Monday, June 23, 2008

I paid for Abdallah Salem el-Badri's business lunch with Ali al-Naimi

Few key points about the world oil market:
  • Worlds Crude Oil production is nearly 85 million barrels a day
  • Worlds Crude Oil Consumption is nearly 87 million barrels a day
  • India consumption is 2,450,000 barrels a day
  • 70% of this is imported
  • When last reported Oil Bonds for Indian Oil-Companies were touching 200,000 crores rupees. (ie Rs 200000000000000)
  • The debt of the India government was over Rs 2,45,000 crores due to explicit & implicit subsidies
  • This subsidies are actually comprised by the taxes that many Indians (myself included) have grudgingly paid from their salaries & other forms of indirect taxation
  • Indian Oil companies buy oil at the high rates & the Oil-Exporting countries make the windfall
  • Abdallah Salem el-Badri is the current General Secratary of OPEC the world's oil-producers cartel
  • Ali al-Naimi is the Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum & Mineral Resources. He was the previous GS of OPEC

Ok i guess you have got the drift.
Few points about this post.
  • The topic was my frugal attempt to sensationalize
  • I would not go into the controversy that the fuel prices in India are already high from the taxation
  • I really wish public transport is immensely bettered (time, comfort, regularity, frequency)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Sab kuch chalta hain, yaar!!!!"

That does it

Don't worry this is not about me. This post is about my country. Its politicians to be more precise.
I had been seething with anger & despair or quite some-time. & todays news just cracked open the path to this post.

2 news from the Times of India online (the place where i catch up on the daily news)

Health ministry to conduct nationwide survey on colas

Arjun's office staff all from general category

I had high hopes from the current government. A truely democratic party(??!!!?) with weight of past with a few other regional & the largest leftist is in coalition. Big things should be expected from them. Or "yeh hain India meri jaan"

This blog is on the worst 2 performer(for lack of better word) Minister in charge of Health & Family Welfare 'Anbumani Ramadoss' & the Minister in charge of Education Arjun Singh.

The Minister as per the news is concerned about the amount of aerated drinks in India. He in the last few years now been hogging the media bytes for chasing the big-shots of Bollywood for smoking on screen. Recently he imposed a ban on it. He has also banned drinking on screen. His reasoning is that people & especially kids duplicate what their idols do.
I do-not deny that underage smoking should be stopped immediately & at all cost. But the main cause of under-age smoking is availability of cigarettes right across schools. With the dense population in India a stall dealing in cigarettes is found right across any school, in-spite of a Supreme Court order.
How many small shopkeepers would refuse to sell cigarettes to youngsters when he knows that these are the people who would later get addicted & ensure his steady business however much the price is jacked up. Also show me which bar in India asks for proof of age & not serve alcohol to under-ages. Actually i would like to know if these people even care. In US if you cant show proof you would not be served drinks or smoke no-matter how old you look.

The point is simple.It has to be the people who needs to change. & we have built up a srong affinity to not be moral any-more. "Sab kuch chalta hain, yaar!!!!"

How else with India abysmally bad statistics in health-care can the Minister chase about some ridiculous & far more complicated issue while neglecting his basic duties. The status of health-care in India is known to all. (If you want further exact values then check out this link

& then there was the Education Minister Arjun Singh. I have a feeling that his life ambition is to completely wreck the education system by ensuring that the intelligent & students of India are squeezed out of governmental education system ensuring enough mulla for the private institutes.
First i simply fail to realize how can his main agenda be getting more quota's & money in higher education while India have the world largest population of illiterates.
What use is having quota in higher education if the people who should actually be availing those are dropping out of school & never completing their basic education. Especially when it has been proven comprehensibly that the quota's are more mis-used.
Even if i can forgive the quota system for the sake of the logic that if even 1 person is benefited then it is worth having in place, how can i not get worked up on the issue of setting up more IIT's with-out even campuses. There are intelligent students who study at the Tax-payers money & have the sole ambition of settling out-side India.
Indian government has been spending a huge sum of money on research & yet I don't remember any mentionable research which got recognised anywhere. & how can it be if the researches are on the acidity of pigeon shit in Dadar (paper presented in 2006. Incidentally a similar research was conducted by another student in 1989. But in that case it was on pigeons in Bandra).
How much more of the tax-payers money will the Government waste? Why are the people in positions not made responsible for their acts? Why are the people in places of responsibility not responsible them-selves? I am not super-educated nor do i spend hours thinking on these issues then why cant these people come up with something worth-wile.
The ans is "Sab kuch chalta hain, yaar!!!!"
It took USA & USSR 10years to build, develop & incorporate the F14's & Su27's into their air-force. The HAL Tejas' under development since the 1980's is yet to get into production phase!

India is going places is perhaps the worst statement any-one can make. A small & over hyped part of India is going places & a HUGE part is being left behind. Farther & farther away are the poor & the needy being left behind by the glorification & scamper for getting on the bandwagon. & none are having any moral qualms for this. "Sab kuch chalta hain, yaar!!!!"

