Happy New Year

Wish you all a very happy new year. 2017 is a prime number and I hope that it becomes a prime year for you. Let’s all work in a hurry to achieve our dreams because the next “prime” year will only appear ten years later, i.e. 2027. 2017 is also a “sexy prime”, coupled as it is with 2011. Sexy primes are primes that differ from each other by 6. So remember what you did or what happened to you in 2011 – rinse, repeat and raise higher the good stuff of 2011 and sieve, spit and sink the bad things of 2011. Some numerology this!

Here is a visualization of the full text of the PM’s address to the nation on new year’s eve. Note the complete absence of the word mitron – that’s so sad. It’s been usurped by the inexpressive “friend”/”friends”. The picture below clearly shows where the thrust of his speech was. I hope you appreciate the background colour I chose for the visualization. 😉


Intelligence and Loneliness

Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa is a psychologist who courts controversy. He has gone into sufficient level of detail to explain why certain type of women are unattractive and predictably kicked off a good deal of protest in the process. [link, link]

While I personally haven’t looked at, not do I have any interest in looking at that aspect of his research, there was this other observation made by Dr. Satoshi which made me pause and think. It was about the link between intelligence and loneliness [click here for the research paper]. If my understanding of what I have read is correct, then Dr. Satoshi suggests an un-insignificant correlation between simplicity and stupidity. Less intelligent people are simple. They think simple thoughts and make more friends and are therefore less lonely and happier. Ignorance seems to be bliss indeed! They also seem to like the daily soaps more! There is a postulate which seems to negatively correlate IQ with affinity for watching the “saasbahu” type of soaps. If you believe in the power law of distribution, then the below seems to be the reason why advertisers flock to buy ad spots during weekly soap opera runs.


It therefore seems that the following hypotheses shouldn’t be dismissed at first glance as outright heretics:

  1. Villagers are more satisfied with life and therefore happy
  2. Villagers who socialize more with each other are even more satisfied and therefore happier
  3. An intelligent villager seems to be an oxymoron
  4. It would be extremely difficult to spot an extremely intelligent individual in a very communal village.
  5. Intelligent folks are unhappy and lonely.

If leadership is a lonely place and if intelligent folks are unhappy and lonely, then it must mean that leadership is positively correlated with intelligence – which we generally know. However, I would be surprised if someone told me that all intelligent people are successful. Perhaps it is the weight of early expectations on sharp men and women (i.e. those endowed with high IQ), that seems to be making them gloomy.

I have however one question – if villagers are happier than their urban cousins, then why are they killing themselves? Is suicide so exhilarating? 😐

Prime Minister’s 70th Independence Day Speech

A word cloud of PM’s I-Day speech.


India in Rio

Incessant rain and a lazy weekend made me prepare the following info-graphic on how India has fared in the past twenty years at the summer games. I hope it is self-explanatory enough (click on the pic for an expanded view)

India in Rio 2016

Here is the post I had done four years back in the run-up to the London games. This time around, the (Indian) sports pundits are hoping for a double digit medal haul. I crawled the web to find medal predictor models which, mercifully, include the lower ranked sporting nations in their reporting as well:

  • olympicmedalpredictions on India at RioThe 6 medal haul in 2012 and the expectations of a double digit winning notwithstanding, folks responsible for http://olympicmedalspredictions.com/countries.php have a very different take. According to them India is to get two medals only. The problem with forecasts is that the moment you start getting into specifics, you run the risk of being dismissed and not taken seriously. These folks should take a lesson from the story of Nostradamus (who, we now know was much more wrong than correct). Case in point: with all the dope around Narsingh Pancham Yadav, I am not sure of seeing him on the podium!Gracedata Prediction India at Rio
  • According to the sports data analytics firm Gracedata (Infostrada sports), India is tipped to get a rank of 43 (which is definitely an improvement over our London performance). The key to a high rank is the number of golds, obviously. In London, we did not win any gold medals. Abhinav Bindra had shot India up to the 50th rank in Beijing – our best rank so far (in percentile terms) thanks to his gold medal. This incidentally is the ONLY individual gold medal that an Indian has won at the Games. Anyways, Gracedata’s number crunching for this year does predict that the Indian mens field hockey team will win the silver medal this year!! Which is awesome!
  • PwC predicton model fitThe PwC model, this time around is much more optimistic about India. It indicates a final standing of 12 medals which is really a 100% improvement over the London performance. Well, if PwC’s prediction were to come true, then the NIFTY would be severely lagging behind at a 66% gain (over this period). BTW, here is an analysis of the accuracy of their 2012 predictions – surprisingly accurate. The chart on the right is an extract from the attached document.
  • The Third I’s “The NIFTY model”. Which is so elegant because of its simplicity! 🙂

NIFTY Model for Rio Medals India

Many have said that it would be disappointing if India did not return with a double digit tally. Stranger things are known to have happened! Let’s see and pray.

Short Sightedness


Kung Fu Lessons To Panda On

panda-3The son dragged me to see KFP III last weekend. The story was predictable from the first 5 minutes onwards and the antics of a food loving warrior panda are becoming a bit of tripe trope. The film, however, repaid its ticket price in form of a couple of leadership and life lessons that  it dispensed. Sure, there are many other films dripping with heavy thoughts but the following dialogues remain in the mind and have survived the subsequent Monday morning shock to the system!

