Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year !!

Wish you all a very Happy and a prosperous New Year !!!

Happy New Year !!

Wish you all a very Happy and a prosperous New Year !!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Dan Brown - An Alistair Maclean

Dan Brown is certainly a modern day Alistair Maclean (or a Desmond Bagley at the least), though much much more flamboyant. I've just finished reading his book "Deception Point" - it kept reminding me of those school days when I used to eat, sleep and breath Alistair Maclean - the same pace, the same interesting turn of events, the same sense of adventure and the same surprise at the final turn of events. The only difference seems to be that Dan Brown keeps choosing hotshots like the US Prez or the Pope in his settings and the heroes invariably turn out to be a couple who fall in love at the end, unlike the undercover spy and the lonely hero in AM. Anyway, he has still quite a career ahead of him and shows the same promise that makes immortal action writers and gives good grub for eager readers like me.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry christmas !

Had a good dinner today at Blooms - a new restraunt here. Good food but pretty costly. Then came back to attend the mass at midnight. A well conducted mass by Father Jesurajan. An memorable quote by him - "Pray with your hearts, not with your head".

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

To boldly explore where no explorer has gone before

Came across this beautiful article by James Cameron on Wired: The Drive to Discover. Ya - the guy who made the Titanic. He makes a strong argument in pursuit of the spirit of exploration. Maybe the time as come, as StarTrek used to say, to boldly go where no man has gone before :D.

Two beautiful quotes from his article:
"NASA is still blinking in surprise, trying to figure out why people love the rovers yet care less about the construction of the International Space Station than a new interchange outside Cleveland. It is only now sinking in that one is exploration and the other is, well construction."

"Exploration is not a luxury. It defines us as a civilization. It directly or indirectly benefits every member of society. It yields an inspirational dividend whose impact on our self-image, confidence, and economic and geopolitical stature is immeasurable."

2004 Global Influentials - Balaji Krishnamurthy

Balaji Krishnamurthy, the CEO of planar systems has been voted as one of the 2004 Global Business Influentials by the CNN.
Article: 2004 Global Influentials
Interestingly, it seems he's very similar to Azim Premji in his chaste habits. He books the cheapest rooms in hotels and 4 yrs ago had designed a bonus system in his company that rewarded him the last. Looks like Indians are showing the world what is chaste corporate governance.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Investment Banking - a liar's poker

Just finished reading this book called the Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis. Oh man ! what a book - of salomon brothers, of the human piranha, of meriwether and gutfreund, of ranieri, of what goes on in trading rooms of i-banks, of investor sentiments and moods, of michael milken (of drexel burham and the junk bond markets), of the foolishness of credit ratings systems which use the past to predict the future, of MBSs and LBOs, and finally of the importance of maintaining a sense of detachment when you make money. On the way, it also gave me a broad overview of what is actually investment banking. Simply one unputdownable book, a must read for anyone remotely interested in how finance works at its "high" pedestals.

One memorable quote from the book:
"We own a hundred million dollars of your bonds", said Milken, "and if you miss one payment, we'll take the company away" - Michael Milken, junk bond king at the height of his fame

Monsoon derivatives

Looks like weather derivatives based on the monsooon are finally entering India. Infact its quite surprising they took so long to come to India, considering the size of the effect the monsoon has on the Indian economy - almost anything and everything in India has linkages with how well the monsoon does in India - haven't seen a single economic survey or report on India not mentioning the monsoon. So monsoon derivatives market has a very huge potential. I think the delay was due to the relative non-sophistication of Indian financial institutions and the financial market. But it does seem to be changing and all for the good I suppose. Monsoon derivatives, if used properly, could actually prop up India's GDP growth at times of fluctuating monsoons (as this year).

Article in today's Business Standard Page 9. Apparently RaboBank and ABNAmro have been the first to introduce these in the market in India. Internationally the weather derivatives market is supposed to be approximately $12bn.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

cold december pain

brrrr... this is reaaalll winter. For poor souls like me who originate from the sweltery domains of chennai, this is like being put in the freezer... if it were not for bishuda, i dont' know how i'd survive these nights... must be around 12/13 degrees i guess.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Fodder for the belly and the mind

Had a good dinner tonight at the Maharashtra Mandal here - was a special day, so they gave a good feast - real good food :D. Then came back to read a book called the "Liar's Poker" by Michael Lewis - pretty famous satirical book on the investment banking industry - I cannot stop myself from laughing at every line - awesomely well written book.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

holiday time

In the piddly 2 days of hols we have, i've decided to catch up on my movie watching :P

Saw 7G yesterday night - pretty strong movie must say, and really good songs - particularly "Kan Pesum Varthai", has really beautiful beats and lyrics. But must follow that up with something hilarious to clear the mood always - like say "Dhool" ;D.

Friday, December 10, 2004

painful memoirs

Today, had my last 5th term exam in the present schedule on m&a. Till yesterday my exams seemed to be going well - infact so well i've never had a better term here till date - but today, got pained as hell - whoa! - one bouncer of an exam. never before have i been so perturbed by an exam. impermanence beta - nothing in this world seems to everlasting :P

Friday, December 03, 2004

Return (eh.. control) without risk !

An interesting article in the NewYorkTimes today. An interesting tactic has been employed in a recent takeover where a hedge fund obtained controlling stake without holding any economic stake in the company. Apparently Perry Corp, a hedge fund having a controlling stake in King Pharma which was subject to a takeover bid by Mylan Labs has obtained controlling stake in Mylan by means of a complex swap transaction with Bear Sterns and Goldman Sachs. They seem to have bought the shares while making GS and BS to sell the same stake short - and removing risk for both parties through a swap. Cool eh :D