Notes to Myself


Good Read

Twitter Art

I like Art. Be it music, or dance, or photography, or sculpture or painting/sketching. I consider myself a curator of Art…in fact curator of good ideas and thoughts (refer Thought of The Day initiative) and good things in general.

I like to explore the art material on internet, particularly Twitter.

Here is a collection of Paintings/Sketches on Twitter.


Mujhko Bhi To Lift Kara De… (Lift Me Too) and The Raising of Chicago

If you are a fan of Hindi Pop music (which I am not. Hindi Pop is similar to Indian Chinese food…it’s Indian. Chinese is for namesake. Similarly, Hindi Pop is just Hindi song, Pop part is misleading!), you might remember a song composed and sung by Pakistani singer Adnan Sami – Mujhko Bhi To Lift Kara De (Lift me too). Here’s the song:

The song basically says that God has blessed any Tom, Dick and Harry in this world and given them all the beauty and bounty. Then why not me? Lift me too and take me out of my dismal condition. It’s nice mediocre song, which many people (including myself) can connect with, at least some of the times.

The reason for remembering this song was a news I read recently about a house in my city Pune. A man in my city literally lifted his house by using 200 jacks to avoid rain and drainage water entering his house! Here is the news in English and Marathi. Here is a photo (taken from English news report) of how it was done.


I also found a Youtube video of the same house which shows it in much more detail:

I found it very astonishing, a real marvel of Engineering and Technology! I then researched on what this technology is and since when it has been in use, and found some interesting information.

This technique was used way back in 1850s and 1860s to raise the entire central district of Chicago in the US. During the 1850s and 1860s engineers carried out a piecemeal raising of the level of central Chicago. Streets, sidewalks and buildings were physically raised on hydraulic jacks or jackscrews. The work was funded by private property owners and public funds.

Here is a good article about the story:

Raising the Chicago streets out of the mud

I also found an interesting video by Matt Parker, my favorite “stand-up mathematician“! I’m sure you would love it…


Wish there were similar ways to lift ourselves in career, in social circles, and in personal relationships


Good Quote: I No Longer Have Patience…


“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

Quote attributed to Meryl Streep; originally written by José Micard Teixeira.


Google Doodle on Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and S. Swamy’s Combative Spirit


Today is 125th birth anniversary of Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis – noted applied statistician and scientist. Google has posted a doodle honoring PCM’s contribution in the field of Statistics and Mathematics.

Google Doodle - PCM

He is considered as the father of Indian statistical research.

Here is a brief biography of PC Mahalanobis:

Mahalanobis was born on 29th June 1893 in West Bengal and graduated from King’s College, Cambridge. He is known for his pioneering work in statistics and is most often remembered by the “Mahalanobis distance”, a way of measurement used in population studies and was one of the members of the first Planning Commission of India.

He was also awarded one of the highest civilian awards, the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India.

India’s second five year plan (1956-1961) which laid heavy emphasis on the development of the public sector and rapid industrialization also followed the Mr Mahalanobis model which emphasizes the importance of building a strong domestic consumption goods sector, which was crucial to the nascent Indian economy and had a lasting impact on the nation’s development.

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis also taught at Presidency College (Kolkata) where, in 1931, he was responsible for founding the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

He further laid the foundations of Indian statistical system through the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO)

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, a man of diverse scientific interests combined other disciplines like anthropology, economics, physics to develop better approaches in the field of population studies, consumption and crop yields. Later on, he collaborated with both top economists and mathematicians from around the world.

He died on June 28, 1972, just a day ahead of his 79th birthday.

Interesting information…showing PCM in good light! Isn’t it?

But then I read a tweet by Anand Ranganathan – author and Right Wing proponent where he posted an extract of article written by Subramanian Swamy – the controversial politician, Ph D in Economics from Harvard, and later Professor at Harvard, and the man who is known to have fought with almost everybody. Swamy is known for his grudges and his philosophy, in his own words, has been – “I give as good as I get”.

And what Swamy has written about PCM puts things in totally different perspective. Here is the extract:

It has been my lot throughout my life to be confronted and to confront the corrupt and powerful. As a student of my Masters degree in the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta, the then Chairman P. C. Mahalanobis took a dislike to me because he and my father were rivals in the government statistical organisation. Mahalanobis was a corrupt leftist. I had come to the ISI as an innocent student with a brilliant first class B.A. Honors degree in mathematics. But Mahalanobis’ dislike of me filtered down to the professors. For no reason except to please him, they began failing me in every subject. A ruined career stared me in the face. So I decided to retaliate (a foolish resolve on first thought, since I was then a 19 year old student facing the darling of the Left, USSR, and Nehru: P. C. Mahalanobis). But I dropped everything, parked myself in the library, and read whatever Mahalanobis had written as a scholar. I found that his celebrated Second Five Year Plan model, the so-called Mahalanobis model, was actually stolen from M. A. Fiedman, an obscure Soviet economist of the 1930s. This discovery I could not use against Mahalanobis however, because neither the USSR nor the then docile Indian press would take notice. But I discovered that Mahalanobis’ magnum opus something called “Fractile Analysis”, had recently been published in a scholarly international journal. That research was, I found worthless when scrutinized under the modern microscope of modern mathematics. It was, literally, well-known earlier research re-hashed.

