Thursday, November 27, 2008


At the cost of making my page look like another dissertation column or a who-is-responsible-for-the-mess forum, here comes a post on the bailout saga.

We live in unprecedented times might sound too much of a cliché, but let me explain that with some numbers to get us off on the right footing. Stock markets around the globe have wiped out $ 23 trillion wealth, excluding the derivatives (which are a zero sum game). What number pops into your mind, when you hear bailout? Imagine how much value that holds for you, for a minute. Now let us correct ourselves. The bailout touted at $ 700 billion is much more. A random total of announced packages exceed $ 16 trillion, more than the US GDP ($ 13 trillion). (Bloomberg says bailout is $ 7 trillion)



Most glamorous of the bailout package

$ 700 billion

Latest bailout to reduce blockades on credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and other borrowing

$ 800 billion

Fed program to buy all Companies commercial paper

$ 2,400 billion

FDIC guarantee for inter bank loans

$ 1,400 billion

FDIC guarantee for Consumer loans increased to $ 250,000 per account

$ 10,608 billion *

Individual commitments outside $ 700 billion package

Bear Stearns

$ 29 billion


$ 123 billion

Citigroup (Inc. $20 billion as cash infusion)

$ 326 billion

Automobile sector for alternative fuel development

$ 25 billion

Automobile bailout (expected in December)

$ 25 billion

*- Calculated from marginal impact of $ 250,000 instead of $ 100,000 insured

This gives a running total of $ 16.4 trillion. And it is for sure, that this is not all the kitty, given the non disclosure policies of Fed. So where will the Fed conjure up all the money from? One argument could be, all of this would not require funding, but in a worst case scenario (as if it is not now?), this would be the amount that Fed will have to cough up. We will address this later.

FDIC had a reserve ratio of 1.25% previously under the $ 100,000 of consumers deposits insured meaning it has $ 1.25 for every $ 100 insured, but now under the new legislation, it would fall to an abysmal 0.5%. This suggests that they should have new risk mitigating mechanism which drastically reduces bank failures. But given the conditions, the FDIC is just bracing itself for the surprise of its life.

Historically other big bailouts in the US have been,


Amount adjusted for inflation

1933 Public Works Administration Created to reduce unemployment (25% then)

$ 3.3 billion (unadjusted)

1938 Spending program to provide stimulus

$ 5 billion (unadjusted)

1979 bailout of Chrysler

$ 4.2 billion

1990 Savings & Loans bailout

$ 210 billion

For all the bailout money, Fed is buying toxic assets, which are not disclosed. The crisis has been created by the run ups of the prices of these assets, which by their nature, is illiquid, high risk and inflated. Now the Government is not addressing their problem of being over priced. It is gleefully accepting these at the sky high prices, thus trying to sustain the bubble. But the free market ideology suggests that we allow these asset prices to correct themselves till they become an attractive buy to someone. This sounds like just another American parent trying to give his kid some dough to kick the bucket on his doping addiction.

Another challenge that the administration faces is the high unemployment rate, now at 6.5% and could not take long to reach 8%, a high in the last quarter century. The worrying situation is that of the 6.5% unemployed, less than 22% are able to find new jobs (Thomas Lam, economist). A higher portion of skilled employees getting the pink slip will also hurt the wage levels badly. And all of this is in the face of all the massive bailouts announced by the Government. Fed’s actions just seems like they are telling folks, ‘It is all a nightmare. Please wake up now, get over it and give all your pains to us.’

Now that all the promises of infinite lines of credit have been made, it is time to produce all the money without hiking up inflation. Debt could be a way out. Then it will just be a simple transfer of corporate debt to Government debt in one big swoop, without touching the leveraging issues, as the underlying assets remain the same. And under the burden of so much debt, the Government would be forced to raise taxes, impose trade restrictions, cut down on unemployment subsidies and cut down on infrastructure spending naturally putting into jeopardy Obama’s second term, even before getting off the mark.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The biggest of human weakness is a craving for success. Genetically programmed to only yearn for such outcomes, exceptions are viewed with disdain. Even the few who risk to differ, are treated as outcasts and toe the conventional line soon enough.

