Friday, July 18, 2008

Worth A Thought...

This is something which I came across when I saw a forwarded mail from a colleague...

Will this control Inflation???

Nice Logic - It May Work !!

A man eats two eggs each morning for breakfast. When he goes to the Kirana store he pays Rs. 12 a dozen. Since a dozen eggs won't last a week he normally buys two dozens at a time. One day while buying eggs he notices that the price has risen to Rs. 16. The next time he buys groceries, eggs are Rs. 22 a dozen.

When asked to explain the price of eggs the store owner says, "The price has gone up and I have to raise my price accordingly". This store buys 100 dozen eggs a day. He checked around for a better price and all the distributors have raised their prices. The distributors have begun to buy from the huge egg farms. The small egg farms have been driven out of business. The huge egg farms sell 100,000 dozen eggs a day to distributors. With no competition, they can set the price as they see fit. The distributors then have to raise their prices to the grocery stores. And on and on and on.

As the man kept buying eggs the price kept going up. He saw the big egg trucks delivering 100 dozen eggs each day. Nothing changed there. He checked out the huge egg farms and found they were selling 100,000 dozen eggs to the distributors daily. Nothing had changed but the price of eggs.

Then week before Diwali the price of eggs shot up to Rs. 40 a dozen. Again he asked the grocery owner why and was told, "Cakes and baking for the holiday". The huge egg farmers know there will be a lot of baking going on and more eggs will be used. Hence, the price of eggs goes up. Expect the same thing at Christmas and other times when family cooking, baking, etc. happen.

This pattern continues until the price of eggs is Rs. 60 a dozen. The man says, " There must be something we can do about the price of eggs".

He starts talking to all the people in his town and they decide to stop buying eggs. This didn't work because everyone needed eggs.

Finally, the man suggested only buying what you need. He ate 2 eggs a day. On the way home from work he would stop at the grocery and buy two eggs. Everyone in town started buying 2 or 3 eggs a day.

The grocery store owner began complaining that he had too many eggs in his cooler. He told the distributor that he didn't need any eggs.

Maybe wouldn't need any all week.

The distributor had eggs piling up at his warehouse. He told the huge egg farms that he didn't have any room for eggs would not need any for at least two weeks.

At the egg farm, the chickens just kept on laying eggs. To relieve the pressure, the huge egg farm told the distributor that they could buy the eggs at a lower price.

The distributor said, " I don't have the room for the %$&^*&% eggs even if they were free". The distributor told the grocery store owner that he would lower the price of the eggs if the store would start buying again.

The grocery store owner said, "I don't have room for more eggs. The customers are only buying 2 or 3 eggs at a time. Now if you were to drop the price of eggs back down to the original price, the customers would start buying by the dozen again".

The distributors sent that proposal to the huge egg farmers but the egg farmers liked the price they were getting for their eggs but, those chickens just kept on laying. Finally, the egg farmers lowered the price of their eggs. But only a few paisa.

The customers still bought 2 or 3 eggs at a time. They said, "when the price of eggs gets down to where it was before, we will start buying by the dozen." Slowly the price of eggs started dropping. The distributors had to slash their prices to make room for the eggs coming from the egg farmers. The egg farmers cut their prices because the distributors wouldn't buy at a higher price than they were selling eggs for. Anyway, they had full warehouses and wouldn't need eggs for quite a while. And those chickens kept on laying. Eventually, the egg farmers cut their prices because they were throwing away eggs they couldn't sell. The distributors started buying again because the eggs were priced to where the stores could afford to sell them at the lower price. And the customers starting buying by the dozen again.

Now, transpose this analogy to the gasoline industry.

What if everyone only bought Rs 200.00 worth of Petrol each time they pulled to the pump? The dealer's tanks would stay semi full all the time. The dealers wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the huge tanks. The tank farms wouldn't have room for the petrol coming from the refining plants. And the refining plants wouldn't have room for the oil being off loaded from the huge tankers coming from the oil fiends.

Just Rs 200.00 each time you buy gas. Don't fill up the tank of your car. You may have to stop for gas twice a week, but the price should come down.

Think about it.

