Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kerala and its ratio

Maddy's comments set me thinking why Kerala has a better ratio though I have no answer as to why the development of the state is not in par. Of course we end up with the answer: because it has high literacy. So is education the key? But then selective abortion has started among the educated Keralites too as per reports.

But yet Kerala is still ahead of the rest of the states. Maybe because of the Marumakkathayam system which was prevalent ealier? According to Wikipedia “Marumakkathayam" is a matrilinear system of inheritance followed by castes of Kerala like some Brahmin families (Payanoor Nambootiris)[citation needed] , Ambalavasis, Royal /Nair families, some Ezhavas, upper class Mappilas in Kerala state, south India. It is exceptional in the sense that it was one of the few traditional systems that gave women liberty, and right to property. Under this system, women enjoyed respect, prestige and power. In the matrilinear system, the family lived together in a tharavadu which comprised of a mother, her brothers and younger sisters, and her children. The oldest male member was known as the karanavar and was the head of the household and managed the family estate. Lineage was traced through the mother, and the children "belonged" to the mother's family. All family property was jointly owned. In the event of a partition, the shares of the children were clubbed with that of the mother. The karanavar's property was inherited by his nephews and not his sons.

Here the most important aspect to be noted is that a woman was given liberty and right to property. She enjoyed respect, prestige and power while at the same time the oldest male member was the head of the household.

Then again another point is that due to the education imparted , the Kerala girls are able to earn for themselves. They were ready to go beyond their own states and even to other coutries (Gulf, US etc) to support their families. I guess this made them an asset rather than a liablity and hence they were let to live!

Warren Buffett on investing.....

Each year, Warren Buffett writes a letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, a letter that has become as famous for his wit and wisdom about the markets and the follies he sees in the financial world as it has for his report on Berkshire's year. Here follows selected excerpts of his comments this year about investing, the stock market and the economy.

On Investment Expectations:
"During the 20th century, the Dow advanced from 66 to 11,497. This gain, though it appears huge, shrinks to 5.3% when compounded annually ... For investors to merely match that 5.3% market-value gain, the Dow--recently below 13,000--would need to close at about 2,000,000 on Dec. 31, 2099."

On Financial Advisers:

"People who expect to earn 10% annually from equities during this century are implicitly forecasting a level of about 24,000,000 on the Dow by 2100. If your adviser talks to you about double-digit returns from equities, explain this math to him ... Many helpers are apparently direct descendants of the queen in Alice in Wonderland, who said: 'Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'"

On Capital Investment:
"A company that needs large increases in capital to engender its growth may well prove to be a satisfactory investment. ... It's far better to have an ever-increasing stream of earnings with virtually no major capital requirements. Ask Microsoft or Google."

On The U.S. Dollar:
"The U.S. dollar weakened further in 2007 against major currencies, and it's no mystery why: Americans like buying products made elsewhere more than the rest of the world likes buying products made in the U.S. Inevitably, that causes America to ship about $2 billion of IOUs and assets daily to the rest of the world. And over time, that puts pressure on the dollar."

On The U.S. Economy:
"Our country's weakening currency is not the fault of OPEC, China, etc. ... In developing a sensible trade policy, the U.S. should not single out countries to punish or industries to protect. Nor should we take actions likely to evoke retaliatory behavior that will reduce America's exports, true trade that benefits both our country and the rest of the world."

On The U.S. Deficits:
"Our legislators should recognize ... that the current imbalances are unsustainable and should therefore adopt policies that will materially reduce them sooner rather than later. Otherwise our $2 billion daily of force-fed dollars to the rest of the world may produce global indigestion of an unpleasant sort."

On Sovereign Wealth Funds:
"There's been much talk recently of sovereign wealth funds and how they are buying large pieces of American businesses. This is our doing, not some nefarious plot by foreign governments. Our trade equation guarantees massive foreign investment in the U.S. When we force-feed $2 billion daily to the rest of the world, they must invest in something here. Why should we complain when they choose stocks over bonds?"

On Lending Standards:
"John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo, aptly dissected the recent behavior of many lenders: 'It is interesting that the industry has invented new ways to lose money when the old ways seemed to work just fine.'"

On Bank Write-Downs:
"As house prices fall, a huge amount of financial folly is being exposed. You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out--and what we are witnessing at some of our largest financial institutions is an ugly sight."

