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Showing posts from November, 2008

After-thoughts of the Bombay terror attack

Finally, with God's grace and thanks to our brave soldiers and armymen/NSG, the battle with the terrorists is over and the commandos have taken complete control of the Taj hotel - the last bastion that the coward terrorists were holding fort. 
Now, a detailed recee and analysis would begin and details behind their operation and break-in would emerge. Some of my after-thoughts are as follows: 
Kudos and my salute to our brave officers, armymen and NSG officials for fighting and later overpowering the terrorists. Despite being poorly paid as compared to government employees and private sector yuppies, these people put our lives before their lives and bravely fought from the front. They have done a professional job. May the souls of the departed brave ones rest in peace and God give their loved ones the strength to cope with the loss. Their sacrifice will always be remembered. And may the injured soldiers get well soon. 
Kudos to also the brave hotel staff of the Taj and Oberoi for putt…

Will Indian Politicans Wake Up?

As the war on Bombay completes 24 hours right now (it's around 21.15 hrs right now as I write this), tension is mounting with every passing minute as numerous TV channels are claiming that the encounter and fierce engagement between the terrorists and the National Security Guards (NSG) heats up and hopefully nears to an end. The final assault, it seems, is moments away, as per the intense media coverage. This is not a terrorist attack. This is war. And as usual, it is the common man who is caught in the middle of it. Whether it is because of petty politicians that destroy and disrupt normal life by riots, violence and unnecessary politically-motivated bandhs or because of terrorist attacks, the common man is suffering once again. What are our politicians doing?  They talk. They condemn the acts. Oppositions blame the present governments and demand resignations while governments tells us that the law will take its own course. What else? They talk about India Shining. They talk abou…

Bombay under attack: hauled up at Sterling cinema

The on-going terrorist attack and hostage crisis that is still unravelling as I write this blog (9.00 am, 27-Nov-08) and began as early as about 20.30 hours on 26 Nov 08, are most unfortunate. From the targets that these terrorists have chosen, and the way they have sifted, sorted and picked out their hostage victims, it clearly seems that they were largely after foreign tourists. At any point in time, Coloba causeway (the area where Cafe Leopold is there and where the firing began) is full of foreign tourists, and so do hotels such as Taj and Oberoi. I had also heard that the Marriott was also attacked but I have no confirmed information. 
What baffles me is that how the terrorists managed to get inside Taj Hotel despite all the security there. Of late, the Taj had even stopped vehicles from entering its portico. Gun-trotting and imposing security guards and also sniffer dogs were deployed for round-the-clock security, in addition to screening passages and tools. Yet, the terrorists m…

RELIGARE AEGON MF ACQUIRES LOTUS MF

After suffering their worst month ever, the Indian MF industry sees consolidation. Is this just a start? It came with a bang but went out in a whimper. Barely two years after setting up shop in India Lotus MF is acquired by Religare-Aegon mutual fund. Both MFs have signed the agreement and the deal now awaits the securities and exchange board of India’s (Sebi) clearance.
Desperate timesAfter suffering its worst month ever, Indian MFs saw massive erosion in their assets under management (AUM). Lotus MF was no different as it lost Rs 2,479 crore or 31 per cent of its corpus in October, down from Rs 7,937 crore a month ago. However, sources say, its sponsor Alexandra Fund Management - a subsidiary of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, was keen to exit Lotus on account of the mayhem caused due to the global credit crisis and also the state of Lotus MF. Sabre Capital was the other partner in this joint venture. In reality, the MF has been jinxed right from its start. Even before it launched its f…

PR companies can be a nuisance

There was a time when dealing with public relation (PR) companies and their employees was a breeze. But these days, whenever a PR calls me, i shudder. With all due respect to a majority of them - and some of them with whom I am on good to very good terms - they have become a nuisance. As a journalist, I deal with several PR people every day. I am observing a disturbing trend. 
There are two things I hate about these PRs 
1) Spam emails: Turns out, SPAM emails are not just on erectile dysfunction, penile enlargement, improving sex quotient, taking a loan or taking charge of some wealth left behind for us by some Nigerian gentleman or lady. Even PRs send us spam emails these days. These PRs do not bother to check which journalist where tracks what. If they have a news item to be publicized, they just shamelessly send mass emailers to all, dry and sundry journalists across magazines, newspapers and TV news channels. Some of the spam PR emails - on topics that I do not deal with at all nor …

Sipping chai at Tea centre

Bombay is more known for its coffee culture. Although India is more known for its tea than coffee, its urban crowd is more hooked onto coffee. Thanks largely to coffee chains like Barista and Cafe Coffee Day that have sprung at every nook and corner of major cities across India. But I am not much of a coffee person. I cannot distinguish one coffee from another and coffee served at most of these coffee shops are full of lather that kills all the fun. I hate Baristas and Cafe Coffee Days, they're boring and done to death with, it's noisy with people yapping, loud television and all. Though people, especially the younger crowd are crazy about them and coffee. 
I like my cup of tea. A simple, yet extremely potent drink that revitalises my spirits and makes me look forward for the day at breakfast, that extends a warm welcome to me in office at about 11ish when I am about to start my work in full swing and finally wakes me up after a dull, but hard-worked afternoon. Which is why I w…

...of politics and local sentiment

Events in Mumbai in the month of October 2008 brought about a lot of unwanted attention to this megapolis city. The MNS political party went on a rampage and attacked life and property in protest of the arrest of its leader RT. He was arrested for inciting his party workers to attack examination centres and drive out North Indian candidates (essentially from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh). RT has also strongly advocated that these north Indians get out of Mumbai as he feels they are snatching away jobs from locals, i.e. Maharashtrains or people who were born and brought up in Maharashtra and speak Marathi as their mother-tongue. But is there any rationale in what he is saying? And what about his methods?
Changing tracks When RT broke away from the Shiv Sena in late 2005, I had hope. Although Shiv Sena had its violent history of which RT was very much a part of, here was a young and dynamic man who was humbled in his earlier party despite holding much promise. I felt at that time that, after s…

HOW SAFE ARE YOUR LIQUID FUNDS?

Panic redemptions and tight money have resulted in liquid funds declaring losses for the first time in many years. But is there a way out?
If you think that liquid funds are absolutely safe and protect your capital at all times, then think again. On 8 October, three liquid plus funds, Mirae Asset Liquid Plus (MALP), DSP Merrill Lynch Liquid Plus and Templeton India Ultra Short Bond funds gave one-day negative returns. MALP was the worst hit as it lost 0.40 per cent that day. While a day’s loss may not sound catastrophic in any other funds, in the case of liquid funds it grabs headlines because many large investors and companies park their surplus cash in these funds for a day or a week or a fortnight. To make matters worse, some schemes limited redemptions. On 15 October, ABN Amro MF limited redemptions on few of its fixed maturity plans (FMP) to Rs one lakh per folio. What went wrong?Bad assets…After a series of media reports about the illiquidity of the underlying assets in which man…