29 June 2011

Heart of Darkness: A Few Excerpts

In my last post, I had mentioned that, over the next few weeks, I would post lists of my favourite books and Web sites. In the first such post in the series, here's a short note on one of my favourite books

Eighteen years ago, I read
 'Heart of Darkness', a novel by Joseph Conrad. The novel, which barely runs into about 120 pages, captures the ideas of slave trade and the ruthlessness of colonialism and imperialism, through the eyes of a European sailor.

Most importantly, the highly philosophical novel focuses on the 'human condition', a subject that has always fascinated me.

Here are a few excerpts from 'Heart of Darkness'. 

To tear treasure out of the bowels of the land was their desire, with no more moral purpose at the back of it than there is in burglars breaking into a safe.

They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force — nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
 They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind — as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea — something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to. . .

It is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence — that which makes its truth, its meaning — its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible.We live, as we dream — alone. . . .

I don't like work—no man does—but I like what is in work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself, not for others—what no other man can ever know.

The mind of man is capable of anything — because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage — who can tell? — but truth — truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder — the man knows, and can look on without a wink. But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true stuff — with his own inborn strength. Principles? Principles won't do. Acquisitions, clothes, pretty rags — rags that would fly off at the first good shake. No; you want a deliberate belief.

No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is; and as to superstition, beliefs, and what you may call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze.

Droll thing life is — that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself — that comes too late — a crop of unextinguishable regrets. I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable grayness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid skepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be

I wanted to reproduce a few more excerpts; however, the fear of boring you prompted me to reproduce just a few ideas from Conrad's magnum opus, which have deeply impacted me.

28 June 2011

Why I read only The Economist

I have often been asked about how and where do I collect information, what magazines and books I read, and what Web sites do I frequent.

Over the next few weeks, I will publish the names of my favourites books and Web sites. As for magazines, I read only The Economist. Why only the ET? I do not have to go far to give you the reasons. The current issue of the magazine, featuring a cover story on China, will lend the important reasons: comprehensiveness, incisive analysis, uncommon perspective, and loads of easy-to-interpret infographics.

Let me cite an excerpt from ET's cover story on China as a Rising Power, Anxious State:

"China’s rapid recovery from the global financial crisis, and the West’s continuing malaise, have had a profound psychological impact on many Chinese. Emotions ranging from pride to Schadenfreude permeate official rhetoric. Diplomats treat their Western counterparts with a tinge of condescension. What is great about socialism, crowed the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, in March last year, is that it enables China “to make decisions efficiently, organise effectively and concentrate resources to accomplish large undertakings”. In the eyes of some Chinese, and even some foreigners, authoritarianism has gained a new legitimacy.
"China is likely to disappoint those who believed that the country’s embrace of globalisation would usher in greater political freedoms over the next few years. James Mann, an American journalist, gave warning of this in a 2007 book, “The China Fantasy: Why Capitalism Will Not Bring Democracy to China”, suggesting that a quarter of a century from now China’s “current system of modernised, business-supported repression could well be vastly more established and entrenched”. A lot can happen in 25 years, but the line-up for next year’s change of leadership does not give cause for optimism." 
In just two paragraphs, the story captures ideas on which tens of books have been written. I relate to the publication's emphasis on free trade and globalisation, which can be great change agents, to promote better quality of life and economic development.

Here's an infographic on the same story:

I like the way tonnes of information has been presented via a single infographic. Sheer beauty.

The Economist has often been accused of being snobbish, First World-ish, presenting caricatured portraits of rising powers like India, and too simplistic. 

All this is ok with me; what matters to me is the treasure trove of information that I can glean from each issue of The Economist.

If you wish to read The Economist's cover story on China, click here and here. Do not forget to read the comments.

27 June 2011

Economic Activity and the Super Rich

Leading economies of the world, like the U.S., Japan, and Germany, suffered contraction of economic activity (in other words, recession) in 2008 and 2009. 

However, emerging economies, like India and China, saw only a slowdown in economic growth. 

The fall in economic activity across the world brought enormous economic hardship for people, especially for those living on the margins. For example, in India, slowdown in economic activity and high inflation has, over the last three years, pushed one more than one crore (ten million) households below the poverty line.

