Thursday, September 21, 2023

Hospital California

There is this article in today's paper that NEET qualifying criteria for post grad medical seats are being reduced to zero percent, since many post grad seats are going abegging with no takers. 

This is how the system works. Politicians create medical seats to make money. They lower the qualifying criteria for admissions to fill the seats.

More and more doctors are created. Poor quality ones as we saw above, but the quality of the doctors does not matter, in any case even the best minds will be reduced to moronity once they enter the system.

Meanwhile more and more hospitals are being built. And Pharma companies are pressured by the shareholders for profits. 

Now the doctors need to be employed, and the hospital beds need to be occupied, and the Pharma companies need life long customers.

Enter the food industry. They ensure that people eat what makes them sick and keeps them sick. 

But how do you get people to the hospitals?  For that , you open diagnostic centres, increase the number of tests to a few hundred, and keep lowering the criteria on each of them, so that, if you go for a medical check up, you are guaranteed to be told you are sick. 

Once you enter the hospital, the whole thing takes care of itself. The drugs they feed you will ensure that you never get better. The medical system is one place where you can only check in, you can never check out!

Hospital California, here I come!

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Review of Jawan

Some movies are very confusing. Went with my niece yesterday to see Jawan. It was, to say the least, an interesting experience.

Story starts with an almost dead SRK being rescued by mountain villagers, after drowning, with a few dozen bullets embedded in him. Village attacked by Chinese looking soldier characters. Hero who is still swathed in bandages, rises from his bed, wrapped  like an Egyptian mummy, and kills all of them.

Lovely. I like plots with alpha heroes, vile villains, where the  hero bashes the villains.

And then the confusion starts. 

I think the film wanted to make a political message. It's an SRK home production ( producer is his wife, who I am sure has no role to play in the movie. As in other parts of his life, the wife's role I am sure was played by someone else). 

It looks like they put a bunch of scriptwriters in a room, and said, list the problems that I.N.D.I.A needs to highlight. Farmer suicide. Ok. One sentimental farmer suicide back story and victim. Corruption in high places, callous disregard for people, siphoning off of health ministry funds. Ok. One sentimental medical scam back story and victim. Defence procurement scams, arch villain arms dealer. Check. One more back story with a victim who is hanged. Arms dealer is Vijay Setupati speaking Tamil. What do you mean,  it was a Hindi movie! Ya, but I still think he was speaking Tamil. I thought only mallus had an accent but to know what Tamil Hindi looks like, you have to hear Vijay Setupati. 

One more team of scriptwriters sitting in another room is in charge of the script for main hero and heroine. They have a brilliant idea. Have two two heroines. Nayantara, and Deepika. Have two heroes. Oops. Not possible. SRK movies have only one hero, SRK!  Every Indian, all one billion of them knows the answer to this one. Yes, you guessed it right. SRK plays a double role. 

Meanwhile, a third team of scriptwriters in another room comes up with the theme of soldier. Soldiers are in. Very patriotic and all that, and the movie has a political theme, so put that in. One of the SRK's is soldier! 

What about Adani scam? 40000 crores that Rahul Gandhi keeps harping about? Put that into the plot too. And the Thoothukudi copper plant closure? Polluting industries? Rapacious politicians hand in glove with industrialists? Put all that in too! 

Robin Hood! I like Robin Hood! Says SRK's son who walks into the script writers' meeting. Let's make SRK a Robin Hood! Which SRK? Both! Ok. Done. Check. 

One of the script writers is just back from California. He is still in an intellectually inebriated state after being exposed to the insanity capital of the world. We have to include women's empowerment, and senior citizens he says! 

Lovely idea! Let's include them! The heroine Nayantara will be a kick ass commando  kind,  and, junior  SRK's army will consist of six commando women. And senior SRK will lead a commando team of four senior citizens.  

Not enough women, said the returned California NRI. Ok! Let's make it a women's jail with 6000 women. And make junior SRK the Jailer. 

At this stage in the script, all the script writers in the room stood up and clapped. 

Then in another room, another team of scriptwriters put all the scripts into a cauldron and stirred it up thoroughly. 

A proper heady witch's brew emerged.  Which was then slickly packaged for serving to the audience.

You have to be real junkie to withstand this kind of brew. My niece and I are kind of deficient on the junkie scale. We were served slick, fast moving snippets of commando style fighting, political messaging, arch villain, old SRK, young SRK, 6000 women, sentiment, soldier, patriotism, jingoistic vigilantism, altruistic Robin Hood do goodism,  sanctimonious homilies, and Sanjay Dutt. They even resurrected Sanjay Dutt from the crypt of forgotten heroes and gave him a macho role. And SRK. Two SRK's. Our heads were reeling. At one stage we even contemplated walking out. But these confounded witches' brews have a strange effect on you, they hold you on your seat nevertheless. The mind wants to go away but the body refuses to move. 

And so we watched till the end. Niece went home, and I headed straight to a reunion with my college alumni gang. I quaffed on the draft beer, I really needed it! A heady end to a heady day! 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Review of Jailer

Saw Jailer yesterday. It came with a lot of advance hype since the film has been touted  up as one of Rajni's best that lives up to the Rajni brand, even by those who have seen it. 

Till the interval, it was fine. Rajni is introduced in neon letters ( whistles, garlands, aartis everyone) and all he does is stand around, wear his goggles, and walk. That is enough, one can imagine, to send his fans into a frenzy. 

The plot gets increasingly taut and action filled till the interval. With Thalaiva not doing much Thalaiva does a lot! 

And then the decline happens. As if the script writer, director and entire crew were replaced by a bunch of people  from Ekta Kapoor's saas bahu serials. Actually no, I take that back, Ekta Kapoor serials are better. 

The plot gets bizarre, with no logic or coherence. The actors are all hamming, in fact each one competes with the next to see who hams best. The comedy filled action sequences, or action filled comedy sequences, whichever you prefer, are of the slapstick kind that audiences outgrew in the eighties. 

Mohanlal and Shivrajkumar, two superstars of the South, deliver ham filled performances in roles that any bit actor worth his dignity would have refused. But they deliver what the director wants, since they are indistinguishable from the rest of the cast. 

Being a masochist, I watched right till the end. I really have a tendency to stick a knife into myself and twist so that it hurts. 

Thalaiva should have retired long back. And Mohanlal and Shivrajkumar will never live down this infamy. 

I think I will go and watch a kindergarten play before this week is out. I desperately need something better! 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Karan Johar Ki Prem Kahani

Saw Karan Johar's movie Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani.

A wonderful light  movie with cutting humour. A buffed up Ranveer with a six pack and Alia who is her own cute self are of course good. 

Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi and Jaya Bhaduri play their age. The love story between Dharmendra and Shabana is a nice side plot. 

The story is of course boy meets girl, families oppose, etc. etc. like every third Hindi movie. 

But the script is still the best part  of the movie, at least  before the interval. Full of  cutting takes on tradition, modernity, feminism, toxic masculinity, gender roles... with a typical Karan Johar irreverence. 

After the interval it turns into some typical Bollywood melodrama but thankfully never too heavy. 

What a relief to watch a nice non intellectual fluffy Bollywood movie, especially within a week of watching Oppenheimer which is a total intellectually pretentious dimaag ka dahi. 

Highly recommended for those who go to the movies just to have a good time.

Disclaimer: Karan Johar behind the camera is ok, but I can't stand him in front of it. Watching him in Koffee with Karan  almost makes me puke

Thursday, August 3, 2023

The Power of Now - Part 1

Just picked up Eckhart Tolle's acclaimed book 'The Power of Now' to read.

Am about one-third of the day through the book - it seems very similar to yoga philosophy. Nothing really new, but like all universal truths, these are thoughts that can bear any amount of repetition, and any amount of retelling. 

Am paraphrasing ( this is not a book summary in the strict sense, it is more a condensation of the thoughts expressed in the book ) the thoughts in the book, as I am reading - a stream of thought kind of book review in a sense.

Here is Part 1: 


The mind is in constant chatter.

Chatter creates turmoil.

There is a higher You which can detach itself from this you which is the sum of your thoughts,

This higher you , can it watch the other you,

And tell it to stop chattering

Watch your thoughts,

Watch your feelings,

Watch your emotions,.

From whence this fear, this deep seated dread?

From whence this need to be right? 

Whence the anger? 

Whence this anxiety and dread? 

All this is Pain. Why are you living in constant pain?

All desire arises from the ego which has a deep seated lack, a feeling of being incomplete. To make the ego whole, you chase desires. Desires of money, fame, possessions, relationships. The ego needs constant external validation. The ego's needs are endless. It feels vulnerable and threatened and so lives in a constant state of fear and want.

The root of unconsciousness is identification with the mind.

Cease that identification. Become conscious.  Realise that you are not the mind. 

The mind entangles you due to thoughts that arise from fear, and thoughts are of the past or the future. 

Do not be trapped in time, the past is memory and the future is anticipation. 

Get out of that trap. Be in the present moment, acknowledge it, allow it to be. 

Be in the Now. Just Be. Now is the most precious thing there is, don't squander it by being elsewhere in time. 

Now is the intensely alive state that is free of time, free of memory, free of anticipation, free of pain, free of thought. 

At this moment, nothing is lacking. 

Use "clock time", learn from your past and plan for your future, but don't dwell on the past or hanker for something - avoid "thought time". 

The future is always the same as the past. You are your ingrained thoughts, patterns, and beliefs. To get out of that mould, to break that pattern, you need to break the shackles imposed by the mind. Your accumulated negativity stops you from breaking those shackles. 

All problems are illusions of the mind, they are only "situations" that you are dwelling on. 

Be in the present, and discover a space of joy , ease and lightness.

( To be continued)
Dinesh Gopalan,
3 August, 2023

Monday, July 31, 2023


Just back from seeing Oppenheimer. I don't know what I was expecting, but given all the hype around it, I was surprised.

The movie could have been shot in a drawing room, which it probably was. There's a lot of who-dun-it kind of suspense and intrigue, except that I could not figure out what was done. At random points in the movie, when two characters are talking, the music builds up to an insane crescendo, for what is, forget climax, not even a damp squib. 

The hero ultimately seems to have triumphed, but I don't know in what. 

The team that created the Bomb at Los Alamos is legendary. I think it is that awe that the Director is counting upon, for the audience to think that some epic things are happening. 

For about half an hour, just before the interval, I even slept off. 

The problem of course could be that I am not the intellectual kind. I need simple plots, some straight fights, a little bit of romance, and I am happy. I am not saying I like only Govinda movies, but Christopher Nolan may be too intellectual for me.

Wife and son were also there and they liked the movie, and as the  designated driver, I had to stay till the end. 

Perfect waste of a Monday  afternoon. Now don't ask me what I was doing watching a movie on Monday afternoon. A very good friend gifted us three IMAX gold class tickets, since he realised he had booked it at the wrong theatre. And on most Monday afternoons I am essentially doing nothing anyway.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Ruminations on a Tuesday morning

Your innermost beliefs are at variance with your speech and behaviour,  which is dictated by survival considerations. 

As a result, you suffer from severe internal conflict which warps your personality.

Society does not care if you are warped or not, so long as you talk the talk and walk the walk.

The inviolable spiritual law says that you will be at peace only if your thoughts, speech and actions are all aligned. 

Therefore, those who need to progress on the spiritual path need to distance themselves from society, family, and all such structures that being them into proximity with other people.

When you are young, a balance that is tilted more towards society and less towards spirituality seems more  rewarding and is probably essential. 

As you grow older, the balance has to shift. You need to tilt more and more towards spirituality. That is the logic behind the four "ashramas" in Indian philosophy, Brahmacharya / student life, Grihasta / fulfilment of worldly desires, Vanaprastha / giving back to society while being still in it, and Sanyasashrama / giving up everything and focusing on Moksha,  rather than Kama and Artha. Underlying the whole thing is Dharma, which one must not forsake throughout one's life.

But the template of "modern life", with its emphasis on "achievement", "wealth", and "success" keeps us trapped in the grihasta stage like a person on a hedonistic treadmill who is unable to step off. 

So, where lies the answer? How does one strike the right balance? That is an eternal question that needs to be constantly reinterpreted in line with shifting ages and times...

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Oh, the chemicals we eat!

Ah there! One more article on food additives. This one  outlines how aspartame, an artificial sweetener, widely used in all the foods we eat, is a deadly poison. 

Isn't it depressing, reading all this? 

Actually no. Who said aspartame is poisonous? It is FDA approved!, you think. 

We insist on consuming chemicals. In what way is aspartame, a toxic mix of chemicals, food? 

But it is FDA approved, right? All that FDA approval means is that the stuff will kill you slowly.

This is just one food "additive". Our processed and packaged foods contain thousands of additives. In varied combinations. 

"Processed and packaged food" includes table salt, white sugar, and refined oils. And ready to eat foods. Maggi. Biscuits. Ready to eat ( add only hot water) kind of meals. 

No corporation cares for us. No government does either.  No regulator gives a damn. To all of them, we are "consumers", lab rats meant to consume their poisons in order to fatten their wallets. 

