Charlie Munger at Wesco Shareholders Meeting

Charlie Munger spoke at the Wesco Shareholders Meeting and here are a couple of gems from him ...

"You shouldn't have to try it to learn not to pee on an electrified fence."

"Envy and Greed lead people to do almost anything that looks profitable and does not require the use of a machine gun."

Credits: Email from Prof. Bakshi

Charlie Munger's Wesco Financial's Letters to Shareholders

I Can Not Live

People Tree has got some of the best T-shirts anywhere in India. Located on the Janpath in Caunnaught Place (aka CP - I can never get the spellings right) in Delhi, I have been frequenting this store for about 7 years now.

Yesterday I got this another T, it reads ...
I can not live
if I have to do things just because
I am expected to do them,

I can not breathe
if I have to do things
just the way they are
supposed to be done

I can not make
life – a mere happy
existence, a fixed
pattern of rituals –
a set of rules

I will fly
I will dream
I will achieve realize
& I will LIVE ...

I always thought it was difficult to capture what I thought about life. But the guy who wrote these lines humbled me. Interesting thing is that he has been able to connect with me. I feel exactly the same way about life. "I can not make life a mere happy existence".

Point to ponder is that are there more people who think like this ... ? Do I have company? Anyone cares to share their dreams ... ?

Alvida - Life in a Metro

Life in a Metro (wiki, IMDB) is about lives of people trapped in Mumbai. I will say trapped because thats how you feel when you are in Mumbai.

If you happen to live in Mumbai, and don't feel trapped, you are living in an illusion, a matrix and sooner you wake up, better it is for you.

Coming back to Metro, although all the songs in the album are must have on any ipod, Alvida is my favorite. There are two versions, slower one by KK (my favorite singer) and a faster one by James (Bangaldeshi Singer/Composer). Even though its favorite KK vs relatively unknown James, I prefer the faster one. You want to cry with the song when you here James sing it. It pains just to listen to his voice. You can relate to pain and suffering.

KK proves yet again why is he the maestro of high pitched songs. I have heard him sing live and hes a magician. And as a person, he is as charming and down to Earth as anyone can be. Got lucky when I spent some time with him at my college fest in 2006.

Here are the lyrics ...
Music: Pritam
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri

Full Lyrics
Chupke se kahin, dheeme paaun se
jaane kis tarah, kis ghadi
aage badh gaye, humse raahon mein
par tum toh abhi thi yahin
kuch bhi na suna, kab ka tha gila
kaise keh diya alvida

Jinke darmiya gujri thi abhi
kal tak yeh meri zindagi
dono baahon ko, thandi chaanv ko
hum bhi kar chale alvida

Alvida, alvida, meri raahein alvida
meri saansein kehati hai, alvida
alvida, alvida, ab kehna aur kya
jab tune keh diya, alvida

Sunle bekhabar, yuun aankhein pher kar aaj tu chali jaa
dhundegi nazar humko hi magar har jagah
aisi raaton mein leke karvate, yaad hamein karna
aur phir haar kar kehna kyun magar, keh diya alvida alvida
koi puchhe toh zara, kya socha aur kaha alvida
alvida, alvida, ab kehna aur kya
jab tune keh diya, alvida

Hum the dil jale, phir bhi dil kahe
kaash mere sang aaj hote tum agar, hoti har dagar gulsitaa
tumse hai khafa, hum naaraaz hai, dil hai pareshaan
socha na suna tune kyun bhala keh diya alvida alvida
koi puchhe toh zara, kya socha aur kaha alvida
alvida, alvida, ab kehna aur kya
jab tune keh diya, alvida

kyun socha aur kahan alvida

dono baahon ko, thandi chaanv ko
hum bhi kar chale alvida
Lyrics copy-pasted from Big Bang Bong

Tears anyone ... ?

What makes Indians, Indians?

After all that has been said and haerd about India at 60, Independence, Soceity, I was wondering what makes an Indian Indian?

Few intereting characterstics of us Indians are
- We like to read from borrowed someone else’s newspaper.

- In a crowded bus we want other passengers to make room.

- We will hang clothes on top of each other on one single nail,.

- We will bargain for 1 rupee for grocery but happily pay extra in shopping malls.
Please note that I am not trying to hurl abuses or mock Indians but its an honest attempt to figure out who we are and what makes us Indians.

I need more additions to the list. If someone can give me some inputs, I shall keep on adding to this list.

Happy Independence Day continued

After I emailed my friends and posted my thoughts about India's 60th Independence Day here, I got a few responses from people. I am posting a couple of them here. I have also added my comments on the same.

