Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Its down to the wire!!!

We have now reached the last leg of the English Premier League season. 8 games to go and we have a open fight for the top honours and a real battle to avoid relegation. If United win the game in hand on Wednesday they can go 3 points ahead of Arsenal. Chelsea are still in the hunt and both United and Arsenal know that any slip ups on their front and Chelsea will be ready to grab on it.
In the bottom half we have a real dog fight and any of the bottom 8 teams could be relegated. I would say we have only one team sure to be relegated and thats Derby County. Nothing has gone right for the Rams this season and Paul Jewell will really have a task on hand to bring them back to the Premier Legaue immediately after relegation. The addition of Rabbie Savage has really not helped them as he has been struggling with injury. He seems to have come back to his best during the outing against United where he as Jones (ex united players) really tested the United midfield. But i doubt if even an inform Savage can help them save the drop. Jewell really needs to build for next year. Fulham will be really happy to see the return of McBride. He is a proven goal scorer and to have him back will give a lot of boos to the manager, players and fans alike. Bolton have not looked like the team they were prior to loosing Anelka and rightly so. Anelka was a potent strike force and it would be tough for any side let alone Bolton to replace a player of his quality. But they have players like Diouf and Nolan who have to stand up now and really be counted. These two need to fire if Bolton have to survive the drop. As for Sunderland, there problem is winning away from home but I guess Roy will ensure they survive. The return of Edwards will be a boost for them. Newcastle have not got anything going under Kevin Keegan. He was called the massiah, but results have not justified any of that talk so far. No wins under him and they have been sucked into the relegation dog fight. They are just 3 points above the drop zone and really need to dig deep. They need their international stars of Viduka, Owe and Martins to fire in front of goal. The defence is weak and the forwards have to compensate for that. Why Kev plays Smith alongside Owen i don't understand. He has to go for broke with Owen, Martins and Viduka starting all the time just like he did against Birmingham if they want to survive. Reading are still the same gutsy team like last year and Steve Coppell will need all the steel to stay clear of relegation. Wigan and Middlesbrough seem to have found some decent form and are slightly up the table (6 points clear) but any slip ups from them will land them in trouble. For me the 3 teams which will be relgated are Derby and Fulham and it would be a really close call between Reading and Sunderland. I would love to see Sunderland survive just for the sake of Roy Keane. I admire this guy a lot and would be very sad to seethem go down again.
As for the fight for the European Spots, i think Villa will get into Uefa Cup along with Everton with Liverpool taking the 4th champions league spot. However i would like to see Everton seal the 4th spot cos i just want to see a new team in the top 4 and also being a Man United fan i hate to see Liverpool :). But Liverpool just have that extra quality in Torres & Gerrard and wouldseal the 4th spot. But with them being part of the chapions league Rafa may just want to rest his top stars in the bid to win something this year and keeping hold of his place as manager.
Now coming to the top end of the table and this is the one where we are all interested and eagerly watching. This years title race has been the closest for quite some time and it might as well go down to the last game. United play Botlon this wednesday and a victory will see them take a 3 point lead which could be vital. United have been in sublime form this season and with only the Champions and Premier League to focus on Sir Alex will be making sure his lads ready to do the double this year (i would have preferred a repeat of the 1999 treble). Arsenal seem to have lost their way for the thrashing they received at the hands of United in the FA Cup. 4 draws on the trot and it seems the confidence of the players is down in the Premier League. InEurope they look a different side all together and they have to soon take this confidence into the League if they should have any hopes of winning. The lack of experience in the team could just be the defining factor and they may lose the title to United. However, I do feel Chelsea cannot be doscounted and any slip ups from the top two will see them capitalize. The are not playing the most attractive football, but in this day and age its results that matter.
My top 3 - 1. Manchester United (how could i not vote for them to be 1 again), 2. Chelsea 3. Arsenal (like i said i guess the lack of exp will show and they will slip up in the home stretch).
Overall, an exciting finish to the season. One i am really looking forward to.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Indian Stock Market!!!

Is the Sensex a true reflector of the state of the Indian Economy? Is the Indian Economy really doing so well? Is the rise from 14K to 20K in no ime based on fundamentals? Should I invest now or have I already left it too late? These are some of the few questions that are on everybody's mind including mine.