The food industry makes us sick, in body and mind, chronically, perpetually sick. And the Pharma industry stands ready to feed us more poisons that will make us sicker. 

The doctors, dieticians, nutritionists ( always add a prefix "so called" when you talk about them) further compound the problem. They are a product of the same system, and whatever they learn is guaranteed to further the interests of the chemical, food, and Pharma companies.  The system ensures that. 

All this is scientifically approved, you say. What science? The reductionist Western science is of no use when it comes to food and health. It is that same science that says that salt is sodium chloride, just a mixture of two elements forming a molecule. But it is, you say! What else is it if it is not sodium chloride! Ok, do one thing, have one box of sodium and one canister of chlorine in your kitchen. Just add both to all your food. You will be fine, trust me, it is scientific. 

But there's a ton of information out there. It's very confusing. What should I do, you ask. 

Well, for starters ignore what the system tells you. Listen to your common sense, and your grandmother. Unless your grandmother happens to be "educated" of course, in which case , don't listen to her.

And follow a few golden rules. Like this one: 

Today's golden rule: 

*Buy only things that grow. (Biscuits don't grow, and neither does Maggi). And cook them yourself, in your own kitchen.*

Did I hear you screaming at that nightmarish suggestion? And, to de-stress, reaching for the phone to order pizza and diet Coke? Since you are off sugar, sugar is unhealthy you see, and only have zero calorie diet coke which has aspartame, that has been approved by FDA as totally safe. 

You eat that pizza, drink that coke, belch, and you are happy... 

God bless you. May you live a long and healthy life!

Friday, April 14, 2023



How to make a woke movie

I had read about how moviemakers are writing movies with woke themes in mind. Didn't realise the full extent of that till I saw this movie "A man called Otto".

The movie hit me hard with its cringeworthy wokeness. 

On the surface, it is a feelgood innocuous movie.

But this is how the scriptwriters went about it.


Crimes against the less able 

White man with one neighbour black family

Bitter white man gets redemption due to immigrant  Mexican family,

Woman is the savior,
Smarter than men,


Transgender thrown out of his ( her, who knows) by dad, 
Golden hearted human being ,

Social media teenager fighting for rights,

Evil all white builder / developers as villains,

Weave everything together into feel good family drama,

Watch the movie at your own peril. You may feel disgusted at the cruel, male, straight, able,  white dominated world,

Or you may feel disgusted at the woke kitsch being served up

One of the two is bound to happen

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

👆 there is always something more than meets the eye.

Seldom is fulsome praise showered,
On even the most deserving,
From a place unselfish and true - 
Most people who praise are self serving!

It is rare to find an altruist,
Even among men of saintly garb;
The grist that goes into the mill,
Enriches the Miller and the Mill! 

Beware of all encomiums,
Even the seemingly unselfish;
Especially those who are in power,
Are used to it and deal with it well!

Flattery is to the sycophant,
Just a tool in his arsenal;
Censure and praise are one to the savant,
Who takes both in his stride!

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


It takes ten times the energy,
To counter something that's fake;
Those who invent fake narratives,
Merit ten times the punishment!

When fakeness is covered with wokedom,
Narratives don sinister forms;
Fake is the entire woke movement,
Perpetrated by so called victims!

It is time we called out their bluff,
Removed the woke monsters from their place;
It is time to shut down the asylum,
And reclaim sanity for the world!

Monday, April 10, 2023

Hi, I am Hanuman

AI is disrupting everything. Most jobs will be rendered obsolete. 

How to then survive in the new normal?

Chill, do nothing, get universal basic income from the government. Food will be available, transportation costs will be close to zero, and  data and communication costs will be close to zero.  But "amotivational syndrome" will increase. Everyone will be a bundle of insecurities complexes, phobias, manias, with fluid identities and no anchors . 

So, you will  immerse yourself in virtual reality games on the web. I plan to be Hanuman in that  massively multiplayer online world. 

Or, you can  take up jobs that AI cannot disrupt. 

 Cook. Barber. Senior Citizen companion. Dog walker.  Sounds very exciting no? 

Sports trainer is no good, Hanuman is not interested in playing badminton. 

Sex worker is an option but the person immersed in the online world will have only enough libido to spare for his avatar, in real life they won't be interested in sex. In any case, they will have lifelike sex toys with a million possible simulations. And given that they don't know what their identity is, they will be very confused about what kind of sex they want. And whatever they do, they will feel guilty about, they will be nervous wrecks. So they will just get back to being Superman or Wonder Woman in the online world. 

You can fall into one of those categories. 

Or, you can figure out how to add value. Do something that the AI cannot do. 

Any formal degree that you pursue may be obsolete by the time you finish the course. 

All universities will be shut. Learning will be free. You can learn advanced nuclear physics sitting at home even today at close to zero cost.  

But you will not have the motivation to learn. You cannot even bear to face the real world. 

So you get back to being Batman in your online Avatar. But  a Batman with a difference. A biologically male Batman, who gender identifies as a trans fluid binary androgyne, with the pronouns Theybe and Theynuts. Your avatar will be fighting real battles in that world, like filing a sexual harrasment case against Wonder Woman who is actually a half male quarter female searching for the right identity to fill the missing quarter in theythem's sexual identity. 

The real world outside with all its stresses like having to talk to people, real people, will be too horrible to contemplate. 

But wait, I am falling into the same trap that this generation is prone to, what do you mean "real world". I am Hanuman and my real world lies elsewhere. 

Let me get back into my world. Bye!

A short parenting guide

Teach your children to follow the rules where it is appropriate to do so. 

Give your children the courage to ignore the rules, and fight for their individual rights and liberties, when it is necessary to do so.

Do not be over protective of your children. They grow and prosper under your shade, but unless they are exposed to the sun, they will wither and shrink. 

Teach them the values of diversity and inclusivenes, of gender parity and fairness. But guard against the modern woke definitions of what these terms mean. Learn to recognise and point out to them where the world is going mad.

Teach them, if you can, the ability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. 

Teach them that they can only expect  the world to do something for them, if they do something for the world. They are not entitled to preferential treatment merely because they exist.

Tell them that the path to happiness is finding that special skill or talent that they possess which will enable them to be of service to others, and to use that talent fruitfully. 

Teach them that money is only a by product, and can never be a goal. 

You wonder if  you have managed to learn these lessons yourself  in the first place? 

Doesn't matter, try teaching  them anyway. So that they don't repeat the same mistakes that we did !

Thursday, March 30, 2023


The epics were set to story,
From the lives and deeds of real men;
The Avatar is allegory,
And inspiration for the real!

Maryada Purushottam,
Ideal man who walked the earth;
In the act of worshipping him,
We imbibe some of his qualities!

