Sunday, March 29, 2009

China raising concerns about US Debt

Couple of weeks back Bernanke said he is going to buy back 1.2T worth of long term securities, to inject more liquidity into the market. Where is the Fed going to find $1.2T? What it essentially meant was that US is going to print 1.2T worth of money to dole itself out of the hole.

Now US is not like Zimbabwe which prints money at will. The reason is, most of the countries around the world use USD as their foreign currency reserves. China in particular holds more than 1T dollars worth of US treasury bonds. Its now feeling cheated as US uses its $ mint to work its way out of the mess. This would result in a sharp decline in the value of USD against other world currencies and China will be hurt as its parked its hard earned money in USD.

The problem though is, there is no other alternate currency that can substitute USD. Yen and Euro are worse off than USD and perhaps do not have the scale to become an alternative to USD.

There is some talk about coming up with some other international currency / basket of currencies as an alternative to USD. But in the mean while, if China / Japan lose their confidence in USD, the US economy is going to get into even bigger trouble.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kindle the Devine Intervention

I've never been an avid reader. My wife though over compensates for me. She went to India last oct and has been missing the public libraries and the joy of reading. She could finish 6 books a week and still have time on her hands. All that changed once she moved back. We do have Crossroads right across from our house in Mumbai and she goes there every now and then to buy books. Yet she maintains that the collection is not as wide as she wants.

When I visited her in Feb, I gifted her an ipod touch and tried to show her eReader/Stanza (ebook readers for ipod touch) but could not get her interested in reading on an electronic device. A few weeks later, "The curious case of Benjamin Button" came to PVR and she loved the movie. She wanted to read the book and fortunately it was available under free books on Stanza. I showed how to download it and slowly her resistance dissolved.

Last week I read that Kindle is now available for iphone and itouch. Yesterday, we sat together (on skype) to set it up. She had seen seen revolutionary road last week and loved it so much that she badly wanted to read the book. Crossroads did not have it and it was available as ebook on Amazon for $9. It took us all but 10 minutes to set up Kindle, buy the book and download it on her kindle. By the time we were done she was as excited as our 4 years old when watching Chota Bheem.

Technology is shaping our lives in so many ways. This is just one of the things but it makes her feel she need not be in us to be able to enjoy the best books. I'm just happy to see her happy. If I could, I'd wind up everything and go back home tomorrow.

Gulaal Music

Haven't really seen the movie yet but heard the songs. Never heard such dark songs in my life. I could have bought the CD but then, some of the songs are not for casual listening at all.

Aarambh is awe inspiring. In contemporary movies, I do not recollect such a song being penned down. I loved Omkara song as it was like an Aalha and Gulzaar did a good job of describing Omkara as a warlord and Sukhvinder did a great job rendering it. Piyush Mishra seems to be a find. I'd say its the most inspirational war cry I've ever heard. Reminded me of Dinkar. I once owned Rashmirathi (his Kaayva on Karna) and this comes close. Real close.

I'm eagerly awaiting DVD release of the movie. Want to watch it.

Loved Dev-D

I saw Dev-D in the theater and loved it. Its in the same class as Maqbool and Omkara. Anurag Kashyap is one of the most audacious directors of our times(Vishal Bharadwaj is another). Paro's depiction is so unconventional that it just blew me away. The scene where she comes to his house and cleans it were one of the most poignant moments of the film. The songs are catchy. Emotional Atyachar is cool.

It was so refreshing to watch a contemporary take on a classic. The end, though a little filmy, did not seem unrealistic as most ppl say. Then perhaps I'm an optimist...

Looking fwd to view Gulaal. Reviews seem to be good.