On Selling His PetroChina Stake:
"In 2002 and 2003, Berkshire bought 1.3% of PetroChina for $488 million, a price that valued the entire business at about $37 billion ... Last year, the market value of the company rose to $275 billion, about what we thought it was worth compared with other giant oil companies. So we sold our holdings for $4 billion.
"We paid the IRS tax of $1.2 billion on our PetroChina gain. This sum paid all costs of the U.S. government-- defense, social security, you name it--for about four hours."

On His Worst Investment Mistake:
"When I said 'yes' to Dexter, a shoe business I bought in 1993 for $433 million ... What I had assessed as durable competitive advantage vanished within a few years. By using Berkshire stock, I compounded this error hugely. That move made the cost to Berkshire shareholders not $400 million, but rather $3.5 billion. In essence, I gave away 1.6% of a wonderful business--one now valued at $220 billion--to buy a worthless business."


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Does it matter?

Spitzer fall renews prostitution debate says MSNBC

I guess now they want to legalize prostitution so that one can hang on to their political careers. Sex Scandals brought even a President down on his knees. A President who was getting to be liked by one and all. They feel legalizing it may reduce these acts? Isn’t that absurd? Let them legalize but for not this reason.

I do believe it is a personal thing after all. If your wife doesn’t have a problem then who should care? But I still don’t understand why they want their wives to whom they have been lying all those years to be at their side just for the sake of the public. Does she really have to go through the shame for her husband’s sake? Is there a law demanding her presence?

But then looking at the moral and ethical side, if he couldn’t be faithful to his wife of so many years, can one really accept him to be faithful to the public in his dealings?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sponsoring a girl child

I am sure we can do much for the girl child and it costs us not much as detailed by Roop Rai in her post that I copied below:

Nanhi Kali: Sponsor education of a little girl

Nanhi Kali (loosely translated as little girl) is a project jointly managed by K C Mahindra Education Trust and Naandi Foundation in India to promote and finance education for under-privileged girl children. For as little as Rs. 1800 per year, you can sponsor education for one of the girls studying between Grade 1 and Grade 7, and for Rs. 2700 per yer, education of a girl studying between Grade 8 and Grade 12 can be financed.

Rs. 1800 a year = only 22 GBP/year, 44 CAD/year, and 45 USD/year
Rs. 2700 a year = just 34 GBP/year, 66 CAD/year, and 67 USD/year
Please visit for updated conversion rates.

I was sent a brief by Nanhi Kali yesterday when I rang them for information. The brief is as follows:

Shreya's parents can't send her to school.
Can you?

If you can’t, the chances are she will end up housebound, exploited as a maid or a child prostitute, be married off early and could even die during childbirth!

We write on behalf of thousands of girls who like Shreya, are forced to dropout of schools because their families cannot afford to keep them there. It is official knowledge that out of every 10 girls who enrol in Std I, only 3 complete Std X. Education for a girl child born to a poor family is still a pipe dream.

The Nanhi Kali project intends to make this appalling fact, history. With your help we can make it sooner.

How you can help:

Sponsor a Nanhi Kali. Be her guardian. Give her the assurance that no matter what trials her family faces she will never have to drop out of school. Your sponsorship will provide her with study material, uniforms and learning support. It will also be used to work with her teachers to create a learning-friendly environment in the government school she goes to.
− To keep a girl in school from Std I - VII, the per annum cost is Rs 1800
− To ensure an older girl continues her schooling from Std VIII - X the per annum cost is Rs 2500

As a guardian:

You will receive a profile of your Nanhi Kali with a photograph. You will also receive half yearly updates about her, so you can track her progress.

To Sponsor a Nanhi Kali you can donate online through

For more information, please contact me at unchaahiATgmailDOTcom or Gauri at r.gauriATmahindraDOTcom.

Me and husband will be sponsoring two girls (one each from both groups) and I'll share my story here as it unfolds. I look forward to hear from more sponsors.

Let there be blood....

Let there be blood..

No I am not talking about the Oscar winning movie which I did not watch yet. I am talking about Kannur and the dirty politics that seems to have adopted this place like a curse.

Kannur is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in Kerala after Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode with a population of 498,175. According to data compiled by economics research firm Indicus Analytics on residences, earnings and investments, Kannur is one of the best ten cities in India to reside. Indicus considered six parameters — health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment — for preparing the 'reside-in' index.[1] It is popularly known as the city of Looms and Lores.

The ships of Solomon, they say anchored along its coasts to collect timber for building the ‘Temple of the Lord’. Kannur finds mention as NAURA in the ‘Periplus of the Erithrean Sea’ a Greek work of great antiquity.