We need lodestars to guide us,
On what's right and what's moral;
Gods are personification,
Of all that's high and good in us!

The Lord didn't have an easy time,
When He chose to walk this earth;
His troubles were like the rest of us,
So were his joys and sufferings!

His life serves as lesson for us,
His deeds act as inspiration;
In each one of us there is Ram,
Waiting to emerge with his blessings!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Stand up call-edy

Friend of mine just told me she has to attend a stand up call. She is of course a techie. 

I am confused. What has standing up got to do with a call? Is she not allowed to sit during the call, which she said is not face to face. Wait! If not face to face, it will be bum to bum or what? I mean all meetings are face to face, especially online meetings, or am I mistaken? 

No no it's a scum meeting , she said. Oh, you mean your colleagues admit they are scum, I asked? 

No you dodo , that is scrum meeting , we are all agile, she said. Hello, just yesterday you were complaining of backache, how come you are claiming to be agile?, I said. What do you know, she said, every week  we plan for the next sprint. Now I knew something was wrong, she is hardly the running type, she is more the samosa jalebi rest on her chair type. She was obviously pulling my leg. 

Anyway, back to the stand up call. A few questions come to mind: 

Substituting someone in a stand up call: is it called standing in

Not allowed to attend stand up call as punishment: is that what is standing out

Funny stand up call: that I think is what they call  stand up call-edy

Sex worker soliciting customers at Street corner: should then ideally be a stand up call girl

Cancelled stand up call: is it called a  stand down call

These techies I tell you, what what new terms they invent...

Monday, March 27, 2023

Change in Debt Fund Tax Rules: what should you do?

Following up on my previous article of 25th March (link: )


The changes will be effective from 1 April, 2023, for all investments made on or after 1 April. What this means is that if you invested anytime on or before 31st March, 2023, the old rules will apply even if you sell after 1/4/23.


Why has the government done this? Debt funds enjoyed an unfair advantage over bank deposits because of their tax treatment. This differential treatment has now been removed. This move was always on the cards – it was not a question of if, it was only a question of when.


There are three levels to any investment:



1.     Protect principal, in other words, the risk element. Investments in government securities are better than investments in AAA corporates are better than investments in other companies and NBFC's are better than investments in risky companies, etc.


2.     Protect against inflation. Inflation eats your money away. The "real" return of your investment is the return you get over and above inflation. You hope for at least a zero ( and not negative) real rate of return.


3.     Get a real return. The return you get is proportional to the risk you are willing to take, at least in theory. Philosophically, this makes sense, and practically, this is where the whole subject becomes murky and subjective. How do you assess the risk? How do you decide whether the additional returns are commensurate with the additional risk? Anyway, everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too, but in most cases people struggle for their bread!


Debt is supposed to protect your principal and protect against inflation. It will never really give you a real return. The real return from debt will always range between plus or minus 2 percent. If it is anywhere above plus 2 percent, you need to be wary – there is likely to be additional risk involved.


The options for debt investments are, practically speaking:


1.     Bank deposits and 2. Debt mutual funds.


We are ignoring PF and PPF in this discussion, since it is not a like to like comparison. Investing directly in corporate or NBFC deposits does give a slightly higher return than the above two options, but at a significantly higher risk, so that route is not worth it.


Even when it comes to debt mutual funds, choose only low risk funds which invest in the best quality paper – the extra percent or so that you get from funds that invest in riskier paper is not worth it.


All right, now that the tax arbitrage has been removed, what should one do?


The entire discussion assumes that the returns from debt MF's and Bank FD's are broadly the same which is broadly true (if you wonder why I am hedging in that statement, well, that is in the interest of being broadly correct!).


Advantages of Bank FD's: They are easier to understand.


Disadvantages of Bank FD's: You need to decide which bank and what tenor (duration of investment). The decision on tenor is not an easy one. Every time the FD matures, you have to remember to roll it over. Tax  on FD is payable every year, even if it a "cumulative" FD not paying out periodic interest, thus reducing the effect of compounding. If you cancel an FD prematurely, you pay a penalty.  If the Bank collapses, the Deposit Insurance covers you for only five lakhs; this risk can be mitigated by investing in highly safe banks which the government will ensure will not collapse, and by spreading your FD's across banks.


Advantages of Debt Mutual Funds: They are automatically diversified, since the investments are in a basket of companies and securities, and you can never lose all your money at once. Once you put the money in, you don't have to track maturity, reinvestment, etc. There is no TDS deduction as in banks, which, in my view, does not matter so much, but it does seem to matter to most people. The "capital gains" on sale can be set off against other capital gains and losses.  You pay tax only on sale, and not annually.


So, the answer is clear. Debt funds are the way to go! 


Well, but that is only the first step. A few additional pointers, that you need to keep in mind:


1.     Do not invest in Funds that invest in riskier paper. The additional one or two percent is not worth it.

2.     There is something called interest rate risk which even the safest of debt funds carry. ( see : ). To avoid interest rate risk, it is better to invest in funds that invest in shorter duration paper, like liquid funds, ultra short, short duration funds, and money market funds. However the interest rate cycle is at or near the peak and this is not a concern for the immediate future. In case it looks like there will be an increase in rates at any point in time, one needs to pull out the investments from Funds that invest in longer duration paper and put them in the above mentioned Funds that invest in shorter duration paper.


Huh! I can see you staring at the above paragraph incredulously, thinking – yeh kya tamasha hai, no one tells me all this, and even if they do, I don't understand anything! Kucch samajh me nahin aa raha!


Well, I am sorry, but anything can be made only so simple as to make it understandable, but not so dumbed down that the content is lost. The subject is inherently complex, and I do not know of a simpler way to explain it.



The sum and gist? The advice? You may continue to invest in debt funds, in preference to Bank FD's.  But that still does not absolve you from learning about them and keeping an eye on the market. But then that is true of life in general – nothing absolves you from knowing enough to safeguard your own interests.


Non-Finance people can stop reading at this point.


For Finance folk: d


These changes in rules are for funds that have less than 35 percent equity component. For funds with greater than 65 percent equity, equity rules apply for taxation purposes (15 percent for STCG and 10 percent for LTCG, no indexation).


For the funds holding between 35 and 65 percent equity, the rule continues to be: add to income and pay at slab in case of STCG ( less than three years); if greater than three years, that is, for LTCG, twenty percent tax rate with indexation of purchase price is still applicable!


Isn't that yummy? Even as a person with a reasonably good understanding of Finance, I find that my head it spinning. It is too early in the day, otherwise I would have poured myself a stiff peg of whiskey.



Saturday, March 25, 2023

Change in tax rules on debt investments

Starting April 1, 2023, investments in debt funds will no longer be eligible for indexation benefit on Long Term Capital Gains. 

