An interesting autosignature that I came across..

Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a pail of water.

God knows what they did there

They came back with a daughter!


🙂

How I lost 600 quid

Most people who have been in UK would agree that buying a house in UK is a good thing from the investment point of view. I am not sure whether any other country’s real estate market is as sensitive as British when it comes to the Central Bank’s (Bank of England in this case) interest rates. A rise or fall of 0.25% in the interest rate would be preceded by lot of media coverage and would trigger quite a lot of activity in the market. While it is on upswing, the prices would rise even by 10-15% or even more with in a quarter, whereas sliding won’t be that fast.

Keeping in mind these factors, observing the market for few months and encouraged by some of my friends’ decision to buy a property in UK, I too embarked on the same. After viewing about 16 houses in this coastal town of Bournemouth, we zeroed in on a double bedroom flat and negotiated a price, which we thought was quite a deal. Thought it was not our dream house, it had every element to make it a good home. Once the negotiations are over, legal formalities like mortgage, survey et al proceeded at a frantic pace and we were expecting to move in to our ‘own’ house by Christmas. But that was not to be as we learnt that the seller had run into trouble obtaining mortgage over buying his next property, but was assured that everything would be fine in the New Year.

As weeks rolled by in 2004, I started losing my patience and kept the pressure on the estate agent in order to finalise the deal as soon as possible. The contract was about to have been exchanged this week and we were planning our move to happen in the first week of next month when the estate agent contacted me on Friday evening to tell me that the seller has decided to pull out of the deal, as he found another buyer who could pay a better price. He is fine to do that under British laws. Apparently, the prices have risen by about 12% between the time I negotiated and now.

There is nothing illegal in what he did but just that it is unethical to make me wait for 5 months offering all & sundry excuses while closing a deal at the other end. At the end of the day, I became poorer by 600 Pounds Sterling. Ba****d.

Dirty politics

BJP has got a raw deal in the seat sharing agreement with AIADMK in TN. Apart from being made to forego the sitting Pudukottai seat, it has been made to contest at places like Dharmapuri, Chidambaram, North Chennai & Pondicherry where the party is sure to bite the dust at the hustings. Pudukottai, Tiruchi, Sivaganga & South Chennai would have been sure shots for the party. It would definitely suit Jayalalithaa to say at a later point of time that it was only she who introduced Vajpayee & Advani to the people of Tamilnadu. By aligning with Jaya, I think BJP deserved this and even more. I am painfully reminded of the unstable ’98-99 days when month after month, a senior BJP minister would visit Poes Garden to cool off Jaya on some issue or the other.

Ironically, BJP’s rival Congress too had to face a similar humiliation in the other camp by being denied Nagercoil & Pondicherry.

Ponniyin Selvan

After weeks of reading the volumnious Tamil literature ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ by Kalki R. Krishnamoorthy, I managed to finish it today afternoon. As I didn’t have the luxury of reading the same from a hard copy, I had to read few pages every day (from the PDF) during lunch time to finish up. The story & the plot was very gripping that I never wanted to stop reading. It became all the more interesting because I have been to & lived at many of the places in Thanjavur District in TN, India which was where the historic story was supposed to have taken place.

I have heard a lot about this book & its author before, but has never got around to read it. After reading, it is not surprising as how it captivates many young people and not-so-old folks. I am already looking forward to read the author’s other works.

Living in India

As soon as I learnt about LivinginIndia.com in December last, I decided to contribute my few pence worth of thoughts and I quickly became a member. I also had a nice chat with Edward, an economist living in Spain & the man behind Living in India and made promises (towards contributing to the site) that would put even an Indian politician to shame. I have had few thoughts lined up to write, but before I could put them into bytes, laziness took over and that is it. Thanks to the busy few weeks at work, I haven’t been updating my blog as frequently as I used to do. Seems that Edward visited my blog sometime recently (Thanks!), saw a post that could find place in LinI and he did what I was supposed to have done. He posted the same in that site and I got to know it only when someone mailed me on seeing that.