To make it more simple, how many times have you felt emptiness when you completed a novel, that had an unconventional ending wherein the author left scope for your judgment or the protagonist died. Or for that matter, how many of us would have abused the director of a movie, when the movie had an unconventional ending. Actually it should have been, the more complex/different emotions the movie/novel draws, the better it is.

The whole point of bringing this up is to put in perspective, the global financial turmoil. All through my life, it has been drilled into me that, capitalism is better than all other forms of economy. And testimony was the success of US of A as a nation. Laissez Faire was touted to be panacea for global inequity.

But the rough ride now takes everything for a toss. And even my idealistic economy, is no longer market driven. It looks more socialistic than even yester years Russia. Sample this.

1. SEC banned shorting of financial stocks. When the companies were allowed the luxury of having all the bull runs they have had, why throw them a lifeline now. Why not allow the system to correct itself. If traders are shorting it, the companies had it coming for long. That is what free market means right? Allow Darwin to choose, who emerges from the rubble. Why intervene?

2. And the regulators do not want to cap the executive pay packages of these troubled companies because then they feel that these executives will not approve of the bail out plans and disagree to sell assets. Who are we kidding here?

Can the trouble be saved by these impartial measures? Only the pain stands to be delayed. This duality of US in acting capitalistic in good times and wielding the stick, as things turn awry is going to spell doom for its own future.

And I am sure our kids will grow up, being told that the Chinese form of economy is the best and all countries need to emulate them. The Americans need to blame themselves for squandering away their chance of being on top of the world. Along with the baby boomers, Uncle Sam is fast approaching senility.

P.S: It is around 2 AM. Thoughts are not so coherent. So pardon me

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We(e/a)kend- week after week

Some obscure (shuffled) track blaring in the room gleefully, more so as I cannot identify it, lethargy in thoughts, narcissistic urge to check the blog ticker (now at 1299, though I made half the hits) and the guilt of not preparing anything since morning (CFA Level 1) brings out the boy in me. What the heck? Half an hour won’t harm me much. But isn’t that what life is all about?

When you think you have zilch to do, warming your ass and the recliner all day, you cannot do the simplest of productive things. And likewise, when you are smothered by work, you end up doing the silliest thing you can ever imagine. Voila, my post.

Probably, ‘Phoonk’ played spoilsport on my weekend. Did RGV even script it or did his cook? Add to it, my 300 GB of priceless movie collection lost (disk failure). Orkut’s never been this boring. And so is my portfolio, as its steadily downhill. And mid day is around the time, all the brats will manage to pull themselves out of bed and the slew of calls will start now, even conference to conclude that this ain’t the right way to spend a Sunday and try to find out a ‘fun’ way to amuse ourselves and thus restore Sunday’s dignity.

And the supposedly fun way begins with going to a new place, snacking and then start talking about GIRLS. Probably we are on a mission to exhaust talking about all specimens of the fairer sex around here, and I should tell you, we are doing pretty well. May be the new locale every week adds spice to the otherwise bland species (object of discussion).

And by end of day, when we all feel, that it was another good weekend spent, all of them hasten back home, riding at mad speeds usually. Then back to my recliner and T.V. Gosh I missed so much of the EPL and yeah the CFA preps of course.

P.S: I have made it 1300 refreshing. But please do not stop the referrals.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Traffic is something that is less researched, less discussed but something that affects everybody’s lives. It has a direct effect on productivities. You will appreciate more of this when we are done with this post. As with other things in the world, traffic perfectly follows a free market concept. More of which I will explain by exploring the duality of traffic and stocks (Some day I will write a research paper on this one).

The objective of an individual in traffic is to minimize the time he spends to reach his destination. An investor (equity alone for simplicity) would like to maximize his returns and wealth. The duality does not end there. In a perfect equity market, there is no strategy that can make money consistently. All stock prices take random walk. Similarly in traffic (perfect conditions), no shortcut can get you quicker to your destination as enough people will know about it and hence will crowd the shortcuts.

