Friday, August 28, 2009


Loneliness has been the trashcan
To huddle around, to burn memories,
With the company of strangers,
Nothing new and nothing to get used to…

Found an old album in the junkyard
Useful to borrow kith and kin,
Even love, when noone looks,
For an hour, or a day, no more…

Quite rarely an old familiar peeps
From a distance,
Fearing the disease of need,
Embarassed too...

Craving any addiction
But company
Anything to hurry Time
But not to maim…

He's no reason to live nor die
He's no karma nor bhakti to guide
He gathers pain from every corner
Searching for some way, some answer…

When one fears not death
Can one be mortal
And love, and dream,
And live, and pray...

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I used to read Byron and project his life onto his poetry. Before I tried Ted Hughes, I remembered Sylvia Plath and a gas stove. But, whenever I read Wuthering Heights or Remembrance, I realize that I do not know much about Emily Bronte. Who knows what they wanted to say nor what made them say what they had to say. Maybe, they wanted us to join them in creation.

Before going (2001)

The restaurant at Charlottenburg was nearly empty. There was a family of five in the middle of the room. And the two of them near the window away from the street. Apart from the usual formalities, they had not said much till the dessert was served. His eyes had a glazed look while he stared at the plate for a while. Then, he turned his head away, looked outside at the sky, at nothing. She looked at his grey hair and weary eyes. She was still looking at him when he turned his face to look at her. As per habit, his eyes tried to adjust and change the expression quickly to the smiling carefree one. But he gave up that effort and just looked at his companion’s dimple and deep dark eyes. Companions in steady flight, with farewells that merge with welcome, a relationship never defined.

A: Were you surprised?
S: Not surprised, just trying to figure it out.
A: What, Swapna? Figure what out?
S: Why?
A: I need a partner. I need a life.
S: Yes, I know that part. But that is not what I am thinking about. Why now?
A: Why not now?
S: Are you tempting fate? You know about your luck now.
A: Yes. If I fall, let me fall heavily. Is that what I am thinking? Am I being selfish and not thinking twice about dragging a faultless girl with me down into the dumps?
S: What about having a job before marrying?
A: What if I have a job and got smashed by a truck?
S: But Arjun…
A: No, Swapna. Can’t you see what I am doing? Forcing a rebirth.
S: And, are you ready for the personal change?
A: Can one be ready?
S: Arjun, don’t change too much…
A: I have to, Swapna, I have to. The old style just doesn’t work.
S: But, I can’t picture you as the patient unperturbed insensitive lover.
A: Well, will you like a demanding excitable oversensitive guy?
S: I don’t know. And the rage and pain – all that which makes us?
A: Will I put up a charade? Is that what you are asking?
S: Will you stop asking for total loyalty? Will you stop yourself from giving totally? Will it be just pleasant decent stuff?
A: If the woman is successful and free of trouble, does she need more? Will she appreciate the look in my eyes? Will she want a letter or a call? Will she feel thrilled when I kiss her hand? Will we hold each other and feel totally uninhibited?
S: Arjun, will I have to go?
A: (nodded)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The beach-
lonesome, it seems-
apart from this little girl
and the eyes that watch.

glances awhile,
for the helping hand.

Gentle sand,
playful ebb and flow,
caressing breeze-
company for the child woman.

Sand castles,
tear washed as they crumble
but the sparkle lights
as she tenderly builds.

The beach teases,
her stay-
in embrace forever.

Patience anew, and
hope, the only support,
within her bosom
there’s love that binds.

There is the hand
that awaits
for a mortal grasp-
not knowing how.

The moment of birth
awaiting joy-
an immortal child.

Emotional Trauma/Torture = Normal Wear & Tear?

With reference to an article in the Times of India “Marital tiff not cruelty, can’t be basis for divorce”, a few points come to mind:
  1. How do you prove emotional trauma/torture in court?
  2. When you fear to return to your house and spouse after work everyday, is it normal wear and tear?
  3. Does the court recognize the fact that certain couples are incompatible and that incompatibility could be the reason for the absence of trust, respect and responsibility?
  4. How do you prove the absence of trust, respect and responsibility in court?
  5. Why is it that the judicial system recommends that divorce be granted only when people are "at fault" and does not usually recognize that relationships can suffer "irretrievable breakdown"?
  6. The court considers marriage to be a sacred ceremony and worries about the future of marriage due to the flooding of divorce petitions. Why is it so easy to get married and so difficult to get divorced?
  7. In marriage and divorce cases, should the court consider prevention to be the best cure (unlike criminal cases where the court needs to act after the problem arises)?
  8. Should counseling and third-party mediation/certification be made mandatory before marriage rather than before divorce? Maybe, couples who are getting married should also visit the District Family Court and observe the proceedings for a day or two, and understand the shoddy environment and situation, the pain and agony and also, the prevalent deceit inside and outside court.
  9. If the court assumes that the couple were adults at the time of marriage, should not the court assume the same at the time of divorce?
  10. Does the court recognize the fact that in lots of cases, couples have gone “through hell” and life could be on the brink of disaster without aggravating and destroying lives by prolonging cases and waiting for couples to reach some kind of mutually agreed divorce?
  11. Is there justice if it is delayed and can the court take a few years of life if not all?
  12. Does the court recognize “the stigma of being divorced” and does the court condone such a thought which seems to be similar to an old custom where widows (and maybe, widowers) were treated as stigma?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Curious Case of BSE Sensex

