Happy Birthday Madhu!

Madman, who pretends to be mild-mannered webhost Madhu Menon when he’s not wielding his eight eleven-inch knives and body-slamming people, turns thirty the age that shall not be named today.

If you’re in Bangalore, I suggest you celebrate his birthday by eating at his peerless South East Asian restaraunt, Shiok.

Madhu, in the absence of a birthday present and my hosting fees, this little bit of publicity for Shiok will have to do. Happy Birthday.

The Foundation of Civilization

The word ‘civilization’ springs from the rood ‘civis’- city, that is. When you get down to it, urbanization and civilization are the same thing. Art and technology are born in the city. When you’re stuck in a village driving a buffalo across a field, you don’t have the time or inclination to come up with anything creative. Pataliputra saw Kautilya writing the Arthashastra, medieval Rome had Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel and in present day New York Arthur Andersen invented creative accounting. The list goes on and on. What have the villages done in all that time? Ten years ago, rural Jalandhar tried, came up with Chamkila, and slunk off in embarassment, not to be heard of since then.

But what makes a city a city? What is the foundation on which civilization rests? What is the one thing that turns a big village into a small city? Who knows what this mysterious secret ingredient is?

Continue reading “The Foundation of Civilization”

The Vegetarian Life

A guide to Singapore posted on the internal discussion group by our senior and former PlaceRep Jagmeet Piddu contains this immortal paragraph:

“Vegetarians: Since the Government wants Singapore to be the home to the superior individuals of this world, people at the bottom of the food chain are indirectly encouraged not to enter this paradise. Vegeterian stuff is strictly banned & all food must be cooked in chicken stock. Do not violate this law else you might find a 6 ft ‘rotan’ embellishing your bottom (much like Michael Fay for spray painting somebody else’s cars).”

Do I have great seniors or what?

Meanwhile, it turns out that dinosaurs in India used to be vegetarian.

And now they’re extinct. Am I the only one who sees a connection here?

Good Stuff! Good Stuff!

The last twenty-four hours have seen some brilliant blogposts going up on the web. I just love coincidences like these. Check out these posts:

Ravikiran and Jane Galt on the copper trading crisis.

Gaurav about the BPO industry’s detractors. On a related note, Business Standard Weekend lays the smack down on the VV Giri Institute of Labour report. Speaking of which, does anybody have a link to the complete report?

Marginal Revolution reports that the CME will soon start trading options and futures in real estate prices. Damn! I had this idea three weeks ago. Should have written it down then.

Also from MR, privatizing water supply improves infant mortality rates, especially for the poorest segment of the population. Analogous to mobile telephones- I know I need to stop giving allusions and have a full fledged post on that topic soon.

Finally, there’s Vikrum on how one of his students left Mumbai and returned to UP.

The Government as Shopkeeper: A Hint

As nobody has cracked the question about the government being a shopkeeper yet, I am providing a hint.

Quite some time after this person made this statement, he/ she became a member of parliament. However, while in parliament he/ she did not really bother about government being a part of all the stuff mentioned: cooperatives, corporations, airlines, et cetera. Instead, he/ she focused largely on the welfare of schoolgoing children, arguing that they were overburdened.

Try now.

Competition at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Two interesting links. First, MobilePundit links to an Economics Times piece on Bharti and Motorola entering a retail tie-up to sell Motorola handsets. As I mentioned earlier on my old blog, Motorola is selling Bharti the sub-$40 C110 series phones at discounted rates.

Now, Business Standard is reporting that Philips is looking at the bottom of the Indian pyramid, and is trying to gain a lead in mobile phones by coming up with a sub-$20 phone.

I’ll believe a twenty dollar new phone when I see it- there’s a high chance that the Philips CEO is simply putting fart- but the fact that he’s said it it does indicate that there’s going to be competition in this segment. Which is good for consumers, and even better for society in the long run.

The Government as Shopkeeper

A quiz question for you, especially if you are an Infamous Cartel Member. Who said/ wrote the following?

Among the multitudinous avatars of our Government, the latest one is that of a shopkeeper. I wonder if the red-tapist at the counter is going to appreciate the psychology of an average shopper and treat him with the considerateness he is accustomed to at his favourite shop. People on their side have no reason to expect that multi-storeyed, multi-purpose, super markets and mighty ‘price-line’ holding establishments will ever do better than our State Banks, Telephones, Airlines, Railways, Cooperatives, Corporations or Coffee Boards, where a customer is reduced to the rank of a supplicant or petitioner, unless he proves influential or aggressive in one way or another.

IT in Punjab

Enough has been written about the deteriorating infrastructure in Bangalore that I don’t need to provide links. The fallout of this is that Infosys and Wipro are threatening to pack up and leave, and move to other cities. One of these cities is Sonapur.

And I support this. Absolutely. One hundred percent.

This is not out of any great love for Sonapur. I hate the place. Despise it. It’s nothing but row upon row of government housing filled with pretentious yuppie wannabes. Like RK Puram, but more sordid. But still, I support IT in Sonapur. And to explain this, I would like to present an exchange of emails that took place on the alumni mailing list of my beloved (not!) undergraduate institute, Thakur Institute of Technological Sciences, Parwaanoo.

Continue reading “IT in Punjab”