Thursday, November 27, 2008

mumbai burns - 26th nov 2008

the worst terror attack on mumbai. my mom was supposed to travel to mumbai yesterday - just few hours after the attack. and despite the fact that my mom has the true mumbaikar spirit, and has seen sad situations like these, she too was astounded by this. we convinced her not to go and now we can breathe easy. i am grateful that my loved ones are okay, but i still fear. i fear for the people who are still trapped in these places. i fear for the people who don't know and are worried sick about their loved ones, who actually may be dead. i fear for the employees of the Taj/Oberoi, chefs trainees massacred in top hotels in mumbai. I fear for the family trapped in the Nariman House. I fear for people in the army, NSG, navy who have to protect the homeland, selflessly without even thinking about their own life. I fear for the after effects of this tragedy on Mumbai. I fear for much of the media's stupidity in giving away too much information. i fear that even after this over, people will be scared and will be conquered by fear. i fear that this will be associated more with islam. i fear that i feel ashamed that these are people who call themselves muslims, where they have no right to do so - violence has no religion, violence is not even human. i fear that the day will never come where i won't ever have to think after a blast, that i really hope it was not some islamic group. an eye for an eye makes everyone blind.

my thoughts and prayers with all whose lives, loved ones lives have been lost.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


so i finally did it. i finally asked my manager for leave. yes leave, in this uncertain time. im guessing that after a certain bank announced they were capping certain base salaries. and we all know what that means. that means, the lowest salaries in the banking food chain will be capped. yes so the next news, the next news will probably be capping the holidays leave. (my prophecy) anyway before any of this happens ive decided to cash in my holidays. starting from christmas. and so im off to visting my eldest sibling in the UK, perhaps, MAYBE, go to glasgow (i really do want to go to Scotland- it is so pretty from the pictures) and then off to my half-yearly yatra to Dubai.

just one word - yay!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"samjho na hum bolei balei hai"- Parwazein

so today i was watching this segment on bloomberg tv. its getting super depressing to watch financial news, there is no good thing - in fact i was watching something yesterday and the reporters are like thats one good thing in the gloom and doom what is so sad that I cant remember what that one thing was.

anyway so I was watching the big 3 automakers making their case to Congress. Basically, on why the government should bail them out as well and preferably with no controls. So just give us pocketmoney and dont babysit us. Just to recap, the govt has bailed out financials, perhaps auto(?) the billion dollar question is who is next?

And whats weird to me is that how these numbers dont mean anything anymore. There was a time when 100 dirhams (conversion 25 USD) was a substantial amount. It lasted me lets say 50 lunches. well over 2 months, just counting business days/school days. Now its the talk of billions, earlier people thought they were successful when they made their first million, now that holds no value. alrite, too harsh, lets just say in the times of crorepatis, lakhpati hona koi bari baat nahin hai.

so back to the auto story, its actually not far from reality tv. Lack of bad memory, cant remember names, there was this one lawmaker who fired a direct question at the chief of GM. When will you go bankrupt. The chief hummed and erred and it was so embarassing he didnt know. I mean isnt that the most obvious question, if everyone pulls out everyone wants their money right now right this moment, what will you be left with. Isnt that an obvious stress test? Isnt that what you SHOULD know when you go to ask the government for money. Next bullet was okay how much money do you need to last you till 1st Quarter of 2009. More errr'ss....more ..stalling couldn't answer it. I am shocked I dont know how you can be the chief of this organization and not know these details. How? How can you take the utmost leadership role when you dont know (im presuming its dont know rather than dont care.) it astounds me. in their defense though, it did seem they did a lot of changes and the auto industry is not as easily mobile in terms of completely changing the infrastructure and that being said you cannot compete with cheap rents, cheap labour in outside countries.

anyway, if this were a game of chess, the next lawmaker had the ultimate check mate move.
(ok i dont play chess im just using this for dramatics) but whatever, he starts of with its the irony that you all (as in chiefs of GM, Chrysler and Ford) came in your private jets with a tin cup in your hand. Shouldnt you have jetpooled or flown first class? That is the biggest burn ever. How can they be so stupid seriously, how can you have all these selfish karchas, when you are literally saying you will be firing thousands of workers. these things will get noticed, media is watching your every single move. Now's not the time to show off. Its just beyond shocking to me. Seriously, for me first class will do I dont need a personal jet - I am not the president. I dont understand why these corporate guys need personal jets. All of these guys need a good lecture on money management from our own beloved desi cheapo ceo Azeem Premji.

