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Just Shoot Me

Bala, 28, Gordon Gekko in the making, pseudo-intellectual, cynic, bibliophile, obsessive compulsive ranter...

No kisses in AXN?

April 29, 2007

If the constant reader remembers correctly, the AXN channel in India ran afoul of the ministry of propaganda and moral purity (aka information & broadcasting) for showing morally degenerate shows like "world's sexiest commercials" and was banned for a couple of months.

Now i am watching the brendan fraser starrer "The Mummy" in AXN (height of joblessness) and find that all the smooching scenes between brendan fraser and rachel weisz have been cut. Not even a slight peck has survived!!. Our moral police is getting stronger and stronger these days. Hurrah!


posted by Bala, 8:25 PM | link | 0 comments |

The one in which bala feels old and grouchy

I hate teenagers. I hate the way they are active and energized. I hate their socializing. I hate the noise they make into the night. I dont like living next to a bible camp dormitory. I have become a grouchy old man.


posted by Bala, 1:45 AM | link | 2 comments |

Bala in Jesusland

April 23, 2007

Dear Lord of the Dark,

Why me? I have been a faithful acolyte for over a decade now. I have denied your opponent and been a faithful foot soldier on your side. I have held on to my faith - even prospered - all the while living amidst an ocean of irritating God followers. I even have a crayon scribbled inscription announcing "abandon hope, all ye who enter here" outside my apartment.

For fifteen months i have had the run of my apartment building. With only two of the eight apartments occupied, i have lived a content lonely life, quietly denying your opponent and dreaming of the glories of your brother in arms - mammon. And what do i find today - My apartment complex has been turned into jesusland. Not one, not two but three of the apartments have been taken over by Legions of that meddlesome dead carpenter. I am seeing hordes of caucasians with unknown eastern european accents (or midwest accents, you should forgive me for not getting it right. Ever since i quit being a call center operator and become a legionnaire of Mammon - praise be to him - i have lost the ability to place accents), infesting the building and posters praising the troublemaker of Nazareth have come up in the corridors. The horror! The horror!. The hordes apparently belong to this group. But my lord, my faith remains strong, for when dawn comes, i will venture bravely into the hostile terrain that surrounds me and gather intel.

your humble servant,

PS : I hear guitar strumming and gospel music now... The horror! The horror!

update: This bunch of evangelicals seem to belong to this group and not as originally mentioned.


posted by Bala, 9:38 PM | link | 2 comments |

Is it truly different this time?

April 19, 2007

The strength of the bulls in both Indian and the US markets is quite amazing. The way both the Dow and the Nifty are driving upwards is simply awesome. Dow jones has been up 13 out of the past 14 trading sessions and the Nifty today shrugged off the Asian Markets sell off with hardly a dent. The sea of liquidity we are swimming in seems to be endless. Usually, anyone who uses the phrase "this time it is different" in the stock markets is destined for a short painful demise, but i am really really tempted to use it now - such is the strength of the Bulls lately.


posted by Bala, 9:35 PM | link | 2 comments |

The one in which bala deplores the raising rupee

April 18, 2007

Indian Rupee (INR) has risen more than 6 percent against the US dollar in recent times. And this has cost me a lot of money. I bought some silver contracts last month when the price of silver at COMEX was 13.25$ per ounce. I bought the silver in MCX (multi commodity exchange of India) at the price 19,700 Rs per Kilo. A month later the price of COMEX silver has gone upto 14.10 $ per ounce. But what has happened in India? nothing!! - no price rise. Thanks to the rising rupee, the silver price in rupees has in fact gone down slightly and trades at around 19650 rs at the time of writing. So despite international silver prices rising 6 percent i have made nothing. Thats bad man thats bad. (do the math - i should have made atleast 1000 Rs per kilo had the rupee stayed where it was). Damn...


posted by Bala, 5:27 PM | link | 0 comments |

of interviews and expected salaries....

April 17, 2007

I interviewed someone for a job today. No correct that - I helped a friend to interview someone for a job today. The friend in question is opening a regional branch in Madurai for a medium-sized Indian brokerage firm and is interviewing people for positions of Dealer and back office workers. The woman we were interviewing today was appearing for a position as a dealer (the person who feeds in orders at a trading terminal). She is currently working in the same position in one of India's largest brokerage firms. The first question we asked her was this - how much you are getting paid now and how much do you expect as salary?. This girl gives her current salary (6000 Rs) and without hesitation names a figure 3 times the current salary (18000 Rs) as her expected pay. And she went on to emphasize - nothing less than that would do. We were quite taken aback with her calm assurance. And it made me realize how much bloated Indian financial services industry - particularly the brokerage business - is.

18000 Rs in Madurai is a huge deal. The cost of living is very very low in Madurai. Here is a candidate with two years of experience demanding 18000 rs for an almost data entry job. The rapid and reckless expansion of the major brokerage houses for the past three years and the rush to open up offices in every small town in the country has led to a scarcity of trained man power and inflated salaries. And the attrition rate rivals the BPOs here. With the recent bull run in equity markets flagging and the consolidation phase setting in, there is bound to be a violent shakeout in this business. With reliable broadband (or what passes for broadband) connections increasing in small and medium towns, the need for physical offices and terminals has started decreasing already. Why pay someone called a "dealer" while the client can feed his orders into a computer from his home?. Add to this scenario, the cut throat pricing Reliance Money has brought. With Anil Ambani in the ring (with his deep pockets) the golden run of the brokerage houses is bound to end very soon. The days when a commerce grad with couple of years experience could demand (brazenly) outrageous sums for a dealer job are going to end.