Did the economic turbulence affect the wealthy also?

No, if you go by the infographic above. According to the annual world wealth report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the wealth of HNWIs around the world reached U.S.$42.7 trillion in 2010, rising nearly 10% in a year and surpassing the peak of U.S.$40.7 trillion reached in 2007, even as austerity budgets were implemented by many governments in the developed world.

India has over 1,53,00 millionaires, a 20.8% rise from previous figure, making it the country with the 12th largest number of the super-wealthy. 

So the world's richer are getting richer by the day. I know Anil Ambani will beg to differ with me!

(Source for the infographic: Guardian)

26 June 2011

Music Videos: What's Going On, Ee Velalo, Ai Ajnabi!

Weekend Music Video Time!

Marvin Gaye's voice is divine. Watch this video of the number titled 'What's going on'. The music is beyond words. Soul-stirring.

'Ee Velalo Neevu', from the Telugu romance, Gulabi, is lilting and cool.

Let me round up with Ae Ajnabi, a Hindi number from the disaster of a film, 'Dil Se'.

So said Rumi: 'It is Love that holds everything together, and it is the everything also.' 

24 June 2011

Slut Walk: Is India Ready?

Tomorrow - June 25 - Delhi will witness India's first-ever 'Slut Walk'. 

all started when in January this year, a Canadian police officer remarked that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”. 

Expectedly, the seemingly derogatory remarks led to a massive outcry with women taking to streets in what are now called 'Slut Walks'. The first Slut Walk took place in Toronto. 

It would amuse you to know that the Delhi Slut Walk has a Hindi name too — Besharmi Morcha — which in transliteration would mean 'Shameless Walk'; in other words, Walk Without Shame.

Says Umang Sabarwal, a journalism student at Delhi University and the moving spirit behind the Delhi Slut Walk: 
“You cannot justify violence by saying that the woman was not appropriately dressed... Indian women are conditioned to behave in a certain way so as to “protect themselves”, while men are hardly ever told how to behave. Why am I told not to wear skimpy clothes at night or make eye contact with strangers who stare at me? Every section of society is putting pressure on [the woman] to feel ashamed.”
The fiesty young woman is right; Indian men, like men elsewhere, have double standards and are downright hypocrites. They would want 'other' women (read women outside one's family and friends) to be clad in skimpy clothes but not their own kind. 

As for this Indian version of Slut Walk, I do not support it. I can not accuse Indian feminists of being original; yes, in this case too, they are aping the West. Nothing wrong with that, actually. 
However, I wonder if they have got their priorities right. 

Writing in the Hindustan Times, Amrit Dhillon says,  

"[L]et the Indian SlutWalkers dare claim there is anything remotely serious about their caper. In a country where 10 million babies have been killed in the womb because they were girls, where women are burnt for dowry, murdered in honour killings, face domestic violence so frequent it’s as common as a power cut, where Dalit women fear sexual humiliation by upper caste men and where young girls are forced into prostitution, who needs the right to dress like a slut? And while we are listing women’s sorrows, a recent global survey by TrustLaw found India to be the fourth most dangerous place in the world for women.
Such a misguided protest only serves to mock Indian women and the real issues they face. I doubt if the women who roll beedis all day long for Rs30 are going to shout ‘hurrah’ when they hear about the SlutWalk. Indian women are still denied so many fundamental rights that this preposterous event, performed by women who are aping the antics of white, educated, middle-class females in the West (who appear to be short of genuine problems in their lives), can only be a bagatelle.
"[...] SlutWalkers inhabit a fantasy world if they think they can be invulnerable to the force of culture, history and social conditioning — and the fact that most of us take three seconds to form an opinion of someone based on their appearance or accent.
"It’s odd that the women who will be participating in SlutWalk have not been out on the streets denouncing female foeticide or dowry deaths. No doubt they will get their regulation 15 minutes but if they believe that Indian women lie awake at night wishing they could dress like a strumpet without attracting a glance, they are delusional." 
 I could have hardly put it better.

22 June 2011

Indian States & Their Global Equivalents

Sometimes a single picture can reveal more than a thousand-word story. 

