David Pescovitz of boingboing is wondering if the lady in the painting is about to hammer the gentleman’s head. He saw this painting hanging on the wall of an Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, CA, US.

What do you think?

Indian art

Is this a famous painting? Isn’t it strange for a restaurant?


weekly wrapup
Another lovely week went away with mutiny picking on hits and getting more hits and then picking a little more.

Chacko wondered what happened to CNN IBN’S website earlier this week. He usually is very very inquisitive, isnt it? Later in the week he goes all crazy, he wants a CSI team for Jamaica led by two Malayalees. Chacko punks.

Angelspace digs a beautiful ad that pleads, “Don’t burn the planet away“. Later this week she’s got a beautiful caricature about the Indian cricket performance.

Guru comes up with another interesting story about how classical music and modern gadgetry are shaping up. Later in the week he provides a bit of history of Indian constitution.

Polite takes a look at the recent UN Slam on India on Dalit Violence. He believes this was coming.

Jo covers the online grievance Forum and how a folk got himself heard and got the BSNL show caused. Later in the week he debates if Mohan Lal is at fault for selling liquor.

Out fastrack expert Maltesh writes about the much talked about F1 track on Rajpath.

HinduMommy comes up with her popular top something things, this time its top 21 things Indians say when they return to India from US. Damn good it is.

GentleDude revisits the Babri Saga. Its a very personal description. Good work Dude.

Towards the end of the week, Jo comes up with his thoughts on conversion and religion.

Polite Indian covers the news of the week – SC stay in OBC.

Guru at the end of the week tells us about how some time back, employment with Govt of India was an honor.

Ujj ends the week with this chotu post on the Globalized Vadapao. The man can eat.

This is a very chotu <tiny> post.

Did you know Vada Pao (yes that on_the_go Mumbaikar snack) is a brilliant example of Globalization in India?

Vada Pao

Vada pao’s pao came from Afghanistan, the Potato first came from Spain, the Gram dals came from Mexico and the Ginger came from China.

Now thats truely a global dish.

Photo courtesy Chriss Brunn

When market goes up everything goes up irrespective of their valuations and fundamentals. Investors chase every new IPO that comes to the market and they chase with expectations that it will go up multifold in short term. No body talks of fundamentals or valuations when markets inch up everyday. Indian markets were on mad run for very long time.
Most of the time only positive stories emerge and no one cares about negative sentiment at all.
You will not be called smart, if you make money when the market goes up. You will also be not called looser, if the market goes down. However, you are definetly smarter, if you make money when most of them out their loose money. I am not pointing or advising shorting the stocks here.
Investing is an art and every investor should have his own investing style. Please don’t go and pick up every stock that is going up or don’t pay attention to message boards where people pump up the stocks and also, don’t pay attention to Technical analysts in a downtrend market.
I would advise these steps to safe guard yourself from losses.
1) Pick up a sector or two and learn about it thoroughly. Look at it from national and international point of view.
2) Pay attention to Fundamental analysts and then Technical analysts. Technical analysis by itself is very dangerous, if you ignore fundamentals of the company.
3) Before you zero in on a company, look at the management which is running the show. See, if they have good track record in giving good returns to their shareholders in the past.
4) Don’t have lofty expectations on the stocks you invest in. Be reasonable and expect only reasonable returns (15%).
5) Monitor closely where the government is spending most of its tax money. Invest in those companies who will get these government orders.
6) Avoid companies with unreasonable PE’s.
When markets go down all stocks go down including good stocks. This is an oppurtunity for value picks.
I strongly recommend companies who do business in India and generate their revenues from Indian consumers. Why?
Indian currency is going to appreciate in coming years which increases the purchasing power of Indians. Foreign currencies mainly US dollar will be on a downward trend and Indian companies which are heavily dependent on Dollar revenue will be loosing their earnings due to currency rate fluctuations. Companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS etc will be loosers, becuase their earnings are dollar denominated and are also facing pressure on their margins due to heavy competition from US companies and also Indian companies.
I recommand Hotel stocks, Paper companies (like bilt), Infrastructure companies, cement companies etc.
Avoid Sugar companies for few more quarters. The only scope for short term increase in their valuations may come from Ethanol story or if the sugarcrane crop in Brazil suffers due to unfavorable weather conditions or if the crude oil per barrel jumps to $100 in 2008. Invest in companies who offer Insurance services and also in companies like Apollo hospitals.
Note: I have invested in Hotel sector and planning to take more exposure in this sector due upcomming commonwealth games in 2010 and increased tourism prospects in India. Also with real estate value increasing, there is a huge entry barrier for new companies.