Well folks, here is the link to my first post in Living in India, that originally appeared here earlier.

Networking

Sometime last week, I had a luncheon meeting with the mentor of my MBA group at her posh, sea-facing bungalow in a town called Poole. Thanks to the bad weather, what was supposed to have been a large gathering turned out to be a little one, but it was a rewarding experience in getting to know people from different walks of life and exchange views with them. Since I am doing my MBA in the distance learning mode, I seldom get to meet people and I have often regretted that I missed doing a full time MBA.

Apart from meeting few people (& of course, the lunch), this meeting did something in me. Result: I wrote to more than 50 of my peer group today and am planning to write to more number in the days to come to form a e-group to interact. Am quite glad at the response and the way my attempt to network with people has shaped up so far.

Yahooooooooooooooo!



Seems that someone in Yahoo! rolled out the wrong version of the code. For few minutes this morning, whenever I clicked the “Delete” button from inside the mail, a new window opened up with the contents of the mail itself. They discovered it quite soon and corrected it.

Thinking about Chennai

May be the fact I like Chennai or may be the fact my folks are there or may be I don’t have anything else to think about, very often I think about Chennai’s water problems. My perception is that but for the water problem, Chennai is heaven (I hope at least few of the Chennai-ites would agree!). Most of my phone calls to Chennai would have a query enquiring about the water availability at home. Its really pathetic to see people wait for the water tankers even in the middle of the night fighting like dogs, for few buckets of water.

I was wondering why Government after Government is wasting time, money & effort over bringing water from Krishna river, over the train from Neyveli, Veeranam etc knowing fully well that none of the above is a permanent solution. Why wouldn’t someone along the powerful corridors think about a robust, long-term solution like say, a mega desalination plant? I am not a connoisseur in this matter, but I was even checking up over the Internet quite seriously (and aimlessly) over the success or otherwise of large-scale desalination. I liked the way in which Jayalalithaa government implemented the Rainwater harvesting programme, but for that, ground water levels in the city would have been at much worser state than they are now. Going by the track record, if someone in the present lot of politicians had to do something to tackle the water crisis, it has got to be the all-powerful Jaya. One could even forgive her brutal arrogance, her waywardness etc if she manages to do something on this front. Seems that she got it right. I just read a news story that TN Government has asked the Planning commission for a full grant of Rs.1500 crore to set up a 300 million litre per day desalination plant to tackle the chronic water shortage.

I know it is too early to celebrate. There are many hurdles to cross. First of all, we don’t know whether this is a good, time bound solution that wouldn’t create another environmental crisis. Next is the money, political will to execute the project, bureaucracy, blame games, corruption et al. Yet, this thought in the mind of the powers that be is positive and has given some hope like a silver lining among the dark clouds. Lets hope that this is not yet another poll gimmick. In hope lies everything!

eBay: What an useful site this is! I bought a second-hand technical book from eBay recently that cost me £5, which otherwise would have cost no less than £12 at Amazon. The book is in as-good-as-new condition and I have decided to check out eBay in the first place before buying anything in future.

Water Water everywhere

Perhaps some one from Chennai cast an evil eye on the comfort & luxury we enjoy w.r.t. water. Two weeks back, the pressure pump in our house gave in and from that moment on, water was just dripping in droplets that it took about 45 minutes for a bucket to get filled up. Only solace was that the cold water in the kitchen sink was flowing properly.

Here the system works in such a way that I have to call up my estate agent, who in turn would inform the landlord, who will call the plumber, who took his own sweet time to attend the call only to decide that the pump is under guarantee and henceforth could be attended to only by the company engineer. Any information/clarification would have to pass back and forth through the same channels and as a result, 10 days after the problem was reported there was no progress.

Thursday last, I called up the estate agents and gave her an earful also asking her that I need compensation in the form of rent waiver until it was set right. The threat worked. Despite being a holiday, the plumbers came, replaced the pump and What a joy, What a joy to have water gushing out from the taps. Anyhow, I am not going to give up the compensation claim.