Today's Daily Chart on The Economist Web site carries a terrific feature: the global equivalents of Indian states - in terms of GDP, GDP per person, and population.

You can access this interactive feature here.

A couple of years back, I found a similar map from Strange Maps, a Web site now renamed 'big think'. Though the map below is based on 2007 GDP figures, it still reveals a lot about the size of the GDP of these states and their global equivalents.

If we take the 2010 GDP figures, then the GDP of India at U.S.$1.4 trillion would be almost equal to the GDP of Texas, but would be less than the GDP of California (U.S.$1.8 trillion)!

In the next few days, I will post a few more 'equivalents' pictures. 

20 June 2011

Reading the Market, China Hubris, & Other Reads

Should we believe 'news' / 'punditry' when it comes to predicting the stock market? (Ritholtz)

Deepak Lal on the China Hubris. (Business Standard)

The latest on the Greek Financial Crisis. (BBC)

Inder Malhotra on Jawaharlal Nehru's (mis)handling of the 1962 India-China War. (Indian Express)

18 June 2011

Two Music Videos: Imagine & Kabhi Khwab Mein

Two music videos for this weekend installment.

John Lennon is one of the best things to have happened to the world of music. Just listen to his magnum opus 'Imagine'. End of discussion. 

Here's Kabhi Khwab Mein Kabhi Khayal Mein from the film, 'Daddy'. Simply awesome.

17 June 2011

Guide to U.S. Federal Debt

The U.S. has the largest debt, both internal and external. Here is a terrific guide to U.S. federal debt.

16 June 2011

Ayn Rand & the Soul of Capitalism

Years after her death, Ayn Rand remains one of the world's most controversial and widely read authors, though I have never liked her philosophy of Objectivism. (If you wish to know about Objectivism, then click here.)

In the last few days, I have revisited Rand's works, and yes, rereading both 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged' has not changed my perspective on Rand's 'I, Me, Myself' philosophy. Just digest this Randian idea: 'Selfishness is a virtue' and 'altruism is immoral'. 

In this space, I wish to share two interesting pieces on Rand's ideas.

  • Peter Farrell on 'How self-destructive narcissists are sabotaging Adam Smith's ideal'. (Marketwatch)
  • Stephen Prothero, a Professor of Religion at Boston University, dwells on the hypocrisy of the Republican Party's love for Rand's philosophy and how it rebels against the core beliefs of the right-wing party. (USA Today)
Have you read Ayn Rand? If yes, what do you think about her ideas? Please post your ideas in the comments section. 

Latest Data on India’s National Income, 2010-11

The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) is a part of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. It calculates India's national income accounting. 

Recently, the CSO released the Revised Estimates (RE) of national income for the financial year 2010-11 and the quarterly estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter (January-March) of 2010-11, both at constant (2004-05) and current prices.   

The Advance Estimates (AE) of national income for the year 2010-11, in February 2011, have now been revised incorporating latest estimates of agricultural production, index of industrial production and performance of key sectors like railways and government expenditure.

Gross Domestic Product
  • GDP at factor cost at constant prices (2004-05) in the year 2010-11 is now estimated at Rs48,77,842 crore, as against Rs48,79,232 crore as per AE in Feb 2011.
  • This shows a growth rate of 8.5 per cent (as against 8.6 per cent in the Advance Estimates). 
  • The downward revision in the GDP growth rate is mainly on account of lower performance in ‘mining and quarrying’, ‘manufacturing’ and ‘trade, hotels, transport, and communication’ and ‘financing, insurance, real estate & business services’ than anticipated.
Gross National Income
  • The Gross National Income (GNI) at factor cost at 2004-05 prices is now estimated at Rs48,34,759 crore, as compared to Rs48,44,971 crore estimated in February 2011, during 2010-11.
  • In terms of growth rates, the gross national income is estimated to have risen by 8.3 per cent during 2010-11, in comparison to the growth rate of 7.9 per cent in 2009-10.
Per Capita Net National Income
  • The per capita net national income in real terms (at 2004-05 prices) during 2010-11 is estimated to have attained a level of Rs35,917, as against Rs36,003 as per AE.
  • The growth rate in per capita income is estimated at 6.5 per cent during 2010-11 as against 6.1 per cent during 2009-10. 
In effect, India's GDP growth in the last financial year fell short of the Advanced Estimates; consequently, it has had a cascading negative impact, though marginal, on PCI too.

