Thursday, September 29, 2005

More on India & China

Here is another article pointing out the no contest between Chinese and Indian infrastructure. There are many who would argue that China being an authoratarian nation can move things much faster than India, a democracy. There certainly is some truth to these arguments when we are talking about fundamental policy changes, where it is extremely hard to get everybody at the same wavelength. This argument does not hold any water when we are talking about issues like building good infrastructure on which I believe there is no contention. Everybody agrees, has been agreeing since last 60 years that India needs good roads, sufficient power, good airports , good railways, but one does not see great urgency in building them. The reality is that path from intent to implementation is a very rocky one in India, marred by red-tape, corruption, lack of foresight& professionalism, apathy, the list can go on and on. Indians certainly can not blame their democratic set up for this, they have only themselves to blame.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

India & China

In past couple of years, international media, especially Business Week ,has placed India's economic status at the same pedestal as China's. If you go through Business Week's recent cover story on these two emerging economies you would get the impression that India is not far behind from China. China is the new economic powerhouse of the world followed 'closely' by India goes the popular phrase from these media houses. The reason for this apparently equal treatment is that China has built its economy on non-glamorous manufacturing industries and has clearly become the factory of the world. India's reputation has been built on the more visible and glamorous high-tech(if you can call outsourcing that) industry. What is forgotten is that while China's manufacturing growth is fueled by sensible policy making by its government, India's growth in high-tech is largely the case of being at the right place at the right time and has very little to do with any sensible planning or vision from its government. This hyperbole of China and India has already led to a sense of complacency in Indian government circles witnessed by a very sluggish growth in economic reforms in past 2 years in India. If anybody thinks that India's economic status is quite close to China then he needs to do the math. Economist Shankar Acharya has provided the numbers . On every important economic parameter, India is not even close to being close to China. On same parameters, it is so shamefully far behind that the only relevant comparison could be with the most backward third world countries. True, India has made very impressive gains in past decade and a half, especially in the information technology industry. The reality, however, is that given its vast population and potential it is just not enough. India needs to do a lot lot more to get anywhere near to where China is today. It needs to build a halfway decent infrastructure, provide a quality of life fitting to humans for a vast majority of its people, remove bottlenecks for enetrpreuners, privatize the inefficient state enterprises, start a crackdown on corruption, introduce some social reforms. The to do list is long. It has those proverbial thousand miles to go before it can so much as take a nap.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Tabloid of India

Pardon the poor stale headline for this post, but I did not want to waste any fancy words or my precious little grey cells thinking of a nice headline about the junk of which I am about to write. Almost every indian with even half a brain would agree that Times Of India is probably the worst newspaper in the world which still has name of a nation in its name. Normally I would not prefer to write about the cheap sleaze show Times of India really is, but a couple of nice posts on the web convinced me that there are people out there who care about the abysmal lows ToI has hit and is "affectionately" being referred as ToI-let paper of India. Hopefully some kind of buzz can be built on the web which (hope dear hope) may be an agent of change for the ToI-let paper because seriously, name of India on a ToI-let paper burns my heart.

nice article on Indian Classical Music

A simple google search on Indian Classical Music yielded this highly readable introduction to Carnatic Music, name given to South Indian Classical Music.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Steve Jobs on death

Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, is, as we all know, a great businessman. What is less well known that he is somewhat of a philosopher as well. As a believer in Karma and ancient eastern philosophy, he certainly is the guy who practices what he preaches. His recent address at the convocation of Stanford University is a very worthwhile read. One quote from this address which I find very illuminating is about death. "Death is very likely the single best invention in life,” Mr Jobs told his young audience. “All external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” Sums it up for me.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Blessed were those who were awake on Wednesday night to watch the dual between Agassi and Blake. If ever there was a match which lived up to its hype then this was it. The potential match up was being hyped from the day Blake overcame Nadal and fans were not disappointed in the least. The intensity and quality of play were all in evidence from Game 1 of first set. Blake came out firing and with some Federerisque forehands , returns and speed , he was up 2 sets in no time. Agassi, a true champion, was never going to let it go without a fight. The old warhorse switched gears and started playing like the Agassi of yore. His speed, agility , accurate serve and thundorous returns were all in full display in hard fought 3rd and 4th sets which were closer than the scoreline may suggest. The stage was set for an epic fifth set and what a set it was! Blake found the energy and agility of first 2 sets , broke Agassi to lead 5-3 and a chance to serve out the set. Agassi decided to go for the kill , a couple of unplayable returns later , he had a break point which he seized with both hands (no pun intended!)with a two handed backhand winner. Inevitably, the match drifted towards a tiebreaker afterwards. The tiebreaker was as hard fought as everything else before it. Blake got off to a good start again ,was up 3-0 and true to the theme of the night Agassi had to fight back again, which he duly did. At 6-5 , Agassi had a match-point which Blake saved with a thundorous forehand winner, kissing the corners of the sideline, but Agassi was not to be denied a thoroughly deserved victory. Couple of points later, Agassi was one more step closer to realising his dream of retiring with one more Grand Slam title. The bonohomie between the two warriors was evident in the way they hugged each other at the net. As Agassi rightly asserted afterwards, "Tennis was the biggest winner tonight."