After-all this notion has been branded deeply into over a billion people. We today don't think twice in haggling with an Auto-driver for asking for 1 rupee extra but leave a 100 rupees as tip at a Barista.
Where have we gone wrong? Where have our morality gone to? Why cant we be compassionate anymore? Why does it have to be Me-1st at every stage?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thats life, sad but true

Do we all say, "That's life, sad but true" and continue living it the way we are? Will things get better or worse - what do you think? Will our children's moralities be different from ours?

That is what Suvro asks in his last blog.

An attempted answer to that.
If you have not read the blog let me try & give you an idea what it is all about.
On the day of the recent earth-quake in China the people at Suvro's office were more concerned about the changes of dynamics in the market (due to the earthquake) & make a profit from it. Suvro feels that the lust for money/power has actually killed of the basic humane feelings.
I am compelled to agree with him.
I as sorry to say but i think i have joined the bandwagon.
In my daily task currently i have to track news & report the most likely one's which affect the price movement of Oil. When i first saw the news "100 Dead in Nigerian Oil-Pipeline Burst" my first reaction was "supply disruption.... Oil is going to go up. Chris should make sure to keep the ask high." I am ashamed to say that i have become hard enough to think about my work even when i am staring at death.
The military trains the cadets daily by shooting at dummies. This ensures in an actual battle the person at whom the cadet is shooting is perceived as a object & not a flesh & blood alive person. A person with a family, with emotions, desires, believes etc.
We are slowly being ground to work. No emotions involved. What difference does it make if a 100 dies or a 150. There are billions of people in this world. Those 100-150 would not make a dent. All that matters is making money. For money you need to work. If that work requires you to stamp on other people then do it. If it requires you to push some-one off the bus do it. If you are not ready to do so then move aside there are millions to take your place & don't expect us to look at you with a scorn.
The society today looks up at those people who are as it is commonly said "successful". Today success is defined by how high u are in the corporate ladder. How much money you have in your pocket. The more ruthless you are the more followers you would get (got reminded of the AIM matchboxes). The more followers the more admired would you be.
Money the revolving point. What does money give us? Everything as per some. They are not entirely untrue actually. Whatever the average bloke desires is got only through exchange of money. If you want a good pasta pay for it. If you want a good drink pay for it. If you want a breadth of clean air pay for it. If you want a good-looking wife then pay. (I know quite a few (females) would jump up to oppose this statement but i honestly believe that the money(possible) in the pocket of the prospective groom is one of the criteria. & why should it not be. Evolution has changed the criteria but the female must hunt down the best male it comes across to breed.)
We need money for everything. We are made to believe so & there are no situation that we come across which would even make us stop for a moment to think in the contrary. & if we do stop, society would instantly start rebuking us.
A team-mate of mine went for a Sunday NGO work. I was amazed by the smirks on the faces of the rest of the team. Most believed that there is either a good looking girl in the NGO or the guy is fattening up his CV to apply to some college.
A clean intent is mostly mis-interpreted.

Why have we become so mentally deranged? Why have we stopped looking at things which are around us & only focus at an piece of paper(or should i say plastic) which gives material stuff. How many of us would stop from biting into a slice of Pizza & give a thought for the farmer who has waded in the rains through his field to ensure that it was the wheat which was growing properly & not the weed. Or for the person who has stood in front of the hot oven to create the perfectly done pizza. Or even for the delivery boy who has ridden a contraption on 2 wheels at a breakneck speed to ensure that you get the pizza in time.
We sadly have learn't not to look beyond 'I'. Family & close friends belong to the 1st ring around 'I'. Acquaintances, distant relatives or friends who don't have prospects of returns are just people 'I' know. Anyone beyond this is just a faceless person. 'I' would primarily ensure 'I''s happiness. Which according to 'Every-one' is got from money. So 'I' would do anything for to ensure there is a steady stream of money. 'I' would do some thing so the 1st ring stays closer insulating 'I' from any form of disruption of his happiness. & to show off his success 'I' must have a big gas-guzzling car to drive from his home to the market which is actually less than 2 minutes walk. So that he can justify the gym at his AC home which his coveted friends would admire when they visit. Who cares about the mason who was forced to work late because the rich contractor promised extra 100 if the job gets completed in 1 day instead of the 2.
It is a chain effect actually. The Rich ignores the middle class & cant even see that the poor. The middle class aspires to be climb up to be with the rich. In doing so it ignores the poor too. The poor in its clamber to escape the confines of being poor cant afford to look beyond himself. In between everyone suddenly has just mission in life. Make money. Become richer even more. & the end justifies the means. A mad dash for an end which never existed.

