Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Next PM candidate!

It is clear that Mr. Narendra Modi is the next PM candidate. And if all the dirty politics are kept away and if Mr. Gandhi remains the PM candidate, then in every likelihood the perception is that Mr. Narendra Modi will be the next PM.
But, what if Mr. Gandhi is not nominated as the PM candidate?
Then, who should that person be who can be nominated from the congress party that can stand the personality of Mr. Modi and has a cleaner image.
In the recent past, while congress/ gandhi family has been running the show, the face of the nation i.e. the PM has always been an academician or a shrewd politician, which isn't the trait of the gandhi clan.
Hence, even this time the PM candidate may be a person most likely with exemplary clean image and a well rounded and grounded personality.
Imagine this!
What if the next PM candidate from Congress party is Mr. Nandan Nilekani.
He is amazing, excellent credentials and can appease all the youth. And, because he doesn't have the political clout, he may remain loyal to the congress family.
Of course Mr. Chidambaram may not like this. But, does it matter
Congress will go .. sorry again.. the Gandhi family will go to any extent to remain in power.
So, why not Mr. Nilekani.
Now, I am suddenly interested in the future of the nation and especially the coming elections!!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Raghu Ram!

I remembered a beautiful carnatic classical rendition "Raghu Vamsa Sudhambudi"
This is a song, praising Lord Ram, who belongs to "Raghu" family hoping that he would bring all the good luck and charm. 
The song sets the tempo for further course of action and is a hope that the Raghu Ram will take care of the reins and lead every one ashore. 
Hope Mr. Raghu Ram can do so.
If you did not already get my intentions. This is a request and praise of Mr. RaghuRam Rajan who is the next RBI director. Not that the earlier chairman Mr. Subbarao did anything bad, it is just a hope that Mr. Raghuram rajan will be able to better handle the government and make it understand it's work better.
This was a simple blog requesting the almighty (RBI chairman, I guess holds the key for a lot of activities) to bring a shape to the country.
He will have to break the lock of Chidambaram and unshackle the country's growth potential. 
Otherwise most of us will end up doing nothing but singing
Sa Ri Ri Ma - Ma Da Da Ni, Ga Pa Pa Sa - Sa Ri Ri Ma Ma Ga Ga Ri - Ri Sa Sa Ni, Ni Da Da Pa - Pa Ma Ga Ri

PS: If any one doesn't know, Mr. Chidambaram is our finance minister and in our place anything that remains unknown is called as "Chidambara rahasya" i.e secret of Chidambara!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I wish that I did not know

When all that matters is, what will happen the next day.
When you know the inevitable
When you know the eventuality cannot be stopped
When you know you are going to lose an identity
When you know your voice is unheard
When you know your days are counted
When you know your next morning will be split
When you know your next drop of water will have to be fought for
When you know the decision may never give an option to look back
When you know that you will be forced to pay for the visit which we believed was common ancestral property
When you know that the days of bilingual talk are over and the pride in staying together ceases to exist
All this, when I know that no anguish matters any more!
I wish that I did not know!!

tambulalu ichesaamu ika tannuku chaavandi!!

In our place, after the end of meals, betel leaf and nuts are given which earmarks the complete closure of the meal. After this the person who was hosting his role is officially considered complete. He would not care what happens later.
So, the phrase above means that "we've extended the betel leaf, our role is over, now you may go to dogs!!"
This is the stand of Congress. Hell bent on splitting my state, for a desire of meeting the short term objectives of one elections and later they will decide about the way forward.
How will the states compete, what are the aspirations of people, what will happen to the resources sharing?
What benefit does it actually create to the state .. Nothing seems to be a matter of concern to the Congress party.
Once a party of unification, Congress has siphoned off itself as a party with a track record of splitting the states.
I am not sure, what is fun that congress is deriving out of it. We cannot afford so many states.
Every one knows it.
And here is congress bent on creating one more state, which will create a wave for another state.
The whole thing appears to be like that of a dictator. One queen sitting in Delhi, has never visited the state. Not sure if she can even pronounce telangana correctly. And she has is deciding the fate and aspirations of so many people. A language that is so old, a culture which is so ancient, a state which is formed out of good intentions, now will go to dogs, god forbid if it happens like that.
I am sad, for having not done anything. I am sad for the state of affairs.
I am sad that we are living in tyranny instead of democracy.
Alas, the decision is in the hands of one person who till her prime age never even knew that a country like India existed, forget the state of affairs of Andhra Pradesh.
Once a state, which led the way forward for the country, now will be a thing of the past.
I hope this does not happen.
I just pray that congress does not take the decision like this.
I can only remember the day of the partition and nothing less. I do not want this partition. Let us not build the Berlin Wall. 
Pleaseeeee :(