14 June 2011

One Month! Thank You!

This blog is one month old! 

Your response to this blog has been wonderful; it has exceeded my expectations! 

In the last one month, the posts have had a fair mix of some serious analyses, infographics, videos, and musings. 

Please keep visiting this blog for more of this stuff. 

Thank you!  

13 June 2011

Infographic: World's Biggest Military Spenders

I found an interesting infographic on global military spending on the The Economist Web site.

A Few Highlights
  • World military expenditure in 2010 is estimated to have reached U.S.$1.62 trillion in current dollars.
  • This represents a 1.3 per cent increase in real terms since 2009 and a 50 per cent increase since 2001.
  •  This corresponds to 2.6 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately U.S.$236 for each person in the world.
  •  The U.S. with its massive spending budget, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for just under half of the world total, at 43% of the world total.
  •  The 15 countries with the highest spending account for over 82% of the total.
  •  The U.S. is responsible for 43 per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the China (7.3% of world share), UK (3.7%), France (3.6%), and Russia (3.6%). 
  • Even though India lives in probably the world's most dangerous neighbourhood, it spends only 2.7% of its GDP on defence.

Source for infographic: The Economist

12 June 2011

Drivers of Violence: Religion, Nukes, & the Race for Leadership

The death of Osama Bin Laden has, expectedly, evoked sharp reaction from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, both the Afghan and Pakistani branches. The terrorists have threatened to unleash devastating attacks against the Pakistani security forces and the mainstream political parties. The daring attack by the Pakistani Taliban on the PNS Mehran Naval Base on the outskirts of Karachi in the second fortnight of May this year may well be a portent of a dangerous future for Pakistan. 

The last few months has been a steep rise in terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including on the military and law enforcement agencies. Increasing extremist violence threatens not just the unity and territorial integrity of Pakistan but the entire region at large. 

Pakistan  may be the Terrorism Central for the War on Terror; but let me now explore another angle, one beyond the Pakistan: the Greater Middle East.

The Greater Middle East Angle

For over three decades now, Iran has spit fire at both Israel and the U.S., whom it sees as the major backer of the former’s arbitrary and hegemonistic actions against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank (read Occupied Territories).

The last few months have seen hectic international parleys to punish Iran for its secretive nuclear weapons programme. Economic embargo and military sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy; however, the Iranian Clerical regime has not flinched from its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

More than the U.S., there are two countries which stand to lose most in case of the emergence of the Iranian Bomb: Saudi Arabia and Israel.

A backgrounder on Saudi Arabia & Israel
Saudi Arabia is Sunni while Iran is the world's largest Shia republic. For decades now, Iran has been challenging the Saudi hegemony in the Islamic World. Iran's rising power ambitions threatens 
Saudi Arabia's leadership of the Islamic World at large and the Arab World in particular. In short, Saudi Arabia is an ideological, sectarian, and power rival.

Established as a Jewish State in 1948, Israel is the first theocratic State in the post-Second World War world. Judaism (the religion of the Jews) and Islam have been at loggerheads for centuries.

Also, Israel is an undeclared nuke weapons power; in this regard, Israel follows an 'ncnd' policy, i.e. it neither confirms nor denies its nuke status. Its nuke weapons make it the only nuke weapons state in the Middle East.

Iran has often called for the destruction of Israel. Given Iran’s belligerent posture against Israel, it is given that the latter will try to thwart the former’s nuclear ambitions. It is in this context that reports of Israel’s planned strikes against Iranian nuke plants should be understood. Israel believes that Iran, in a moment of desperation (and massive strategic geopolitical miscalculation), may launch a nuclear weapons attack against it.

In this regard, questions have been raised over how Israel can manage the logistics, like flying nonstop over other Muslim States (mainly Jordan and Iraq). In this regard, in highly secretive meetings, it is learnt that Saudi Arabia has given permission to Israel (opens in separate window) to use its northern air corridor for flyover to strike at Iran’s secretive nuclear plants. 

