Lucky Drink

A man wakes up with a huge hangover. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins and a glass of water on the side table. He sees his clothing in front of him, all cleaned and pressed. He looks around the room and sees it is in perfect order. So is the rest of the
house. He takes his aspirins and notices a note on the table:

Breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping.
I Love you.

He goes to the kitchen. Sure enough, a hot breakfast and the morning newspaper await him. His son is also at the table, eating. The man asks, “Son, what happened last night?”

His son says, “Well, you came home after 3 a.m., drunk and delirious. You broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and gave yourself a black eye when you walked into the door.”

Confused, the man asks, “So why is everything in order and so clean, with breakfast on the table waiting for me?”

His son replies, “Oh that! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off you shouted,


1. Programmer produces code he believes is bug-free.

2. Product is tested. 20 bugs are found.

3. Programmer fixes 10 of the bugs and explains to the testing department that the other 10 aren’t really bugs.

4. Testing department finds that five of the fixes didn’t work and discovers 15 new bugs.

5. Repeat three times steps 3 and 4.

6. Due to marketing pressure and an extremely premature product announcement based on overly-optimistic programming schedule, the product is released.

7. Users find 137 new bugs.

8. Original programmer, having cashed his royalty check, is nowhere to be found.

9. Newly-assembled programming team fixes almost all of the 137 bugs, but introduce 456 new ones.

10. Original programmer sends underpaid testing department a postcard from Fiji. Entire testing department quits.

11. Company is bought in a hostile takeover by competitor using profits from their latest release, which had 783 bugs.

12. New CEO is brought in by board of directors. He hires a programmer to redo program from scratch.

13. Programmer produces code he believes is bug-free.

– forwarded by Suri.

Are we living in a cosmo village, or a cluster of enclaves?

What sets humans apart from other species is the society and our sense of community. As cave-dwellers, we hunted and fought much stronger animals. As a civilization, we build cities, canals, forts and roads. The strength of being a human comes from the fact that we can collaborate, work and mingle with people who are not genetically related to us. Traders, settlers and scholars moved from one region to another exchanging ideas and creating the flow of knowledge.

During the Dark ages, trade and travel was stopped and people build up walls and stopped all interactions with Asia and rest of the world. This led to widespread stagnations in the society and standard of living actually deteriorated in this period. The integration of culture and adoption of the ideas from the Muslim (Moslem) world brought in a renaissance (revolution) in the society and spurred us to the modern age.

Modern transport and communications have enabled people to travel far and wide. We can be in touch with people across geographical boundaries, but there is a long way to go before there is an actual assimilation leading to one global village. The biggest threat arising due to lack of integrated communities is communalism. From the childhood, we are taught not to talk to strangers. But after a certain age, you need to break this cocoon and reach out for the world. Since we have suspicion even after a thousand years of peaceful co-existence, fascists were able to channelize it to there own personal glory spurring the most destructive war. In India situation has just gone out of control. The ranks of both hindu fanatics and muslim jehadis are swelling and with each passing day, we witness either terrorist bombing or a communal violence.

What pains me the most is that we destroyed whatever communal harmony that existed. My grandfather did his entire education in Urdu. My uncle married a Muslim girl from Pakistan without much resistance from both the families. Today I cannot even imagine of a Hindu learning Urdu or of a marriage across the border.

In the name of purity of blood and preservation of culture we have made a mockery of ‘unity in diversity’. My only argument for them is that only the dead needs to be preserved. Like an alloy is always stronger than the constituent metals, culture becomes rich when societies are merged. I strongly believe that lack of assimilation of people is the biggest threat faced by humanity. Relationships are still being made on the basis of ethnicity, caste, creed or religion and people are living in an imaginary world by surrounding themselves with the news and information about what they want to hear rather than what the truth is. All long speeches about teamwork and ‘ Vasudhev Kutumbhkum’ (Earth is a family) are hollow unless we can integrate the minorities and immigrants (who in some cases just relocated generations ago from another part of the same country) living next door.

CrowdFunding India

Recently a friend of mine was facing cash flow problem. He needed a big short term loan (1 million INR) for a very short period (4 weeks). To mitigate the risk, he was ready to mortgage a property. So he inquired about various options.

A) In spite of all the Hap and telemarketing calls Personal Loans generate… none of the banks offered something which suited his requirements. Their terms were:
1) Processing fees 2% flat.
2) Prepayment penalty 4%
3) Minimum duration 50 weeks.

So if he prepaid the loan in 4 weeks, he would have to shell out 2% (processing) + 4% (prepayment) + interest (1.5%) which is exorbitantly high 7.5% p.m.

B) Ideally bank overdraft would have been an ideal instrument, but unfortunately he did not have a current account that can be upgraded to a overdraft account….
C) Credit card would be the next best thing, but his credit cards did not have so high cash credit limits. In-fact most of the Indian banks
D) He did not want to borrow from the informal money lenders, because their shop looked like a den of Goons.
E) Borrowing from Family and friends is also a problem because then you end up owing them favors which he did not want.

