Monday, March 26, 2007

True gurus

You must meet him (a guru), a follower advised me. “He’s doing great work — and I’m part of that great work. We’ve uplifted hundreds in this village, thousands in that district, millions altogether. We’ve transformed convicts. We’ve changed lives, even souls. Meet him, write about us, give us publicity.”
I get to hear this monologue once a week or oftener. Couple of times, in my naivete, I even went out of my way to get some gyan, become a ‘better person’, learn to get in touch with my spirit. All in vain.

Opinion in The Indian Express, March 26, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Feeling homesick?

The numbers are scary. As an Indian Express story on March 19 revealed, a person who 18 months ago had taken a 7.5 per cent 20 year loan for Rs 20 lakh to buy a house and would be paying an EMI of Rs 16,111, would have his future generations paying it in perpetuity if the EMI did not rise. Because of the sharp and steady increase in home loan interest rates, from 7.5 per cent then to 11 per cent today, and assuming this householder did not want to increase EMI, tenure rises from 20 years when begun, to 30 years at 9.5 per cent to 70 years at an interest rate of 10 per cent. Beyond this rate, the interest component of the EMI (which comprises interest and principal) rises beyond Rs 16,111. Meaning, unless the EMI is increased, he will be in a perpetual debt trap.

Opinion in The Indian Express, March 21, 2007

Thursday, March 1, 2007

It’s a flat, flat world

The 541 point, or 4 per cent, crash in the Sensex on Wednesday coincided with P. Chidambaram’s fourth budget under the UPA administration. But that’s just where the coincidences end. The reasons for this fall lie outside the Budget, outside Parliament, outside the Indian economy — they lie in China, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico and, of course, the US.

Opinion in The Indian Express, March 01, 2007

Markets dive but why this could be an overreaction

NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 28 : No big-bang reforms. No cut in tax rates. No major change in tax slabs. And barring the needless increase in dividend distribution tax (DDT), an impractical, inflation-contending strategic cut in cement, extension of minimum alternative tax (MAT), and an incentive-killing application of Fringe Benefit Tax to ESOPs (employees’ stock option plan), no major change worth writing home about.
Just the right formula for keeping a long-term household budget, riding long-term high economic growth, in place.

Story in The Indian Express, March 01, 2007