A small tweak, in small print, in the budget. The government proposes, and the government disposes! But the implications for the investors are quite big.

But it is not easy to understand what this means. Understanding that one sentence above presupposes a knowledge of tax laws and of investment options in financial markets.

So, a small primer on the required essentials first. 

1. You have broadly four kinds of investment options ( there are more but these are the primary ones). Equity, debt, real estate, and gold. They are called asset classes. Each of these carries a different risk-return profile.

2. For each of the above asset classes, you can choose to invest either directly or through mutual funds. 

3. Debt mutual funds are mutual funds that invest in debt paper of various kinds, like debentures of companies, bonds, treasury bills, government securities,  deposits, certificates of deposits, money market instruments... The names are many, and confusing, but essentially debt MF's invest in debt paper of the government or of  various companies or financial institutions. They earn interest on their investments and get their principal back on maturity ( hopefully). All these investments are of the form where they can be bought and sold in the secondary market to other investors, meaning they don't have to wait for the redemption date to get money, someone else is always available to buy the debt paper from you.

4. All investors pay income tax on their income. The tax is based on a slab rate from zero to thirty percent. Income consists of whatever you earn, including interest on your debt investments and dividends on your equity investments, and of course your salary, pension, etc. 

5. What about when you invest in equity shares or land? When you sell them you make a profit ( or loss) . Let's say you buy equity shares of Infosys for one lakh rupees and hold them for seven years. Or buy a piece of land and hold it for 7 years. You get dividends on the  shares every year and nothing on the land of course. The annual dividends  are part of your annual income, and they are just added to your income on which you pay tax.  Let's say you sell the shares, or the land,  after seven years for six lakh rupees.  You have made a "capital gain" of five lakhs. How is this taxed? 

If it is "short term" capital gain, meaning you held the investment for less than one year in case of equity and two years in case of land, the sale price minus purchase price, in other words, the gain of five lakhs is just added to your income for the year, on which income you pay tax.

If it is long term capital gain, you pay tax as follows: 

a) Your purchase price of one lakh is "indexed" upwards based on the  inflation in those seven years that you held the investment, based on an "income tax indexation table". Thus your one lakh becomes, say, one lakh eighty thousand.

b) your capital gain on sale is sale price less indexed purchase price, which is six lakhs minus one lakh eighty thousand, which is four lakh twenty thousand. You pay tax at the flat rate of twenty percent of that, and your tax works out to 84000.

6. All investments in mutual fund units are considered "capital " investments, like the investments in Infosys shares or land above. On sale, they are taxed as per the procedure explained in Point 5.

7. To determine whether the gains are long term or short term, in case of equity mutual funds, the cutoff is one year. In case of debt mutual funds, the cutoff is three years. 

Ok, now let's talk about the amendment to the tax law that is effective from April 1, 2023. Go back and read the first sentence of this article. The special tax treatment for long term capital gains on investments in debt mutual funds will no longer be applicable. In other words, when you sell units of your debt fund, your gain, that is sale price minus purchase price, will just be added to your income for the year, and taxed accordingly. 

Still confused? Don't blame yourself, blame the tax laws, they are designed to befuddle us and create a state of brain freeze. Just go back and read the whole thing again. 

Ok, you went back and read the whole thing again. Or you called your  friend the CA and regretted it, for now you are even more confused. I know very few CA's who can explain things to the layman, forget that, they can't even explain things to each other! 

In any case, you read it again , and now you think you understand what I am talking about. 

The next obvious question is, what is the implication for you? 

We will save that for the next article, coming up soon. 

Now, go and have that coffee, or that stiff peg of whiskey, you need it. Reading about tax is always taxing.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Revisiting Investments and Investing

There is no such thing as a risk-free investment.

Holding cash at home is not risk-free since inflation eats the money away.

Investing in a bank involves varying levels of risk:
- the most safe banks are the scheduled public banks. You expect the government to cover losses if the bank fails. Officially , the deposit insurance cover is only 5 lakhs, but in general the expectation is that the government won't allow the bank to go bust. Ditto for most major private  banks.

Safety does not imply solidity. The balance sheets of most banks are suspect.

The risk is that the real return, that is, return net of inflation, may still be negative, especially on a net of tax basis.

As to investing in banks other than the big ones, the less said about it the better. 

Investing in the stock market is highly risky for several reasons. It is a rigged game, where the muppets keep entering only to get slaughtered in hordes. 

Debt mutual funds carry risks as we saw in the case of Franklin Templeton. In search of a little extra yield, they could invest in illiquid  securities of not so strong companies. In case they invest only in 
supposedly safe long dated  government bonds, that carries interest rate risk, which , as the SVB collapse shows, can be deadly. 

Equity mutual funds carry the same risks as investing in direct equity, plus some more. As an individual investor you would never have invested in Anil Ambani's power project or in Nyka. The fund managers, however, are part of a cosy cabal, which believes in mutual scratching of backs, and what the hell, it is not their money anyway.

Every player in the financial markets has an incentive structure that is at variance with the wellbeing of the investor.

The financial markets are a giant suction machine that keep rotating our  money at great velocities, sucking out a little bit in each round, and to add to it, the machine breaks down once in a while.

Gold, as in physical gold, is always safe. It will protect you from inflation in the long run,  but is highly volatile in the short run. However, central banks are scared of gold, in the same way as religions are scared of sex, it is the only power strong enough to threaten their hegemony. So central banks will do everything in their power to curb gold, ban it, demonise it, and in general harass those who hold it. 

Money is supposed to be a "store of value". That is the biggest bullshit fed to us by economists. Economists, by the way, are a totally clueless bunch whose job depends on pretending to be erudite.

An economist consulting a tarot card reader, to raise interest rates, might end up in a better outcome, 

Ditto, an equity fund manager consulting a monkey with a dartboard , to help him choose stocks. 

Cryptos, commodities, options, futures, derivatives, currencies and the like are all  scam games to divest the investor of his money, except that the word investor is inappropriate, hopeful idiots is a better term. In a gambling den, only the house wins. Always.

So then, what to do? 

Money loses value hence one needs to invest in things other than money.

Which things? 

For that, let's go back to the basics of investment.

Anything that will not result in the investor losing his principal. That is the first rule: not to lose the principal.

Anything that is real: that is, is tangible, has a use for someone, and carries real value.

Anything for which the demand from the people will increase over time. Rising demand gets reflected in the price.

Anything that will not collapse overnight, like banks tend to do nowadays.

Anything that has been considered as investment for ages, and will continue to be considered as such.

Anything not subject to black swan events. Black swans seem to be getting  increasingly frequent nowadays. 