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fart Mart to invest $15 bn in India

Leading retail chain Fart Mart has recently signed a deal worth more than $15 bn in India.
The news was revealed in a press meet by Congress spokesperson Mr. Raj Babbar. This came after his remarks about Walmart that “If Walmart has gone, more marts are there. They will come.”
It was evident that congress already knew about the FartMart’s investments and hence were not concerned when WalMart said that they cannot procure the mandatory 30% from local small industries. The details of the MoU are yet to be revealed.
FartMart is a world’s leading retail store with global supply chain in equipment that support farting. With a huge presence across the developed world, FartMart has recently forayed into the Asian space to adhere to the increased demand of farting from the various political groups across the nations.
FartMart has agreed to adhere to the 30% norms of local procurement. In its press release FartMart has stated the following: "India has an established supply chain across its villages and cities in Farting. With India leading the world in open defecation and with elections around the corner, we expect a 100% growth in the demand for farting. India is our top priority and we are eager to establish ourselves as a serious player in farting. We look forward to active support from the UPA regime in reaping the investment potential in farting"
Mr. Babbar was ecstatic about the foray of FartMart and he said that the retail chain will bring the best practices across the world in farting. He expressed his desire and also commented about his party's strong stance for investments in farting. He criticized his opponents for not supporting 51% FDI in Retail industry in India and he expressed his desire that the investment by fartmart will encourage more farts to venture into India.
In response to a question by a reporter that on what basis was fartmart allowed, he concluded the press meet by saying that the high command has taken the decision and the further course of action will also be decided by them!

PS: This article is also published by me in Faking News

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kotha Avakaya!

Turn back your pages in the dairies and go to your childhood, and you'd remember that one of the most important events at the onset of summer holidays is the preparation of Avakaya, the most solicited, famous & revered pickle of Andhra Pradesh. I was actually surprised that when I typed Avakaya there was no article cherishing the experiences of Avakaya. Then I thought of penning my memories associated with it.

 ఎవడు  కనిపెట్టాడో కానీ  ఆవకాయని, అది లేని జీవితం ఎందుకూ పనికిరాదు !!

At the onset of summer Holidays, when Mango is raw, the pickle preparartion season begins. More details about the preparation of the pickle itself can be found on the wiki page, but I want to write about the sweet nuances surrounding its preparation.

On the day, when the mango pickle is decided to be kept, we used to go out to the fruit market and start looking out for Mangoes which are as sour as possible from as many dealers. Since my mother cannot really taste very sour mangoes, she would take me along with her and I'd get the great opportunity of tasting the sour mangoes. (I am actually drooling water while thinking about it :) ).
Once a particular set of mangoes are liked, then the bargaining part starts and finalized ( Some of the best practices of sourcing & procurement in consulting can be learnt from the bargaining at these places!!). Now, the mangoes are bought, which is the easiest part of the whole process!! Remember that these mangoes are only for "avakaya". There would be separate set, albeit amongst the same lot, for "maagaya" another pickle with mangoes itself, but in the latter the mangoes are shred into slices instead of pieces as done in "avakaya"
During my childhood the mangoes would be brought home, washed and rinced with a dry cloth and then a hard knife or a "kathi peeta" would be rented from neighbors to cut the mangoes. This is a very intense excercise and requires lot of effort and concentration.
I remember sitting besides some one, who would be chopping the mangoes and we, children trying to steal the small pieces :), or trying to impress the person by doing some small chores and in return managing to get few chunks of sliced mangoes!!
Once all the mangoes are chopped into pieces of required dimension, that is when the actual process of preparation of avakaya began!
On the other side, the preparation of maagaya is even more interesting. (Water drooling!!). First of all, the mangoes' skin has to be peeled. This is a time consuming excercise, but not harmful, so even we were asked to do it as children. Once all the mangoes's skins are peeled off, then slices of the mango would be made.
While for avakaya, the mangoes are chopped including the inner shell, for maagaya only the external part of mango is sliced and the inner shell is thrown away.
Once the slices are made, they are dipped in pasupu and uppu (Turmeric and salt), which makes them really yummy. Two slices of it and you'd feel so good. For weak stomachs, third slice is good enough to make their stomach rumble :)
Here onwards the preparation begins!!
Since avakaya and maagaya are dishes made, they have to be prepared in a very ritualistic fashion and hence the person who is preparing it, would be in madi (A ritual where a person maintains physical distance from any other person, as he/she is performing a divine duty or a duty related to lord!)
The pickles are also significant in nature and the first bite always goes to the god and hence they are performed in isolation by a few, but we get to only see the preparation. If we still crave for physical proximity to mother, who is preparing the pickle, we would go naked and sit with her while she is preparing it :)
Typically, both the pickles would be made under the stringent guidance of yester generation, as it is an art extended from generations to generations only through action and not in written.
The right pickle, requires right amount of salt, oil and the perfect combination of the masala!
Hence, my mother would usually be guided by her mother-in-law who would also be in madi and would tell her the amount of salt and all other ingredients.
Remember that all this while, none of the ingredients are ever tasted. The first bite of the pickle would be given to god or kept aside for some priveleged people. So, the total pickle preparation of 2-3 days is done, only by the expert perception of the women!
Once the pickle is prepared in dishes, it is stored in big porcelian bottles (jaadi), which are typically colored in white and brown. (I do not know the reason for these colors!). The procelian dishes are also, well cleaned, dried and preserved for the storage of these pickles only. Some of the these Jaadis have been used for generations. 
The pickle is never kept to the brim of the Jaadi. It is only kept till half or 3/4th of the Jaadi, and the rest is filled by Oil. The mangoe would absord the oil and gradually release its taste. It would typically take a week to two for the total mangoe pieces to absorb the oil and become perfect. The nectar released by mangoes is called "oota". One can easily distinguish the mangoe pieces which have not yet absorbed the oil and masala completely and the ones which have.
On the first two days, when the new pickle is made, it is shared between neighbors and relatives and every one loves to receive it. The whole week, when these pickles are made, the only thing that one can relish is these pickles for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!
My brother would go gaga over these pickles and would insist on not having food without having a bite of the pickle.
వేడి వేడి పప్పులో నెయ్యి వేసుకుని ఆవకాయ నంచుకుని తింటే ఉండే ఆనందం వర్ణనాతీతం!!
ఆ రోజులే వేరు !!
May all of you be blessed with aavakaya, gongura and other pickles and may your health permit you to be able to eat them!
To end this article ... 
కొడితే కుంభ స్థలాన్నే కొట్టాలి!
తింటే కొత్త ఆవకాయనే తినాలి !!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Man mohana bade Jhoothe!!