In investments, bigger the investment size, the more you have the potential to affect prices by your buy/sell decision. Similarly in traffic, bigger your vehicle, you affect the overall traffic (Others' time savings and wastage) more. And similarly smaller the investment or the vehicle, it is possible to maximize returns or reach destination quickly. (This explains motorbikes darting across quickly)

Apart from the fundamental strength of a company and its business model, what can explain the stock price of a company is ‘Herd behavior’. And similarly with traffic, apart from concentration of companies and other institutions in locations, ‘Herd behavior’ can explain congestion in the time all people choose to commute and the routes they prefer to take.

The role of regulators can also be thrown light on in parallel. The stock market watchdog (SEBI) would like to aid investors in enhancing their wealth by improving efficiency and transparency. They would prevent creation of cartels and monopolies. They tax the profits moderately to keep themselves functioning and to balance out the earnings. The traffic regulator works to improve overall efficiency. It penalizes offenders. It uses duties on new vehicles to control the number of new vehicles that are added to the roads every day.

And as investments (stock picking), to succeed in traffic (without accidents and be quick), you need to regard traffic as an art as well as a science. I am trying hard at both. :P

P.S : The post can be utterly meaningless to a lot of people, but it gave me tremendous satisfaction penning it down. But I am confused if that really is a blogger’s objective or should play to the crowd.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Web 2.0 sites are amazing. The template choices and widgets offered by blogger pale in comparison with its web 2.0 peers. I have reconstructed the blog at

But it still does not offer comments. Also I would prefer to have sub-tabbing and multiple page articles. So till weebly figures all that out, this page will be alive.

Also recently was launched, the web 2.0 portal A news aggregator site for Indian Business. Refreshing design, great usability and hassle-free registration are its novel USP. The user base is small now and hence the content lacks depth, but it is a great portal in the making. Watch out.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


After the legendary Ford Model T, the car that ‘put America on wheels’, there has not been a single model that has revolutionized the automobile industry. (Model T was the first car to be produced on an assembly line and it was sold at $850, in 1905). But today, the Model T seems to have a competitor emerging from the unlikeliest of challengers in the form of the TATA NANO from the stable of Tata Motors, India.

So what is revolutionary about it? It comes with a price tag of $2500 (40% cheaper than the closest competitor – Chinese Alto $4112). The whole world seemed to have taken notice and is gearing up to the launch.

It was conceptualized by Ratan Tata, who seemed to have revitalized the Tata Giant moving at a trot to a gallop. The motivation was to give the Indian middle class family of four, travelling precariously perched on a motorcycle, a better, safer and cheap alternative mode of transportation. One of the lesser known brains behind the project includes Girish Wagh and his team of engineers. Girish Wagh is also credited with the earlier success Tata Ace, the 4 wheeler road carrier that has reached far corners of rural India.

The project has had its fair share of troubles and is going to see much more going ahead. But you cannot expect a revolution to go unchallenged. The problems faced include the SEZ land acquisition issue, unimaginable price ceiling, protests by environmentalists and even floods at the production site. But the project seems underway in spite of all these. And Ratan Tata has assured that they will stick to the promised price and hence give wings to the aam-aadmi’s dream.

So how actually has the dream price been conquered? Innovation!! Not revolutionary invention, but a series of small, marginal and significant improvements. In fact Tata Motors has filed for 34 patents for the project. Ranging from the basic engineering design to even the supply chain, every link has produced its frugal best for the project.

The car has a rear engine, that is connected to the rear wheels directly thus saving on steering columns which have been kept hollow as they do not have to support the weight of the engine. The engine itself was made of aluminum, thus saving on weight and cost. The car has only one side rear view mirror and only one wiper. In the interiors, the HUD (Head-Up-Display) has been kept simple with an odometer, fuel level and turn indicator. Also the glass used in the HUD was not anti-reflective, as the natural angle it made, allowed it to be visible. The car as well uses a lot of adhesives rather than expensive welding. Also the interior parts were made such that, they just fit into each other rather than requiring screws to hold them. The tubeless tyres have been kept small owing to the lesser weight and have been spaced as far as possible in the frame, compensating for their small size. The bulbs used for the lights are standard ones as against longer life ones.

