Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turmoil in the US.....

Today, the US economy is in serious financial crisis. The crisis began with the bursting of the housing bubble in the US. Sub-prime crisis what US faces today is the effect of yesteryears. The crisis can be attributed to a number of factors such as inability of borrowers to make their mortgage payments, central bank policies, declining housing prices made refinancing difficult etc..A long-term boom in the US housing prices encouraged borrowers to take more mortgages. Also, it let the borrowers into a false belief that it would not be difficult to refinance the mortgages at a more favourable terms later. However, once the housing prices started reducing moderately, refinancing became more difficult. As a result, borrowers became unable to make their mortgage payments due to which banks suffered a high amount of loss. It is the time which has caused due damage to Bear Stearns, the fifth largest investment bank in the US. It was on the verge of bankruptcy as it was sold off to JP Morgan at a throwaway price. Last month Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch was sold off to Bank of America. And now the spotlight had turned on AIG, the largest Insurance company in the US, whose financial predicament was being disclosed few days ago. Though the US government has approved the bailout package to rescue the economy out of the possibe danger by creating necessary liquidity for the banks and financial institutions yet the US economy is suffering from illiquidity. This financial crisis had its major implications on the US economy as well as the global markets.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Veronika decides to die....

We tend to take life for granted. We keep chasing elusive goals set by others for us. Paulo Coelho’s “Veronika decides to die” reminds us to really live life each day as opposed to just existing. This is a story of a girl named Veronika who lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She has everything in her life a girl can ever dream of. She is young and pretty, has plenty of attractive boyfriends, has a steady job, a loving family. Still Veronika is not happy, still she is not satisfied, still her heart is empty, still her heart craves for something missing in her life, still she wants to end up everything and die. Finally she decides to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in order to stop that endless routine.
While she waits for her death, she decides to read a magazine. After seeing an article in the magazine which wittily asks “Where is Slovenia”, she decides to write a letter to the press justifying her suicide, the idea being to make the press believe that she has killed herself because people don’t even know where Slovenia is. Unfortunately her plan fails and she wakes up in Villete, a mental hospital in Slovenia, where she is told that she has a week to live. During her internment in Villete she realizes that she has nothing to lose and can therefore do what she wants, say what she wants and be what she wants without having to worry about what others think of her. As a madwoman, she is unlikely to be criticized. Because of this newfound freedom, Veronika experiences all the things she never allowed herself to experience including hatred, love and even sexual awakening. She starts to see her past relationships much more clearly and understand why she felt her life had no meaning. Veronika’s experiences lead her gradually to realize that every second of existence is a choice that we all make between living and dying. Through the story of her remaining days, Coelho encourages the reader to believe in hope and follow his or her own dream without the fear of being seen as mad.
This book reminds us that every moment in our lives is special and precious. Like other works by the same author, this one also is about those people who yearn for finding what life is all about. “Live each day as if it were a miracle”, he tells us. After I read this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I pondered its thoughts, and I wondered: if I were to die in 5 days, what would I want to do that I can't do today because the world will call me crazy? Well... it's actually a hard list to come up with. Some moments of the Veronika's story were even shocking and insightful for me. One of the Villete's patients tells Veronika to masturbate and to be bold in her imagination while doing it. By that particular moment, Paulo Coelho brings out the importance of sexuality in our lives and states that this theme continues to be a taboo and leaves many people unhappy and dissatisfied.
What is normal in our society? Why is it considered normal? Why people refuse from something very important for them under social pressure? These are just few issues which Paulo Coelho presents in his book. Reading this book didn't leave me indifferent, it was not just one of many books which are forgotten after some time. Thanks to "Veronika Decides to Die", i realize that everyday routine should not be an obstacle in living happy fulfilling life. Now I know that following the rules created by other people will not make me happy. If I am unhappy, it's not other people's fault rather it’s my own fault because I was not strong enough to follow my own passion. I believe that every reader will find something in the book that particularly meshes well with his or her own view of life.
The Quotes I love:
1. There is alwayas a gap between intention and action.
2. Nothing in this world happens by chance.
3. Some people always want to help others. Just so that they can feel better than they really are.
4. People think about sex only once a fortnight and transform that thought into action only once a month.
5. People never learn anything by being told, they have to findout for themselves.
6. You have two choices, to control your mind or to let your mind control you.
7. We are allowed to make a lot of mistakes in our lives, except the mistake that destroys our lives.
8. An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely.
9. The danger of an adventure is worth than thousand days of ease and comfort.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is an impressive, inspirational piece of film-making from director Frank Darabont. It is a combination of prison/dramatic film and character study. It illustrates the redemptive power of hope and religious themes of freedom with the words-“Fear can hold you prisoner, Hope can set you free.” Darabont’s film is a patiently-told, combination of friendship, patience, hope, survival, and ultimate redemption and salvation by the time of the film’s finale. The actors of the film are Tim Robbins as Andy Dufrane and Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding. It is a story in which Andy, a vice-president in a bank, is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover. However, only he knows that he didn’t commit the crimes. He is sent to the Shawshank prison and now, he has to learn to live within the brutal confines of prison life. His quiet strength slowly earns the respect of his fellow inmates most notably, Red Morgan Freeman and even many of the prison’s staff. But Andy’s stoic acceptance of his unjust imprisonment hides a fierce determination for freedom. Red specializes in smuggling items into the prison for the other prisoners. Red soon discovers that Andy is a most unusual prisoner, although at first it seems to do him little good- he is brutalized by other prisoners. He starts to get both other prisoners and guards on his side when he offers to help one of the most notorious guards with a tax problem in exchange for bottles of chilled beer for everyone of his inmates. From then on, Andy always seems to be working on one thing or another. He improves the prison’s tiny library, and helps those prisoners who want to study. He also handles the guards’ tax returns, and even helps the Warden Bub Gunton in keeping his incriminating accounting records straight and secret. Over the years, he gains the respect of most of the other prisoners and guards. More importantly, he never loses hope for the future- a hope he tries to pass on to the other prisoners he never stops believing in life possibilities but to make the most of them he needs to be free. With a really small hammer used by the rock collectors, he inches his way to freedom night by night over a period of decades. He conceals the hole, he is making into the wall, with a big poster of Rita Hayworth. Every day, he disperses the pieces of the wall he chipped last night, on the ground outside. He hides his hammer in a bible that even the warden holds and reads on from one occasion. In the end, Andy reaches his way to the freedom through a sewage pipe. He uses his knowledge of his banking industry and tax system to recreate his identity. He claims all the money that he laundered for the Warden in various accounts, frames the Warden for his misdeeds, and heads overseas. At the end of the film, Red- one of Andy’s friends from prison is released on parole. A note is left for Red which leads him to Andy’s location and his boat. This is a simple story of hope made remarkable by the interaction between the two lead characters. Both Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman did a fine job in terms of making their roles genuine & appealing and also in the way they work so well together. The main theme of the movie is hope, not despair and the violence serves only as a background to that message. Without any hesitation, I can say that this movie shall be a life-time memory for all critical moments to come.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Is today’s youth living under stress?