I was hearing this famous rendition by Lata ji and the other elite club. (Link to Youtube version)
I was suddenly awestruck at the Mukhda of the song
"Man mohana" bade Jhuthe..
It made me question, who was the song addressed to?
It is about "Man" .. the hindi equivalent of 'Heart".
But it stuck me again that .. it no longer is intended at "man"... 
I need to add "man mohana" .. which actually means dear heart.
And then it stuck me again that, even that is incorrect... it actually meant
"man mohan" a bade jhuthe...
Haa .. I see now, you get it..
"Manmohan"a bade jhuthe..
The rendition was developed 50 years ago protesting against, our Prime minister Mr. Manmohan singh's silence on coal gate scandal, 2G scandal, Hydro power allocation scandal, CBI file read/modify scandal, Land allocation scandal, Chopper procurement scandal, ... ok ok I will stop!!
What a song "man mohana" bade jhuthe .. OK, sorry for the typo
"manmohan a bade jhuthe"..
"Manmohan" means a person with pious and heautiful heart.
With all due respect to our dear PM, he has had great credentials and has been a great person..
For some reason I guess, he started loving his own self so much and has become very possessive about that beautiful heart of his "man mohana" that he would not let any one hear it
He has become very possessive of his own self that he would remain silent and let his heart not speak, lest, the "man" may run away with the words surrounding all the scandals!
He has transformed himself from "manmohan" to "maun mohan" .. 
As a matter of fact, the saint like person he is, he has decided that love and attraction to material things like Coal, 2G and also to crimes against woman are not great for the soul and has decided to protest against them and get rid of these worldly pleasures through silence and hence the maun!
So, hail the "maun" baba. He is the wisely and the one who can offer the true love i.e. "mohan"
Jai ho "maun mohan" baba ki!!

Nevertheless "Man mohana bade Jhuthe"

PS: I respect our PM for all the good deeds that he has done and for a great personality he is. I envy him for his academic acumen and can only dream about being the person he is (You know why I wrote this!!)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Price rise ... A shot in the hand!