Over the past few weeks I have been reading a lot of articles on the meteoric rise of the Sensex and how it shows that a Indian economy is really doing well and based on fundamental growth. I have been listening and reading statements from the FM that the Indian economy is strong. But is this really the case? After all it may not be!!!

If you look carefully at the boom of the stock markets most of the inflow of money was through FII's. Money was invested mainly through P-Notes. The fundamental question that one would ask then is "How long are the FII's going to invest? What si the source of the money invested through the P-Notes?" Well, both the above questions are very difficult to answer simply because nobody knows the mentality of the FII's who one day invest and the nest they pull out. About the source of the money flowing in through P-Notes, this also cannot be answered because the very nature of this instrument if such that the source cannot be traced back. There has been a long debate going on (i think for the past 5-6years) about the usage of P-Notes. A couple of weeks back the SEBI had issued a statement that they will regulate the flow of money through P-notes and the FII's hwould be registered. The next day the stock markets carshed by about 1700 points within a couple of minutes of trading and the markets had to be closed. Since then the stance of SEBI on P-Notes has weakened and they still continue to be a source of inflow of money into the markets.

The GDP of India was earlier in the year said to touch double digits for the first time thanks to the numbers shown by various sectors. But, as the year went on the GDP kept getting revised and it now stands somewhere in the range of 9 - 9.3%. If we check on the IIP (the industrial index for production) all the sectors have shown lesser growth compared to last year. Infact this is seen for both the period April to September. When the figures of August came out most of the analysts said that this was just a one-off case and should not be taken seriously. But we are seeing similar if not worse figures for September as well. The growth rate has nearlly halved when compared to the previous fiscal. So, if the case is that all the sectors are doing badly then what fundamental backing are we talking about? If the economy is really doing well then why GDP keeps getting revised to lower numbers? Why do we keep reading articles of economic slow down?

This brings us back to the fundamental question: Is the Sensex a true reflection of the Indian economy? My take on this is that till the levels of about 14K it was but post this mark the Sensex is not a true reflector of the state of the Indian economy.

Should we invest at this time? Should we sell our shares and make the profit?

My take on the second question is: "Make hay when the sun shines" If you are making profit then sell and make the money.

Should you invest now? You can invest in the markets but don’t expect huge returns, basically don't be greedy. Don't expect big returns in short time. Invest in stocks which have a fundamental backing. Do your research before investing. Don't worry if the stock is not very highly valuated at this current time. Look at the business the company is in and the figures it has shown.
Invest with a long - term perspective and invest in fundamental stocks!!!

P.S: You may feel that this post is not complete in terms of it not being very comprehensive and without statistics. I am sure you will get these numbers in many articles. But I just wanted to highlight some of the points which I am researching / reading on and you can do the same.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Diwali!!!

Wish you all and your families a Ver Happy and Safe Diwali!!!
Enjoy this festive season!!!

Hail Sir Alex!!!

21 Years!!!
Yes, you heard me right 21 years at the helm of Manchester United Football Club. Many managers have come and many gone in the world of English Football. But none have stood through the testing times for as long as this man. He is Sir Alex Ferguson, Manager Manchester United Football club.
Under his reign United have won 21 titles in various competitions. He is without doubt one of the best (if not the best) in the business. Always putting the club in front of individual footballers, he is never shy of showing the door to players whom he believes will have a negative influence. Some of the most noted names being Mark Hughes, Stam , Beckham and Rud. More often than not he gets it right.
He has put together many teams and is on the verge of building one more which could go on and win may trophies. Key signings this summer were Nani, Anderson, Heargreves and Tevez. It was a slow start to the season and many believed it will not be united's year and that Sir Alex would retire by the end of the season. Well, he has again proved people wrong and the new signings have clicked. United look strong on both domestic and the European fronts.
Hope he continues for many more years.
Here's wishing Sir Alex a hearty congratulations for 21 glorious years and all the best for many years to come.
Hail Manchester United!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

A post after Long – the last for the year!!!

Well it’s been more than 6 months since I wrote my last post. Reasons, well there was only one and that was I was very lazy and didn’t feel like writing. I finally felt that since we are approaching the end of the year its better that I write at least an update from my end as to what I had been doing all these days.

