VAIDY'S MUSINGS
The inimitable KN Vaidyanathan, whose column is a potent cocktail of the magic of Sartre and Sukumar Ray, with bits of Lewis Carroll thrown in! Delightful.

1 Am I glad that September is behind us? But it will come back again a year later. And I am nervous already! Would you like to know why? Here I go. Much before I learnt about it and engaged myself with the financial markets, ‘Come September’ to me meant the Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida starrer of the 1960s that was both funny and mischievous. But since 2007, September has always been a hellish month for the market. No romance, no laughter, only tears and torture. Can I change September to SWEATember retrospectively from 2007?

2 But this past September was a big saving grace. Yes, it was. And you may have noticed it too. Newspapers carried a picture of Muslims offering their Eid Namaz prayers in a Ganpati Mandal in Mumbai. This is the metropolis where human beings naturally co-exist and get along well with each other. But like Newton’s first law, that is only good till it is acted upon by opportunists with a devious agenda. These are the ones who introduce new jargons like secularism and communalism. Increasing one’s vocabulary is not always good, nah?

3 California is having its fourth straight year of drought. [By the way, it is nice to know that rich countries also go through periods of drought!]. Folks there are now digging wells. Somewhere I read that someone there has dug a well with a depth that matches the height of the Empire State Building. Believe me, I am serious. Everyone seems to be wanting to dig wells deeper than their neighbours. Ah! Would that be a case of ‘race to the bottom’? Just wondering!

4 Economics 101 has taught us that in free and perfect markets, prices are determined by forces of demand and supply. Hope I got that right, did I? But in the last nine years, we have seen OIL peaking thrice between USD 130-140 and stumbling down three lows between USD 40-50. Supply has changed under 10 per cent and demand much less. Then how did the price rise? Why this kolaveri? Sorry, why this volatility? Is Eco101 wrong? Thankfully, NO. Please read the fine print – it applies to ‘perfect’ markets. Caught you there!

5If I screamed GAFA, what would that mean? No, GAFA is no cousin of RAFA, the tennis player. GAFA is an acronym of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Cute? It was coined by European protestors against these US multinationals and used in a disparaging reference. Even protestors can be cute and creative.

6Talking about protests, we in India seem to have entered a season of protests. A lot of people are protesting. Some are protesting that they are not allowed to protest. Some others are protesting that their words are mightier than their feted pens while a few are protesting because they think that the ink in their pens is the mightiest. Who will win in these protests? Contest it is. Protest. Contest. Could these be opposites?

7 Goa is a laid-back place to go to chill and to get away from it all. You would also think so, wouldn’t you? I was there recently for an office offsite. The flight from Mumbai to Goa took 45 minutes and then took another 45 minutes to find a parking bay. Goa airport has become very busy. Hmmm. But please tell me, a ‘busy Goa’ – is that an oxymoron?

8 We city folks go out to quiet places like the hills to get away from it all. Has it ever occurred to you – where do those folks in the hills go to get away from it all? Would you know?

9Have you noticed that many successful people have three initials for their names? If you don’t believe it, here is a small list for you to check out. Gandhi was MKG. America had FDR back then and BHO now. Closer home, we have SRT and SMG in sports; AGM and RNT in business. GBS was a great writer. And this columnist is KNV – you get the drift?

10 The street where I live on was repaired a few months ago. That was nice. To provide for smooth flow of traffic, they sealed all the breaks in road dividers in the middle of the road with only two exceptions – to provide access to two hospitals on that street. So far, so good. Newton’s first law was working well, but not for long. Petitions were made to provide more breaks road dividers in the middle to allow left/right/U turns. The first exception was made – and before you could say Sree Rama Jayam or Hallelujah, we now have 15 speed breakers. Traffic has slowed down. They say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Did they have my street in mind?

Ciao,
Vaidy

PS – Investment bankers make a tombstone for every transaction they do and proudly display it at their offices. Would a collection of these tombstones make a graveyard?