Every part used on the Nano, is customized and not the standard used in other small cars. The suppliers play a crucial role in achieving the 1 lakh price tag. Almost 85% of the car is produced by third party suppliers. All of them have agreed for razor thin margins, owing to the large volumes that Tata Motors has promised. Most of the parts have been priced at the variable cost. Also Tata Motors had aggressively bid with the suppliers, sometimes starting at 50% of the bid price received by them. Some suppliers like Exide have almost forgone the entire margin, just for being associated with the project, as the breadwinners for them are in different category. The breakeven for these suppliers can even take almost 2 to 3 years. Tata motors even plans to assemble the car at the dealer points from the dealer kits delivered to them.

But one thing that was not compromised on was the design. In spite of the price, the Nano has quite an aesthetic design and will cause heads to turn. The tall boy design was very well Ratan’s suggestion, as he wanted a car that he can drive out during the launch, given his huge frame. Also the curved windshield used gives it a cute look, while a simpler straight one could have cost less. The Nano is 8% smaller than the Maruti 800, but has 20% more interior space than it, owing to its thinner and taller frame.

Tata motors plans to sell a million Nanos every year. The current domestic passenger car sale is about 1 million cars a year. So to double the entire industry sales, seems like a stiff target. But going by the interest shown by the media and the people at the launch, Tata motors may very well achieve their targets.

What will be the effect of Nano on the environment? Tata motors claims that the car has a catalytic converter and that it produces much less pollution than any other car. But will that comparison suffice. Most of the buyers are going to be two-wheeler owners who will upgrade to it. So isn’t a comparison with two-wheeler emissions required? An addition of million Nanos driving about 8000 Kilometers a year will increase our carbon dioxide emissions by 8% according to a report by the Central Environmental Research Institute.

Also the planners seem to be in a quandary over the infrastructure bottleneck that is sure to greet the Nano. If say Nano sells 60% in urban areas (very conservative estimate), it will add 6 Nanos for every 10 cars in our roads. So going ahead, the roads are going to get clammed, traffic signals are going to get longer and parking will become unavailable. But this is not going to be unsolvable. If we could produce something as amazing as Nano, these are much simpler problems. Solutions can include car pooling, higher parking fares, public transportation systems and higher taxes on new vehicles.

Questions also linger on the automobile waste that will be generated because of two-wheelers that have been phased out. Fledgling recycling capacity is terribly inefficient to handle the wastes.

In spite of all these happening, sales of Nano will continue, as India has a vehicle penetration of 7 per 1000 adults compared with the high 400s in developed countries. Some simple feelers for the future success of the project include, politicians asking for reservation in bookings and quotas for the poor. Now that sure should have brought a smile to the legend.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Pretty late to write on the recent blood bath, but alas, I was too distraught to do anything. (Though of late this is the norm for me). Halal Street (mindfully misspelled) was witness to nothing less than carnage. To put things in more perspective, as is with every stock market event, let me point out where the current correction stands in historical sense.

The biggest Sensex intra day falls have been,

Black Monday

Many of these crashes take place on Mondays leading to the famous or rather infamous ‘Black Mondays’. The only way this can be explained is a trader’s rather unexciting weekend. Either he gets too bored that he starts worrying about trivial things or rather is made to worry after shopping with his wife. So in this panicky mood, the only thing he does the Monday is SELL, SELL and SELL.

In spite of blatant claims by the media of Sensex witnessing its biggest fall, any one familiar to percentages (assuming you do, as you have got this far), the recent fall is only the third biggest. The major reasons for this fall include (Utterly debatable, anyone and everyone can disagree with me),

Global cues

Should I say more? The subprime crisis has snowballed into a major crisis drying up funds in the US and over Europe which has directly affected their markets. Due to the crisis, the FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investors) have had to unwind their position in India. Now allow a little detour as to understand how the FIIs have made huge profits in India.

India touted as the best emerging market is growing at about 10% YoY basis. Add to this, the global interest in India had made most FIIs flock to India. This means there was a large supply of dollars and Rupee was being bought to invest in India. That explains theappreciating rupee. Now let us assume for simplicity that the FIIs have earned a return of 10% on their investments in rupee terms. Now with a weak dollar, it makes much more sense for them to book their profits and get out of here as in Dollar terms, the returns will be even higher than 10%.

