Friday, September 26, 2008

Whose skin are you in?

Dear all,

This is a very special message to all of you, a cause which I care about.

I am a proud vegetarian and feel very happy about the fact that I am not the cause of an unexpected death of any living organism. "Plants, aren't they living?", I hear you immediately complaining, but then that is a matter of huge debate which we should probably avoid here.

I just want to make a simple request here, that we please stop wearing fur and leather as they are produced from animal skin which is extracted inflicting horrible amount of cruelty on them before they are finally killed. In case you are wondering, I do not have any leather jacket, used to have a fur coat which I disposed off last year and have vowed not to buy one again and I do not feel that it has made me any less fashionable. Fashion is defined by you and not by your leather or fur jacket which has been made from the skin of a speechless and uncomplaining animal.

I hope that the video and I have made you at least think about it.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Witnessing history

The events of the past few days convince me that we are witnessing history. The demise of Lehman Brothers, Wall Street’s fourth largest investment bank, would surely find its place in history.

I remember the day in March when I heard that Bear Stearns, Wall Street’s fifth largest investment bank, is heading towards bankruptcy. As an aspiring quant in investment banking I had applied for an entry level quantitative analyst role a month ago and was waiting to hear from them about my application. It was taking unusually long for a bank with a proper recruitment procedure in place to respond on my application. I was patient, waiting for a response was much better than hearing a rejection so I did not complain. Least did I know that I would straight get to hear the news of the bank struggling to survive and so being bailed out by the Fed and thereafter bought by JP Morgan Chase at the price of peanuts! Little did I know that the application which I worked on for hours and the cover letter which I got checked from my career counsellor at university and at least two other people were destined to go into the dustbin! Little did I know that those who would recruit me are busy saving their own jobs!

The memories of the crisis at Northern Rock, UK’s fifth largest mortgage lender, and how it had to be nationalised to protect the monies of the hundred’s of pensioners and savers had not even faded, that I was in for this jolt of a prospective employer who was taken over so as to avoid its demise. Things were going to be tough, I realised.

Having completed the course with the submission of dissertation, since the last couple of weeks I had been planning my strategy to go for the application spree again. I chalked out the banks I would target as a single application takes at least 5 hours of thorough research of the organisation. This research made me go through the current financial situations at each bank and I realised that Lehman Brothers was in a bad financial state. I was hopeful that like Bear Stearns, probably Lehman would also get a helping hand from the Fed so that even if my hopes of working for the bank are bleak, at least those working still have hopes of not losing their jobs. On Monday I was in for the second biggest shock, Lehman was not bailed out and so had to file for bankruptcy. 5000 employees in the UK were rendered jobless.

Merrill Lynch, Wall Street’s third largest investment bank, was also having its balance sheet in red, only to be saved by the proposed take over by the Bank of America. My housemate works for Merrill and though he has not been made redundant, since his contract gets over with the bank in a couple of weeks and there is no chance under these circumstances it would be renewed so he is looking for another job. But as he said, there are so many redundancies made by Lehman that getting a job at this point seems next to impossible.

The financial system is in shambles. Today’s BBC business news headline reads “US government rescues insurer AIG”. Mind you, AIG is the US’ largest insurance company and had the Fed not rescued it, it would have to file for bankruptcy. And then the whole system would have collapsed, we would have been experiencing the Great Depression of 1929. However I am not sure if the visible signs are any good to ensure that we are not heading towards it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blasts again

Can I please move on from writing blogposts about blasts? I had been really caught up with so many things in life, and just when I decided to sit down to update my blog, all that I can think of are the blasts in Delhi yesterday. But it was too much for me to take this time, I could not stop my tears rolling over my cheek when I heard the news. I could not take it anymore.

Central Park in Cannaught Place has so many memories associated with my University of Delhi days. I remember going there long before it had formally opened and chatting with its gateman. He informed me when it would open and who would inaugurate it. I so badly wished that day for it to open so that I can come down there and hang around with friends. Thereafter, when it opened I came down hundreds of times, mostly Saturday evenings to just chill followed by my favorite pastry session at Wengers. I used to love it. So yesterday when I saw the Central Park being bombed on a Saturday evening, I thought it could well have been me amongst the 20 dead and more than 100 injured in those blasts.

So the pertinent question I want to ask today is, what is my crime? Why am I targetted? Why does somebody want to kill me? Why do I have a threat on my life? How does killing me help somebody sitting across some border? To be very honest to those who do these henious crime, let me tell you something, even if you kill me, nothing will happen which you want to happen, the governments will remain unchanged about their stance, people will forget it the next moment and move on with their daily bread earning routine, life will become the same for all except that it will bring unsurmountable amount of pain to those who love me. So killing me does not help you achieve anything. And remember very well and for sure, that someday that me will be your daughter or sister and that day all that will change is your own life and nobody elses.