Any suggestions? 

Responses are welcome

Monday, March 13, 2023

On food: simple rules, common sense

Watch the video and be shocked.

The solution is not to have better guidelines and monitoring.

The solution is to cook  food at home, or  order from the neighbourhood auntieji who cooks food at home. 

Avoid all "big chain operations" like McD's , KFC, Dominos, Subway... 

Avoid all processed foods made in a factory.

And then, and only then, go to the next level.

Next level:

Replace refined oil with cold pressed oils.

Replace milk with organic milk, and reduce milk in the diet.

Replace atta with wheat bought by yourself and peesofied in the local chakki.

Replace "table" salt with raw sea salt.

Reduce consumption of white sugar.

Increase organic gud in the diet, by substituting it for sugar where possible.

That takes care of oil, sugar, fat, milk and wheat.

Then, go to the next level. This level is good to have, and depends on affordability and availability.  

Replace veggies with organic veggies.  

Replace fruits with organic fruits.

Then, go to the next level:

Reduce wheat and milk in the diet.

But, throughout, from stage one, continue to have butter, ghee and coconut in the diet. Lots of it.

In parallel: 

Reduce food consumption itself. Eat only "half stomach". 

Have more and more whole foods, less and less carbs, less and less grains, and more and more veggies and fruits. Reduce meat in the diet, and if you eat meat, ensure it is "free range" or "natural" and not from poultry farms or fish farms. Obviously, this means cooking at home since even the best of fine dining restaurants won't follow all this.

If you have allergy issues, or strange stomach problems, first try cutting out milk and wheat from the diet. There is a high probability that the problems will disappear.

In parallel: 

Try and follow the rules of food combination. But that is the subject of a whole separate post, or series of posts. 


The more the food is removed from your direct control or oversight the worse it gets.

The more the food comes from corporates or chains or organisations the worse it gets.

The more the food is commoditised and gets made in industrial kitchens the worse it gets.

The more the deliveries you get from Swiggy or Zomato the worse it gets. 

The more you want "convenience", the worse it gets. 

The more the "western" influence the worse it gets.

The more you follow the advice of your allopathic doctor or nutritionist, the worse it gets.

Each of the above assertions can be the subject of a separate article, but then, why do we need all that?

Common sense should tell you that what I am saying should be broadly correct, and , directionally the way to go. 

The more you go away from common sense the worse it gets.


So why exactly did Silicon Valley Bank collapse?

They had a lot of money in their current accounts parked at zero percent. All they had to do was invest it in Treasury Bills at say 0.25 percent.

They invested in long dated Mortgage Backed Securities, since they got more return, the exact number is not so important, so let's say  4 percent. 

Now that's a big one. It needs some explanation. What is "long dated" , what is "mortgage backed" etc. etc.

But, before that, what is a bank? A bank is essentially an institution that takes on short term liabilities in the form of deposits, and lends out long term. They lend at a rate higher than what they borrow at thus making a "spread". This spread has to be enough to cover their costs, and bad debts, and yield a profit. 

If they lend long term using money received from short term deposits, they have a problem. If ask the depositors ask for their money back, the bank does not have enough money to repay them. 

Depositors will keep their money with the bank so long as they are assured that it is safe. The moment they feel that the bank is in trouble, they will rush to draw their money out. When more than a particular percentage of the depositors queue up outside the bank, the bank will collapse. Thus, rumour of a collapse becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. 

No Bank in the world can survive a run on its deposits. And every bank lends long term against short term deposits.

The long term securities that SVB loaded up on to make more money on interest , were, from this prospective , thus ok. 

However, they bought long dated government securities with fixed cash flows. Now here's the thing with long tenor bonds. They carry something called interest rate risk. 

What is interest rate risk? Let's say you have a twenty year bond carrying an interest of one percent. And the Central Bank raises the interest rate from one to four percent. Anyone who is investing freshly has a choice. He can buy newly issued  4 percent bonds, or he can buy your bonds at such a price that the "yield" still works out to four percent. Obviously he will pay a lower price for your bonds. 

So, when the Fed raises rates, the bonds that you hold drop in value. Every bank that holds these bonds needs to "mark down" the value of their bond holdings in their Balance Sheet.  This is called mark to market. 

Now, SVB had bought long dates Mortgage Backed Securities, which is an additional problem. The bonds in question were backed by interest payments received from housing loans. Now, when interest rates in the market go up, there is additional stress on people who have mortgages who find it difficult to repay their loans and they can do one of two things: increase their monthly EMI's, or keep their EMI's the same and increase the period of their loans. Obviously, they will mostly opt for the latter. That, in turn, increases the effective tenor of the underlying bonds, which in turn, increases the impact of interest rate increases, which in turn, reduces their price further.

Now, all banks have bonds on their Balance Sheet. They are listed as "Assets". They need to "mark to market" their bonds in the Balance Sheet daily, that is, change the asset values to reflect the current market value. If the value goes up, it's a profit, if the value goes down, it's a loss.

So, that's the background. 

What did SVB do?

SVB had a lot of money parked in their current accounts by depositors at zero percent interest. They could have invested that in 0.25 percent Treasury Bills and their CEO and CFO could have continued playing golf and giving speeches on gender diversity, inclusion, sexual orientation, climate change and the Ukraine war. But what did they choose to do? They of course continued to give speeches on the above subjects - every good US citizen is supposed to do that - but they chose to invest their deposits in long dated mortgage backed securities. 

So far, so good.  Then...

Over the last few months the Fed raised interest rates rapidly. The value of the bonds in the SVB portfolio fell. In their case the fall was steeper since they were all MBS (not Mohammad Bin Salman that great prince villain whose opponents are known to mysteriously disappear, but, you got it, Mortgage Backed Securities). 

Now, SVB needed money. So they sold a large part of their bond portfolio. At a huge loss.  Plus of course, whether they sold it or not, the "mark to market" rule ensured that they "wrote down" their bond portfolio assets, and they suffered a huge loss. This huge loss wiped out their Reserves. They needed to get in additional funds. For which they had to raise equity. Now, they chose a bad time to announce that they needed to raise equity, when there was news in the market of another bank being in trouble. Or, it could merely be the fact that they announced it when the CFO had time between two of her golf matches. We don't know. In any case, the market heard the news, and  what the market heard was "the bank is in trouble". 

So people rushed to transfer their money elsewhere. The rumour spread. More people withdrew their money. 

The share price plummeted - now, that is an entirely different angle, which introduces another dimension. And how the share price plummeted! From around 250 dollars to around 40 dollars. in a few hours. 

Meanwhile, people realised they were not able to withdraw their money. Since the bank had no money.