OK. I will make it simpler. Say I brought in 1000$ at 45Rs/$ a year ago. So that means I invested 45000 Rs. Now this year it has grown to 49500Rs (10% growth). But in dollars I would have earned 1237.5$ (assuming 40Rs/$) which means about 23% return on investment. Now that is a double whammy. So makes more sense for the FIIs to book their profits and get out of here.


This could get a little complicated. When dealing with derivatives, (Contracts that derive their value from basic stocks), traders are required to submit margin amounts. The margin amounts usually vary between 10% to 20%. This provides the much hyped ‘leverage’. To better understand it, consider this.

There is a stock quoting at 100 Rs. Now in a future contract, you need to pay only 10 Rs for it. Now if the stock trades and ends the day at 110Rs, your contract is worth 20Rs which means 100% return on investment, whereas the stock has only appreciated 10%. Same is the downside, a 10% fall means your capital is wiped out. This is leverage. You buy more with

less money. (I have conveniently ignored factors that determine the future contract price which may not be the same as the stock price at the end of the day, in my quest to keep it simple.)

The recent bull-run had reached such enormous proportions that, even that 10 to 20% to be given as margin was quite a considerable amount. And brokerage houses tended to accept shares from its clients in place of money for the margins needed to be provided.

But as is with future contracts, at the end of day, the contract is marked to market, meaning you have to provide money in case you have made a considerable loss. But the people who had provided their shares as margin either went bust or could not get cash quick enough to replenish their accounts (inefficient banking systems). So as a result of the loss they had suffered that day, the stocks they had provided were sold by their brokers in order to recover the cash needed to clear their positions. This kind of relentless selling drove the markets down to abyss.

Reliance power IPO

Many might not agree, but still I would have it right up there as one of the reasons. The issue at a size of 11, 700 crore at upper cut-off price got over subscribed 69 times. Hence it sucked a lot of liquidity out of the system. Blatantly using one of my Professor’s line, ”Ambanis are son-in-laws of the government, they can get away with anything”, will justify the kind of euphoria associated with the issue.

Now I will try to justify how bad an issue, Reliance Power is. A company that does not have anything on its balance sheet, no running plant and with just projected earnings, Reliance Power has been more than successful in raising capital. If it lists at 900Rs per share, it gives it a market cap of Rs 2 lakh crores, which was the market cap of Reliance Industries (Established company) a few months ago. In 4 years they plan to have 28000MW running capacity. Whereas a stock like NTPC which already has 28000MW installed capacity and has expansion plans has a market cap of less than Rs 2 lakh crores (with equal debt levels as Reliance Power). Also NTPC has the highest capacity utilization in the sector at about 90%.

Investing is not entirely a mind determined action, though ideally by capitalistic definitions it should be. Men think more with their heart than mind when it comes to women, war and money (Yours truly is no different. Have applied for 900 shares). When as much as 8 lakh crores is blocked for the IPO, it needs more than a miracle to expect people to hold on, booking their losses in the future position in the current fall. So the issue is one of the main triggers for the fall, more so because of the bad omen it portended in its last day.

Lighter moments of the Fall -The trade halting goof-up

January 21 was one day when the usual chirpiness and smiles were totally missing on the sullen faces of the lady anchors on business news channels. But still BSE provided the necessary entertainment. After 2:30 PM, they halted trading thinking they have hit the lower circuit filter (10%), whereas when they were supposed to do it at 15%. Later on being questioned by SEBI, as to why they stopped trades, BSE has admitted to a technical snag, which conveniently coincided with the 10% drop.

Long term effects

The markets may come back to their original levels in a week, a month, a year or at the most a decade (During the Harshad Mehta scam, Sensex fell from 4000 and took 7 years to reach it again). But the traders who had future contracts and other derivative instruments have suffered irreversible losses, as they are now out of money to participate in the recovery. Many of them will never return to the stock markets and will look for making a living somewhere else.

And going forward the RBI will at least in steps increase restrictions on FIIs curbing this kind of pullout from the markets. This will be beneficial to the markets in the long run. What is needed is more domestic participation than FIIs prowling for profits.