Also, don't buy anything else at the fuel station; don't give them any more of your hard earned money than what you spend on gas, until the prices come down..."

...just think of this concept for a while.

..................please pass this concept around....reaching out to the masses ...the world .....

This is my re-joinder :

Quite an Interesting concept...

I don't know about the Car owners and their habits regarding tank-filling, but I can say this for the Bike Owners who need Gasoline as much if not more, compared to the four-wheelers.

Almost every two-wheeler owner buys petrol worth Rs. 50/- or Rs.100/- at a time and then refills his/her tank as and when further need arises.
So, the Petrol Pump Owners have nothing to fear from this community, seeing as the number of two-wheelers on Pune roads far outnumber the 4-wheeler percentage.
And they are used to this pattern for years on now.

The analogy presented over here may look good at a first glance especially since it pertains to a localized issue with a distribution chain involving mainly local players.
Whereas in the case of Petrol, the same cannot be applied as is.

The Distribution Chain in case of Petrol involves players with huge (and by huge i mean really HUGE) cash reserves and the logistics involved is mind-boggling!
Add to that the essential nature of Petrol in case of our day-to-day lives, it leaves us with little choice but to shell out whatever price set out by the Petro-cos.
Indian citizens are still a bit sheltered compared to some other countries(though its not much of a difference these days!).

The OPEC countries are to blame over here (similar to the huge egg farms in below analogy). These Oil-Producing countries hold the monopoly over Crude oil manufacturing as well as its pricing mechanism.
Mostly people don't know this, but the petrol we use in our vehicles(in India that is) comes from a different grade of crude oil as compared to the one whose prices has been shooting astronomically in the last few years. This should not have caused a sudden jump in the petrol prices for us. But the government has decided to pass on to the citizens the cost it has been bearing for decades during the administered price mechanism.

Basically, we are shelling out some extra money to balance out the imbalance in the govt's order books and are indirectly subsidizing Industrial & Aviation Use Petrol.
What ever be the reasons behind this increase in price, one thing is clear - the public can only take measures that offer very little solace to their inflation-added woes!
Pooling by four wheelers and two wheelers has been touted as a way to save energy and money since we were kids! But nobody ever took it seriously.
Now it seems like a 'Too Little Too Late' situation!

Petrol Pumps which used to operate 24*7 until a few weeks ago, are closing early now-a-days due to paucity of fuel!
Gasoline is not a commodity that is being produced in bulk...Its purposely kept in short supply by the OPEC community.
The consumers (in this case, its the non-oil producing nations) have no option, but to keep buying the crude oil they need at artificial prices and simultaneously explore non-conservative sources to meet their energy needs

Ergo, the 'eggs situation' would never be applicable in case of gasoline!

What we need as of now, is not the means to save gas costs!
The time for that is long past...With a scarce commodity like oil, be it genuine or artificial, what we instead need today is a major breakthrough in the technology for usage of non-conservative fuels which will propel us into a world of almost nil dependency on crude oil, thus breaking free of the stranglehold of the Oil-Cartel on our world. A technology which will be not only technologically viable, but also economically feasible and sensible for the masses.

Until then, all we can do is wait...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yet Another Close Shave...