I have been going round & round for quite some-time now. Sadly this keeps going round & round in my mind. I am sorry to be rambling on something which we all know. So what is the solution. Be the lone person who stops working? Not earn & die from lack of food, proper sanitation & friends around?
I am sorry to say i am coward & i would not be able to do so. I would hide behind my responsibilities & liabilities & keep running after money which gives happiness at most 1ce a month. But my conscious also needs to be assuaged a bit too. So i would try not to waste. Not to under-cut someone else to ensure my own rise. & give respect to all person i come across. This is perhaps the least that i believe everyone of us do. Smile. Makes the world slightly less gloomy to live in.

& about the future generation? Sorry Suvro i am not yet in a position to think about my own kids. The very idea of being responsible & trying to bring up someone gives me shivers.
We have not yet been able to take responsibility of our own actions. This would cost us. I fear that the future generation would be much more ruthless than us. They would actually not look beyond 'I'. The 1st ring would be for showing-off all other just faceless entities who are actually enemies trying to upsurge the position they currently are in.
I wish some miracle would proof me wrong but with the way we are diving full-steam it is not long before nature & natural instincts takes over fully & makes a premature end to the world that we are currently used to

Monday, June 2, 2008

Evolution The Root Cause of All Problems

A line plagiarized from some-where & noticed at a friends blog.
A line how much is true perhaps.

Let me start with an example.
The cars were an evolution in transport. People in London the then capital of the world were overjoyed. They believed that the horses are a nuisance & it is a pollution when they shit.
A bigger shit-pile we are in. I would not go into the controversy if the cars can be blamed for all the pollution in cities or if they can be made the scape-goat for all the Green-house effect. For the reason is that it is. (Please don't ask me if there was a controversy ever.)
Next there came a few years where we said "Ok! We agree cars pollute & harm. The actual reason is the fossil fuel we burn called Petrol/Gas (depending where you are from). Lets shift to more organic form of fuel."
Ethanol seemed to be the solution. Well thanks to the usage of ETHANOL the world food prices shot up (less area to cultivate food). Also the great Amazon Rain-Forest, one of the lungs of the EARTH is being slowly(??!!), ruthlessly & surely being chopped down, to get more land area to cultivate Sugar-cane the primary source of Ethanol.

Another example?
Ok this is one example that many would contest. & i am not an biologist or nutritionist to proof my point. But i have convinced myself & not getting comprehensive proof against it i would not change my view-point.
Think Sugar & Salt. Had it not been evolution we humans would have been perfectly happy with all the natural salt & sugar got from the normal food they would had. But no we had to evolve & get a taste of salt & sugar.
How many of us can watch a movie in a multiplex (sorry i dont seem to get any movie hall or theater around any-more) without a COLA (Sugar) & Popcorn(Salt). Salt in pop-corn makes the body lose its water-balance & dehydrate. So we have to take a cola which has sugar increasing the metabolism in the body & in tandem they create chaos. No animal in this Earth takes in Salt/Sugar in their diet separately. But we must.
& I think many would agree to the fact that most Doctors restrict the in-take of these 2. Because the new life-style diseases with the traditional ones are aggravated with intakes of Salt/Sugar.
But we have evolved so much that we can-not live without. & i sympathize with all those who have failed to follow the wise advice of the Doctors. Primarily because i belong to that crowd. However much the Doctor's remind me not to take in Salt for fear of having a higher than allowed BloodPressure i cannot stop taking in food which are by definition salty. What we call in Bengali "Nonta" or "Namkeen" in Hindi.

I believe that evolution has made us into the mindless literate idiots who can only be in herds.
Notice that in all the images of the ancient cave-man are imagined of a lazy life. Waking up at dawn & sleep at dusk. & all modern images are of people who are running.
Why can we not stop running once to ask why are we running. We can't for the simple reason we are stuck in the herd mentality from the cave-age. We must do what all other's are doing. Get a good degree from a esteemed establishment. Get a good paying job at a well recognized company. Get a big car, a big house, a pretty wife..... the list goes on.
Does it give us happiness???
How many of us would not fondly remember the time when summer holiday was meant that i can be in the field with my buddies from 4 till 7 in the evening. And miraculously this period would be for over a month every-year. Today we would go years saving the Earn-Leaves to sell at the end of the year/job for a couple of extra bucks. Silly is it not? What use would it be if at the age of 45 (or earlier as it is becoming a norm) i land up with holidays at a hospital (nursing home to get the added care)
We would keep on working our-self to death (24X7X52) for some illusion called money. Then use the money to get our-self saved. Why go into all the pain at the beginning? Saves a lot of time, energy & effort at all sides.
& the best part is in doing so you (I) can be happy doing what i wanted to do.

Would i be???? Do i really know what makes me happy???
Well i don't have the answer to it in this blog at-least but i firmly believe that had mankind not been so evolved than there would have been no Green-house controversy & i could have been a simple illiterate fool who would have been un-questioningly accept what-ever the elders ordered me to do, as the right thing to do. & gladly actually do it.