Sunday, August 16, 2009

So many points, so little time! : Aug 9-15

1. Here's a important lesson Mayawati can learn, about statues. Diplomacy and goodwill can take a good step forward by invoking art and artists alike. Karnataka and Tamilnadu showed the way this week, when the statue of Tamil poet Thiruvallar was unveiled in Bengaluru and that of Kannada poet Sarvagna was unveiled in Chennai, in the presence of both the Chief Ministers of the State. This step might not solve long standing disputes, but an air of goodwill and cultural exchanges can only do more good than harm. Was Mayawati watching? Or was she still busy finalizing the latest design of her statues, along with those of the elephants?

2. In a court room, the presiding officer sentences a lady to three years rigorous imprisonment. Immediately, (yes, literally immediately), the Home Minister of the country walks into the room, declares that the sentence is being reduced to 18 months, and also that she will be under house arrest and will not face rigorous imprisonement. And then he leaves the courtroom. Does this sound like a scene from a comedy movie? Or maybe a movie of the colonial times? Well, then here's the truth. This farce happened in this day, this age! The lady is none other that Aung San Suu Kyi of Mynammar, who pioneered the democratic movement in that country and therefore was placed under house arrest 14 years back. Why was she sentenced further? Because at the fag end of her 14 year arrest, an white man apparently swam across the lake beside her house, and entered into it. Therefore, she is guilty of violating the terms of "house arrest". And now with her requiring to spend another 18 months in her house, the 2010 "elections" in the country will remain another farce. All the world leaders have religiously "condemned" this move, and then proceeded to do... nothing.

3. See, I am a little poor at understanding economics. I was taught that if prices increase, inflation increases and vice versa. So, if inflation is stable, then prices are stable. So now, why then are prices of essential commodities so high if inflation is -1.74% ?! I have tried my best to figure out why there is an anomoly between what I read and what actually is happening! All I could find was that inflation is calculated with respect to the same period last year too, and therefore it is going into negative because last year it was in double digits. Confused, right? Here's more to confuse you... Economists say deflation is bad, and then the government says there is nothing to worry. All theory says deflation is bad, but no one just bothers to explain in detail what the whole fuss about inflation/deflation is all about. We were told not to worry when inflation was in double digits. And then we are told not to worry when it is negative. So here's my question - when exactly is it that we should be worried?

4. Sagarika Ghose seems be infected with "frisk flu". Ok, excuse my poor(est) joke, but that's what it seems like. On her latest blog, she talks about some oaths. Apparently, if I understood the blog correctly, we all should take a oath that we will stand in queue while at airports. But Sagarika, we already do that, so why do we have to take an oath? Or did you want the leaders to take that oath? If so, your naivety is ... well, plain naive! And pray why you are not answering this question - How can you guarantee that the official who frisked Dr. Kalam was not a security risk to him?

5. Here's an interesting tidbit. In Montreal this week, for the first time an any ATP tournament, the top 8 ranked players of the world have reached the Quarter Finals. There have been tournaments in which the top 8 seeds reached the quarterfinals, but this is the first time the top 8 ranked players in the world reached this stage. More than it being interesting, I was surprised that this never happened before. Nevertheless, feels good to see a first happening in your favorite sport :)