PD said this. I thought about it and this is what I have to say to her.
If you want to come back to India, I would say you are not being stupid at all. Don’t know if this is true with you also, but I am always asking myself what difference am I making to people here? Would things remain same if I wasn’t here? Would someone miss me? And most of the times, answer is no. Nothing changes. No one misses you and you don’t make any difference. And this makes me rethink the entire concept of coming back to India or for that matter calling something home. Loads of thinking. Missing Action .. ?

Independence, you have echoed what I believe and hopefully everyone else feels like that. Day in and day out I see people compromising and deciding against using their right of freedom. Why? I don’t know. I wish I knew...

I shall keep my comments reserved on religion. On one hand it gives us the roots. It gives up much needed grounding to think and to act and to dream and to aspire for big and on the other hand it doesn’t allow us to fly like we should. It stops us. It holds us back. We encounter zillions of roadblocks before we can do something. I still don’t know where to put religion. Don’t know what to think about it. May be religion is good and organized religion isn’t. May be it’s the other way round. May be it is not.

Ankit, a classmate from MDI said
Hey people....

Before i begin, lemme confess something...till less than an year ago, i was confused regarding my patriotosm....
i thought why exactly is it should i feel attached to my country, isnt it just like your state, your town...the same way i consider all states in india equally, shouldnt i also feel the same way about the earth, considering the countries as just states....

I put the question to a lot of people (Why should i love my country) and nobody came out with any satisfactory answers...
then one of my frens finally showed me the to why a country is to be loved, is it different from your
A country is actually the place which has fed the people you really love/respect..your father, their fathers and so has sustained your entire heritage....its the reason for your existence...that is something u can respect a place a country, not your state/town/region.....

now to the questions put forward....

1. India to me is like the ever present hand that moulded my character, my nature. An invisible hand which made me into what i am today, n i dont mean the external factors like jobs, studies, i m talking about the very basic of my traits, like the nuamces of my nature, the way i behave, act and react....and since i love the person i am (very narcissitic, yes), i can definitely say that i m proud to be an indian, for the way it has moulded me...

2. I am currently living in the UAE, a monarchy...and now i understand the value of freedom (which i as a lot of us, including me, take for granted)...freedom is about being able to say what you think is being able to raise your voice against the being able to practice your religious, political,cultural beliefs openly, without the fear of being able to make your own personal decisions regarding the art(movies, books, plays) that is right and the art that is not right...not having someone elses ideology having thrust upon being able to play a role in the direction in which the nation is moving forward....
i am not saying its all present in Inida, but that is what i would want india to strive of the free...and trust me the biggest freedom is the freedom of thought, freedom of speech...not just universal sufferage...and sorry to say, but because of a few religio-political factions, India does not enjoy it to the extent to which a democracy should.....

3. If i could change one thing then that definitely would be the corruption in the system...coz i agree think that is the root of all the rpoblems in the country...coz its not that our leaders are not doing anything about say illiteracy, some of them are, but the funds for the same are disappearing on theirway to the grassroot away with corruption and we will solve most of our problems....

a little verbose yes, but kya karega??????

Looks like everyone is pissed off with corruption in the country.

Ridhima, another very good friend said
1. Sure I feel proud to be an Indian, not because Shilpa Shetty got a doctorate or Lara Dutta won a beauty peagent or Aishwarya Rai got yet another international film..but because India has produced people like LN Mittal and Amrtya Sen. and above all, it has had n important role to play in evry Indian's destiny as it has played in mine..
2. yest i went to watch a movie and everyone stood up for the national anthem, people who had not yet reached their seats stopped in their tracks. the torch boy, who must be listenin to it day in and day out, also stood still. What struck me was, that there was no one to superwise, no moral policing, yet each one in the hall stood up. Thats freedom to me. Y should we always look at wat freedom allows us to do..y not how we use it?

3. Agree with u totally here..infact, in one of my placement interviews I said the exact same thing, all cast battles, religious issues, dirty politics...everything can be cleaned out if all of us are educated..just think about it, today the politicians have half the country believe that their helicopters are more important that our roads!! wud it happen if we all were literate??

Ankit also has the same concerns I have. What makes you love just your country? Why cant I have strong feelings about an Asian? Why cant I have strong feelings about being a Dilliwala? Ankit is convinced, I am not. It would take lot more.

Talking about corruption, I would again say that we need to make bribing, corruption a taboo (way boozing, pre marital affairs are). Somehow, someone needs to find a way to creating it a social problem.

May be social punishments for people caught bribing? May be huge incentives for whistle blowers? End of the day people are corrupt not because they dont like others. People are corrupt because they think its easy and fast way to reach the luxuries. Something has to be done. Time for action. And yes, one man CAN make a difference.

Happy Independence Day

15th August 1947 - India's tryst with destiny. 60 years ago, Pt. Nehru made an historical speech (text, video, YouTube) and time has come to take a stock of achievements and gaps.

This year instead of sending regular Independence day wishes, I sent the following email to a few people ...