Also for bargain hunters, they cannot have a better chance to buy stocks that were available at discounts as all sectors got rerated. If you are planning to build yourself a portfolio, then there cannot be a better time to pick up some quality stocks ( for recommends).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Just Another Day

A sunny day, warmly providing respite from the cold seemed perfect for Rajesh to take a break. His spirits rose in spite of having sworn at his friend who had buzzed him out of his cubicle. He had a project to deliver that week and his PM was losing his nerve with every day ticking until the deadline.

But those things could wait. Arun had been unequivocal and demanded Rajesh to meet him at the cafeteria immediately. Rajesh walked into the café. It was pretty crowded. That made him wonder, if he was the only one in the company working his heart out. He thought why the company was not considering any downsizing? May be the first step in increasing productivity could be closing the shutters of the café.

The chatter was quite excited and high on decibels. Rajesh chose a table in a corner so that the din did not annoy him. He seated himself facing the entrance. He did not want to waste any time more than required amongst this motley. The steward walked towards him, but he waved him off to come later. He looked at his watch absent mindedly, just to curse Arun.

As he was glancing at the entrance, he suddenly caught sight of a girl entering. His instinct made him look again. Smirking at the fact that all that work had not whetted his primal instincts, he looked at her. She was tall, slim and was wearing a bright blue full sleeved top and the conventional denim. She had long beautiful hair, let loose. She glanced around the café. He believed that while looking around, she lingered a moment longer in his direction. He tried making eye contact. But by then, she had turned. She sauntered and took a table to the right of his'.

Rajesh kept staring at her. He was struck by her poise. She fiddled with the menu with her slender long fingers. He was amazed by the range of feelings she evoked in him. He started interpreting her character from her actions. He was sure that she would have by now noticed him ogling at her. But still she did not look in his direction. And her twitchiness, related to his staring or unrelated, convinced him that she was a very conservative girl. But the sparkle in her bright brown eyes seemingly concealing naughtiness and the high heel she was wearing contradicted it.

He started wondering if he should actually move to her table and strike a conversation. But he recalled his previous similar encounters. And in all of them, he had been so dumbstruck or choked that he had never made that first move. He thought, may be all that was actually leading to this day. Fate always has pleasant surprises in store. All the work he had to finish by that week seemed like child’s play to him now.

As he was basking in the pleasure of watching her, her lips parted and she was smiling. Her hand slowly raised and now she was waving at someone. He tried to see who it was. Arun appeared from nowhere and walked towards him. At the same time she stood up from her chair. Both of them took the seats opposite him. Arun spoke, ’Hey!! Meet my fiancée, Anita.’ Rajesh proffered his hand and smiled, more so because of not having made that first move.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Memoirs Part 2

As soon as X entered the room, the cold hit him, literally too. Prof. Y was on the phone talking with someone and curtly pointed to the chair in front of his huge table. X obediently took the chair. Not wanting to worsen the situation, he lowered his head humiliatingly and kept staring at his own fingers. Time seemed frozen. The banter on the phone extended to eternity.

And then as abruptly as things had happened all day, Dr. Y hung up and asked X, ‘Mr. X, How do you find the courses here? Are they up to your standard?’ X thought of the damage control mode he had decided to adopt. So he just looked at Y pleadingly. Y stressed, ‘What are your thoughts on my course and International Marketing? Write them down on this sheet.’

X took the sheet obligingly and stared at it. His thoughts were racing. Should he write anything at all, the least now he wanted was to make Y more furious? So he timidly started writing the course names. Y was waiting with his hands folded. Seeing that, X timidly started writing.

Good structure and content. Case studies extensively discussed. Live strategy games could be held to make the class more interesting.

X now wondered what made him write that last point. Why is he habitually pointing out things? Will he ever change? Maybe the dressing down today will achieve that. He meekly extended the sheet forward. And then something hit him on the face. He was surprised although he expected anything to happen. Then he realized it was another sheet of paper. He slowly picked it up. It was THE FORM.

Y spoke calmly, ‘I had to study all the handwriting in the answer papers to zero down on the one who wrote this. Now what made you write this?’

X was wondering if that was really a question or just figurative. So as always he kept quiet.

‘I have had some mistakes pointed out in feedback forms. In fact there were 5 negative forms from your class, but nothing this outrageous’, said Y, still very calm and restrained.