My only wish for today is something miraculous happens and nobody has to lose their jobs.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

"these precious illusions in my head, did not let me down when i was a kid. and parting with them is like parting with a childhood bestfriend" - Alanis Morisette

so i have been studying a lot at starbucks lately and most of the people who do visit that starbucks are medical students, doctors, interns and they usually are armed with a yellow highlighter, and ipod and some fat medical book. my surroundings make me think. my question today is would you donate your organs, once you are dead, for science? in undergrad, in my first year i decided that i would, and this wasnt a conscious decision or a well thought out decision, nor did i think of it as a religious decision. it was more of a i was asked and was given facts on how many people die because they cant find a suitable donor and so i decided there and then i would. the facts were about people who did not live longer but people who should have lived longer. and i kept that paper in my wallet, for the next three and half years, during my undergrad that if i did die i would give my organs up for donation. all of them.

and then i moved back to dubai and i misplaced my wallet and that paper. i dont remember who, but a long time ago i had this discussion with another muslim on how when we are resurrected on the day of judgement we should have all our organs intact. so in ohter words we should not donate our organs.

in all honesty, i didnt really pay much attention to it until recently and decided i would do some more research on it and in fact contrary to what others think and contrary to my ignorance, organ donation is permissible provided it is done according to Shariah rule. The rules are pretty straightforward and commensensical(!), the donor should be in his whole hosh aur awaz, over 21, the organ donated should not be a vital organ for which his/her life is dependant on, it should be done to save someone's life but not at the cost of your own, this should not be a monetary transaction and you should not profit from the sale of your organ, sexual organs may not be transplanted, and most importanly it should be done of your own free will. so in other words its ok to do so under certain conditions.

its quite dangerous this problem of hearsay, we hear things from others and we deem them the truth. but in fact its quite far from it. never believe everything you hear. some things should be read up by yourself and trust your instincts some things make sense you have been given this gift of common sense to judge what is right and what is wrong. sometimes, we forget to use it.

that being said, i think it is much easier on an individual to make this choice without consulting anyone, since once you are gone you are gone. thats it. you arent coming back to earth. and i do think its the right thing to do.

but when it is your loved one being sliced open yes even for a good deed, even for another person's life, for science, i dont know if i can be fully on board with it. the people left behind who know you and love you have to see through it. and it never is about you and only you anymore. so how easy is it to allow them to make that decision. i honestly dont know.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

the people who suffer the most, dont know what they want - Grey's anatomy
so i had my perf review done, and it went well. thats an understatment actually, considering my recent obsessing/paranoia about job loss.. BUT it really isnt over till its over and the last quarter is far from that.

well anyway, my boss was super generous and my mom is now convincing me that she has to forward my "glowing" review to all her friends, who show off about their kids. this is like giving her an edge. she already has an edge, all of us girls are educated and my eldest sibling is an excellent gynaecologist and will one day be super famous too. i dont think so, i know so. she is the first kid in our whole lineage to actually do something that big. so anyway back to my story, again rewind - i kind of pointed out to my mom that umm so..what.. you are comparing me to a 13 year old eton college goer...and so my answer to the forwarding my review is.. how about a no?

anyway my boss really was great and he gave me a kind and awesome review like he probably will for everyone else because he is so awesome (more gushing). mashallah to that. and i really didnt expect such nice remarks. after the review, i didnt really grovel and maybe i should have. maybe i should have said thank you so much for this review. but i suck at compliment taking and i suck at compliment giving as well -sometimes. and sometimes i just think a nod is sufficient and sometimes you just dont have to say everything, right? that being said that doesn't mean i dont love it. both the compliment giving or taking. it makes you feel good. but i just suck at it.