Global warming, environment, pollution ant many other causes have forced us to think in a bio-way. Today, a lot of things are coming to the market that are bio-degradable or eco-friendly, or environment-friendly or whatever.
Pictures speak a lot more than words; this is what I found as I was walking down a street in my city. Thankfully I had my digi along.

Bio Whisky

This one’s surely keeping the environmentalists happy. 😉

First it was the EU and now its the United States which has complained to the World Trade Organisation against India because of the high duties it levies on alcohol products. The US Trade representative has been quoted in a Rediff report:

“We have raised this issue with the Government of India on several occasions over a number of years. We hope the matter can be successfully resolved in WTO consultations,” the US Trade Representative Susan C Schwab said in a statement.

India imposes import duties which are as high as 550 percent on spirits and 264 percent on wines. It is actually the additional taxes imposed by the states which makes this such a high figure. Such taxes are against ‘WTO provisions’ and the US has decided to litigate because India has not reduced the duties on alcohol products in its recent budget inspite of lowering duties on other imports.

Our government is now insisting that it has already planned to cut the centrally imposed customs duty on imported wines and spirits and regulate taxation at state level and that it will be done in a couple of months.

But why has the government sat on it so far? If India doesn’t resolve this dispute quickly, and the WTO rules against India, “the EU could impose retaliatory tariffs on imports.” I wonder why we need to have the gun pointed at our heads before we decide on these matters? It is obvious even to laymen like me that it is the domestic alcohol industry which has been putting pressure on the government to keep the rates high all these years. And some people in the government are making money for sure.

It also seems most unfair that the government has chosen to pander to the alcohol industry while other industries are bearing the brunt of foreign competition.

And from the consumer’s point of view I think it will be wonderful to have world class wines available at affordable prices. One thing you have to grant them over there. They make the most wonderful wines.

8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide might be unfamiliar to you as a chemical compound, but when reincarnated in the form of a chilli, it is guranteed to give you ‘that burning sensation’. The degree of ‘hotness’ of chillis can infact be measured in units, thanks to the Scoville scale developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912.

In1989 ,Frank Garcia, one of the founders of GNS Spices in Walnut, California discovered a plant with a red fruit in a field of Orange Habaneros. Subsequently, in 1994, Garcia’s Red Savina set a world record for heat at 577,000 Scoville units and was enlisted in the Guinness Book of World Records as The Hottest Chilli in the world.

On September 6, 2000, the Defense Research Laboratory in the Assamese town of Tezpur declared that they recorded an astonishing 855,000 Scoville Heat Units for the Naga Jolokia, named after the ferocious Naga warriors. However, soon after the AP report was published experts like Dr. Paul Bosland, Director of the Chile Pepper Institute at the New Mexico State University and Dave DeWitt, author of books like The Davinci Kitchen (and you thought there is an industry which did not capitalise on the Dan Brown fever) disputed this claim and questioned the authenticity of the tests.

Two years later, the Chile Pepper Institute received the seed of a chilli named ‘Bhut Jolokia’ from a member who had collected it while visiting India. Dr. Bosland and his colleagues conducted a comparison experiment in 2005 at a plant science research facility close to Las Cruces, New Mexico. The ‘Bhut Jolokia’ recorded an astonishing heat level of 1,001,304 SHU.

“Such is the hotness of the chilli that it can drive away the ghost, and hence the name ” says Anandita Dutta Tamuly who is getting ready to eat not 1 or 2, but 60 Bhut Jolokias in two minutes to make an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. Since the legendary chilli from Assam made it to the Guinnes Book last year, maybe it is time for Anandita to prove her mettle.

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