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Monday, July 20, 2009

Cricket, Lovely Cricket

"…Indians suddenly have the time and the funds to do what the English
have been doing for years and follow their team around the globe. One
of the strangest parts of being in the Caribbean for the World Cup in
2007 was the sight of middle-aged Indian men hanging around hotel
lobbies as they wondered what to do with their day – beach or, er,
beach? – following India's early exit. The rooms had been booked well
in advance in expectation of India's involvement in the Super Eights,
but their team had not obliged. Yet here they were, wearing the
middle-class cricket fan's touring costume of choice: polo shirt,
fashionably long Bermuda shorts, expensive flip-flops, shades perched
extraneously on their head. Many of them were part of the Indian
diaspora in the US, but the trend was unmistakable enough: Indians had
the money and they were starting to put it to good use."
(Lawrence Booth in 'Cricket, Lovely Cricket? An addict's guide to the
world's most exasperating game,' 174, Landmark)

Muslim Portraits

"Today as I see so many children growing up in middle-class families
in virtually mono-religious neighbourhoods and schools, I think also
of the several friendships my parents had with Muslims. Professor Ali
of the Geography Department and his wife who brought with her the
culture and cuisine of Aligarh's landed gentry. Her pan dan containing
betel nut leaves and condiments which was her invariable accompaniment
remains imprinted in my memory. Another Muslim wife on campus was
known for the expletives that spiced her speech, voh kambakhta
daktar…"
"The tragedy of our times is that we seem to be adopting rather than
interrogating the American model of ethnically homogeneous
neighbourhoods for our cities. In our case the boundaries are
religious rather than racial as inhabitants refer to predominantly
Muslim localities as 'Pakistan' denying them housing and upwardly
mobile livelihoods."
('Muslim Portraits: Everyday lives in India,' Ed: Mukulika Banerjee,
p. 81 Landmark)

Guide to Forex Market

"Continuous linked settlement today is the only global payment system
that operates on payment versus payment (PvP) basis for cross-border
settlements in 17 currencies. It combines the best elements from
different domains: mission critical technology,
straight-through-processing, multilateral netting, real-time
settlement and settlement finality…"
"The 'continuous' means that the settlement runs continuously in the
specified time-window until all the currency time zones are covered;
and the 'linked' means that the payment made for sold currency is
linked to the payment to be received for bought currency. Either both
of them are settled or none of them is settled. Continuous linked
settlement is different from trade guarantee. In the latter, the
settlement is guaranteed; in the former, the principal amount is
guaranteed, but not the settlement. If the settlement fails, the
non-defaulting party will not lose the principal but has to replace
the trade at the prevailing market price, which is subject to the loss
of replacement cost."
(A. C. Reddi and P. Yesuthasen in 'TDG Practitioner Guide to Forex
Market,' p. 169 The Derivatives Group)

Thirukkural

"112. An impartial man's wealth eternally helps as a security to his race."
"113. Swiftly abandon wealth got through unjust means even though good
it yields."
"114. The just and the unjust are understood by what they leave behind."
"115. Loss and gain are common; but equity in heart is the jewel of
the perfect."
"116. When the mind swerves from justice to sin one should realise the
impending ruin."
"117. A just and virtuous man's poverty is not seen as evil by humanity."
"118. Not being one-sided like an even balance is an ornament to the wise."
"119. Equity is words fully unbiased coming from a poised mind."
('Thirukkural,' translated by M. Rajaram, p. 24 Landmark)

Genesis

"'In the Chinese Room puzzle,' Adam said, 'we are asked to consider a
room with a remarkably complex set of levers and pulleys. The most
elaborate set you could imagine. Next, we have to suppose that I am
seated in the middle of the room, and a message is passed through a
slot in the wall, written entirely in a language I do not understand.
Chinese, say. Now, the puzzle assumes that I have a book with a long
set of instructions, telling me which lever I should push for each
character I find written on the note. The pulleys all move, and by
observing the movements, and following my instructions book, I pull
more pulleys, and move more levers, and eventually the levers stop and
the machine's pointing arm indicates a chart on the wall, ticking off
the characters I should copy in my reply…'"
(Bernard Beckett in 'Genesis,' p. 131 Landmark)

The Storm

"In practice, in the early nineteenth century an approach to financial
crises was developed pragmatically, by trial and error, and was later
rationalised by Walter Bagehot. The resulting rule was that it is the
job of central banks to advance liquidity to other banks when
required, but only at a penalty rate, against sound collateral, and
not to institutions that are insolvent. A procedure developed about
two hundred years ago, and crystallised 130 years ago, has survived
remarkably well that the big changes that have subsequently taken
place in banking. But there is much scope for misunderstanding over
what the rule means in practice, since suitable collateral is a matter
for judgment and the distinction between solvency and illiquidity can
be less than clear."
(Vince Cable in 'The Storm: The world economic crisis & what it
means,' p. 47 Landmark)