Mathematics laid bare the plagiarism. Mahalanobis was too big to be challenged by other Indian scholars. But I had nothing to lose.

Naturally when I wrote out my critique and sent it to the journal, it was hot stuff. The journal published it and asked Mahalanobis for a rejoinder. He had none. His reputation abroad was therefore in tatters. He never recovered from it. A 19 year old writing out complex mathematical equations was a novelty for Harvard’s Economics Department to whose notice the journal article came. They offered me a scholarship for a Ph. D. course. My ruined career prospects did a 180 degree turn! I never looked back thereafter. Had I not been cornered like a cat, I would never have ventured to demolish Mahalanobis.



So the roots of Swamy’s fiercely combative approach and legacy of taking of fights with everybody lie in his encounter with PCM! Quite a trivia…


I am a “Xennial”, How About You?

You must have heard about Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z. I knew these categories of generations at high level but didn’t know the exact definition. So I found it out. Here it goes:

All Generations

Gen Y is also called as “millennials”. Many parents of millennials belong to Baby boomer generation. This generation is more likely to lean liberal in their political ideology, less likely to practice religion than previous generations, and grew up in the age of technology and therefore are very versed in technology.

I was born at the fag end of Generation X and beginning of Generation Y – but, technically, as per above definition I fall under Gen X. But there was another classification I came across – Gen X as people born between 1965-1977. So by this definition I am not part of Gen X.

Gen Y

And I am not part of Gen Y too. So who am I? Terrible identity crisis to live with…right?

Not really…in fact I now belong to the exclusive club – a micro-generation of people born between 1977 and 1983! They are called “Xennials“.

The term was coined in 2014, by Sarah Stankorb in Good Magazine. Merriam-Webster even labeled “xennial” one of its “words we’re watching.”

So what is a xennial?


It’s an interesting classification and nicely captures the amazing paradigm shift that this micro-generation witnessed. For example, refer the last two lines in the above image. They experienced analogue childhood, and a digital adulthood – so true!

Here are some more generic traits of xennials across the world:

  • Xennials were the first generation to grow up with household computers and have internet access. (‘You’ve got mail!’)
  • Xennials are naturals at social media, though they grew up without Facebook, Twitter, or even MySpace (the ancestor of FB)
  • Many Xennials didn’t get their first cell phone until they were in their 20s. Instead, they had to call their friends’ homes and talk to their parents first
  • By the time Xennials were 20 years old, the music industry had changed completely. Instead of buying cassette tapes, you could download songs on Napster
  • Xennials may have been hit hardest by the recession, because of a combination of student loan debt, job losses, and other factors

This is so true! I can relate with each of them.

At home, we Indians who are also xennials make up a very special group who have witnessed many great transformations. Let me recount some of these:

  • We have seen the period before satellite Cable TV and when Government owned Door Darshan was the only channel.
  • We have seen the period when you had to wait for several days or weeks to get a two-wheeler
  • Having a telephone (landline) at home was a big status symbol. The telephone used to be wrapped up in some cover and was cleaned as if it is a piece of art!
  • Very few had a PC in their home. It was a real luxury
  • Many people had a video game console (Mario and Tennis games etc)
  • 1.2 MB Floppy disk was the only media available to carry data. It had enough space to save 3-4 good quality images, or many more poor quality ones. The choice was yours!
  • We used to ride bicycle!
  • Some of us (like myself) still used a fountain nib pen and disliked ball point pen (Reynolds) and absolutely hated the gel pen
  • Sachin Tendulkar had just arrived! I remember reading about this “wonder boy” in Sports magazine.
  • Vishwanathan Anand was the only Chess grandmaster and was synonymous with Chess in India! (This was not as typical, but since I used to play chess I knew this)
  • We witnessed the rise and rise of each Khan – first Aamir Khan with QSQT, then Salman with MPK and slightly later that obnoxious, arrogant nobody called Shah Rukh in Deewana and Baazigar.
  • Jhankar Beats and T-Series ruined the soul of songs but were immensely popular
  • Hawa Hawa was a craze. So was Ek Do Teen and Oye Oye and few such songs every year
  • Kumar Sanu won 5 straight Filmfare awards! Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayana, Alka Yagnik and Kavita Krishnamurthy were the “Kishore, Rafi, Lata, Asha” of that generation. The default music composers of any movie were either Nadeem Shravan or Anu Malik
  • Trend of movie acronyms had just started – QSQT, MPK, HAHK, DDLJ and so on
  • For Marathi people, any movie was incomplete without either one of the four – Ashok Saraf, Laxmikant Berde, Sachin, Mahesh Kothare.
  • And many more such things…which also changed quickly in subsequent 5-7 years


For some reason if you have forgotten your birth year, then you can take this quiz to check if you are a xennial!