Now let's look at how and what such Israeli action could mean for the U.S.-led Global War on Terror.

Soon after reports of Israeli plans to attack Iran’s nuclear installations began to surface, in August last year, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al-Qaeda’s local franchise in Yemen, came out with the following message for radical Islamists:

“What is expected is for the war to begin by the Jews against Iran. Israel will stage air strikes on Iran’s nuclear installations to start…. In such situation, the Iranian Shia regime will exploit the situation by seizing the holy cities of Mecca and Medina by blaming Saudi Arabia for facilitating the Israeli attack on its nuclear installations. In turn, the Israelis will seize territory in the Levant to establish ‘the greater state of Israel’. The Sunni Arab population of the Middle East will be caught between the ‘Jews in the Middle East and Iran in the Peninsula’.”

So why does Al-Qaeda want another war in the Middle East?

Says Bruce Riedel, one of the world’s foremost experts on terrorism: “Because it [Al-Qaeda] calculates an Israeli strike on Iran will prompt Iran to strike back against not only Israel but also the United States. Iran will attack American installations in the Gulf, encourage its proxies in Iraq and Afghanistan to attack Americans, and engage in a global terror campaign. In Lebanon, Hezbollah will start another war, raining missiles down on northern Israeli cities and towns and provoking Israeli airstrikes on Beirut and maybe even into Syria. Iran might even try to close the Strait of Hormuz and disrupt the global energy market. All this chaos and violence will make America even more unpopular in the Islamic world and open doors for Al-Qaeda to exploit. In this they are right, another war will be blamed on America rightly or wrongly. Al-Qaeda doesn’t really know if another war is in the making but it is almost certainly right that if it comes it will be good news for it.”

The scenario outlined in this complicated picture might appear to be far-fetched; however, it is entirely in the realm of possibility. As they say, in international politics there is no certainty.

(Source for the photo: News of AP Web site. All copyrights belong to the mentioned Web site.)

11 June 2011

Music Video: Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot

On weekends (does the week ever end?), I share, as you already know, some real cool videos and infographics in this space.

So here is 'Sundown', one of my favourite songs. Thanks to PCR for sharing this great song!

Simply awesome! Great lyrics and better still, great voice.

10 June 2011

Facebook & The War of Words on MFH

This morning, Arpita Patra, a wonderful soul and IIM-B PGDM Class of 2013 student, posted a comment on her Facebook Wall.

At the time I first read the comment, I had just finished teaching a bunch of curious  students, preparing for the CAT this year. Arpita's thought intrigued me enough to share my perspective on her wall. 

I am reproducing the entire page status, as of 2002 hours on June 10, 2011. Please post your comments on this issue in the comments space.

Arpita Patra
M F Hussain dies a Qatari... coz. we Indians didn't have big enough hearts to accommodate an artist's expression.....seems like the "dark ages" to me.
12 hours ago ·  · 

    • Harsh Kumar And they have say every1 has Freedom of Expression :)
      9 hours ago · 

    • Himanshu Kumar Yadav He was good at art but his hypocrisy in his "artistic expressions" was baffling to say the least
      8 hours ago · 

    • Bharat Jain 
      Arpita, I think you take the great Indian secularists and the literati quite seriously. Please understand that for all the great painter he was, he was also stupid and arrogant. He understood the Human Condition, but did not understand a simple truth - that you should hurt others' religious sensibilities.

      Why did he paint Hindu goddess in nude? Artistry? Freedom of expression? Why did he not apply the same yardstick to, let's say, a painting on icons of other religions? Would he have dared to paint Mary or Fatima in another way, other than with the halo and divinity that is so, rightly, characteristic of them?

      Do you believe Qatar would have given Hussain asylum / citizenship if he had done a caricature of Islamic faith symbols and icons?

      As for these secularists and the literati, where were they when the Danish journalists were threatened by Islamic zealots for drawing the caricatures of Prophet Mohammad? No freedom of expression for these Danish journalists?

      I am NOT a Hindu but I DON'T approve Hussain's work on Hindu Goddess.

      I am NOT a Muslim, but again, I DON'T approve the Danish journalists stupid work, offending the religious sensibilities.

