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Journey to fatherhood – Part 1

August 24, 2009 5 comments

It was probably 01:30 PM late night, and he had just finished turning over the pages of some magazine. He switched off the light and lay down on bed.

It was now around 02:30 PM and he was still rolling on the bed, trying hard to sleep. Highly perplexed, he was not able to understand that which way his life transitions were heading. Strange thoughts welled up in his mind. He was experiencing a significant life transition and this change was infusing him with a feeling of vulnerability to face future. He did not know if his decision was right or wrong. He was struggling between the best and worst. Sleep was still trying to force its presence on him, but with no success.  With so much maelstrom going in his mind, he did not realize when he slipped to sleep.

7 months later, he is very happy today. He is eagerly waiting to welcome the new comer in his family. He has understood today that struggling between best and worst will lead to loosing the present beautiful time. He has started preparing himself to learn how to pass on the legacy of faith, values and belief that he received from his parents. The big question mark, if he made the right decision, has gone away now. The way he boasts that he is settled (if not well, then ok) now and his father has still 7-8 years of job left before retirement, similarly he also wants to provide the same leverage to his offspring.

He still remembers when many people asked him why he wanted baby so early, considering many (almost everybody) of his college mates were still bachelor. Now he answers, that it is a kind of elation that cannot be explained in words. This is the transition of life which teaches you to feel the ecstasy on making an investment in heaviest unprofitable venture, the children (joking!!).

This is my story and I am penning down my experiences to let the readers (especially newly married or soon to be married people who are afraid of having kids) know that it is a divine feeling that one should experience. Once I read somewhere that a survey was done by marriage experts who showed that couples who opted for not to have kids were very happy in life. But, I just cannot understand how somebody could comment on something which he has never experienced. Being human being, we cannot be so selfish and materialistic and think of only our future and comfort. I thank god for the emotions I am feeling now. I do not know how stressful it would be to raise a child, but I am sure that the joy of taking pain to raise a kid must be beyond imagination. After all we are not the first one going through this phase of life, so why and what to worry about. I agree with those parents who believe that they need to be prepared financially, emotionally and physically before going for a baby. Definitely, do not bring a new life in this world on the mercy of God. I feel life is very complex and full of competing pressures, and probably we can never feel that we are ready for expanding our family. But certain things happening at the right time in life are also equally important, which make future easier in much respect.

I used to have many questions in my mind, like, why a mother takes so much pain to raise a kid and still feels happy? Why a father works hard to provide best of life to his children? Why a philanthropist gives away his treasures to others? Why somebody devotes his life for others he does not know? Why few people think that money cannot buy peace and happiness of life? Fortunately today, I feel, I got the answers.

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Surging Market: Reacting to what?

August 16, 2009 Leave a comment

March ’09, price-earnings (P/E) ratio for BSE SENSEX based scrips (30) was 12.68, and by July end it was 19.1. The higher the P/E ratio, the higher price per share than annual earnings per share. The statistics mentioned above clearly show that how the stock prices have shot up too fast. Considering failing monsoon and drought in India and current situation of global economy, Indian stock market looks overvalued.

I agree that top 6 out of 10 economies of the world have shown positive growth after 5 quarter consecutive negative growth. From January 1st, The DOW is up 6% and NASDAQ has returned 26%. In Europe, Spain’s and Sweden’s indices are up 18% and 30% respectively since January. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong has gained 45% plus in the same time. Brazil’s Bopseva is also up 50% since January. It is being said that pumping money into emerging markets would help world to come out of the financial crisis. Because of which many believe that Brazil, China and India share market are booming.

Now it”s time to analyze India’s market, from January it appreciated mind boggling 60%. If we look at the statistics from March to August ’09, BSE touched 8000 in March, and it almost gained 100% by coming close to 16000 in August. This figure is far ahead of Brazil or China. Everybody knows that demand is drooping in India. India’s imports have been contracting. The ability of India to absorb goods and services from all over the world is coming down. It is hard to predict when demand will bounce back. In light of India facing rapidly increasing commodity prices, pandemic eruption, slow sales growth, biggest drought of the century and sluggish job market, I don’t find any motive for market to surge. Disinvestment could be counted behind this race, but this is a long process. If I remember correct, after budget only 1 PSU IPO has been floated. Rest is lined up and still market is booming.

Is this again a bubble or a collection of many bubbles? Famous analyst Abheek Barman may not be wrong in saying that if earnings don’t grow as fast as share prices, the price to earnings (PE) multiple will bloat, setting us up for another crash.

Surging Market: Reacting to what?

