Jan 23, 2009

A new beginning

It has been a long time since my last blog, technically a year, and I did wonder as to why it took me so long to write. Lack of time, lack of interest or simply lack of topics? Not sure what it was, but as the saying goes, it is always nice to be back.

Was watching the inaugration ceremony of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States and could not but be awed by his presence. His poise, his commitment to change, his belief, and his will to ensure a change is something that rubs off on all. For me what made a difference was a couple of factors.

First, the very fact that the USA has elected a Black President over a white one, speaks volumes about America. As Cuba Gooding Jr. said, that one act proves that democracy exists.

Second the fact that a young President has been chosen over a war veteran and a legacy of the Cold War, confirms that most of the world is now tired of wars going over for ever. The world needs Peace, and not some war mongering President, who is probably just adamant to show that the US is the biggest military power.

Third, the expectations from the man. It is amazing what the world wants from Obama. Countries from America to Zimbabwe, all expect him to solve their problems. There has not been one person in a long long time, who has come with such huge expectations. The very fact that he is still standing strong and his wife supporting his very cause, speaks about Obama's guts and strength.

Last, a thought that does come across, when one sees a leader like Obama. Would we, India ever come to this stage? Would we ever be bold enough to make a change and select a PM who is young, different, and willing to lead his country into an unknown future?

Would we ever gamble on a Rahul Gandhi or a Priyanka Gandhi. Not to say there are no other leaders, but these two being the most prominent ones, would we ever gamble. Would our parties be bold enough to declare before the elections as to who the PM candidate is? The BJP for this reason should be commended. Unfortunately the others are first interested in dividing the population, getting the seats and then bargaining for power.

India has been referred to as the sleeping tiger. Will we ever awaken? Will we ever take the step of leading the world? Will we ever make a bold choice and make a change? Will we ever take a gamble? Who will do it? The old brigade, who we never want to leave, or the new generation on their own? A tough one in my view... Jan 2009

Jan 3, 2009

The Year in Retrospection

As another year passes by, one often wonders and mulls over the events that have transpired over the last 12 months, at times wishing some things were different or would have ended up in a way other than what they actually have.

As I mull over 2008 there are a lot of pluses that one comes across along with the negatives. The booming markets of the Middle East with construction at full swing, showing a development that few in their lifetime would have the chance to see, the finishing of some of the new wonders of the world, the Burj Dubai, the Palm's, oil touching at record prices, with markets all around the world breaking barriers by the day, the finishing of a Presidency term of a man, often described as the worst President of the United states, the winning of the first Black man to the most powerful position in the world, the amount of money people started talking about.. no hundreds of thousands or a millions, but only multi millions or simply in billions.. All going one faster than the other, leaving many people far behind in the race, wondering where all of this came from, wondering were they left behind?

As it came, so it went.. one brokerage house, that will be remembered for time as the one that brought the world down.. Ironically it was not the construction industry that slowed down, or the shortage of demand.. but simply bad financial management policies and the lack of transparency that was the cause of the crash. One would think that the US who has such high standards for financial management would have been the last place from where the problem would have generated, but not surprisingly that has been the place most hit..

The sub prime crisis, wiping out billions in profits, the failure of the Investment banks, bringing the mighty to their feet, oil prices getting wiped out by more than three quarters of their price, countries going bankrupt, destruction of stock markets all around the world, money disappearing in minutes, the job losses around the world, drop in demand and in economic growth, the millions dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the ascendancy of an incompetent to the post of the Presidency, the debt of the greatest nation on earth, the terror attacks in the heart of Bombay, and finally the impounding of the Gaza strip by Israel..

It does appear like the wheel of the cycle, what goes up must come down or the faster you rise, the much faster you fall.. It also shows how small the world economy has become, no matter what one thinks, we are all linked to each other. One gets a cold, others do too, some slowly, some faster. It took ten years for the growth, it probably took ten weeks to wipe it all out.. Are we wiser, are we smarter or would we have learnt any thing from this? I am not sure.. Things will pick up no doubt, the sun will rise again and there will be a silver lining once more.

How many will be there to see it, I don't know, but when it does, and if we do not learn, history definitely has a way of reminding people. It took 70 years since the last Great depression.. The next one may take half the time.