      It is stupid to hurt anybody's religious sensibilities.

      As for the Dark Ages you think we are in, well, it was always there - darkness in our mind and heart, in our attitude toward those who do not think 'like us'.

      I think we ignore what's not convenient.

      7 hours ago ·  ·  1 person

08 June 2011

A Lesson in Leadership - I

'The Bridge on the River Kwai' is my most favourite English language film. This 1957 film was directed by David Lean.

The film is set in the background of the World War II; the war theatre is the Burma-Thailand area. It relates the story of captured British soldiers who are asked by their Japanese captors to build a bridge across the River Kwai. 

In this space, I wish to share a few brilliant excerpts from this multi-Oscar winning film.

The Japanese commander in the jungle camp is Colonel Saito (played by the brilliant Sessue Hayakawa). Here he is speaking to the captured British soldiers:
  • [speaking to British prisoners for the first time] I am Colonel Saito. In the name of His Imperial Majesty, I welcome you. I am the commanding officer of this camp, which is Camp 16 along the great railroad which will soon connect Bangkok with Rangoon. You British prisoners have been chosen to build a bridge across the River Kwai. It will be pleasant work, requiring skill, and officers will work as well as men. The Japanese Army cannot have idle mouthes to feed. If you work hard, you will be treated well, but if you do not work hard, you will be punished! A word to you about escape: there is no barbed wire, no stockade, no watch tower. They are not necessary. We are an island in the jungle. Escape is impossible. You would die. Today you rest. Tomorrow you will begin. Let me remind you of General Yamashita's motto: be happy in your work. Dismissed!
  • Attention, English prisoners! Notice I do not say "English soldiers". From the moment you surrendered, you ceased to be soldiers. You will finish the bridge by the twelfth day of May. You will work under the direction of a Japanese engineer, Lieutenant Mioura. Time is short. All men will work. Your officers will work beside you. This is only just. For it is they who betray you by surrender. Your shame is their dishonor. It is they who told you: 'Better to live like a coolie than die like a hero.' It is they who brought you here, not I. Therefore, they will join you in useful labor. That is all.
Every time, I watch 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' I feel inspired by these words about leadership and what a leader is all about. Simply awesome. My recommendation for you: Go watch it!

    06 June 2011

    A Profound Thought

    I have always liked Woody Allen and his films. The guy is a little lot different from most people. 

    Here is Allen, at his best. The context does not matter; Most of us would identify with these profound thoughts; they echo some elements inside us. 

    "I have no apprehension whatsoever. I've been through this so many times. And I found that one way or the other, your life doesn't change at all. Which is sad, in a way. Because the people love your film... nothing great happens. And people hate your film... nothing terrible happens. Many years ago, I would... I would... a film of mine would open, and it would get great reviews, and I would go down and look at the movie theater. There'd be a line around the block. And when a film is reviled, you open a film and people say "Oh, it's the stupidest thing, it's the worst movie." You think: oh, nobody's going to ever speak to you again. But, it doesn't happen. Nobody cares. You know, they read it and they say "Oh, they hated your film." You care, at the time. But they don't. Nobody else cares. They're not interested. They've got their own lives, and their own problems, and their own shadows on their lungs, and their x-rays. And, you know, they've got their own stuff they're dealing with.... So, I'm just never nervous about it."
    Isn't it profound? Post your thoughts in the comments section. 

    04 June 2011

    Eurozone's Stealth Bailout & Being a Paki Journo

    Can anyone control Pakistan's ISI? (BBC)
    "This has to end," he fumed. "They cannot treat our journalists, our intellectual assets like this."
    The question is, who is going to end it?

    The Eurozone's Stealth Bailout. (Vox)
    "The longer the cheap money drug is indulged in, the more painful the withdrawal. Wait too long and no cure will be possible." 

    02 June 2011

    Google on Facebook & Other Reads

    Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, admits that he and his company screwed up on the threat from Facebook. (NDTV Profit)

    India is growing, but Indians are starving. (Boston Review) Trust me, the article, though a bit of hyperbole, is a kind of reality check.

    The Man Who Knew Too Much. (Dawn)

    The Commercialisation of School Education in India. (The Telegraph India)