X was still pondering if at all he should say anything. X went through his form again to get a grasp of things he was hearing. Then he noticed the word, ‘FAMILY’. What made him write it? Who in their right senses would have mentioned that in the feedback form of an academic course?

X had his reason as always. X had had his share of trouble with Prof Y prior to this. Once he had rejoined college 2 days late as his dad was due to fly back home then. His father told him that he will call up the administrator. X had insisted, ‘This is no primary school dad, I can handle it’, thinking of how much an arse he will be made to be by Y in class, after his dad’s call. But X, to his rude shock was awarded 4 DGPs (Derogatory Award Points) for joining two days late. And as the trimester progressed he found that people were joining weeks late. But the only thing they did right was they were in Y’s good books. And meanwhile Prof. Y was rescheduling all his classes to take a break and go home.

DGPs are awarded in extreme breaches of code of conduct. If one gets 8 of them, they are duly asked to forfeit the course. Y had sarcastically remarked when awarding the DGP’s, ‘What if you had started out of home and then wandered away and then joined late. This will teach you a lesson.’ X was slipping away in his thoughts. But this was no time to think of all of that. He needed to imagine something good about Prof. Y so as to have a real pitiful expression. He knew he could not fake his feelings now.

Dr.Y ’s voice brought him back to reality, ‘What is your CGPA Mister? What makes you think that you are eligible to advise me, when the toppers have all given me a good review? Tell me, what is you CGPA?’

X was cornered now. He did not recall his CGPA. 20 years of education and thousands of scores. How can anyone remember them all? He tossed between 3.1 and 3.3. Trying to be modest, ‘Sir, it is 3.1’.

Dr. Y was getting hysterical. X could clearly see the signs. X was wondering where was all the usual nervousness he had had during interviews in the past. Strangely, he was feeling quite calm unlike the other side of the table.

Dr. Y screamed, ‘What makes you think, you can do this and get away with it? Do you know my history? If this thing happened anywhere else, you no longer will be alive. I studied in Loyola in Chennai. You should know about its notoriety. How long have you lived in a metro? You have no idea about the kind of contacts I have.’

X was stupefied. How can anyone kill someone for writing a feedback form? Under the influence of his new found temperance, he was even laughing at the irony of the statement. If it really gets down to it, he was wondering who would be in a better position. A college guy or a man 10 years into teaching?

‘You had no right to say anything about my family, forget the teaching part which is also false by the way’, shouted Dr.Y. X now made up his mind to answer. ‘Sir, I never thought any faculty member goes through these feedback forms. I just wanted to sound funny to my friends. Nothing in it, I ever meant’, said X politely, knowing that it dint even convince him. And as expected it fell on deaf ears.

‘Even those DGPs have not helped. Now I would not punish you. I will let you go and I never want to see you again. Don’t attend my lectures. I will give you an A in Business Management. Don’t even come anywhere near my classes’, barked Y.

‘Sir, I am sorry, I never meant any of it’, pleaded X.

‘Do you know what I can do to your career? Just one minute, and you would be a loser even before you start’, said Y, snapping his fingers demonstrating the fickleness of X’s career. X was wondering if he should have used the college fee and started a kirana store rather than joining here.

‘Now get lost out of here. You will get an A. Don’t come to my class. I will make sure you repent for this, till you leave this place’, said Y tapping THE FORM.

X rose out of the chair, turned his back and walked out of the room with a sheepish grin across his face. What more could he have asked for? An A, full attendance, a one on one with the boss and special treatment for the rest of his college years. He took out his mobile and dialed. He sure had a grand tale to tell her.

Memoirs part 1

Disclaimer: Personal views. This post has high perishability.

This is where our Mr. X (for choice of a better name) can speak out. Now can he? That is what he thought when he filled out that wretched feedback form. The course was some basic one on management. The lecturer was the Numero Uno Mr.Y, of the new campus. He was terror unleashed on the students. His booming voice, hostile remarks and short temper unnerved everybody. Now in this perfect setting, our bloke sat about filling the form at the end of his first trimester exam. The form had just 3 simple questions. And enough space to communicate his feelings. Or so X thought. So here goes THE FORM.

Comment on the following

1. 1.Course structure

Loosely structured with total disregard to students.