The last post I had written was on the Football world cup. And yes I did get a new TV (SONY Flat screen 21”) especially for the World Cup because being a football freak this was a tournament I wasn’t going to miss. And what a tournament it was. It had all the goals and all the drama. The Rooney sending off and yes of course the well documented Zidane Head butt. It was a tournament where the stars of Brazil and England just disappointed. But at the end of it all the side most thought wouldn’t win but a very deserving side Italy lifted the world cup.

Well the world cup came and went and my search for a project came to an end. I got into a pretty decent project and for the next 6 months I was involved in the project. I had my apprehensions in the beginning as to whether it would be good and whether I would be able to do well. Learnt a lot of things in the project. Had a couple of iffy moments in the project but overall it was a good learning experience.

In between all this the EPL season kicked off and what a season it has been. Brilliant goals and some absolutely breathtaking football. Have tried to make it a point to watch the games every week. Well have not totally succeeded at it but still working hard at it. And yes of course nice to Manchester United at the top of the league. Cristiano Ronaldo has been absolutely awesome. If you ask me he has been the best player this season. The title race will surely go down to the wire and it will be interesting to watch how it progresses next year.

Dad retired in September and since then it has been a tough task to try and keep him occupied. He started getting very tense because he did not get an extension from his last employer and he really had some expectation from them. Well, now he has started searching at various other places and hopefully something should fall in place at the turn of the year.

Mom wanted to continue working for the next 3-4 years and hence wanted to continue staying at Managlore. So the topic that came up was whether to buy a house or to rent one. After long deliberation and repeated fights we finally bought a flat in Mangalore. It’s a 2 bedroom house, 875 sq.ft and is on the 9th floor. Both Mom and Dad are happy with it. Initially I was not happy at buying the house but then finally decided that if that’s what makes them happy then so be it.

We celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday on Sep 9th at Thrucadayur temple. It was a great feeling and my parents were very happy. About 20 of my relatives made it to the function. It was well appreciated on all counts and we were happy giving our parents a happy memory. My sisters and I were just happy that we were able to do something for our parents who have done so much for us.

Topics of marriage have been talked about at home. But for now I have laid such topics to rest by saying that I am not interested. May be there is something in store at the turn of the year. I will keep you guys posted.

Towards the end of my project I was getting very jittery as to how much time I would have to spend on the bench and so on and if I do get a project where would it be. Well all such things were laid to rest pretty soon. Within 10 days after my project came to an end I was told of an opportunity of a new project in Bangalore and I have been slotted into that assignment. As of today it’s for 4- months but could extend to well over a year. Lets see how things go. Have been in this project for the last 1month and it has been a learning experience so far. Let see what’s in store.

Couple of my friends got married this year. Chintan & Akanksha in April and Sujay & Rachitha in November. Had been to both the weddings. Ha a really good times. Some more lined up next year. Priya, Chalapathy and Dipti in Jan, Bhadra & DC in Feb. Will write about them at the appropriate time.

One thing that hasn’t changed yet is the travel on Hosur Road day in and day out. It’s definitely a challenge but one we have got used to. Work is on to construct a new elevated highway and I am sure that when a work starts off in full sing for the construction of the flyover we all are going to have some really long and irritating drives back home.

Well 2006 has been a pretty good year for me. Lets se what 2007 has in store. Hopefully I will write more next year.

Here’s me signing off in 2006, wishing all you guys a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Here comes the World Cup and there goes my TV!!

It’s the biggest sporting extravaganza in the world. It’s the world’s most watched and followed sport. It’s the sport that is considered religion in many parts of the world. People are so passionate that they name their children after their sporting hero’s, clubs etc. People have even shot their stars for missing a spot kick. That’s their passion for their game. I am sure you would have guessed by now, if no it’s the 2006 FIFA world cup that’s going to happen in Germany in just over a week.

I am a football fan and closely follow the English and Spanish league apart from of course the UEFA Cup and Champions League. But none more than the event that happens once in 4 years when the great footballers in their country’s clothes walk out on the football pitch to defend their goals like soldiers in the thick of battle. The world cup is not short of any drama. Goals disallowed because of some intervention by the Prince of the country, spectacular 35 yard strikes, sensational dribbles, the softest of touches turning in to the goal that crowned the country champions, superb athletic team work, sheer class and individual skills, different styles of play. All the great players, Pele, Platini, Socrates, Maradonna, Kruyf, Van Basten, George Best, Ronaldo, Romario, Beckham, Gerrard, Ronaldinho etc., both past and present alike You name it and you get to see it at the World Cup.

