Four Stray Thoughts : December 2, 2009

Here are my Four Stray Thoughts for the day:

1. Mumbai under water: A report today states that with the climate changes happening all over the world, by the end of the century i.e. 2100, several coastal cities of India including Mumbai will go under water. I do not think that Mumbaikar’s will be alarmed with this news because the city has been going under water every year during the rainy season. Except that this time it looks like we will be permanently under water. Frankly speaking these doomsday kind of reports do not help the matter at all. First and foremost, people are not going to care if a prediction is being made around 100 years from now. Keep all that emotional talk aside about securing the world for our children, etc. Such dialogues are for the movies and not real life. The average man on the street cares a damn about what is going to happen 100 years from now. That is a fact and the sooner we accept that, the better. What should be instead suggested are concrete steps that can be taken at a micro level and political will on the behalf of the administration to implement these suggestions. Without that, there is no point bothering if we are going under or not.

2. Hail the Cyclone: As mentioned in my earlier stray thoughts, the political class and the general administration loves a calamity. And I had mentioned how the advent of cyclone Phyan will present another opportunity for them to make money. Though our politicians must have been disappointed that the cyclone did not do too much damage, they have tried to make the most of something. Reports claim that the state government has asked for about Rs. 1100 crore from the center as cyclone relief. I am amazed at what mathematical formulas these folks used to arrive at figures. I suspect that if we look at the documents, the cost quoted might even run down to the last paise. The only thing missing is the formula that they use to calculate their commission out of all this.

3. All that glitters *must* be Gold: There seems to be no stopping the rising price of Gold. In the opening trade today, the price of Gold reached Rs. 18,400 per 10 grams. Since the last 1 month or so, prices have kept appreciating. During the weekend, I happened to pass by a street on which there are several gold merchants. And all of the shops were choc-a-bloc with customers. It almost resembled as if some free gifts were being given away. In spite of the rising prices and overall depression all around, if there is one thing people seem to be optimistic about, it is “buy more gold”. Most people feel that it represents the best investment that one can do today given the fact that gold reserves will keep depleting over time and the demand is not going to subside, at least in countries like India. I have a feeling that it is no longer making any sense to park your money in government securities when you have Gold as an option in front of you. William Shakespeare said that all that glitters is not Gold. I would like to twist that a little. Currently the only thing glittering is Gold.

4. The cost of trying to look good: Just look around you and you will find that people are going crazy in their quest to look good. Whether it is 6-pack,8-packs abdomens, vitamin shakes, beauty creams (anti-wrinkle, fairness), etc — people are willing to try out anything to look younger or should I say different from what they look currently. I believe all of us go through the emotions at some point in time to continue looking young or whatever you may call it. But at some point in time, it is important to accept who you are and be comfortable with your physical appearances. However, the reality is far different and people are willing to go to any steps. And sometimes it costs them their lives. A report here indicates that a former Miss Argentina died because of a surgery she did to give herself more firm buttocks. This is a reported case and we are not aware of many cases which are going unreported on how people have possibly damaged themselves physically to achieve a certain look. Business houses, film stars, gyms — all of them are equally guilty in taking people over the edge in this futile quest.

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