Quiz: Are you a xennial?


Larry Ellison USC Commencement Speech | USC Commencement 2016

I have learnt so much from so many different people. They have influenced me and shaped my thoughts in many ways. Some of these people I like from Business/Management domain are:

  • Charlie Munger
  • Warren Buffett
  • Steve Jobs
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Henry Ford
  • Elon Musk
  • Rajiv Bajaj
  • Ajay Piramal

One person I have not followed much is Larry Ellison. I first noticed him when I read his quote which I blogged in 2007. I haven’t following him much since then. But I recently came across his commencement speech at USC and liked it a lot.

Check if you like it too. By the way he was 73 years old at the time of this address!

Good Read: On Remittances

If you follow the Economics of emerging countries you would know that remittances from other countries back to the home country is a significant contributor in the development of that country!

India has a huge population and equally huge number of migrants to various countries. There are regional pockets and affiliations based on decades of history of migrating to specific nations. For example, a lot of Gujaratis have migrated to Africa (remember Mahatma Gandhi?). Kerala continues to send thousands of people to the Middle-East. Tamil Nadu does the same for South-East Asia. Punjabis have made Canada as their second home! (And we, the Marathi community, are still reluctant to migrate to other parts of India…)


I came across an interesting article in the Times of India (yes, that rotten thing called newspaper). Here it is:


  • Remittances to India from abroad rose in 2017 and touched $69 billion
  • Outflows of remittances from India too continued to rise reaching $5.7 billion, according to a World Bank report
  • The data shows that Indians constitute the world’s largest diaspora population, making it the largest source of labour for world market

NEW DELHI: Remittances to India from abroad rose in 2017 after declining for two consecutive years and touched $69 billion, still a little short of the $70.4 billion reached in 2014. Outflows of remittances from India too continued to rise reaching $5.7 billion, according to a World Bank report.

The 9.9% increase in remittance inflows in 2017 was enough to ensure that India comfortably retained its long held position of the largest destination of remittances from international migrants, according to the Bank’s report titled ‘Migration and Remittance Outlook’, released late on Monday.

Of the $5.7 billion sent home by foreigners working in India, Bangladesh alone accounted for over $4 billion or about 71%.

The data also shows that Indians constitute the world’s largest diaspora population, making it the largest source of labour for the world market.


In 2017, there were 16.4 million Indians living abroad. Mexico and Russia had 11.9 million and 11 million people respectively working in foreign countries. China has the fourth largest overseas population at slightly over 10 million.

Although Bangladesh and Pakistan too have significant migrant populations, this doesn’t get reflected in their remittance receipts. Legal international migration is often seen as a rather costly economic investment and hence only relatively well-off sections of any country’s population are able to afford it.

The increase in income levels in China and India and the ever increasing presence of the expat community in the Western world helps augment migration from these countries to the West. China received $64 billion from its overseas citizens.

This was the world’s second highest and the two Asian neighbours accounted for more than one-fifth of the global remittances inflows. They were followed by the Philippines, Mexico and France.

Of the 131 countries from where India received remittances, UAE contributed the highest, $13.8 billion or about 20% of India’s total receipts.
The West Asian country was followed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UK. There were 12 countries from which India received in excess of $1 billion each. Among them, six are in West Asia, the region accounting for 55.6% of India’s total remittance receipts.

Other than Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka received 17.9% and 9.1% respectively of remittances flowing out from India. Thus, these three neighbours got about 98% of remittances from India. India was the largest source of remittances to Bangladesh, accounting for about 30% of its total overseas remittances

This article reminded me of a wonderful TED Talk on Remittances. You may also like it:


Good Read: How Long Is A Quarter? 6 Months If You Are This Indian “Startup”

I came across a couple of interesting articles on Reliance Jio (Mukesh Ambani’s $38 billion “start-up”) suggesting that the accounting practices (just like a lot of other things at the Ambani Group) could be dubious. I want to write something on valuation and Indian equity markets since a long time…meanwhile do read this article.

Ambani’s Mobile Startup Packs 6-Month Sales Into a Quarter

It is not clear if it is accounting fraud or just “massaging the numbers” within the permissible accounting rules. But this definitely calls for a closer look at the Reliance Industries performance.

Good Read: Making the Jump from Millionaire to Billionaire, and How Long That Takes

Here is an intereting Infographic: Making the Jump from Millionaire to Billionaire, and How Long That Takes


Some very good insights based on this…will write some other day.

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