so colleagues asked me did you have your review,and since it was kind of secretive type thing i was like err...yea and then they were like ooh sneaky (isnt a perf review the years most certain event never mind everything else? how is that remotely sneaky?) and of course they wanted to know my scores. and so i had my stick up for myself but make myself look stupid moment, where i go im not really comf discussing this. at first they were zapped that i said that and then they smirked, yes smirked, and one of them is like you are making this so formal. and im thinking hell yea - formal is what you should be if you are at work. but of course i dont say that and am thinking of some smart but not mean comeback and he goes on and on about how we are blah blah blah then just robots . and im actually not listening to him coz im thinking of the smart-but-not-mean comeback and then just catch on the last part of the robot and im like did you just call me a robot? and then the other colleague chimes in and goes i think he just did. and then he goes on this whole spiel of how im one of those kids who never told anyone their scores in college. i didnt. never asked anyone their scores in college. yup, i didnt. and then i chime in - or their salaries. sorry again, i didnt. im sorry, im just not that nosy. well i am a little nosy but not THAT nosy. oh wait i am, i need a new phrase. yes, im selectively nosy. some things are just sacred. i truly believe you compete with yourself. of course i would like to know if im at bottom of the heap or whatever but I dont particularly care what YOU got whether you got a A+, C+, D+ or a F. i care if I got a F and if I did how do I get to a A. so anyway i end up looking like a smart ass now . my other sibling who is so much more adept at handling confusing situations said i should have resorted to exaggeration and been like I got top rating in everything. whcih is unattainable. so they say. so they kind of would know that i dont want to tell them, but it would still be this whole kidding kind of atmosphere. But no I have to go with the uncomfortable-make-this-awkward thing. which is very loserish really and so not wing man team member persona and that is sad coz I do think I am a team member in fact I would really like it if our team did super well. so it ended with one of my colleagues calling me im 'trying' to be mysterious. Ok, whatever

wish i could be more witty, all witty statements come to me five mins after. that is my edge.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Im lost but Im hopeful. Coz I have got one hand in my pocket and the other ones giving out high fives. - Hand in my pocket

so this is going to be one of those market sucks, everyone is predicting the next acolapyse post. so a lot of stuff has been happening at the office. first it started off with the group downstairs, where my friend works, and now shes gone all omigod im moving to toronto and looking for jobs there, which is really freaking me out. since a lot of my criteria to choosing and sticking to jobs is actually nothing very ambitious (yes im saying it im pathetic) and its really a small and pretty pathetic (yes repeating) list consisting of three things a. my boss b.the josh to do something different in life (thats kind of waning though - but im actually keeping this second on the list for retaining self esteem) c. my friend who happens to be my partner in crime (not any mortgage kind of crime in case anyone is thinking this) and i mean this as the highest compliment she is my diary that talks back to me, especially when i want to let off steam when im at work. and i am the same to her too. so anyway, im not that supportive of her move to canada when the going gets tough. so anyway ive been jitttery and have been like aloof to the crashing and burning around me. and apparently thats a bad thing. ure supposed to be buzzing and being like whats happening, whats happening, are we drowning for people to think that YOU care. and panicking rather than being the violin players on the sinking titanic, or the engineers trying to repair the boat. so in more plain terms not actually spending all your time actually working hard. thats not the way to show u care. apparently.

so goldman came up with bad news today then there was citi and now since the past two days at work we have been having the closed door hushed silences, no one looking at you straight in the eye, pple huddling near the coffee matchine (oh wait that was me just trying to figure out how the hot water works ) etc. so basically im officially flustered.

not to mention that for some SOME reason pple think that the end of year bonus isnt important to me. yes very tacky to say that it is. but in finance there is a linear relationship between ambition and year end bonus and they are interchangeable. so if u dont care about getting a fat paycheck, you probably wont get it. consequently it will be asserted that you are not deserving of it. nobody here is working Allah wastey. and ironically thats nothing to be ashamed for. its more shameful if you are. sad but true.

so together with this notion, my boss asking me so what would you do if you were fired? i think i had one of those cartoonic eyes popping out my of skull moments. looking at my near heart attack face, he starts laughing and is like you dont haveto worry and is like id like to take a break for a year and read the papers and smoke my cigars. something of that effect. hellooooo randomn. you cant just drop a bomb and be like 'just kidding'. i so so so so hope he is kidding.

anyway just between me and i guess the minute list of pple who actually read this blog and of course for the true audience of this blog, the me five years later and my fictitious children. if i did get fired, my ideal ideal thing would be do the four most cliched things ever - travel the world. become a travel documentarist. open a restaurant and make a movie. should i be worried that all of the professions are highly uncorrelated to finance.


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