The answer to this question is seriously YES. Today’s youth is living under stress. Stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world. Stress arises when people face a situation, which they think to be impossible to manage within their physical and emotional resources. Stress makes a person feel disgusted, angry, rejected, and depressed. What causes stress? Stressors are the causes of stress. These stressors may be physical or emotional. Events, situations, people are the various stressors. The most common stressors in the youth’s life are financial problems in the family, pressure of expectations from others, break-ups with boyfriend/girlfriend, career planning, failure in the examinations, inhibition etc. Finance is the main stressor in the youth’s life. Their income is not rising as fast as the rate of inflation which cause pressure on mind that how to deal with the day-to-day expenses i.e. mobile bills, electricity bills, home expenses. We always expect something from others e.g. from our parents and friends. But when our expectation does not fulfill, we get disheartened. In today’ life everybody wants his/her partner. Everybody desires of having a girlfriend/boyfriend. But the problem is such we are not as much mature in this age that we can establish a good relationship with him/her. As a result, misunderstandings occur that lead to the break-ups. As we all know that today’s youth are career-oriented. They always worry about their career planning. As everyone wants to live a relaxed and smooth life so they have to strive much to secure their future. Another serious phenomenon for youth is ‘teenagers suicide’. Due to the depression on mind regarding the preparation of exams, they couldn't prepare as much as they should be. As a result, some failed in the examination that put such a stress on their mind that they commit suicide. Instead of facing with life’s challenges, they want everything to be granted.
Inhibition is also a main cause of stress for youth. They always worry about what the other person is going to think about them. Youth mind’s tendency is to cling more to the negative than to the positive. They need to take responsibility for themselves and ensure that their minds are clear, and not clogged. They always excuse or complain of concentration. When? Do we require concentration when we love the subject? We require concentration only for which we don’t like to do. So just love everything and do seriously which you do. Youth need to realize that they have huge potential and strength to achieve what they want. The true measure of success is a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child that is able to deal effectively with life’s challenges.
There is another school of thought for stress. The question is ‘Why stress should not be’? Some say that stress should be in everyone’s life. If stress is not there, he/she will be satisfied or he/she will not strive which is wrong. A person should keep his efforts going on. Stress makes a person aggressive, work hard to lead always. It’s not the job of an individual rather it’s a job of a society. It depends upon them to classify stress into positive and negative stress. And it varies from person to person that he/she accepts positive stress and eliminate negative stress and vice-versa.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Alchemist's review

