pat your ego that you can see through crap advice even if it is packaged well.

Ajit, you have lost me with all this talk of Samosa and the absurd....I now need to goto A1 and grab their famous Samosa, before they cost me 27,000 INR :-)

By Ajit Dayal

"There are 2 places to invest your money - The Indian stock markets and gold"

Having said that, let me explain why.

Buying the basket of stocks that make up the BSE-30 Index in 1980 would have given you a return of 136 times your investment. If you were to average out this return over the 27 year period, that works out to 20% per year every year for these past 27 years.

There will be continued economic growth in India over the next decade. This means that Indian companies will continue to grow sales and profits and - because share prices are a function of these growing profits - an investment in shares of Indian companies should generally be a pretty profitable investment. That is why I like the Indian stock markets - even at a 20,000 Index level. There will be bad years and scary quarters but a disciplined investor can hope to earn reasonable returns in the long term.

But there is another great investment opportunity staring us right in the face: gold. That's right. Buy a lot of gold. Gold is now at around USD 900 per ounce. It was trading at USD 37 in 1971. Gold then shot up to USD 850 in 1980, collapsed all the way to USD 260 in 1999, and has only now crossed the previous peak of USD 850 that it established 27 years ago.

I own gold. Now, I am ready to buy some more gold. In the Quantum Gold Fund (an open ended ETF). Just as you should. Why? Because many of the central banks of the world have lost sight of what they are supposed to do.

As a student of economics, we were taught that the role of a central bank was to ensure that it maintained the value of the paper currency issued. It did this by ensuring that every time it printed paper, it had a fixed ratio of gold lying in its vaults. But, over the past few decades - and increasingly over the past few years - the central banks have been printing more paper and not worrying about the gold they have as a reserve for their paper currencies. And paper currencies are, in the end, paper. History has shown us that governments have fallen and paper currencies have died with them. Gold has been a currency - a medium of exchange - for centuries. No paper currency has existed for that long. Not the US Dollar. Not the Sterling Pound. Not the Indian Rupee. As governments have printed larger amounts of paper currencies, these currencies have lost value against real assets like property. Or even a samosa.

Of Samosas and Gold...
In 1980, it probably cost you Rs 1 to buy one samosa. Today, it costs you Rs 10. Has the samosa become 10 times larger over the past 27 years? Not at all. The fact is that Indian rupee has lost value over the past 27 years so the samosa wallah wants more of your rupee to sell you the same samosa. He wants 10 times the rupees for that same samosa. Or look at the price of your house. In 1980, it cost Rs 200 to buy one square foot of property in Cuffe Parade, Bombay. Today, it costs Rs. 40,000 per square foot. That is an increase of 200 times! Money, obviously, buys less these days. Paper money has lost value. That is what is called "inflation".

Now look at gold. It was USD 850 briefly in 1980 - when samosa was available at Rs. 1 and land in Bombay at Rs 200. Today it is at USD 900. Interesting, isn't it? The one currency that governments cannot print at will and which has, across civilisations, been a "store of value" - a hedge against inflation in the language of economics - has not really seen any increase in price over the past 27 years.

If the price of gold was to move in line with the price of samosas, gold should be trading at USD 9,000 per ounce or over Rs 1 lakh for every 10 grammes. But gold can be bought for around Rs. 11,000 for every 10 grammes today. If gold was to have moved along with the price of Bombay property, gold should be trading at Rs. 20 lakhs for every 10 grammes.

That may sound absurd. But sometimes the most attractive investment opportunities are those that sound absurd. Like Infosys at its IPO in 1992 or Zee at its IPO in 1993. You could have multiplied your money by over 1,000 times in each of them.

Don't get me wrong - not every absurd idea is a good investment.And not every investment will increase in value by 10 times let alone by 1,000 times. But, sometimes, simple logic and harsh facts should allow us to make simple investment decisions. Do I expect the price of a samosa to fall to Rs. 1 - because that price for a samosa, justifies the fact that the price of gold has not moved in 27 years? Do I expect the price of Bombay property to fall to Rs. 200 per square foot? Or do I expect gold to start climbing and get closer to the equivalent price of a samosa and the price of Bombay property?

Inflation and uncertainty require insurance. Gold is an insurance against absurd government policies - worldwide. I own gold. And I am buying more of it at the NFO of the Quantum Gold Fund. To diversify my portfolio. To spread my risks. You should consider investing in the Quantum Gold Fund (an open-ended ETF). Unless you believe that your next samosa will cost you Rs. 1.