Yesterday night I was involved in yet another accident, though this one I was neither responsible for, nor was affected by directly. Not that it was a mortal situation for the actual people involved, but it still left me a bit shaken...
I was off to see one of my friends, who would be leaving for his MBA studies at the 'Case Western Reserve University' in Cleveland, Ohio and was giving a send-off treat to a few of us at the local Pizza Hut. It was quite some distance from my workplace and halfway through the journey, it happened.
I was driving along the left side, as is usual for me these days, at a steady and serene pace, with half my thoughts on the forthcoming get-together. Late as it was(about 9 PM in the night), I guess everyone must be in a hurry to return to their homes. But, as I crossed the signal before the Sun N Sand 5* hotel, this bloke decided in his enormous wisdom to over take me from the left. In his haste to cut my lane and speed ahead, he didn't even bother giving a horn or any signal from his dipper lights to indicate his need for a pass. What happened later in the span of a couple of minutes, was so fast I barely had wits to stop and park my bike on the side. Trying to cross me on a road, wet and slippery due to rain, he apparently misjudged the traction and grip his bike could handle and at the speed he was trying to pick up, slipped and skidded right in front of my eyes. My voice of protest and the choicest of my swear words died in my throat however, when another scooter coming from behind (this one on the right side of the road) hit the prone guy's bike and fell too.
For a moment or two I stood stock-still, my heart pattering in my chest, and as I caught my bearings all I could think was how lucky I was not to be in the same position as the poor lady and her companion who had hit this guy's bike and fell. The crowd around us had stopped gawking thankfully, and a couple of them started to help around. The 30 something guy had obviously hurt himself quite badly as their was a stream of blood gushing down below his right elbow, but realizing the situation he had caused, tried to help the lady who was still lying down on the concrete road. Though some of the people present found this guy's situation more dire compared to the other two, who had just a scraped knee in case of the lady's companion and dizziness for the lady, I was not at all feeling any kind of compassion or sympathy for his pains at the moment. It could very well have been me in place of that middle-aged lady and who knows how badly it would have ended up for me. I have been involved with enough accidents to last me a lifetime by now. So, when one of the guys from the crowd asked me if I could take him to the hospital, I couldn't find it in me to do so. I would have started shouting at him instead when face to face with the idiot, I'm sure. So I just waved him off and went to see if the others who were involved needed any help. As it happened, I just noticed that there was a kid aged about 8-10 too with the lady, and was crying very loudly. Since there was nothing else to do, I went to him and tried my best to soothe him, until his mum was feeling okay. Finally the crowd scattered and people got on their way thinking the excitement was over. The culprit of the accident was taken to the nearby hospital by one of the on-lookers while I had hailed an auto and helped the lady and her son get on her way home too. The entire drama had lasted for about 30-45 minutes, so I wasn't much late for the get-together.
Anyways, this incident brought to my mind similar such instance that happened with me way back in November. I even remember the exact date, 22nd Nov, my sister's birthday. I was on my way to my office for a late night shift at around 11 PM. It was a Saturday, and the route I used to take passes through a cluster of pubs, party-joints and restaurants and is extremely crowded with the party-goers on weekends. These revelers normally have scant regard for the law and traffic rules or the safety of pedestrians, speeding down the narrow roads on their four-wheelers at dangerous speeds, listening to booming loud music.
One such thoughtless creature had swerved his jeep jarringly close on my right and overtaking me, without any thought of honking a horn or using his dippers for asking a pass. Shaken and stirred, I watched the jeep vanish from my sight at the next turn. A few seconds later, I heard a loud sound of screeching tires due to emergency brakes being applied, followed by a wail from a person in a lot of pain. As I reached the next square, I came across the mangled remains of a motorcycle as well as splinters of auto-rickshaw parts strewn around on the road. A young guy about 25 lay moaning on the ground, clutching at his twisted leg in apparent agony; passersby gathered around to have a better look at what exactly had happened out there and the jeep in question had obviously sped away to escape the aftermath. One of the fellow bikers and I decided to pursue that bastard, and we sped away in the direction he had fled. Luck was on our side as there was some road construction