Author: Harsh Kundnani

Opinionated

Things to be cheerful about

Before you begin reading this write-up, I must warn you that it might involve a certain amount of cribbing, although the title suggests otherwise. However, in my defense I’m entitled to it, for November has been gritting, ruthless and rather unapologetic about it; especially on CA students like me. The first half of the month went in appearing for exams and the rest of the month trying to reconnect with the world. Surprisingly, the latter proved to be the more challenging of the two tasks, for it seems as if I’ve lost all my socialising skills in those months I spent living like a hermit. That, coupled with the fact that I was rather vexed this morning, led to pretty melancholic foreday.
However, as thanksgiving had just passed and the fact that I had resolved to not do bad days anymore, I decided to list down things I’m grateful about.
Most of the list consists non-sensical points. Nevertheless here are some of them:
1. December is here.
No matter how much you despise the other months, you just cannot feel the same way about December. December is a joyous month as there are so many things to look forward to: the weather, Christmas, holidays and most importantly my birthday (it’s on Christmas eve incase you’ve forgotten or are unaware of)

2. Unintelligent banter, which go like these, do happen from time to time,
H: I think people are weird.
S: Even I think everyone is weird except me.
H: So do I.
S: Really?
H: No, not really.
S: I think that’s the most lamest conversation we had.
(And the gleeful laughter that follows)

3. People would take time out of their busy schedule to list down things to be happy about, albeit the fact that conversation like these would follow:

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4. Getting lovely and motivational letters and mails such as these before exams from friends and family alike:

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5. And most importantly there is love. Yes, my dear readers, it does exist, albeit the fact that it might seem otherwise at times. For the fear of being too cheesy or too non-machoistic I choose not to elaborate of this topic 😛

So my fellow readers, no matter how lousy (or not) the year has been, its December; the time to bid adieu to the year that has gone by and embrace the many more eventful years to come.

Signing off (in a rather jovial mood),
Harsh Kundnani.

On how Facebook and Candy Crush has ruined our lives.

So I’m sitting in the train, looking at my fellow commuters and all I see are heads bowed down. Almost all of them, besides a couple of guys dozing away to glory, are staring at their mobile screens either furiously scrolling as if might miss something of significance if they don’t reach the end of the page by the end of the journey, or playing this game popularly known as candy crush. The purpose of the game evades me like the way Charlie Sheen misses cocaine. I could very well list down the reasons for me disliking the game (chronologically or alphabetically as you prefer) but I shan’t bore you with the details. However for records sake, the game requires no extraordinary cognitive skills nor does destroying candies gives me any pleasure and hence my disinterest.
Facebook, however is a different ballgame altogether. Here I would like to, try and point out the way it has affected the society:-
1. Not so recent studies shows that Facebook causes depression
2. It has pretty much intruded the privacy in each and every compartment of our lives.
3. The notifications we receive almost daily has lead to unmeasurable angst. (Especially the stupid candy crush notifications. Seriously will you all stop it! )
4. Since Facebook is mostly used to spy on people, it has pretty much singlehandedly caused a downfall in business detectives (refer technological unemployment) used to get from wives and girlfriends (okay, I had ran out of points).
Ergo, although these are just two small examples, it doesn’t need a technophile to conclude that technology has replaced the brains of our generation and unless we rise our heads above all this (not metaphorically) we are doomed to be a slave of it.

Signing off,
Harsh Kundnani

The Raconteurs’ diary

Around 3 years back, when I was new to the world of blogging, a friend had requested me to write down a story. At that point of time neither did the notion of penning down a book entice me, nor could I imagine myself as a raconteur. Nevertheless a couple of notions had been formed back then and have been nagging me ever since.
In these past few years I’ve had my share of ups and downs as a budding writer; ergo the lack to time. I did try my hand at a couple of short stories, with one of them still in progress. However, since the last few days, due to the abundance of time and the ubiquitous inspiration found in the beautiful North East cities of India, the nagging sensation has become much more predominant. So here I am sitting at the foothills of the mountains, donning the metaphorical writers’ hat, trying my hand at my first real story.

Signing off, with the hope of penning down my first full-fledged story.

Starting afresh

It has been a while since I’ve fired up the laptop with the sole purpose of writing a blog. The prolonged absence(almost a year) was due to a couple of unfortunate events (re: failing Final CA exam). However here I am, enroute Delhi via train, watching the silhouettes of trees and mountains as they pass by, unperturbed, for those who genuinely care about my writing (however few you’ll might be :D). In all these months I have formed in my mind several write-ups on various topics ranging from politics to chess to raconteurs. However as I try penning it down today, most of them seem vague and absurd. Thus, ‘a long break’ has been added to my list containing reasons for writers block.
In other news, I tried my luck at Ghost writing. The money sure is an added bonus but the feeling of the knowledge that my work is worthy of being published in the papers and on the web is just unparalled.
Checking out with the hope that I find the time and the motivation to write many more blogs.