Post 357 : Arindam Chaudhari and his (useless) gyan on investing

I was reading the Sunday Indian, a weekly daily by Arindam Chaudhari and his Planman Media.

A small digression....
For those who no drift on this Arindam Chaudhari, he is 'supposedly' a professor at IIPM, a management consultant, a movie producer and wears 20 other hats - yet in real life, almost universally he is acknowledged as a wheeler dealer. Why? I have no clue, but speak to any person around, and he/she is going to telling you Arindam, IIPM, Planman are all extremely shady. Why? No easy answer. Some things are just meant to be. (Maybe, this is what is referred to as the wisdom of the crowds)

Back to the main theme....
I like Sunday Indian, Business and Economy and their other magazine 4P. Well written - though extremely biased and agenda based, generally not a good thing for the 4th estate.
Arindam writes the editorial for some of these magazines.(Rumor mills believe he can't write a decent sentence for nuts, and all these edits are ghost written!!) In this week's Sunday Indian, I read about his views on why a common man should invest in entrepreneurial ventures and not in the stock market - because the stock markets are like gambling and some other equally stupid raison d'etre.

His freaking logic, early stage ventures provide better returns. Yes, of course they do - but Aridam, have you ever heard of terms like risk, liquidity (of your investments), transparency, and the going belly-up of the hazaar or so startups?

Such a naive view from a "world renowned" management guru? Ahem.

My mind could not help but sing, the following lines from I believe, Savage Garden -
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

Monday, February 04, 2008

Post 356 : The earthbound misfit, I

Yesterday was out with a few friends (whom I really like) for lunch. As usual I struggled to make any meaningful conversation with them (Yes, the paradox is not lost on me). If you like someone, how can you struggle to have conversation with me.

Thats quintessential me. I struggle to talk to anyone including my wife. (whoa thats a lot off my chest).

Somewhere in the middle of this strange lunch where they were trying to get me to talk and I was genuinely wanting to connect with them - the conversation veered to music and on cue, I started on my passionate diatribe on how we are allowing classical music (and all good music) to die, and hence creating a more superficial society.

Fuck me, I can mix anything to create a pseudo intellectual conversation. Kick myself.

I could see they were amused, perplexed and at a loss to see my point - and as to why was I screwing up their lunch. It was supposed to be the girl's bday. (Hey sweetheart, wishes of the day again, I did not mean to screw up your day).

Where is all this leading to? Antisocial talk-o-phobe, I guess.

Who can help me? God, only as much as he can help a total atheist.

I really wish I could make some semblance of normal conversation with folks. Like I said, these were folks I really want to be friends with, to connect with.....I wish on a shooting star.

Post 355 : My heart, my life (Night Song, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

This is what happens, when you are up at 2am at night working on shitty office work (m*****f***ing excel sheet).

Another song you must listen from the Night Song Album is My heart, my life.

I wont say more.

On a different note, this is how I listen to my music - for the past 8 hours I have been working and the two albums have been on random repeat.

I can incessantly listen to a good song, it drives my wife up the wall.

I once listening to Pink Floyd (16 of their albums) on repeat/shuffle for 4.5 months at work every day. I have heard Javed Akhtar's book of poems (Tarkash) probably over 100 times during my final year engineering exams.

For me, if you do touch immutable beauty, the more you sense (touch/hear/see....), the more you continue seeing patterns in it, which push your mind to enjoy it more....This goes on till you achieve Niravana.....Hey seriously, that is the bhakti path of reaching the "One". That is why we repeat mantras and prayers ad nauseom, its just that most people do it without even realising or understanding why they are supposed to do it.

Go on, put on your favorite album on an infinite loop for a day. It might make your family believe you are losing it, all the while, while you are actually gaining 'everything'. A perfect whiplash.

Post 354 : Intoxicated (Jhoomta aa raha hai kyun badal)

I have been listening to Mustt Mustt & Night Song - by Michael Brook & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for almost 12 years now. They were part of Peter Gabriel's Real World label (which also encouraged and promoted Sheila Chandra).

(In a different post, we must "lament" the death of such alternative labels).

Both these albums were part of the early 90s. The orchestration and sequencing is out of extraordinary. Michael Brooks could achieve in 1990s what today seasoned producers dont manage inspite having massive technology at their disposal.

These albums contain mixes (and not remixes, but more of ambient mixes) for Nusrat's Saheb's songs. From what I understand, they collabarated, instead of just doing parts of the album in isolation.