work going on ahead and the jeep driver had had to slow down considerably. I overtook him and parked my bike in front of his jeep blocking his way as the other biker approached the front door of the jeep and pulled out the driver. Within a few minutes, this guy was forced to turn around and come back to the scene of the accident he had caused. As the jeep was parked on the opposite side and the driver stepped out, I had the first opportunity to take a good look at his features and realized this guy fit the bill perfectly for the now commonplace stereotypes in this part of the city. A management student from some city in the north, with rich and well-to-do dad who has shelled out enough money to make sure his otherwise undeserving ward gets admission to one of the reputed MBA colleges in Pune. The types who will never learn to appreciate things that don't come so easily to many other deserving and hard working candidates, and which are really handed out to them on a silver platter. These arrogant and unscrupulous egoists, who have been brought up in a life of affluence and prosperity, who never give a damn about the costs of their actions which the average middle class pedestrians have to suffer at their hands.
And to top it all off, the guy was of course, drunk! It had been just two months before, when the High Court had sentenced Alistair Pereira from Bandra, Mumbai to three years rigorous imprisonment for drunk driving that resulted in the death of 7 people. But by the looks of it, the impact had yet to be felt amongst these wealthy classes. The crowd who had gathered by now was quite agitated and the rickshaw driver whose rick had been hit in the earlier melee was baying for the young driver's blood. "Hit him, hit him!" was the constant chant by him and his fellow brethren. A few had even caught hold of his long hair and tried to slap him once. The poor biker who had got hit, had sat down by now. It didn't look as serious as I had thought before - his ankle was definitely twisted, but not broken. The back of his shirt was splattered with blood at various places, but he was lucid enough and cognizant of what was happening around him.
As the public started to raise their voices, surprisingly it was this victim who decided to make himself heard and requested the people not to resort to fists and deal with this in a civilized manner. It was heartening to see a sane voice standing out from the mob - that this voice should belong to the party affected the most was even more appreciable. But the others were not ready to listen and wanted some action now that the culprit had been caught and brought back by the gruff of his neck. The mob always takes perverse pleasure at such times in making the offenders suffer. It was doubly so in this case as they could see this was a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and had never even cared to stop and see if the person he had struck down needed any help or if he was leaving him behind to die in the worst case scenario.
The driver in question was now making every possible offer to help out with the medical costs and reparations, but it was obvious to all that this was not his first reaction. That had been to flee at any cost and the public wanted to see him punished. I had tried three or four times to calm down everyone and make them listen to the wishes of the hurt bloke; even I had wanted to see this guy getting punished, but not by the jungle law! When I suggested calling the police and handing him over to them, almost everyone shot down the idea immediately. None of them wanted to involve the cops, and the reason was apparent even to me - just with the help of a few thousand bucks, this guy would be able to go scot free and the common public would get to see yet another instance of mockery of justice take place in front of their very eyes! Its a very pessimistic and skeptical view and does not paint a very flattering picture of our law-enforcement agencies. But its the hard hitting truth of today's society, where the cops inspire almost nil confidence in the minds of the commoners. No wonder, when such incidences occur, people prefer to take action and dispense with their frustations before the onset of the police on the scene.
The crowd of people was still surrounding the jeep driver and hurling angry accusations at him and his companion, when the sister of the biker who got hurt arrived and slapped him hard. And again and again, she had a go at him four-five times, while the rest of the crowd watched shocked. That was the trigger and finally the rickshaw driver, who had been restrained till now by a few others, got free and hurled a few kicks and punches of his own, satisfying his vengeful need.
A few of us who were still sane, brought attention to the bleeding victim and pointed his need for an immediate trip to the hospital. Seeing this the crowd started calming down little by little and soon both the driver and the biker had been shipped off to the nearby hospital. Seeing the excitement was over, everyone started dispersing and I too started off towards my office where my night shift awaited me.