With just over a week left to the start of the World Cup that I have been looking forward to, my TV just conked off. There was a sudden spurt of high voltage in our apartment the day before and well there goes my TV. I had a stabilizer and still this happened. Wonder how much excess current would haven flown. I had taken this TV on rent about 8 months back and now I have decided to give it back this Saturday instead of repairing and using it.

Whether I buy a new one?? Hmm… will be known in the next few days!!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Book Review: The Kite Runner – By Khaled Hosseini

I had been to the Crossword book store on Sunday with a couple of friends mainly to help one of them pick up some books. During our stint at the book store I saw Arun with a book in his hand and as an after thought I asked him to pick up the same book. The book was none other than “The Kite Runner” – By Khaled Hosseini. I had heard some good reviews on this book from a couple of my friends. It was more of an after thought because it not very often that I buy books and read. Today after I finished reading the book I am glad that the after thought did come and I picked up the book.

The book deals with a story of two friends Amir and Hassan and starts off in the back-drop of Afghanistan in the early 1970’s. I was astonished and surprised to read about how Afghanistan was during those days and how the Afghans had a life which was all for themselves and had there own theories and rules and were able to walk with their head held high in the land of their own. The book brings out the relationship between two boys Amir and Hassan – A Suni and a Shia.

Khaled very clearly brings out how the changes happen in the relationship between the two boys and he has blended this change with the changes happening to Afghanistan itself - the changes in power at the helm of affairs, the attack of the Russians, the take over by the Mujahhidiens and later by Taliban. He also shows how the lives of the Afghans changed over the years and how a country which had such a glorious past just became a land of poverty and violence.

Amir and Hassan have a very nice childhood. Amir longs for his father’s love and his aim in life is to win the prestigious kite competition in order to get his father love. Hassan is ready to do anything for his friend Amir. All goes on well until one day something very disturbing happens and the entire relationship changes.

All the time Amir finds ways to redeem himself from the past, but it just keeps coming back to haunt him. He flees to America along with his father when the Russians attack and this coincides with his want to go somewhere and start afresh as the past keeps taunting him. The emotions that Amir and Hassan go through and the changes happening in Afghanistan are brought out beautifully.

Amir returns to Afghanistan to redeem himself and finally does so. He gets to see how Afghanistan had changed under the hands of the Talib’s and the atrocity they commit. He finally is able to find some peace of mind. His final joyous moment in the book again clashes with the dethroning of the Taliban and the arrival of the Northern Alliance.

The book brings out a lot of emotions very well. There are many incidents in the book which make you feel very sad and nearly bring a lump in your throat. The author also brings out a subtle message that things happen for the good and one always gets a chance to redeem oneself. It left to the individual how he wants. One can visualise the characters very well.

Overall and very well written book and a must read for everyone.

About the author: Khaled Hosseini was born in Afghanistan and his father received political asylum in America in 1980. He is a doctor in California. His second novel is due in October 2006. For more information about the author please click on this link. Khaled Hosseini

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Monsoons are here!!!

The wait is finally over. The scorching heat will be gone at least for a few months. It is that time of the year when you get to drench yourself in the pouring rain. Here come the “Monsoons”. Yes, you heard it right. The South-West monsoons have hit the Indian coast and are well on schedule. Infact ahead of schedule by 6 days. Kerala and parts of coastal Karnataka have already started experiencing torrential downpour. The speed of the monsoons winds is said to be very high and so they would engulf the whole country in their charm and might within the next one month.

The “Monsoons” have always fascinated me. The way the cloud and wind formation take place and how they ensure that they strike the Indian Sub-continent at roughly the same time year after year. They are truly the bread and butter of many an Indian soul. They ensure that nearly 2/3rds of India’s population is kept happy which contributes to about 1/5th of India’s GDP. The met department has predicted a 93% monsoon.

Come the monsoons and soon drops the mercury levels bringing a smile on everyone’s face. It has been overcast here in Bangalore for the past week or so accompanied by heavy winds. It has made the weather very pleasant here.

The arrival of the monsoons will ensure the filling up of rivers and lakes. Ensure greenery all around. Come September when the Monsoons have nearly come to an end we will get to visit many of the scenic places and hopefully get to have a nature shower in the waterfalls.

I am truly looking forward to a rain filled next few months.