In the previous article I mentioned that the Price rise is a shot in the arm and now I also want to justify that it is a shot in the hand.
Even while I was contemplating to file a PIL against this price rise, Haryana Govt. whose electricity distribution companies would be affected by this price rise has already challenged the verdict.
Just to brief the context again .. the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, the authority to regulate the price of electricity, has allowed for a pass through of the additional cost of coal in the existing price of electricity. This is considered to a big shot in the arm and hence all the power generation companies' stocks also soared. (Click here for my previous article on this!)
If we look at it in detail, there is more to it than just a good news.
When Adani bid for the project, though the company had an option, they bid for a fixed tariff that is independent of the fuel prices (Incidentally all the others who lost the bid had opted for a flexible pricing option which is dependent on the price of the fuels!). Because of this fixed tariff, Adani was able to quote less and win the bid. So, the terms and conditions are set that Adani will not allow for any change in the price, for whatever be the change in the input fuel costs. Even in the terms & conditions of the contract, there was no clause which allowed for a price hike basis an exception input fuel cost increase.
Under these circumstances, why should the regulatory commission allow for a price hike. And moreover the name given fort his price hike is "Compensatory tariff". This changes the whole meaning of a competitive bidding mechanism.
Here on-wards I will always bid low, because I know there is going to be a compensatory tariff later which can be influenced. Hence, it can no longer be called a competitive bidding. It is an indirect way of co-ercing the regulatory or ensuring mis-management of funds for the benefit of the private parties. In simple terms it is bribe. I, as a power developer will approach the decision makers in the regulatory commission seeking compensatory tariff and in turn will compensate them in kind or through other means that cannot be tracked.
Incidentally, the regulatory commission gave the verdict one month before the chairman is about to retire. The case was pending for more than 2 years and in a sudden rush of events the verdict is given.
Haryana Govt. has for once immediately shot off a petition seeking cancellation of this order, which may stall this utter disregard to legal and regulatory norms.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Price rise .. A shot in the arm!


Couple of days ago, one of my friends was asking me what would be the solution to the ailing power sector crisis in India. If we drew Porter's five forces model for the Power sector presently every force is dragging the sector down. Regulatory issues, Human resource issues, Lack of funds, lack of fuel, In adequate price and more to say the least. It looks like a vicious cycle with each leading to the other. So, what was one thing that could be done to revive the sector?
The answer was precisely given by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission by allowing a pass through of increased fuel cost and agreeing to revise the power purchase agreement. No wonder, the stocks of the listed power generating companies soared by more than 5% in a single session, due to the hopes created by this judgement. Infact, this may be the single regulation that will have the maximum impact on the sector. But, how does it impact?
When a power generation company is about to set up the plant, they sign an agreement with the customer for the sale of electricity at a particular price. This agreement is more commonly called as "Power Purchase Agreement". This forms the basis for all the electricity bills that we pay. Typically in this contract, the electricity generation cost is planned and with a small escalation in prices, the power generation companies quote the price for the next 25 years. These values remain valid till the end of the 25 years!
Here comes the interesting part. In the cost of electricity generation, fuel cost alone constitutes more than 60%. So any undue increase in the fuel cost leads to a huge increase in the overall cost of electricity. Since, these undue increases cannot be allowed to, the power generation companies will be forced to sell or at times not sell electricity at all. While power generation companies do plan for price hikes, huge reliance on imported fuel supplies cannot be really planned for. This precisely happened with the coal that was being imported from Indonesia. Since, the amount of coal produced in India is not enough, many companies tied up with Indonesian coal companies for the supply of coal for long term supplies. When these tie-ups were formed Indonesian coal was cheap and hence all the companies bid aggressively for selling electricity. Couple of years ago, Indonesian Govt. increased the export duty on Coal significantly leading to almost an increase of 40-50% in the cost of coal being imported from Indonesia. This price hike was never expected in such a short duration and left every power generation company depending on Indonesian coal in quandary.  The other party of the Power Purchase agreement, which are typically the Govt. run electricity distribution companies did not agree to bear this additional cost. So, far the past 3 years power generation companies have been fighting battles to allow for this price hike.
After huge deliberations, the regulatory commission which oversees this price settlement passed a judgment to allow for a price hike. Even though the formula for price hike is not decided, the impact is significant considering the fact that this has been the biggest and one of the first of its kind in India. This is a shot in the arm for all the power generation  companies which were holding back from investing further and were reeling under losses of multiple crores per day.
But, what about the ability of the electricity distribution companies to cater to the increased price. Indian electricity distribution companies are the most loss making entities across the value chain of electricity. They are forced to buy the electricity and are not allowed to charge the consumers the rate at which they can survive. On top of that are the huge subsidies that are forced upon them by the active governments and also the impositions by politicians to ensure free power to their electorate etc. Last year Govt. had to bail out some of the electricity distribution companies from an inevitable bankruptcy. Also the ongoing protest by a leading politician protesting against the electricity price hike, would make any future hikes turbulent. Owing to all these, the distribution companies may be forced to take the biggest hit.
But, at least it is some movement forward and now the focus can be shifted to the distribution companies and hopefully some concrete solution will come soon.