Who are these people? A lot of them are CEO's of start-ups -  start ups are a special kind of  Ponzi Scheme which is a story for another day - who had parked their hardly earned VC money - oops, that is supposed to hard earned - in current accounts with SVB. 

And the weekend comes. It is Friday evening and the bank people have placed a call to the Fed. The CEO's of the start-ups, are chewing their nails. Everyone is on tenterhooks.

Will the government do it or won't it do it? Do what? Rescue the bank by infusing funds. Whose funds? The taxpayer's funds, obviously. 

We know the answer to that one. If 2008 is any indication. We also know who runs the US government. Wall Street does. As I am about to post this article, breaking news is that the US government has decided to step in and bail out the depositors of SVB Bank. But those who hold equity in the bank or have subscribed to its bonds will be wiped out. Totally.

The CEO's of the start-ups will therefore be able to service their payroll, and in general, continue to burn their VC's money. They are happy. 

The CEO and CFO of SVB will no doubt, meanwhile, release a statement saying:

" We at SVB are a highly ethical bank committed to safeguarding the interests of our depositors and shareholders,  and upholding gender diversity, inclusion, one hundred and twenty five sexual orientations, climate change and we support the government in the Ukraine war".

The headlines in the newspaper tomorrow will say "SVB Bank is not progressive. They support only 125 sexual orientations!"

Sunday, March 12, 2023


Silicon Valley Bank is bust,
Iconic neon lit big name bites the dust;
We thought implosion and sudden death,
Happened only to mere mortals!

All banks are a collective fiction,
Dealing in illusory notes;
Money was invented and is sustained,
By Fiat: belief in what is not real!

Nothing has really been lost,
The world looks same as before;
Except a reordering of debt,
Numbers of who owes whom and what!

An edifice built on a belief,
In a commonly held illusion;
At the root of it is money,
Which itself is a work of fiction!

A Massively Multiplayer Game,
Obsessively deranged players,
A world of its own, a Universe,
In which our avatars play;

And then one variable strays,
In ways that were not programmed for;
The whole world comes collapsing down,
On top of the players' heads!

The programmer has lost control,
Once the game starts in earnest;
A million things can and will go wrong,
And no one person holds the reins!

We live in a simulation,
Created by this thing called money;
Nothing has actually been lost,
Except a few players their chips!

And yet the world comes crashing down,
Dreams, desires and reality:
On how much fiction are our lives built!
We live in stories within stories!

Monday, March 6, 2023


When would you take a poison?
When the costs exceed the benefits.
Every pill you pop is not free.
A pain killer only stops the pain signals!

To have continuous power supply,
You can choose to bypass the fuse,
And every time the voltage goes high,
Your body will sizzle and fry!

We first take all the foods,
That are not food at all,
But a bunch of chemicals,
Designed to screw our insides!

Then we sit unthinking,
Not moving our ass at all,
While the brain is whirring,
With all kinds of stressful thoughts!

We binge in front of the TV,
On laziness and packaged foods,
Sleep with our stomachs heavy,
At unconscionably late hours!

We binge, we slop, we sit, we flop,
We eat chemical gooey drops,
We scream, we rant, we fight, we can't
Seem to get of anything enough!

The body sputters, the mind complains,
Saying all this is wrong,
We make it shut the fuck up,
By feeding it poison pills that bypass!

The food industry makes us sick,
For what it feeds us is not food;
The pharmacy makes it worse still,
With its packaged poisons!

The drug industry makes us sicker,
The doctors are licensed killers;
When the drugs are not quite enough,
They feed us with their vaccines!

And so we the  living dead,
Walk around like zombies;
A bunch of putrid chemical waste,
And minds that are numb!

Mere cogs in the giant wheel,
That exists to feed itself,
And takes every drop of blood from us,
In the name of our health! 

Saturday, March 4, 2023


Going through the maze of life's jungle,

Is difficult at the best of times;

We need a compass to guide us,

And firm  principles to live by!


We stand on the shoulders of those,

Who went before us and laid a path,

For us to learn from and follow,

Before forging new ones of our own!


Those who would want us to get lost,

Will first remove all these guides from us,

Make us doubt all that's good, and our past,

Cut our moorings from under us!


And supply false values in their stead,

Misleading principles to live by;

It has always been that progress,

Has been stopped by self-styled Liberals!


Most proponents of the New Liberal,

And that stands for the very young too,

Would set their own houses on fire,

To show their devotion to their cause!


We need to beware of false Gods,

For Gods are but ideals to live by;

All that is Bullshit and not good,

We need to reject and call out!


Let's not throw out the Baby too,

While throwing out the Bathwater;

Let's be proud of our traditions:

Only build something that will last!


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Food needs to have a soul too

Zero-calorie sweetener linked to heart attack and stroke, study finds

Quote: "Erythritol looks like sugar, it tastes like sugar," unquote

That is precisely the problem isn't it?

Food is a way of transferring life, or prana, life energy , from one organism to another. Plants store it from the sun, and our bodies thrive on those whole foods and assimilate them.

In our arrogance, we think we can manufacture foods in our factories. It looks the same, it tastes the same, but the prana is missing, and all you are ingesting is a bunch of chemicals. As if a bunch of kothmir leaves is nothing but a linear addition of a few chemicals and calories. 

The problem starts with  the thinking paradigms introduced by Western science. They are reductionist paradigms and they have their place, while, say, understanding Newtonian physics, but are entirely unsuitable for application when it comes to health and nutrition.

The entire calorie and "nutritional" breakdown labels that are printed on food packaging, on restaurant menus, and bandied about as food science,  based on which so called nutritionists ply their trade is completely useless, without any basis, and based on the wrong paradigms.

Which is why , I often say, if your MBBS trained doctor, or so called nutritionist trained in the western allopathic school, gives you any dietary advice, it is most times beneficial to do the exact opposite.

As to "looks the same, tastes the same, and hence must be the same", 

Pasteurised, homogenised milk looks the same, tastes the same, as milk, but is not milk 

As to "dairy whitener" , forget not being milk, it is an abomination.

"Refined " oil, is not oil 

"Iodised" "table" salt is not salt

"White" sugar is not sugar in the sense that "nattu sakkarai / vellum / gud" is. Sugarcane juice, for example, is good for health, even for diabetics. 

"Artificial" sweeteners are advertised as good for health because sugar is bad. So , finally, we eat a bunch of chemicals, and still feel good about ourselves.

Why do we still feel good about ourselves? Because advertisers have convinced us that all that crap we eat is food.

Like carbonated soda passing off for water, the nutritional labels will inform you it is all kosher,

Or, Hershey's Strawberry Sauce  properly FDA authorised, hygienically processed, in factories and  "GMP" certified, which does not have any strawberries! 