‘The Alchemist’ is a story with the power to inspire. This is a magical fable that makes you learn how to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and keep the pursuit of one’s dreams. This is a narrative of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of traveling the world in search of a treasure. From his house in Spain, he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and from there into the Egyptian Pyramids where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him. An old man, the King of Salem, the first of various spiritual guides, tells the boy that he has discovered his destiny: "to realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation." So Santiago sells his sheep, sails to Tangier, is tricked out of his money, regains it through hard work, crosses the desert with a caravan, stops at an oasis long enough to fall in love, escapes from warring tribesmen by performing a miracle, reaches the pyramids, and eventually gets both the gold and the girl. Along the way he meets an Englishman who describes the Soul of the World; the desert woman Fatima, who teaches him the Language of the World; and an alchemist who says, "Listen to your heart". This is all about following our heart, following our dreams and our own life path which brings us joy and then lives within us. There are many pearls of wisdom to be implemented in our own life. This book also illuminates how special and extraordinary dreams are and they can come true, especially to those who don’t let them go. It shows us how a really successful and fulfilling life is really accomplished but not through the systematic ruthlessness of today. It explores the path of walking our destiny. It is truly a magnificent novel that has delivered profound inspiration as well as evoking passion within me. As I started getting interested in reading ‘The Alchemist’, I felt that I was reading my own life story in the form of a novel. And that’s the primary attraction to me towards ‘The Alchemist’. This novel is written by Paulo Coelho. He was born in Rio de Janerio in August 1947, the son of Pedro Quiema Coelho de Souza, an engineer, and his wife Lygia, a homemaker. His own dream, to be a writer, met with frustration throughout much of his early adult life, a time in which he worked at various professions. Coelho once said that "Following your dream is like learning a foreign language; you will make mistakes but you will get there in the end." In 1988, he published "The Alchemist", a novel that explores this theme, and it launched him as an international bestselling author. Specifically, Coelho is recognized for his powerful storytelling technique and the profound spiritual insights. In addition to "The Alchemist", he has written luminous novels about the different streams of our lives. He has won numerous literary prizes. In 1999, he received a Crystal Award fot the Artistic Achievement in the Davos Economic Forum Conference. Paulo Coelho is also a prominent speaker for the humanitarian causes. He has become one of the most widely read authors in the world today. He has written many other bestselling books that have touched the hearts of people everywhere. The experience by reading ‘The Alchemist’ affected me profoundly. And here are the some beautiful quotes which inspires me a lot.

The Quotes I love:

1. The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.
2. When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
3. Courage is the most essential quality to understand the Language of the World.
4. What's the world's greatest lie? It's this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.
5. When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there's no need at all to understand what's happening, because everything happens within you.
6. Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.
7. God created the world so that, through its visible objects, men could understand his spiritual teachings and the marvels of this wisdom.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Will Indian Stock Market stabilize in the near future?

Markets are like women -- always commanding, mysterious, unpredictable and volatile. I think that Indian Stock Market will definitely stabilize in the near future as the fundamentals of the Indian Economy is strong and more so of corporate sector. It seems that the market will take a little more time to stabilize and settle itself in a comfort zone. The turmoil in the global markets need not affect India as “the Indian economy is driven by its own robust investment and consumption. Ours is a long-term growth story based on real investments. If we talk about the Reliance Power’s IPO which receives an overwhelming response from the investors, it clearly shows that investors seem to be confident and have good faith in the future of India. FIIs pulled out nearly $2 billion from equities in just four days after their monumental response to the Reliance Power’s IPO. It is a reflection of the world community in the future of the robust Indian Economy. This outflow of liquid money can also be considered as the reason for the huge recession in the history of the Indian Stock Market ever. Recording another year of impressive performance, the economy grew by 9.6% during 2006-07, leading to over 14% increase in the per capita income. The improved growth has been achieved due to all around improvement in the manufacturing and services sector. One way to judge the fair market value of India's equity market is that to look at the ratio of market capitalisation to the nominal GDP which also gives a broad indication.In India, the ratio reached 173%--a 73% increase in just a year’s time.So i think that Indian Stock Market would have a stable growth in the long run.