August 16, 2009 1 comment

March ’09, price-earnings (P/E) ratio for BSE SENSEX based scrips (30) was 12.68, and by July end it was 19.1. The higher the P/E ratio, the higher price per share than annual earnings per share. The statistics mentioned above clearly show that how the stock prices have shot up too fast. Considering failing monsoon and drought in India and current situation of global economy, Indian stock market looks overvalued.

I agree that top 6 out of 10 economies of the world have shown positive growth after 5 quarter consecutive negative growth. From January 1st, The DOW is up 6% and NASDAQ has returned 26%. In Europe, Spain’s and Sweden’s indices are up 18% and 30% respectively since January. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong has gained 45% plus in the same time. Brazil’s Bopseva is also up 50% since January. It is being said that pumping money into emerging markets would help world to come out of the financial crisis. Because of which many believe that Brazil, China and India share market are booming.

Now it”s time to analyze India’s market, from January it appreciated mind boggling 60%. If we look at the statistics from March to August ’09, BSE touched 8000 in March, and it almost gained 100% by coming close to 16000 in August. This figure is far ahead of Brazil or China. Everybody knows that demand is drooping in India. India’s imports have been contracting. The ability of India to absorb goods and services from all over the world is coming down. It is hard to predict when demand will bounce back. In light of India facing rapidly increasing commodity prices, pandemic eruption, slow sales growth, biggest drought of the century and sluggish job market, I don’t find any motive for market to surge. Disinvestment could be counted behind this race, but this is a long process. If I remember correct, after budget only 1 PSU IPO has been floated. Rest is lined up and still market is booming.

Is this again a bubble or a collection of many bubbles? Famous analyst Abheek Barman may not be wrong in saying that if earnings don’t grow as fast as share prices, the price to earnings (PE) multiple will bloat, setting us up for another crash.

Outsourcing: Boon or Bane for India

August 15, 2009 7 comments

Over last few years, business process outsourcing industry has grown tremendously. Outsourcing actually came to India long time back in eighties when many foreign airlines opened their back office centres in India. Huge difference between Indian National Rupee and US Dollar and cheap labour availability, who were willing to work in shifts (to provide 24 hours support to front office), prompted multinationals to come to India to increase their profit margin.

Outsourcing flourished in India as it realised India’s needs also. Increasing population, poverty and unemployment have always been long lasting issues for the biggest democracy of the world. Limited government jobs and fistful of companies in India were not sufficient enough to create ample job opportunities. Outsourcing came as a big relief to India. Good number of jobs was created. Indian foreign reserve started increasing providing a boost to economy. People who could not continue their studies after 12th standard, were also able to earn decent money, which was a mirage earlier. Once upon a time, educated people were wandering on streets, now even 12th standard pass out was able to sustain a decent life style. I could remember, when we were kids, we were often told to study hard by our parents and become IAS or other government servant. With each passing year, qualifying a government service, even upper divisional clerk or lower divisional clerk, became increasingly tougher. Probably population, with limited resources and slow economy growth were the reason behind that. In that scenario, outsourcing was nothing less than a boon for India.

But then, anything good comes at a cost. I do not know if I am qualified enough to pass such comments, but my expressions are the outcome of what I have observed and studied on outsourcing and Indian economy.

Many people have written on the cultural shock that Indian society has received with the advent of outsourcing. Youth is moving away from our culture and values.. blah blah. I won’t get into that, rather I would like to draw attention to the gradual intellectual incapability and complacency creeping into the youth of the nation.

Based on my professional experience, I can say that only left over work comes to Indian software industry, which is labour intensive and does not require brain (with few exeptions as well), for example data entry, software testing etc. If I try to draw an analogy between software development works and constructing a multi-story building, the architecture, foundation and design part take place in US or Europe, the finishing or patching part comes to India. We paint a wall or do toilet/kitchen fittings, or if a wall was erected wrong and demolishing the wall and re-erecting would cost more there, then it would be sent to us. This is absolutely my understanding; please correct me if I am wrong. Such kind of work limits the learning curve as we do not get the exposure of high end work, which ends at the point where outsourcing starts. Over to that, today’s youth tastes money right after 12th standard while working in call centres. This is the time when youth passes through the transition phase of life. Instant money, with malls and pubs around, are enough to drift him away from long term goals and ambitions in life. Many a time it has been seen, that student intentionally left school after 12th standard as they found good source of income in call centres. In future India can witness huge number of school dropouts which would in turn affect Indian economy in many ways.

This outsourcing could be a big bubble in the making, which could shatter Indian economy in coming years, probably 10 years or 20 years or even after that.