Nusrat saheb as usual is par excellence, in fact you must hear his vocal harmony in these albums, and you will realise that vocals can provide harmony all on their own - an art now sorely forgotten.

One song from Night Song that has always remained a great favorite with me, has been Intoxicated. Moot lyrics with my own translation

Jhoomta Aa raha hain kyun badal/Why is the sky appearing to be tottering
Yeh bhi shayad koi sharabi hain/Maybe he is (another) drunkard as well (like me)
Chaal mastaana nazar gulabi hain/Go away you who walks like an intoxicated one, your eyes appear bloodshot

Jaam jisne utha liya hain fanaa /He who has eaten the nectar (are) destroyed (by intoxication)
Jaam jisne utha liya hain fanaa/He who has lifted (and drunk) the nectar (are) destroyed (by intoxication)
Uski Kismat mein kamayabi hain/Its him that sucess will kiss
Chaal mastaana nazar gulabi hain/Go away you who walks like an intoxicated one, your eyes appear bloodshot

Lyrics dont reproduce the beauty of the song, neither does just the music of the song. When you do listen to this song - try and 'listen' to the massively difficult vocal portions - almost a dance of the tongue at more than 3-5 beats per minute. Its virtuosa unparalleled even as per Hindustani Classical standards (which is where such histronics originate from).

Lyrics are just present for 40% of this 5+ minute song, that is the first 2 minutes, the last 3 minutes are just devoted to Nusrat Saheb's tongue going beserk, almost as if he were really intoxicated.

Next time someone tells you, 'go get a life', I suggest buying this album.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Post 353 : Bohemian Rhapsody revisited

Freddie Mercury's (Queen's) Bohemian Rhapsody should easily be right up there in terms of the finest song I have ever heard.

Recently I have acquired (yes, copyRIGHTers, I have WRONGed, I have downloaded it) a version by Ozzy Ozbourne and Iron Maiden. Its awesome. Ozzy with his Freddieish operatic rip off, and Maiden doing what they do best - rock the place.

Is it better than the original? Difficult to say, because you are comparing legends perfoming legends live.

All I can say, is it is worth a listen.

Post 352 : Garbage karma

I was reading with interest a fortune story which was detailing the fact that the US of A is guilty of dumping its electronic waste such as old motherboards, monitors on countries like Kenya and other third world countries including India. People in these countries disassemble to scavenge any value of this junk, and later simply burn/melt to get the limited out of gold, copper and whatever is available.

There was almost a condescending drift to the piece, almost like the US is being a bad citizen by outsourcing its garbage responsibility.

A little introspection, made me see a hidden hypocrisy in this. I live in Mumbai, all my garbage including lead batteries, arsenic from packaging and whatever is outsourced to an 'abstracted' function from within the 'lower-rungs' of my society. I dont have to deal with the lead and have no idea of how it is disposed.

And yet, I know the circle of karma will meet its twang?

This lead and arsenic and whatever else will eventually leak into the very water which comes into my home. The ghosts will be back, they will haunt me, eventually they will extract a price.

Similarly, US of A believes the junk is gone. It is not, it will come back in the form of global warming, ecological changes and harm to potable water. What goes out comes around.

Karma and its circle are pervasive and omnipotent.....hold it in high steed.

And yes, oh, by the way, please dump the condescending pronouncements...because you jackass are as much an outsourcer in personal life, as US of A is.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Post 351 : Movie 13 (Manorama Six Feet Under)

I could bet this would be a different movie, just on the basis of the name of the movie. The name of the movie comes from the fact that this is about a book called "Manorama" written by an author which sold less than 100 copies, and this has upset the applecart for the author....he feels his monolith's rejection will lead to his own - he sees his failure in Manorama.

See this movie, a classic noir film (or so I have been told by hazaar other reviews I read)....jokes apart, it is indeed worth a look.

Abhay Deol is as sincere as one can expect. Gul Panang is as realistic as a middle class spouse can be.

Should rate 9/10 for just being such a pleasant, different and honest film.


Post 350 : Movie 12 : Johnny Gaddar

A very likable movie by Sriram Raghavan, who also made Ek Hasina Thi. It is very edge of the seat movie, yet it has references to dozens of movies throughout.

If you liked Ek Hasina Thi (like I did), then you will like this one too.

On a scale of 10, rate it 10.