If you had Rs 100 on August 17, 2007 and then by some passive means (say, index fund or portfolio of stocks mimicking the Sensex) let the money grow till August 18, 2009, you would have in hand Rs 106.30. Thus, the profit would be Rs 6.30.

Now, consider two periods with 99 days: the first starting August 17, 2007 and ending on January 8, 2008; and the second starting March 25, 2009 and ending on August 18, 2009. Then, follow the same investment strategy but just for 99 days. Rs 100 invested on August 17, 2007 would give Rs 147.60 on January 8, 2008; and, Rs 100 invested on March 25, 2009 would give Rs 155.50 on August 18, 2009. The difference in profits between the two 99 day periods being (Rs 155.50 – Rs 147.60), i.e., Rs 7.90 which is reasonably close (given the volatility of the market) to the profit made if invested for the entire period of 490 days.

Summary: If you invest Rs 100,

Profit if invested for entire 490 days: Rs 6.30
Profit if invested for first 99 days: Rs 47.60
Profit if invested for last 99 days: Rs 55.50
Difference of profit between last 99 days and first 99 days : Rs 7.90

Disclaimer: Please do let me know if there are any errors. Of course, I am not predicting the future (just observing a curious case).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Morning News (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo): August 17, 2009

In this part of the world, today is New Year’s Day. Wish you a very Happy New Year.

In today’s paper, H1N1 is already competing with SRK for attention. For more information regarding swine flu, please read the article in the Economic Times titled “What India should do to combat swine flu”. Also, please check the Ministry of Health site which seems to be dedicated to this (I presume the homepage is still being connected to this – on the top there is a wobbling title “Influenza A (H1N1) (SWINE FLU)” but I could not find any links when I last visited the site). As for the SRK episode at Newark airport, I am trying to imagine the scene: an immigration official at Newark facing a computer screen with the list of suspicious names – Jane Doe, John Smith, Quick Gun Murugan, Khan, Obama, Singh, Swapna,…

Hurrah! Dravid is back in the team. I have stopped counting the number of times he has had to return or be considered once again. I do not believe in heroes and the old order has to change yielding place to new. But, with some people it seems safe to assume that they will hang their boots when they know their time is up. Till that time, let’s enjoy their art. It was so for people like Steffi and Sampras and I believe it will be so for Federer, Tendulkar and Dravid.

It is tough not to comment on the world of finance. The latest FOMC statement says “economy is leveling out” – now, what is the nature of the apparent fixed point: minima or inflexion point? If you have not heard about the guy who gets a nine-figure salary in USD (will you settle for a nine-figure salary in JPY?), please read the article in WSJ about Andrew Hall. A few small banks have started closing shop, some are guessing that commercial real estate might cause the next crisis and there is just old news regarding big banks like Goldman Sachs and Nomura from Rolling Stones and Times Online respectively.

I still keep searching for news/columns that I want to read.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Morning News (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo): August 1, 2009

More than 20 people have died in a series of blasts in Baghdad. Most probably, it might appear in tomorrow’s edition of the local newspaper. Maybe, I should classify the dead or the alleged killers. But, for now, let it be just people. A long time back, I was involved in a personal project – creating a collage using the headlines on the front page. I chose the wrong time. On February 13, 1991 (if I am not mistaken), it was about a bombed bunker in Amiriyah. I do not remember the details (100, 500 or 1000 killed?) but I stopped the project.

This week I read about 5 women. 3 deaths (Cory Aquino, Gayathri Devi, Leela Naidu), an adjourned trial (Aung San Suu Kyi) and a book review in the Economist (Arundhati Roy). It is definitely impossible not to admire these Women.

Finally, for comic relief, news from the world of finance. The CEO of Deutsche Bank says that bad loans are next wave of crisis (see Bloomberg). Meanwhile, the Cuomo report says that there was “no clear rhyme or reason” for pay (see the BBC report). 3 weeks back, the Economist had an article about the integration of Nomura and ex-Lehman and this week, the two were back in the news following reports that seem to suggest that Jesse Battal might be leaving soon (see the following from the New York Times).

I still keep searching for news/columns that I want to read.