  • Self-Recalibration: Continuous learning and humility. Learning never ends.

Shifu: There is always something more to learn. Even for a master.

  • Self-Discovery

Shifu: If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be more than you are now

Po: But I like who I am!

Shifu: You don’t even know who you are!

  • Self-Confidence

Po: There’s no way I’m ever gonna be like you.

Shifu: I’m not trying to turn you into me. I’m trying to turn you into you.

  • Self-Propagation

Shifu: You must take the next step from warrior to teacher

I guess teaching is the best route to achieve each of the four self actualization objectives mentioned above. The best way to learn is indeed to teach. It is by teaching others does one really discover who he really is and gains true mastery and confidence on whatever tricks he is a master at.

[Spolier alert (for those who don’t know much about the KFP series): Shifu – He is a red panda and trains warriors; Po – the Panda]

The Dashboard of Your Life

life circles RAGThe average life expectancy in India is now 67.3 years for males and 69.6 for females. Each passing decade seems to add 5 years to the average life expectancy. In a couple of decades, we could have Indians living to be three quarters of a century on an average. While it would normally mean that the working age also moves outward but that is unlikely to happen in India since there is a wave of youngsters getting introduced to the working classes each year effectively pushing out the older workers out into their retirement. The average retirement age may therefore continue to be around 58 years in India in the next 10 – 20 years to come.

So what we do we with so much time at our disposal? I am not talking about retirement and finances etc. I am talking about the discord between one view of our life where time just seems to flit by making us think that we never have time for the good stuff and the other view of life which emerges only when you step out of the day to day and look at the vaudeville of our life in total. 67.3 years is a lot of time. There’s loads and loads of time to accomplish lots and lots, provided our health remains our friend.

I created the picture below to depict the expanse of opportunity available with an average Indian male from a temporal perspective. Imagine each circle to be a week in a typical life where one starts earning at the age of 21 and stops doing so around the age of 58. Imagine also that you are filling up each circle with a RAG palette of colours to indicate the quality of that week. Perhaps we can also include a blue colour to depict a relaxing vacation where you don’t do much. You are the sole judge of whether a circle is to be filled in with red or green or amber. You do so on parameters of your choice, balancing your work and your life priorities. The purple bordered circles show each week of your childhood and student life,  the green ones are where the greenback flows in and golden yellow is the colour of your retired life.

For the weeks that you have lived, how does your dashboard look like as at today? Could it have been different? How would it look like at the end of your life’s book when the credits start rolling? 🙂

Life Circles v2


Ran off to the Himalayas for a holiday and now back after a recharge. What a beautiful place lived in by such good and simple people.

Sikkim Boy Pelling

Golden Ratios

China, it seems, wants to load up on gold. There is an aggressive retail push going on in China towards precious metals. In India, on the other hand, there have been appeals to buy less gold, use our forex for better things, turn out our gold hidden in bank lockers etc. As if we Indians will ever listen to that! The buying continues unabated. This is also in keeping with popular perception that Indians (and increasingly, the Chinese now) have a voracious appetite for gold. Pivoted around this idea, I ran some numbers to figure out gold reserves for the top countries, the amount of gold reserve coverage given the GDP size of each country and finally how much gold reserves exist in a country per person of its population. The latter is an interesting metric – it says that if all the citizens of a country were to line up in front of their central bank’s vault to receive equal amounts of gold, how many grams or kilograms would they get. The results for 41 top countries (by gold reserve holding) is shown in the chart below:

  • USA, with the world’s largest gold reserves drops down to 23rd place when compared to countries on gold per Bn USD of GDP
  • India and China, at 10th and 5th places drop down to 37th and 35th places when it comes to the weight of gold per capita! Clearly, we should buy more!!
  • Lebanon and Libya are pricing in their geopolitical risk by paying rent and holding charges for all the massive horde of gold that they have given the size of their economy.
  • Germany, France and Italy are very well placed. From where did they get all their gold, I wonder.
  • Canada’s position surprised me.

Golden Countries

So is there a trading play in Indian gold? I am not a goldbug enough to know. Goldbugs don’t know anyways. Maybe there is a 5% – 10% scope in gold in rupee terms that is possible now. Constant pressure on the rupee has kept the INR gold chart very subdued as compared to the USD price of gold.

The first chart below shows the daily price chart of a local Indian gold ETF over the last 18 months – on the charts, it does not show a set-up which gets me excited. On the longer 3 year chart with weekly prices, there certainly seems room but again, the present price does not scream a buy (to me).

Gold 3Feb16 18mo DailyGold since 2008 weekly

Bollywood “Chart”busters…Part One

Graphs, Venns and the junoon of the vaudeville that is Bollywood. 🙂 

ek do teen film stillek do teen


naino mein sapna film stillnaino mein sapna



kabhi mein kahoon film stillkabhi mein kahoon



aankhon mein kya ji film stillaankhon mein kya ji



seene mein jalan film stillseene mein jalan chart



aine ke tuke film stillAine ke tukde


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