Post 349 : Movie 11 (The Lives of Others)

I saw this movie on a flight. A movie set in 1984 pre-perestroika Germany. It won the 2007 foreign language oscar. Must admit, it is a fascinating movie - gives a glimpse into the world of the communists (aka We The Living, did it for Russia).

On a scale of 10, I would rate it 8.5.

Read more about it at

Post 348 : Dictionary of life

My brother has been living away for the past 17 odd years. I remember while growing up, whenever he returned home(for a brief hiatus), it used to be an event - suitcases which held the hidden "surprise" and "delight".

On the night he came in, we usually would stay up together, unpacking the bags - letting the goodies tumble out. (Flights in India from abroad, usually came in only at night...its only recently that you also have day flights).

I used to have an ask list, like once I asked for an expensive camera and he sponsored it - the darling that he was.

Yet this post is not about that....

On his first or second return, he got me something which I had not asked for "The American Heritage Dictionary" for Windows 3.1. This was a single CD, is all of 6.5MB, has support for Word 3 and Lotus Wordperfect. He got it for me because he knew I dabbled in writing (in those heady days I wanted to be Mr. Rushdie - a pipe dream gone awry), and he felt a soft dictionary might help me.

Point being....
Almost 14 years from thereon. I still use the same dictionary. It still has the finest lookup, I know in a dictionary. I shudder moving onto to Vista because this thing would stop working.

It remains one of the most thoughtful gifts that anyone ever gave me.

My brother is still outside. I have grown up, so has he. I no longer pester him for gifts, neither does he surprise me anymore. Life broods. For once, maybe only once, I wish to go back in time. I still want to demand, and be "delighted" and "surprised".

Post postscript
I can buy almost all that I wish for, yet I long for the ritual of staying up in the night and unpacking the "goodies"....Some rituals exist, because they make life worth living. We forget that. Worse, I wonder why do we so indiscriminately murder them?

Post 347 : Music 32 : (MANORAMA - SIX FEET UNDER) Tere Sawaalon Ke Woh Jawaab

You have to listen to this song to believe how good this is. Out of the world lyrics, Roopkumar Rathod + Mahalaxmi Iyer(with an anglicised accent) are fabulous, great harmony.....

tere sawaalon ke woh jawaab jo main de na de na sakuun - 4 /The answers to your questions which I (would rather) not be able to give
pighle se armaan hain, do pal ke mehmaan hai /The meltingpot of our desires are all in this fleeting moment
aankhon ke aalon mein, chaahat ki lo jalne do /Let our craving burn within the depths of (our) eyes
tere sawaalon ke woh jawaab jo main de na de na sakuun - 2 /The answers to your questions which I (would rather) not be able to give

(quick summary : Let our eyes do the talking, don't ask me questions for which I have no answers.....Desire does not have an answer)

(keh rahi hai jo nazar tujhe hai khabar ke nahi /(My) eyes are speaking, hope you are aware of their views)
keh rahi hai teri nazar tu bekhabar toh nahi) - 2 /Your eyes are telling (me), they already seem to know (that)
tere bina jindagi hai adhuri, tere bina kya hai jeena / Without you, this life is incomplete, what is (my) existence without you
pighle se armaan hain, do pal ke mehmaan hai /The meltingpot of our desires are all in this fleeting moment
aankhon ke aalon mein, chaahat ki lo jalne do /Let our craving burn within the depths of (our) eyes

(tum kaho toh main rok luun, jo tum kaho toh nahi / If you say so I will stop, (on the other hand) if you say so I will let go (of this)
sine mein hai kaisi khalish, teri kashish toh nahi) - 2 /ache in my heart, which is (is it not my) undiluted longingfor you
tere bina jindagi hai adhuri, tere bina kya hai jeena / Without you, this life is incomplete, what is (my) existence without you
pighle se armaan hain, do pal ke mehmaan hai /The meltingpot of our desires are all in this fleeting moment
aankhon ke aalon mein, chaahat ki lo jalne do /Let our craving burn within the depths of (our) eyes
tere sawaalon ke woh jawaab jo main de na de na sakuun - 2 /The answers to your questions which I (would rather) not be able to give
tere bina jindagi hai adhuri, tere bina kya hai jeena / Without you, this life is incomplete, what is (my) existence without you

Music: Jayesh Gandhi, Raiomond Mirza, Lyrics : Manoj Tapadia

Post 346 : Music 31 : Tere Bin - Delhi Heights OST - Rabbi Shergill

I loved Rabbi Shergill's first album. This one contains a song "Tere Bin". I must have heard it a number of times in the past, but yet "never heard it". On this NY trip, sitting in my hotel room, plugged in the hotel room, played this song, and was suddenly "listening".

