Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Seasons Greeting

I'm on vacation from tomorrow onwards. Hope all you folks out there have a great holiday season. Im planning to put 40 D to some real stern tests (Hopefully will get some time to shoot)..
Download this video - Lead India TOI music peice - A slightly cliched motif, but well composed, shot and edited. I loved it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Of Jungles and "Citi"es !

Back from Pench tiger reserve after a 3 day meet. Met a bunch of very interesting people - actually a fine break for someone whose friends / well known folks circle has always been MBAs and Engineers and Techies :D...There were cinematographers, journalists, wild life photographers (ofcourse!!), conservationists,techies / engineers / MBAs too !! Also et up with Field Director, Range officer, couple of eminent scientists from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Many of them are doing exception work in the field and its really inspirational how much impact they are creating for the kind of rewards that they are being offered. (Ofcourse Im speaking of the materialistic part -the work itself is THE reward for most of them and that is laudable).
I did not see tiger or leopard at Pench but did see Jackals, Wild Dogs (with a Chital fawn kill - a lifetime experience), Wild Boars, and around 50 species of birds. A very decent outing from that perspective. We would wake up around 5.30 in the morning with temperatures of around 5 degrees, have a much awaited tea, jump into the open jeeps wearing as much cloths as we could covering as much of your body and go into the forests. Mostly after around 15 minute of the drive your hands would be so numb that you can't even click. You have to warm your hands first by putting inside your cloths and then control the camera for the shoot. Since we went to many non touristy routes making our own roads it was an incredible experience - the rush of blood knowing that at every corner there could be a hiding tiger, trailing packs of wild dogs through dense thickets, driving the jeep on 4 wheel drive over some difficult terrains and then coming back to camp to have simple but much awaited lunch !! There certainly are some things that money can't buy !!

Coming back to the more mundane, I was glad to know Vikram being selected to head Citi. Though my firm belief remains that Citi as it stands today has no future. In an era where lenders had all loans in their own books their scale helped, deep pockets to tide over minor hiccups helped. But in the new era where lender repackage their portfolio to be sold to multiple smaller players who are third party investors, scale necessarily doesn't give you much advantages. There has been so much of aggregation and disaggregation of loan portfolios that many FIs today probably have no clue of their exposures. Wall street traders keep inventing "god knows what" products in exotic names which most of the normal junta can't figure out in their life time - including managers in many FIs. I'll bet on smaller FIs with sound risk management practices having a clear handle on what everyone in the organisation is upto over unmanageable monoliths to give more returns in the coming years.I like Edelweiss for example - many feels the listing premium is cause of all the hype. I look at it and say this could be the next big story from India. If I am a long term investor Im going to think what it could be 5 years from now and I don't see anything worrying about it.(all disclaimers apply - Invest after your own research !! ):)