Kannur has always been a favourite destination of the intrepid foreign traveller. Europeans, Chinese and Arabs have visited our coasts. In his book of travels Marco Polo recounts his visit to the area circa 1250 A.D. Other visitors included Fahian, the Buddhist pilgrim and Ibn Batuta, writer and historian of Tangiers.
The term Kannur is the compound of two words Kannan (Lord Krishna) Ur (Place). This will make it the place of Lord Krishna.

Well, now Kannur is synonymous with violence. The recent one has claimed 7 lives and there is still tension.

I still don’t understand why we Indians take politics so seriously. If you look at a country like US, even they have political parties and elections but I have never heard of people killing each other in the name of a party. (or do they?)

I guess we have no stringent rule where the political leader is made responsible for the party that he leads. For now, he sits on his throne and directs the whole movie but takes no responsibility for the consequences. If we could only gather all those leaders, barring a very few, send them to a remote island and let them fend for themselves, we shall have peace everywhere. Let them play politics or even kill each other, we don’t care. Just leave those poor folks alone.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The poor Girl child...

We had an interesting discussion on the government incentive for “Girl child”. This scheme looks like a good step but then there always the other side of it..and though it sounds brash, don’t we all feel like doing what Raj is suggesting?

Of course, it would be nice if some (real) effort was made in educating the population about these issues. I just think it is sad to have to bribe the parents for letting a girl child live.
If I could have it my way, I would wait till the parents apply for the REWARD (sheesh) gather them all together, take the kids from them and shoot these bloody pathetic pricks.

and this was the comment from KK

stupid concepts we have in our country.

For every damn thing in our country we need to give soaps, subsidies or bribes..whatever you call it...

for farmers, you waive 60,000 crore worth of could keep aside at least one crore to educate farmers on better farming techniques, for creating new markets....

for the girl child, you want to pay for every child leading to crores and crores of rupees to swindle for this government and many more to could try getting tough on dowry could instead get the females more secured high paying jobs which will show the society even women can be better bread earners. You could try educating the new generation youth of the villages that women are progressing...

You could do a million things to secure a better future...

you know what Jayalalitha did for the girl child?
I think it was a novel idea...she launched a scheme to place a cradle in every district, town and village of Tamil Nadu and told the people..don't kill the child..leave her in the cradle and the government will take care of it......

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Let us hope for the best...

It is happy news indeed.

In an effort to set right the country’s skewed gender ratio, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhary today launched a ‘Conditional cash Transfer for Girl Child with Insurance Cover (CCT)’ scheme here

I really pray that the government machinery will perform without any hitch to get this through.

India will pay families to have girls to end foeticide


Families in seven states are set to benefit from a series of cash payments amounting to 15,500 rupees (£193) to poor families to keep their girl children.

As an extra incentive any girl who reaches 18 will get a further 100,000 rupees (£1,200) provided she has completed her school education and is not married.

Of course this will not solve all the problems since as reported, in states like Punjab, it is the rich who selectively abort female fetus and the poor are just copying them. So for this, the government is considering giving life sentences to doctors convicted of the offence.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wolves and she wolves

Manoranjan's comment prompted me to continue my previous post.

I agree this is a man’s world, but then I don’t blame just the man alone for all the troubles in this world! At least among the educated, when it becomes to abortion the woman has every say in it and if she refuses to agree, I am sure the man will leave her alone. I believe there may be no say for the women in case she is entirely dependent on the man and she is forced to undergo abortion. And this could be in majority. And then there could be cases where the woman herself wants an abortion even if the man does not agree to it.

And in case of dowry in some households it is the mother who is after it more than the father.

So education should be for one and all irrespective of the gender.

As for wolves, well.. I myself don’t have such a bleak view of this world and its inhabitants – mainly men. There are wolves and she wolves but at the same time there are “real men” who are strong enough to accept and appreciate the strength in a woman. It is only when men hopes to become the “man of the house” by default that trouble sets in a marriage. It is not as though women hate to be under her man but he should earn it as well. The adaptation that is being talked is just that and one can have a happy marriage instead of moments of happiness. And since we don’t have perfect men and women and since most of us don’t care to acknowledge our own weakness, one can’t blame the institution of marriage.

As for husbands protecting his wife from other wolves, I think we wives are quite capable of protecting ourselves, unless you want us to take a stroll all alone through the deadliest neighborhood.

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