I could not help but "fall in love all over again" (with the song I mean).

Given that I am a pukka tamilian in the language murdering town of Bombay, my Punjabi/Sindhi is pathethic to say the least.

Did a quick search for the translation. Found a great one at

Have reproduced it here, for quick reference. Read it carefully, both the song and translation are lovely.

tere bin / besides you
sanu sohnia / my love
koi hor nahio labhna / i shan't find another
jo dave / who'll give
ruh nu sakun / peace to my soul
chukke jo nakhra mera / and indulge me
ve main sare ghumm ke vekhia / i have gone and seen it all
amrika , roos, malaysia / america, russia, malaysiana
kittey vi koi fark si / there wasn't any difference
har kise di koi shart si / they all had some condition
koi mangda mera si sama / some asked for my time
koi hunda surat te fida / some were fascinated with my face
koi mangda meri si vafa / some demanded my fidelity
na koi mangda merian bala / none wanted my demons
tere bin / besides you
hor na kise / no one else
mangni merian bala / wanted my demons
tere bin / besides you
hor na kise / no one else
karni dhup vich chhan / shall shade me in the sun
jiven rukia / (the) way you paused
si tun zara / slightly
nahion bhulna / i shan't forget
main sari umar / all my life
jiven akhia si akhan chura / you said, looking away
"rovenga sanu yad kar" / "you shall weep in my memory"
hasia si main hasa ajeeb / i laughed a strange laugh
(par) tu nahi si hasia / but you didn't
dil vich tera jo raaz si / you had a secret in your heart
mainu tu kyon ni dasia / why didn't you tell me
tere bin / besides you
sanu eh raz / none shall tell this
kise hor nahion dasna / secret to me
tere bin / besides you
peerh da ilaaj / what druid
kis vaid kolon labhna / has the cure to my ills
milia si ajj mainu / i found today
tera ik patra / a note of yours
likhia si jis 'te / on which you had scribbeled
tun shayr varey shah da / a varis shah couplet
park ke si osnu / upon reading which
hanjnu ik duliya / a teardrop fell
akhan 'ch band si / what was locked in the eye
seh raaz ajj khulia / was revealed today
ki tere bin / that other than you
eh mere hanjnu / these tears of mine
kise hor / won't be kissed by
nahio chumna / none else
ki tere bin / that other than you
eh mere hanjhu / these tears of mine
mitti vich rulnha / will wither in the dust

Wish I knew enough punju to do even half a good translation as this one...Writers @ Rabbisim take a bow.

Post 345 : Insight 5 - A feudal thief vs a capitalist one

Read a very interesting quote from Eqbal Ahmad, supposedly a very avant garde scholar from Pakistan. Mr. Ahmad's claim to fame is a statement he signed in support of Salman Rushdie (you know I am biased, if he had not done that, he would have been a nobody for me....ahem!!)

The quote is about Benazir Bhutto's regime (May her soul and ilk rest in peace!!)

"She and her husband Asif Zardari turned out to be almost unbelievably corrput, with bribery, pay-offs, bank loans to her supporters, patronage untrammelled. What we have learned in Pakistan is that traditional feudal thives are much worse than captialist ones. They create no wealth at all, not even for themselves. They just steal. That's what Ms. Bhutto did."

I found this quite insightful. Come to think of it, its true. How many times have I myself come across an idiot who steals not to make money for himself, but just because he/she is a ribald habitual mugger - an almost convulted exaggerated form of kleptomania, or because he or she is rationalizing it under some "straight" guise (aka Robin Hood, who is one of the worst role models we could create for our children - Captain Jack Sparrow is a much better one for your kid to have than Mr. Hood).

What is a "straight" guise? "You need to give us 1L donation, because we need to build a school for the blind, but yes, we need it in 'black'.". Get the drift ?

I liked the idea that a capitalist is a thief who is at least doing something "driven", he/she is aggrandizing because he/she subscribes to a value system, which indoctrines nirvana through accumulation - compare this to the "feudal" thief, who is an idiot, a sloppy bastard born out of a cross between abscence of values and an unknown trip of evil.(to be a bastard, you need to be have at least "one" unknown!!).

Sadly, I look around and my world seems surrounded by feudal thieves, and the complete abscence of capitalists. If only the proportions were reversed, my life would so much better.

Thank you Mr. Ahmad. For the insight and for supporting Mr. Rushdie - both.