The good ol’ car

29 01 2009

What is it about a car that makes one redefine their sense of freedom. Ah! the smell of freedom, where you realize that from this point forward your life will never be the same again. Its the one place where you can be yourself, just you and the car and whole wide world waiting for you to explore! (of course not if the traffic has anything to do with it)

I remembered that feeling when I saw an old 800 driven proudly by its owner the other day. My first car was an 800. More specifically a Maruti Suzuki 800 MPFI 5 Speed – Golden Brown….at that point I really thought it was worth it’s weight in gold.

I still remember the way the car drove, the way the 796 cc engine struggles if there are more than 2 people in the car as if it were  saying to me – ‘this car is for you and you only – what the heck are you doing bringing all these people on board’

The car was tiny, more akin to a an over sized matchbox. But it got me from one place to the next efficiently and without trouble. If you remember your 800 or if you are driving one, you will notice that most of variants have bad gear boxes, forget the straight lines to change the gears, this didn’t work that way. It’s as if the gear has a mind of its own. Allow me to explain: for most cars the shift from second gear to third is a up-right and above straight line. But to an 800 its a slant line straight across – sheer thrill :). No lag in speed during gear changes, no problem getting through traffic because it was so tiny, fun fast and zippy.

The car gave me a good two years until it was sold. I always wonder whether I will see it again. But wherever it is I hope it knows I miss it and would jump at a chance to own it again.

To the 800 – I will always miss that car.

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For What It’s Worth

16 01 2009

I Must confess I haven’t heard this song till I saw an episode of the West Wing. (Season 3 – Isaac and Ishmael). And now I can’t stop listening to it.

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

-Buffalo Springfield

Amazing!





Nandhini Biryani Anyone?

15 01 2009

Blog post removed on request.





Positively Innaccurate.

15 01 2009

All this talk about inflated balance sheets prompted me to post one of my favorite strips of Dilbert.

5652strip

Source: Dilbert





Motorola cuts jobs – Again!

15 01 2009

Motorola Inc will slash another 4,000 jobs, or an estimated 6 percent of its workforce, and warned that it would have a fourth-quarter loss as sales of mobile phones were weaker than expected.

Analysts had been expecting a new round of job cuts at Motorola, after 6,700 employee departures in 2008, as the economic downturn and a slump in demand for mobile phones add more pressure on a company that had already been losing market share to rivals like Nokia .

Motorola said on Wednesday that the latest move brings its cost cuts to $1.5 billion for 2009 — $700 million in new savings on top of a previously announced plan for $800 million in expense cuts.

Read here for more details.





Nortel Files for Bankruptcy Protection!

15 01 2009

In another incident of the worsening global recession Nortel Networks Corp, North America’s biggest maker of telephone equipment, filed for bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Delaware, amid the global credit crunch and declining sales.

Nortel, based in Toronto, had more than $1 billion in assets and debt, according to today’s Chapter 11 filing of its US subsidiary. The company said that several Canadian affiliates will also seek court protection.

Canadian investor Gavin Graham recalls the time when Nortel Networks Corp. was so big, with a market value of almost $250 billion, that fund managers had to own shares just to keep up with the benchmark index.

“You were pilloried if you didn’t own the stock,” said Graham, who helps oversee more than $30 billion as director of investments at Bank of Montreal Asset Management in Toronto. “Nowadays, I try not to embarrass people by asking who still owns Nortel.”

Nortel, North America’s biggest maker of telephone equipment, in business for 113 years, filed for bankruptcy protection today, capping one of the greatest corporate collapses in Canadian history. The stock fell 69 percent to 12 cents by 4:15 p.m. in trading today on the Toronto Stock Exchange, for a market value of C$60 million ($48 million).

At its peak in 2000, Nortel had annual revenue of $28 billion and employed about 93,000 people in more than 150 countries. The stock traded as high as C$1,245, adjusting for stock splits, for a market value of C$366 billion, making it the biggest company in Canada. The shares quadrupled in 1999 on expectations the Toronto-based phone equipment maker would benefit from the surge in demand for Internet-based technology.

Nortel accounted for 37 percent of the Toronto Stock Exchange 300 Composite Index, as it was called then. That created a problem for Canadian mutual fund managers, since Canadian law bars mutual funds from holding more than 10 percent of assets in any one stock.

Source:  Bloomberg

See also a timeline of events in the company here.





Satyam Chief Ramalinga Raju Resigns

7 01 2009

Chairman of Satyam Computer Ramalinga Raju has resigned from the company’s board. In a shocking disclosure, he has revealed some financial irregularities in the company, including an inflated cash balance of Rs 5,040 crore.

In reaction to Raju’s revelations, the stock was hammered by investors and it is down over 60 per cent.

Raju said that he feared takeover due to poor finance performance. Coming clean on financial irregularities, he said that the company had Rs 1,230 crore worth of understated liability as of September 30.

Raju also revealed that he tried to fill fictitious assets with Maytas deal.

Source: NDTV

Here are some excerpts from his letter to SEBI:

“The Balance Sheet carries as of September 30, 2008

a. Inflated (non-existent) cash and bank balances of 50.40 billion rupees ($1.04 billion) (as against 53.61 billion reflected in the books).

b. An accrued interest of 3.76 billion rupees which is non-existent.

c. An understated liability of 12.30 billion rupees on account of funds arranged by me.

d. An overstated debtors position of 4.90 billion rupees (as against 26.51 billion reflected in the books)”

“The aborted Maytas acquisition deal was the last attempt to fill the fictitious assets with real ones. Maytas’ investors were convinced that this is a good divestment opportunity and a strategic fit. Once Satyam’s problem was solved, it was hoped that Maytas’ payments can be delayed. But that was not to be. “

“neither me, nor the Managing Director took even one rupee/dollar from the company and have not benefitted in financial terms on account of the inflated results.”

Read the complete letter here:  Reuters

Here is the complete timeline of events.

As of this moment Satyam Shares crashed 71% to Rs 51 on the BSE.