Monday, November 09, 2015

This Diwali gift yourself a good habit

After a long time I am so excited about a novel.

The Martian, by Andy Weir (which has also been made into a super successful movie) is taking up all my spare time and more. So, while my son plays around, is busy drawing or jumping on things, I am busy poring over the exploits of Mark Whatney, struggling all alone with death & disco on Mars.
My friend Karan often admonishes me that nowadays I don’t read much, something that gave me so much happiness. Well, Karan, I am trying to buddy, not as prolifically as you do, but I am trudging along. Thank God for ebooks :).  

Reading for me, is somewhat, an out of body experience. It provides me with perspective & insights. It’s a way for me to organise / germinate new thoughts. And of course, vicarious life-in-life pleasure.

Take fiction books for instance, if you really like the book, you are transported to the world & (sometimes) become the character too, that is described in the book. I can shamelessly admit, that I have had my days when I was Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, Lando Sackett, Howard Roark for weeks on end and loving every moment of it. Just like right now, I am on Mars, and visualising a marooned astronaut’s life on the red planet.

Nonfiction, is even more interesting. You get to learn from great minds sharing their ideas/thoughts in detail with you from within the pages as if they are personally teaching you. How often, you come across a super intelligent chap with something worth sharing who is also willing to talk to mere mortal like me? Not very often, I must say. So Jared Diamond teaches me about his life-long findings, geniuses & insiders unravel the intricacies of the mind of Buffet & Munger (yet to read Munger one) and Damodaran expounds on what he does best, Valuation. All in the comfort of my place, my time and as many times as I like to revise. And I feel blessed.

Reading is one of the most important achievements of my life, it has made me what I am. But all this was just ramblings. All I wanted to say, was that I am dying to watch the movie. But first, I must finish the book.

So this Diwali, 1) gift yourself a book (and a habit of reading), and 2) invest in GOOD QUALITY stocks.

Happy Diwali. 

Friday, November 06, 2015

Questions that India must ask

My heart goes out to the victim of Dadri lynching. Such acts are deplorable.

Appalled? Yes!! But lets "choose" our response that can make a difference
But my heart also goes out to Sikhs massacred in 1984, Army, CISF & BSF Jawans losing life & limb daily to keep India safe, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs & all others killed in riots since Independence. In short, there is much to mourn, much to deplore. But even if we all “mourn & deplore” what exactly will change? Nothing.

Since so much national time and energy is being spent on the scourge of “intolerance” in India, I don’t want to add to the brouhaha. Allow me to draw attention, to our RESPONSE as a nation to such incidents.

Lets ask the right questions
We, are pointing fingers, returning awards, demanding statements, taking out marches, but surprisingly, neither the media, nor the opposition is asking that the perpetrators be booked and brought to justice. Hardly anyone is asking why the Police has not arrested the guilty? Why nobody is shouting why perpetrators of horrifying cases like Badayun are still roaming free? Why guilty of murdered children not caught? Why mass murderers of Bhopal are allowed to escape the country in a Govt plane?

Isnt that strange? Does it not show that we Indians have become so used to the “law (not) taking its due course” and the guilty never punished that we have all but forgotten to ask for justice in this country?

Today, we all clamour for no-consequence statements by politicians and get satisfied by some high decibel shouting by Arnab Goswami. We see our politicians getting photos clicked with victim’s family and then forget justice for the victim? Doesn’t it reflect the 60-years’ accumulated mistrust of the law & justice delivery mechanism?

Only Justice can solve issues, not political drama

Let’s all demand that the guilty be punished. ASAP caught, tried and punished. Only swift & inevitable punishment will deter further acts from happening. Neither the PM’s statement nor Sonia Gandhi’s 1.4km long protest marches will solve the matter. 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Kejri Correction

The Delhi Vidhan Sabha (State Govt.) elections are being seen as a big event by the media. Maybe it is significant because it might be the one last hurrah of anti-BJP parties to stop the Modi-BJP juggernaut.  A defeat here will certainly deflate them for the more crucial and larger state elections due later.

Since Delhi sends only 7 MPs (or 1.3% of total MPs) to the Parliament, even a NIL tally hardly makes any significant impact for the ruling party or indication of its popularity. A neck to neck contest, will mean even less so for the NDA. 

Nonetheless, it is being built up as the first (possible) setback for BJP. Some reports indicate that AAP may actually take the lead in a photo finish or with Congress support.

Scenarion of Possible AAP win: the positives for India
However, an AAP win may be in some way beneficial for the country.

Talks over, show the work now: So far, AAP has only been in the talking mode. Talk is easy.  In my view, their ability to run even a small city-state like Delhi is arguable.

Kejriwal & Co.'s ability of organization & direction, crucial for good administration are un proven. Also, their disregard of basic economics sense & their penchant for biased populism runs a danger of anarchy and their actions may soon be stymied by litigations & PILs. Their last time, some of their decisions regarding power bills reprives etc. was biased & questionable, in my opinion. Even 1-2 years of government will expose their skills (or lack of it) to everybody.

In other words, they will be forced to walk their talk. Sure AAP can for some time manage, by running huge deficits and by creating a smorgasbord of policies succeed in fooling the people for some time. But eventually, the citizen will see through and assess whether she is happy or otherwise.

  • IF AAP Govt. succeeds & Delhi is better off: BJP will have competition, and India will have a viable alternative to the regional parties. Since long India, has been looted by Islamic invaders, the British and of late, the Congress (Ghandy-Nehru family) party. We terribly need good alternatives to achieve optimal growth & eradicate poverty.
  • IF AAP Govt. fails & Delhi is a mess:  If they fail and Delhi state machinery comes to a chaos, then at least the nation will have a model to compare BJP/Modi’s Governance with.

Bihar elections more crucial - Rajya Sabha superiority crucial

Already, due to their numerical superiority in the Rajya Sabha, the opposition is able to stonewall progressive bills like the Coal bill etc. that the NDA introduces. This is expected to continue for some more time.

Hence, it is imperative for the NDA to grab control of the Upper House to get any meaningful work done. This is because, the more time is wasted, the more frustrated the electorate may get. Bihar has 16 members in the Rajya Sabha (6.5% of total), Delhi none.

In this stalemate situation, the anti incumbency feeling against NDA may increase and impact them in the Bihar elections, due later. An anarchist AAP Govt. in the not Delhi, even for a few months, will be a good contrast to the Central Govt. and may actually help NDA avoid the anti-incumbency factor in Bihar elections.

Video: Cheesy...but says it.He he :) 

For markets: Discounts time
The Delhi Legislative Assembly election results will come out on Tuesday, 10th Feb 2015. If some media reports are right and the AAP/Congress are able to cobble together a majority, the markets may take a correction that many experts have been waiting for some time now.

In that scenario, I don’t expect blue chips to be impacted much, but midcaps and especially lesser known/covered stocks may see significant correction. I feel, this may be a good opportunity to accumulate quality stocks at discounts.