As we turn 60 tomorrow, I thought that instead of sending regular wishes and cards, I will ask a few questions.

I am sending this to a select few in my list. I am hoping that some of us will actually take time off our busy lives and ponder on things that have largely been ignored.

Ok here are the three questions, the ones I want us to think on.

Three questions
1. What is India to you? Are you proud to call yourself Indian?
2. What does independence mean to you?
3. If you could change one thing about India, what would it be?

Taking a lead, I thought about each of them and here are my honest answers.

India to me is more than a country. India is my identity. India defines me. I am as Indian as anyone can get. I am crazy about cricket. I am insecure. I am boastful and like to show off. I am hungry for appreciation. I think about society twice before I do things. I crib. I can find everything wrong with the system. I can talk but when it comes down to action, I take the back seat.

I am proud of our achievements. Humble they may seem compared to rest of the world but none the less they are achievements. They are what we have done in past. They are what we have not done in past. They are precedents and they are the benchmarks. Time has come to now actually raise those benchmarks.

To me, independence is about borders, boundaries and constraints. Freedom is about looking beyond these imaginary lines and aspiring to explore things beyond them. It is about thinking, trying, fighting and in few cases, actually achieving. Personally I would say I am still not free. I am still bound by constraints. I think twice before I take any step – big or small. There are many a stones that are still unturned. There are many a frontiers yet to be conquered. There are many a lives yet to be lived.

If I could change one thing, I would change the literacy rate from 50 odd percent to 100 percent. In my view, illiteracy is mother of all evil. Conquer it and rest of the demons shall be conquered. Easier said than done.

Please see if you can share your thoughts with me.

Warm Regards,
Saurabh Garg

I got a few responses and with their permission, I shall post them here over a few days. If someone is reading this and has an opinion, please share. Email me at

15th August over the years
15th August 2006
15th August 2005
15th August 2004

Independence Day Wallpaper

McDonald's - Am Loving It ... or Not .. ?

Yesterday, I wanted to order for some food. I recently saw an advert from McD that said they have started home delivery. So I thought may be its time I tried the service.

Please note that I called on a Tuesday night at 10:30 PM.

I dialed helpline number (66000666 - very easy to remember - +1 point). After a couple of rings, instead of an actual human voice, an IVR responded that if I wanted to place order I should press 1 and if I wanted to talk to customer service I should press 2. I will give this -5 points. If this is a delivery number, I should not be interrupted before placing my order. I should not be pressing any stupid keys or "talk" to IVRs.

Anyways, I press 1 and after about 4 rings an operator picks up and this is how conversation flowed ...
Operator: Hi, are you calling in for the first time? (No greetings, Thank Yous etc) (-1)

Me: Yes I am calling in for the first time.

Operator: May I have your mobile number please? (Yes he used "please" this time)

Me: It is 99*** ***37. (I had to repeat this 3 times) (-1)

Operator: Oh, I see that you are calling in for the firs time (Wow !) (-1)

Me: Yes, I told you that I am calling in for the first time.

Operator: Are you registered with us under any other number?

Me: Huh? I never registered anywhere.

Operator: I mean did you call us earlier from any other number. (-5)


Operator: I will put you on hold. (He did not ask for my permission) (-1)

I was on hold for about a minute. Another operator picked up
Operator 2: Hi, Thanks for calling McD. Can I know your mobile number? (Yes, he said Thanks)

Me: I have given it already but it is 99*** ***37.

Operator 2: Are you calling for the first time? (-2)

Me: Yes I am.

Operator 2: Please hold on. (Again I wasn't asked if they can put me on hold) (-2)

And the call dropped. I was disconnected. Had it been my company, I would have called back the customer after a call drop.

I was hungry and I wanted to have McD food. And I tried calling again.

The IVR picked up after two rings. I was promptly asked to press 1 or 2 and again after 4 rings an operator picked up.
Operator 3: Hi, Is this your first call to McD?

Me: Yes, I am calling in for the first time. My number is 99*** ***37. Can I place my order please?

Operator 3: Sir, which is the nearest McD to your house?

Me: The one in Bandra.

Operator 3: Do you mean the one in Khar?

Me: Yes the one in Khar.

Operator 3: Sir, please hold (again, no request) (-5)

Surprisingly, the operator forgot to press the HOLD button on his console and I could listen to the conversation in the background.
Operator 3: Oye tereko Santacruz malooom hai? (Do you know Santacruz well?)

Another Guy: Haan, haan maloom hai. (Yes yes, I know)

Operator 3: Delivery karega? (Would you deliver?)

Another Guy: Dekh ley (I dunno...)

I could not believe what I heard. (-20 points for this one)

Operator 3: Thank you for holding sir. The delivery would take an hour to reach. (No sorry, no regrets, just plain facts)

Me: One hour? But the outlet is 10 mins walk from my place.