This brings back the memories of a girl i interviewed for TCS a couple of years back. She was technically brilliant, had the relevant experience as a programmer and was articulate. I should say she was much more knowledgeable than me and my co-interviewer in several aspects of J2EE. The interview become a good two way dialogue regarding technical issues and we were highly impressed with her. We decided to clear her for the tech interview and decided to pass her on to the HR portion of the interview. I was watching her fill up her HR interview questionnaire and was shell shocked to see her write 6500 Rs against the expected salary. Here was an engineer with two years of j2ee programming experience who writes down a four figure amount as expected salary?. I asked her how did she arrive at that amount?. And she says that is my pay now and so i am writing it down. Apparently she worked in a small software firm in Kochi, which took on sub contracted projects and employed her for peanuts!!.

So the question is how much does one say one expects as pay without sounding like a naive simpleton or a total ass?


posted by Bala, 8:02 PM | link | 0 comments |

Curse of the Golden Flower

April 14, 2007

No elaborate Kung Fu fights/training sequences. No striking colour coding gimmicks. No eastern mysticsm. And No skin. This movie is pure and pure palace intrigue. Normally i don't like locked room thrillers and clique intrigue stories. But this one held my attention till the very end. After a while i forgot all the gorgeous settings i was seeing, the golden layout, the push up corsets, the milky breasts, the shining armour everything disappeared. Only the characters and their schemings remained. Even the grand battle scenes at the end didnt register at all. Adultery, back stabbings, coup planning, tyranny, forbidden love affairs, returning prodigal sons, all sorts of intrigue has been packaged into this one movie skillfully and interestingly. And the acting is extremely good - Gong Li was the best of the lot. But even chow-yun Fat has a great performance as the all powerful master schemer. (i am sorta prejudiced against fat coz of seeing all the double handed pistol action he has dished out in countless john woo movies). If you like cerebral films this is a must watch


posted by Bala, 6:19 PM | link | 0 comments |


April 11, 2007

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

another of my periodic bouts of fever induced delirium. Regular posting resumes when the paracetamol stops.


posted by Bala, 5:56 PM | link | 0 comments |

an asocial moron

April 05, 2007

Dear Constant Reader,
Being an asocial moron isn't always easy. It puts one in a variety of embarrassing situations. Like when a girl whom one has met only once keeps on calling/messaging you for flimsy reasons. Maybe she wants a loan or maybe she has mixed me up with someone else or maybe she is a amway/MLM type. I tell you - this whole mating ritual thing is totally confusing.


posted by Bala, 11:35 PM | link | 0 comments |


April 04, 2007

No self respecting millitary history buff sits through a battle where the spartan hoplite shield wall dissolves into a gaggle of Raymond chow movie extras doing flying leaps . I did and it hurts.

BTW, they are remaking "Escape from Newyork" with Gerard Butler as Snake Plisskin. Gerard Butler!!. What is the world coming to?


posted by Bala, 9:44 PM | link | 2 comments |

paperback mountain

April 02, 2007

Dear constant reader,
If you remember sometime back, i won a good deal of gift coupons from Indiaplaza aka Fabmall. I managed to use almost all the coupons and bought bucket loads of paperbacks. Most of the books went to beef up the fledgling book collection of my remarkable young cousin and quite a few went to the first library i borrowed books from. The remaining 30 odd have been added to my already considerable "to be read" pile. Here are the books bought using the Indiaplaza largess.

The books which went to my cousin's collection
Night without end
South by java head
Bear island
Puppet on a chain
Last frontier
Swami and friends
the bachelor of arts
vendor of sweets
the world of nagaraj
mr sampath
the financial expert
a tiger for malgudi
the guide
The Shining
Fear is the key
The guns of navarone
The rule of four
HMS Ulysses
Eats shoots and leaves
Eaters of the dead
The shining
The rainmaker
The adventures of huckleberry finn
Pet sematary
The bourne identity
kane and abel
A matter of honor
The prodigal daughter
The Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy
The Eyre affair
Something rotten
Well of lost plots
Lost in a good book
still life with crows
O jerusalem
Three musketeers
The prince and the pauper
The count of monte christo
The Devil's alternative

Added to my pile
All about hedge funds
Candlestick charting
Wisdom of crowds
The Sunbird
catcher in the rye
First man in rome
Fortune's favorites
Caesar's women
The Grass crown
The Dante Club
Is paris burning
A storm of swords
eyes of the dragon
Claudius the god
Martin pring on market momentum
Virtues of war
Last of the amazons
A clash of kings
I Claudius
The Twentieth wife
Everybody loves a good drought
Liar's poker
Presumed innocent
Madras rediscovered
Gai jin
A game of thrones
A feast for crows
Island of blood

Books given away to my first library
pretty much everything kizhakku padhippagam has published in the last couple of years

Now i went a second round with the whole low price challenge thing and earned a great deal of more coupons (wont say for how much, but its more the first time ;-)). This time though they have made the coupons combinable with other coupons and am planning to buy and sell a few mobile phones using them.


posted by Bala, 11:12 PM | link | 3 comments |