Both these incidents however brought into light the utter disdain which the people in Pune show towards basic courtesy and rules and regards while driving a vehicle. There are countless number of accidents, big and small, all over the city daily due to the carelessness and disinterest the junta shows while being on the roads. Be it the pedestrians who will cross the road as if the vehicles should stop or slow down to let them pass whenever they want, or the cyclists who always make it a point to ride on the right side of the road thereby slowing down the traffic further, or the two-wheelers who will cut lanes and break traffic signals, drive into one-ways and turn left or right without showing any indicators or be it the four-wheelers adding to the merry mix with their own impunity towards the traffic wardens and speeding away on narrow roads as if they are the kings of the roads, glancing by hapless 2-wheelers or pedestrians; its an unholy situation one finds himself in.
This all when they are driving in broad daylight! Imagine the perils when they drive drunkenly at night time! How dangerous it is then when you are out on the Pune roads in such a midst of crazy blighters! Before coming to Pune, I'd only heard of the infamous and incorrigible traffic sense of the Puneites. Its been three years now that I've shifted here, but believe me I'm still not used to it even now!
Hopefully, I'll never be...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Few Timeless Gems...

Came across a few soulful gems from Rafi today night.

Couldn't resist adding them here...

"Ai Naragis-E- Mastana" from Aarzoo(1965)

"Ai Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan" from CID(1955)

"Khoya Khoya Chand" from Kala Bazar(1959)

"Dil Ke Zarokhe Main Tuzko" from Bramhachari(1968)

"Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar" from Tere Ghar Ke Samane(1963)

"Tu Kahan Ye Bata" from Tere Ghar Ke Samane(1963)

"Tere Mere Sapane" from Guide(1965)

"Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho" from Haste Zakhm(1970)

"Chaudavi Ka Chand Ho" from Chaudvi Ka Chand(1960)

"Sou Bar Janam Lenge" from Ustadon Ke Ustad(1964)

"Chhu Lene Do" from Kaajal(1965)

"Darde Dil Darde Jigar" from Karz(1980)

"Hum Tumse Juda Ho Ke" from Ek Sapera Ek Lootera(1965)

"Kya Hua Tera Vaada" from Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi(1977)

"Teri Galiyon Main Na Rakhenge" from Hawas(1971)

"O door ke musafir hamko bhi saath le le" from Uran Khatola(1955)

"Duniya Ke Rakhawale" from Baiju Bawara(1952)

and one of my all time favorites along with the lyrics :

"Tute Hue Khwabon Ne" from Madhumati(1958)
toote huye khwaabon ne hum ko ye sikhaayaa hain
dil ne jise paayaa thaa, aakhon ne gawaayaa hain

hum dhoondhate hain jinako, jo mil ke naheen milate
ruthhe hain naa jaane kyo, mehumaan wo mere dil ke
kyaa apanee tamannaa thee, kyaa saamane aayaa hain

laut aayee sadaa meree, takaraa ke sitaaron se
ujadee huyee duniyaan ke, sunasaan kinaaron se
par ab ye tadapanaa bhee kuchh kaam naa aayaa hain