Operator 3: Sir, there are lots of orders pending for delivery.

Me: Ok, should I walk down to the McD and have my food?

Operator 3: But sir the outlet would be closed in another 5 minutes. (He was being helpful and he asked me not to go to a McD !)

Me: So should I order from somewhere else?

Operator 3: Yes sir.

Me: Ok, Thanks.

And I disconnected.

After calling them twice, I could not place my order and I was actually redirected towards another food outlet. It's about time McD got the training correct for the staff. They should take a cue from Domino's Pizza. Apart from fast processing, understanding agents, ordering is actually fun at Domino's.

Also if on a Tuesday night all their delivery men are occupied, they should ramp up. A customer knocking on doors and going away without paying is a sin for any organization.

Swades - We The People

I have been told by zillions of people to watch Swades - We The Poeple. Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, the Lagaan fame, Swades talks about one man's journey back to his country.

SRK is in the lead role and I have been told that Swades is SRK's best performance till date. I still havent seen the movie, someone can still gift me a DVD :) [UPDATE @ 23 Aug 07: Bought and saw Swades.]

Here is an awesome song from the movie ... !

Title: Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Music: A.R.Rahman

Ye Jo Des Hai Tera, Swades Hai Tera, Tujhe Hai Pukaara ...
Ye Woh Bandhan Hai Jo Kabhi Toot Nahin Sakta

Ye Jo Des Hai Tera, Swades Hai Tera, Tujhe Hai Pukaara ...
Ye Woh Bandhan Hai Jo Kabhi Toot Nahin Sakta

Mitti Ki Jo Khushboo, Tu Kaise Bhoolaayega
Tu Chaahe Kahin Jaaye, Tu Laut Ke Aayega
Nayi Nayi Raahon Mein, Dabi Dabi Aahon Mein
Khoye Khoye Dilse Tere, Koyi Ye Kahega
Ye Jo Des Hai Tera, Swades Hai Tera, Tujhe Hai Pukaara
Ye Woh Bandhan Hai Jo Kabhi Toot Nahin Sakta

Tujhse Zindagi, Hai Ye Keh Rahi
Sab Toh Paa Liya, Ab Hai Kya Kami
Yun Toh Saare Sukh Hai Barse
Par Door Tu Hai Apne Gharse
Aa Laut Chal Tu Ab Diwaane
Jahaan Koyi Toh Tujhe Apna Maane
Awaaz De Tujhe Bulaane, Wahi Des

Ye Jo Des Hai Tera, Swades Hai Tera, Tujhe Hai Pukaara
Ye Woh Bandhan Hai Jo Kabhi Toot Nahin Sakta

Ye Pal Hai Wahi, Jis Mein Hai Chhupi
Koyi Ek Sadi, Saari Zindagi
Tu Na Poochh Raaste Mein Kaahe
Aaye Hain Is Tarha Do Raahein
Tu Hi Toh Hai Raah Jo Sujhaaye
Tu Hi Toh Hai Ab Jo Ye Bataaye
Chaahe Toh Kis Disha Mein Jaaye Wahi Des
Ye Jo Des Hai Tera, Swades Hai Tera, Tujhe Hai Pukaara
Ye Woh Bandhan Hai Jo Kabhi Toot Nahin Sakta

Quite a few lessons and one of the best patriotic songs of all times in my humble opinion.

Related Links
Swades on Wikipedia
Lyrics copied from HindiLyrix

Mumbai Pune Expressway - Trapped

On 07.07.07 a friend and me decided to drive down the Mumbai Pune Expressway. Here are the results ...

Title: Trapped
Equipment: Nokia N72
Date: 07 July 2007
Time: 7:30 PM
Place: somewhere on Mumbai Pune Expressway.

Related Links
Wikipedia on Mumbai Pune Expressway
Mumbai Pune Expressway - Trapped

Monsoon Magic - The Flight of Fantasy

I tried to get that bird over the sun, but I am hardly a pro and I was looking through my mobile phone ... :)

Title: The Flight of Fantasy
Equipment: Motorola Razr v3i
Date: 11 Jun 2007
Time: 7:30 PM
Place: Carter Road, Bandra

Related Links
The Third Eye
Monsoon Magic - The Lone Fighter

Another Shot

This one was for the wallpaper on my mobile phone. Actually this was the first one I took and then I realized that I can capture that birdy trying to destroy the sun.

I will call this The Infinity. There is no boundry to either the ocean or the sky and there you have the birdies, me, everyone trying to conquer them !

Title: The Infinity
Equipment: Motorola Razr v3i
Date: 11 Jun 2007
Time: 7:30 PM
Place: Carter Road, Bandra

Related Links
The Third Eye
Monsoon Magic - The Lone Fighter

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?