If anybody has heard about Grameen Bank, they would appreciate the role access to credit in development and upliftment. And for a country like India which has several communities (Banias, Marwadis) which thrive only on P2P lending, its a shame that there is no inexpensive, legal and organized way for anybody to get a short term credit.

So I started some checks to find out what people in USA do… and there i found Prosper, Lending Club Zopa and plethora of other alternatives.
The idea behind these P2P crowdfunding websites are person-to-person lending—loans without a financial intermediary. Prosper is an online marketplace that allows lenders and borrowers to bid for loans—with fees and rates than can be much lower than those of a lending institution. Since it confines it operations to USA, Prosper can use credit scores to help its users gauge the risks of their deals, and easy-to-follow instructions on the site help clarify the details.

Update: 9th Dec 2013: Recently we have launched Samuhik Loans India’s only free platform to obtain personal loans.

Boy or a Girl?

In India birth of a male kid is a moment of rejoice and often that of a female is a moment of sorrow. Coupled with the fact that a lot of families have to shell out a fortune as dowry, its not surprising that a lot of families (poor and rich alike) get rid of the female kid. Some go for UltraSound Scans and opt for PreNatal Termination of Fetus, while others drown/freeze/suffocate their female newborn within a few hours of its birth. Infact these acts are so popular that they have become one of the many services which the midwives provide.

This act sounds so barbaric that people are demanding equal rights for the unborn and capital punishment for the medical practitioners who assist the misguided couples in this act.

I think all the readers here agree that the moment the egg is fertilized, one should start treating it as an individual. Irrespective of its gender, that cell has an equal right to grow up into an adult. And since in nature there is a 50-50 chance of either sex, the sex balance of the world would be maintained.

However what if the technology empowers you to modify this odds in your favor? As a matter of fact MicroSort can increase the odds of conceiving a girl to 91% and that of a boy to 76%. All this for a paltry sum of $3400. (fees are expected to fall as more and more people adopt this technology)

My questions: I agree that misuse of this technology can cause gender imbalances and can disrupt the equilibrium of the society. But is the couple using this technology committing a crime? And if so is it as cynical as PreNatal termination of fetus? or using this technology is a choice which free men are free to opt for? Does Government has the right to ban this technology?


Price band 41-46.
Size: About 520 Cr.
Dates: 25-27 June.

I would say investors should avoid this issue.
1) Spice has been constantly making losses in all the telecom circles it operates.
2) It has the 8th largest network… which makes it too small for any strategic investments.
3) The company has not listed even a single move with which it plans to overturn its ailing fortunes.
4) The Promoters (Modi and Telekom Malaysia) are not very serious about the company. They wanted to sell it to Idea (Birla) , but the merger failed due to greediness of Modis. Hence to earn quick bucks Spice is going for this IPO.
5) NSE has refused to list its shares (but it has the permission from BSE)

Part Payment or Full Payment

DLF IPO had an option that retail investors instead of paying 550/- per share, could pay a token 150/- Per share and Pay the rest after allotment.
ICICI Bank FPO also has an offer… instead of paying 950/- investors can pay just 250/- at the time of application and pay the rest within 6 months of allotment.

I am applying to ICICI Bank as an investment, hence I would pay only 250/- upfront and then 4-6 months later pay the balance. On the other hand my father is lured by the 5% discount that ICICI bank offers him and wants to encash it ASAP, hence he is paying the entire amount upfront.
A friend of mine asked me why would anybody make a full payment if the IPO/Offer allows part payment?
My answer (the plain old standard answer….) It Depends!

Why Full Payment
1) If the reasons you are trying to invest is because of “Listing gains” (i.e. you will sell the entire holdings the moment you get the possession of the certificates) Then it makes sense to apply in full. At the time of listing there is a price discovery mechanism which causes the prices to jump up and down a lot… hence improving your chances to make a killing at the time of listing.
2) Lured by the benefit of leverage, a lot of people will make a partial payment and will end up with a non tradable ‘OPTION’… hence reducing the supply of shares. Remember it makes perfect sense to sell the shares when the supply is restricted and you would not like to miss this opportunity 🙂

Why Partial Payment:
1) Lure of leverage… (buy more than the amount of cash in hand) One of the reasons why I am rethinking my old strategy to invest in IPOs is because of the huge amount of capital that gets blocked for 20 days.
2) Long term investment… ICICI will 6 months time for investors to convert the partially paid shares into full shares. So I can effectively hold 95K worth of shares for 6 months by blocking just 25K (sounds tempting??)
3) Over subscription: If the company allows you to pay only 1/3 of the cost upfront and the issue gets oversubscribed 3 times…. well you will get 33K of shares by paying 33K instead of the full 1L.