Friday, July 04, 2008

Getting Back

Hmm..I've been away for a long long time from this place!! A year and a half almost and I haven't posted anything...Lots of things have changed since then, I've been through a lot too...Its not like I had forgotten about my blog, more like I didn't have enough motivation or enough energy to take some time, gather my thoughts and shape up.
But as they say - Better late than never...
So here I am - eighteen months later, wondering as to how the time flies by so quickly! So many of my half baked plans and my aspirations have withered away; to be replaced by those which have mushroomed and evolved in their stead...
Almost exactly one year after my last post, I was in such an envious position, some of my friends used to tell me I was real lucky to be where I was...I was facing new and challenging responsibilities on the career front, my financial position was firm, my familial relations for a change were cordial...
And then it all went downhill...
My job has never been one to give me 'Job Satisfaction' as they put it, but by the time December ended and January rolled out, I was feeling immense boredom due to the repetitive nature of the tasks I was handling and the hours I was putting in, definitely didn't seem worth it. The only thing that kept me sane in those couple of months I believe were my friends. I was in the immediate need for a break, and when one of my friends proposed a 11 day trip to Malaysia & Singapore, I jumped onboard. Getting leave from work was easy, for I had a three year backlog of unutilized leaves; the hard part was convincing my parents...Well, since they know how stubborn and hard headed I am, they had to give in eventually.
It was a fascinating adventure, immensely enjoyable and a perfect way for someone who was looking for a break.
Looking back however, I think a vacation to a foreign land, where all we did was sight seeing and indulging in fun and pleasures, was not such a grand idea.
What I really needed was some time alone to think things through and plan my immediate future. Coming back to work, I found out my job didn't hold anymore the little interest i had before. It was like I had just realized how stupid and inane things could be.
My immediate superior went on medical leave and the team's responsibility fell to me for a while, since I was the senior most person. Of course, it was a great learning experience for me, after all where do you see a two and a half years experienced guy getting to manage a ten people strong team? But when you cease to be just a colleague and become responsible for the actions of the people under you, you realise how frustating and exhilarating things could be at the same time.
All the mistakes and escalations due to such mistakes, are your responsibility and you have to find a way t o explain those things to your manager. Earlier, you could get away with passing a few comments (or bitching in general) while on a tea break with your team mates. Now, you don't have that option anymore. Instead, it is you who becomes the target, butt of the joke as they say...
But still, barring one or two experiences which I could have done without, I think I managed everything pretty well. Its the other things I neglected, that caused me so many problems.
I am a known procrastinator amongst my friends, and this bad habit of mine has gotten me into trouble so many times before that I have lost count now. Not that I learn from my past mistakes anyway. This time, I dallied in submitting the proofs of my Investments; Ergo, I ended up paying 60k as Income Tax, and found myself in great trouble financially. Things have settled down a bit now, but its six months later that I find myself able to breathe a little easier.
In the end, it all comes down to planning your finances sensibly and making judicious decisions regarding your investments and expenses. The Credit Card is a bane one must use only as the last resort, but I found myself relying on it very heavily at times. It's a lesson learnt, nay ingrained, in me that shall never be forgotten. Not that my credit history is bad now, but whatever obligations I still hold, make me uncomfortable and squeamish. Well, not much I can do about it now. I was hoping for a good raise this year, but it seems highly unlikely seeing as we were told rather categorically in the Employee Meet, not to expect more than 11% hike in our salaries. A big disappointment to be frank, but I guess the Industry has to compensate for the slow down somehow. And what better way to cut down expenditure, than to tone down the raise percentage? Atleast there were no pink slips handed out! Not that the situation is that bad, not like it was in the immediate aftermath of the dot-com bubble bust.
We are supposed to get our letters sometime next week, but this year there will be little to no celebrations or champagnes opened, that is for sure.
Anyways, apart from all this work and money stuff, things have been okay for the most part.
Well, Liverpool lost the CL finals in 2007 and the semis in 2008, but other than that things have settled well more or less.
Well. there was one nasty incident mid-October on my friend's birthday, that could have been avoided. But as they say, life teaches you things from both good and bad experiences.
This was one of my worst ones...
I was involved in an altercation with some street goons when being piss drunk, and the results were not pretty. My room mates are from north and I am the only person who speaks the local language, and being drunk was not much help to sort things out and get the hell out of there.
I don't even remember how it started, but I guess it must be something foolish and flimsy.
One of us had the urge to have tea at 2 in the night, and we ended up in one of the shadier parts of the town where you get tea and snacks 24*7, not hygienic, but who cares when you are still tipsy?
We were riding on the highway while we were quite drunk, very risky for both our lives as well as some poor soul who might have encountered us. I was spewing quite a mouthful of profanities in my mother tongue, Marathi, the local language which none of my mates understood. Unluckily, the locals knew exactly what I was saying, and one of them thought it would be a good idea to shut me up. In the end, my friends had to get me back home, I was too banged up to be conscious.
I remember one of our topics of discussion while we were drinking earlier(we get into some really heated debates once we start drinking), was the choice of our language of communication. On a professional level, we are supposed to use English, but sometimes we also mix in the national language, Hindi. My roommates are from the North and hence Hindi is a natural choice when we get together with other friends, but one of our friends present that day has a few problems with Hindi and is more at ease with English. Someone from the group raised a pointed question as to why don't some people feel the need to know the national language properly. I being myself, objected to Hindi being thrust upon us by the Northerners, for I myself prefer either my mother tongue or English, rather than Hindi, given a choice.
How ironic it was that it was my mother tongue that made me a target that night! None of my other friends had a scratch even, haha...
Well, I have never drunk and rode my bike since then. And never will I am sure.
Two months later just before Christmas, me and my friends had gone for another outing. None of our parties are dry ones, but we were far away from home, 30 kms almost, and I could see there were only two people who should have been driving back home. I had no choice but to ride pillion with one of my roommate. We reached our locality at about 4 in the morning and the bike slipped and we had an accident (just 1 km before we reached home!!). Another lesson learnt, never trust your bike nor your life in the hands of a drunk person.
Its been almost 2 and a half months since I have touched whiskey, only had a beer twice.
Not that we have had a reason to party since then, but I'm sure next time I will be the one in the driver seat if we end up going far from home. And I won't be drinking anything hard than a beer or two... ;)