Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I did my Engineering from VIT - Pune in 1991 and after working for 7 years in Pune thereafter, stayed away for the next 7, before coming back to Pune in 2005. I remember our college days, when we used to love watching a few good English movies at Alka and Rahul. We must have watched "Mackenna's Gold" each year (yes, this movie played every year of my engineering) and were devout fans of Die-hard. Another such movie was "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly".

Fans will recall the memorable climax scene where our protagonist (not sure if he was really portrayed as one, but we liked to believe that he was) gets into a shooting match with Bad and Ugly. The sheer tension of the scene, the uncertainity, the painful suspense, and the gripping finale.

Good wins!

I see a similar drama unfolding in the real estate market of Pune today. When I got back in 2005, properties in Kothrud were quoting over Rs. 3000 per square foot. And I thought they were expensive! Today they hover around 5 - 6000. I never found value there. I found it utterly foolish and risky that working professionals like me should leverage 80% of their current income over the next 20 years in the hope that salaries would increase and the pains would ease. Everyone told me that real-estate prices can only go one way - North. Well, that's what the Americans thought before sub-prime hit them and we faced DOW minus 777 yesterday.

Back then, banks were lending at 7.25% interest rates. The low EMI and additional liqudity tricked buyers into taking on credit risks without any thought of a possible rise in the interest rate. Many well-wishers told me - prices can only move north and the interest rate - South. Well, I thank the "Sanskar" of my father who taught me extreme caution in borrowing. If you loose your own money, you become poor. If you loose borrowed money, you become bankrupt and effectively a slave to a system which will eke every last penny out of you till the day you die.

I have seen hardships of people as the interest grew. All these days, our great finance minister felt that a 5 fold rise in property prices meant a 5 fold rise in wealth. Well, I think different. If "Roti, Kapda aur Makaan" are the primary needs of humans, then if I were an economist, I would add the real estate prices to the Consumer Price Index and count it in inflation. Had the governments of the world seen it this way, they would have arrested this un-real real-estate growth in time. But that was not to be.

So this finds us in the position of the climax of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. As a long waiting buyer, I am waiting for prices to fall. The Builder is waiting for the Government to make a move by reducing interest to spur demand. The Government is helpless. A decrease in Interest rates could mean inflation would run away to newer highs. Not reducing interest means many builders could get wiped off. Considering the well known nexus between the builders and politicians, the problem becomes even more complex. Add to this complexity, the prospect of facing the electorate in an election year with a run-away inflation.

The Climax of The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

Each waiting to see.....
Who blinks first?!!!

Watch this space closely. The drama will unfold.


Vishwajeet Rajwaday

The author is a sales and marketing professional originating from Pune. He also writes about his profession on his personal blog - http://spiritofsales.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 19, 2008

How Good is your Road Safety Knowledge - download the 170 questions e-quiz

For some time now I have been working towards making available an Interactive road safety quiz database for Indian road users. Here is the entire quiz database of 170 questions available as two interactive quiz e-book's to test your knowledge of road safety related issues. This is a free downloadable resource for all who are preparing to sit the theory driving test as a part of licensing procedure. The latter is rare as most states in India still have not implemented a mandatory theory test for learner drivers. Hope is that Road Traffic Authorities in India use the above as a starting point for implementing a mandatory theory test for all new learner drivers. This resource is also likely to be a perfect way of refreshing the knowledge base of those who have been driving for several years. The 170 questions are available as two separate e-books. Basic Road Safety Quiz / test (67 questions in all) - As an exe file or as a zipped file (under 1mb). Advanced Road safety Quiz / test (103 questions in all) - exe file or as a zipped file (just over 1mb). Feel free to forward and share this resource with everyone.
Adhiraj Joglekar

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

पहिला मराठी ब्लॉग

नमस्कार ,
हा माझा पहिला मराठी ब्लॉग आहे । इथून पुढे नहामी मराठी लिहन्याचा प्रयन्त करणार आहे ।