I am serious , check the label and see for yourself ...

Thursday, February 23, 2023


Where gender is fluid,
Depends on your mood,
Or even time of day,
Each  they has one  pronoun!

Where Caste is rigid,
Even obscure ones,
Of people who fled there,
Leaving it behind! 

Where your  race is your fault,
And what your ancestors did,
If you're white you can't,
Hold your head high! 

Where merit is dying,
Mediocre is in,
Showing any talent,
Is just elitism!

Where children are poached,
And brainwashed daily,
Sent by their parents,
Like cattle to the slaughter!

Where activism is in,
Under the Circus Top,
Only the clowns can speak,
Others forced to shut up!

Where all safe pillars,
Are being demolished,
So they stand rootless,
Guilt ridden and terrified!

Alice in Wonderland,
Went down the rabbit hole,
See, today's she's emerged,
In the US of A!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


For investing in debt, one can go the direct route, or through a Mutual Fund.

Direct route involves a lot of tracking, with the onus of choosing the right instruments to invest in. It is also tax inefficient, especially for those whose annual income exceeds ten lakhs.

Debt MF's come in several flavours.

They can vary based on:

Risk: lower return lower risk funds investing in only govt securities or AAA. 

MF's that promise higher return through investing in lower rated securities. In the Indian debt market the "excess" return is very low, not enough to cover the additional risk. Hence, it is better to stick to low risk options.

Duration: Funds which invest in higher duration securities carry an interest rate risk. This is not correlated to safety, and is an independent factor.

In a rising interest rate scenario, it is better to stick to low duration funds. This was the case in the last two or three years. However, interest rates have reached a high point now, and though one can't say whether they have peaked, it is reasonable to assume no substantial increase in rates in the near future.

Read "near future" as three to five years.

If one wants to mitigate interest rate risk entirely , it is good to  invest in Target Maturity Funds.

These are funds that have a Target Date in their name, and invest only in risk free securities maturing on that date. For example , a 2027 fund, invests in risk free securities maturing on June 30, 2027.

It makes sense to invest in such a fund provided the target date is at least three years away ( for reasons of tax efficiency) and provided you expect to hold to maturity. 

Currently, these are the TMP Funds available in the market: 

IDFC CrisilIBX  ---- choose depending on target date 

Edelweiss Nifty PSU Bond Plus SDL Index Fund - 2026

Nippon india nifty AAA CPSE Bond plus SDL - choose depending on target date

Worth considering in my view. For investing in debt in the current market scenario, they are good options.

Two links for aditional reading: 

Sunday, February 19, 2023


The US is of late seeing a lot of Unidentified Flying Objects, including Chinese balloons, over its skies, and scrambling jets to shoot them down 


We all see balloons in the sky,
Imaginary Flying Objects;
They have been sent up there to spy,
And keep a watch over us!

Inimical power, foreign hand,
Trying to interfere in our lives;
They watch us by day and in our sleep,
With an aim to stop our best laid plans!

Too many accidents of late,
My generally sad and messy fate,
All that I wished for but died, 
All due to those balloons in the sky;

Shoot them down, shoot them down,
Charge in on our F22 steeds,
Send our Exorcist missiles,
Says Biden Quixote to his people! 

Everyone needs a favourite bugbear;
Every nation, leader turns senile;
Everyone sees balloons in the sky,
And shoots them, at some point in their lives! 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Ah, for a fresh chai...

The more you become well off, the more you get cut off from what matters

What matters is a hot cup of tea, with ginger, made with fresh milk. 

It is very easy to get at any roadside thapri. Guy makes wonderful tea in front of your eyes, you have it hot, and you pay ten rupees.

Now shift that scene to a hotel, imagine a few stars with the name.

You have dip dip bags kept in the room. Dip dip chai is like dishwater so let's not even talk about it.

If you order room service , by the time it comes, it will be cold. So let's go to the coffee shop.

You go to the coffee shop and order "freshly made " ginger tea. Now here's the thing. As you go up on the social ladder, the definition of "fresh" is stretched. What you are likely to get is tea made sometime in the last one hour and kept in a thermos. So you return it, and demand that they make it "fresh". 

This time they get it. They make some fresh tea and get it for you. But it is not the same. It is just not the same.

I am at a hotel in Surat now, having breakfast , and this story is repeating itself for the umpteenth time.

I intend to stop on the way to the office at a thapri.

Ah, for a fresh chai...

Thursday, February 2, 2023


I can feel the pull of rhyme,
Tugging inexorably,
It is now perhaps time,
To give in totally!

To rhyme or not to rhyme,
Is the eternal question,
Not rhyming is a crime,
To some,
And to some it isn't!

Of late my poems don't rhyme,
Does it mean I'm progressing?
That is the least of my crimes,
Say the victims crying for mercy!

As they choke on their morning coffee,
Reading my latest missive,
With a horrified fascination,
Self inflicted torture! 

I am going to take a poll,
In true Elon style,
Should my poems rhyme or not,
Let my audience decide!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Adani share prices highly inflated , at obnoxious pe's. Have gone up 800 percent in the last three years. 

Then comes the FPO which is at a "discount" to current prices.

Prices have been consistently propped up by shadow firms operating from overseas havens.

Banks meanwhile have lent 2 lakh crore to the group. There seems to have been no due diligence conducted except to see if it is under the rbi mandated "group exposure limit", which is what the banks are saying in their own defence. 

Some random fellow operating under the code name Hindenburg writes a report that says mostly what has always been common knowledge.

"There is an elephant in the room" says Hindenberg.

Who gave Hindenburg the right to see the elephant? Say people. 

Hindenburg is funded by anti national forces. 

This is all to do with Vizhinjam port, they don't want India to progress.

People are jealous of india.

The timing of spotting the elephant, just before the elephants' coming out parade called elephant budget, is suspect.

Who removed the purdah covering the elephant?

Pakistan is in trouble. They have no elephants.

The elephant"s owner has taken over a port in Israel.

Everyone is talking about why there should be no elephant, but no one actually wants to say that the elephant is there , right in front of them. 

Meanwhile, "family offices" of "HNI's" bail the FPO out. A few calls from the PMO may have had something to do with it. Or, maybe, all of them , doing independent research, stumbled upon the fact, overnight, that this is not an elephant, but a golden goose, and a delectable buying opportunity, which, the general public, obsessed as it is with elephants, cannot see. 

India has been saved! , Say the chorus people.

We have just defeated a plot to destabilise the country!

Jai Hind! 

This ranks among our famous victories, along with Kargil!

And the chorus goes marching all the way, singing patriotic songs ...