2. 2.Course content

Out of date case studies. Repetitive slides

3. 3.Course scheduling

According to the whims and fancies of the professor and his family.

The forms were collected back by the assistant. As usual the chatter was about the exam. People were asking each other how many additional sheets they used. Our X felt so much left out of all this. He was wondering if anyone will even go through the answer scripts and he was pretty sure about the feedback forms being thrown away. Or else someone would have infused some sanity into the professor way back. But in his batch he was sure no one else would have written anything other than the typical three ‘GOOD’s. He smirked with an evil sense of power at having had the opportunity to lead the crusade. He turned to his mates to begin the ‘chai’ routine before classes resumed. But they were still immersed in discussing the paper. In his mind, he reinforced his thoughts of not belonging to the college in any way.

The rest of the day was uneventful, some boring lectures with few nodding in the first row and religiously making notes of what ever were on the slides, not withstanding the fact that the lecturer mailed all of it the next day. The chai routine was only something that our X was looking forward to everyday. Sipping his cuppa, he reached in his trousers for his ringing mobile. X was wondering as to who it could be. A local landline number in a new city was unusual. As he answered, he heard the familiar voice of the dutiful assistant from the administrative desk. Again unusual! What does X have to do with the administrative desk? In fact he wanted to be as far away as possible from it.

The assistant said ‘Where are you Mr. X? Prof. Y wants to meet you. Immediately!’ Then it dawned upon our dumbo. Oh Holy f***!! They have zeroed in on the feedback form. But how could they? It was supposed to be anonymous. The assistant was awaiting his reply. ‘Oh! Mam. I just returned to the hostel. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’


‘OK mam. I am starting from the hostel to college mam. I will meet him right away’, X hung up.

Now was the first time, X missed all his close friends back home. Anyway he had a new group. So form the Chai Dukhan opposite his campus, he called them (SMS: Save My Soul). B & C turned up. X curtly narrated the situation. C said, ‘Bosidike! Kya ho gaya tuje!!’ And B pitched in saying, ‘Dude you are a goner’.

So the three gulped their chais, trying to think clearly. The gravity of the issue was still sinking in them. B broke the silence saying, ‘Dude the maximum he can do is, throw you out of campus. Can you handle that? Will your parents stand by you then?’.

X was simply blinking, imagining how his father will react if he came to know of it. No, that is too much to think about now. One problem at a time. ‘Guys! Just tell me what I can tell him now, to reduce the impact of the damage already done.’ B called out, ‘Gulfam!! 3 more cups.’ Gulfam gleamed and was right there with his chai.

C out of the corner of his eye watched the assistant returning home. X now tried hiding behind the tree. Too conspicuous. Gulfam’s cash counter seemed better. So he pushed Gulfam out and hid himself there.

‘OK you are safe now. Come out. How much time do you have left?’ enquired B, glancing at his watch.

‘Not much. I told her, I am starting from the hostel. That gives me like 20 minutes. So ten more I guess’, said X wiping out beads of perspiration from his forehead. X was now visibly shaken. Adrenaline was coursing through all his veins. Such level of heightened thrill, he had never felt before.

‘Mate! You cannot go in and argue that it is not your form. So get in, agree that it is yours and ask sorry. Also I think he cannot throw you out, as an anonymous form cannot be used as evidence’, B encouragingly told X. Now X felt a little better. Yeah! You cannot use a lousy form as evidence against you. C chipped in saying, ‘Dude, be brave. We are with you.’ X knew that it was only figurative. But when you are under pressure, you like to hear reassurances like that, though they mean nothing.

‘Chalo logon, time to face the music. Anyone coming with me’, asked X mockingly. B being in the goodbooks of Prof Y asked earnestly, ‘I can mate. If you want me to.’ ‘Thanks yaar! Let us save that one for the bigger troubles’, grinned X.

X got into the lift, acknowledging the ‘All the best’ signs shown by B & C sarcastically. He found the lift climb slowly. He smirked to himself thinking even the lift is having its share of fun. Finally it jerked to a stop on his floor. He walked out of it and asked the guard if Dr.Y was in his room hoping against hope that Y would have left. The guard nodded his yes very cheerfully. The lift and now the guard, X felt as if everybody is conspiring against him.

To be continued….