Signing off.

26th November 2014.

Budget 2014 – The way forward

“Vel Anru Venri Tharuvathu Mannavan

Kol Athuvoom Kodaathu Enin.”

(Not the spear but sceptre swayed with equity

Alone gives the ruler victory.)

The Finance Minister namely; Mr. P. Chidambaram presented the last budget for the current UPA tenure two days back. The last budget of any outgoing government is an interim budget, which is in effect for merely till the time the incumbent government leaves the office, due to which not many significant changes were expected. However, the Finance minister tried his level best to grab the attention of as many voters as possible for the upcoming elections with as few populist measures as possible such as one rank one pension for military personnel and the education loan subsidy to clean up the bank loan. What was noteworthy was the bold move undertaken by the FM by decreasing the excise duty of all segments across the automobile industry by 4-6% in an attempt to revive the automobile industry. Although the news was hailed by auto industry and investors alike, skeptic critics termed it as an end result of ubiquitous lobbying.

As Indian budgets tend to be, this too was packed with dramatic hyperbole statements, with the most apt example being the aforementioned couplet by Sage Thiruvalluvar. In all probability the words were a potshot at his fellow competitors, while pointing out not-so-subtly, UPA’s achievement over the years. The FM in order to back his point, narrated the attainments of UPA over the last 10 years.

The most important of all points in the speech, which the FM was exceptionally proud was the Fiscal deficit and the CAD figures. The FM proudly pointed out that he had contained Fiscal deficit at 4.6% of the GDP and the current account deficit stood at $45 billion. However, the ends doesn’t justify the means. The ways used by the FM to achieve those figures were criticized by experts, who pointed out that the FM had merely rolled over some expenses and slashed planned expenditure.

Merely altering rates of taxes, clearing projects and reducing expenditure cannot get out the economy from the dump. Fundamental changes such as introducing GST, DTC and IFRS along with privatization is the key to fiscal consolidation. The FM has quite clearly failed to address these issues. However whether or not he has managed to convince the people of India to stick to his party remains to be seen.

Oblivion

Right now he’s just content sitting out there. Gazing at the cars which zoom past by. He knows there’ll come a time where he’ll suddenly feel restless. He’ll get up and do something. Something with a defined motive. Something that will bring about a change. He knows that time will come soon. But right now he’s just content sitting out there. Gazing at the cars which zoom past by.

15th January 2014

2013

As every writer is obliged, I too am to write about the year which passed by. With a few more hours to go, it is almost time to bid adieu to 2013 and thus I shall recollect the events which made this year notable. I shall not be exaggerating if I would claim that the year has been a depressing one. On a worldwide scale, the Cyprus Bailout early in the year, put a dent in the much shaky EU financial system. Moreover, the Edward Snowden chapter raised questions on the fundamentals of human rights, while the Wikileaks latest release on the secret Transpacific Agreement further propagandizing the fact and alluded the ever-widening grip of capitalism in our lives. The ObamaCare programme fiasco and the US Shutdown marred Obama’s administration, while we are once again poised for another showdown between the Republics and the Democrats in the first half of 2014.

Closer to home, the UPA did not seem to have learnt from their earlier mistakes. The PM failed to adequately respond to allegations of him being involved in the 2G spectrum scam and the Coal Blocks allocation scam. The Food Security Bill passed in September 2013, which aimed at providing food grains at a subsidized rate was touted as a delusionary tactic in order to win over the masses before the upcoming elections. The Sand mining scam involving IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal and the NSEL scam further pointed out how incompetent the UPA 2.0 era was.

Nevertheless, the year did bring its reasons to be cheerful. The financial markets made a comeback with most indexes outperforming their corresponding debt market benchmarks; while Dow trades at all time high. The European Union finally stabilized during the latter half of the year after a rocky couple of years. Shifting focus back to my home country; as India was embroiled between a BJP – Congress war of words, there emerged another successor in the form of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal. Not that I am a stout supporter of any particular party, AAP has managed to spur a nation wide movement against corrupt leaders, which had seemed impossible until only a short while ago.

Keeping politics aside, the year was dominated by youngsters; Magnus Carlsen (aged 22) managed to defeat Vishwanathan Anand to become the youngest World Chess Champion, Eleanor Catton (aged 28) became the youngest person ever to win the Man Booker prize for her book titled ‘The Luminaries’ and QuvenzhanĂ© Wallis (aged 9) became the youngest actress ever to be nominated for Oscars amongst others

On a much personal level, Manchester United winning the Premier league earlier this year did cheer me up while Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Bezos investing in various kinds of journalism reinstated my belief in its future.

In the end, a moment for those we lost during the year; Nelson Mandela, James Gandolfini of the ‘Sopranos’ fame, Martin Richard and others who were killed during the Boston bombings amongst various other people.

Concluding the post with a hope that 2014 be memorable. Cheers!