Saturday, January 03, 2009

A new year has begun

The new year, 2009, brings with it a lot of the gloom that 2008 was a characteristic of: economic slow-down, inflation, share-market collapse, terror attacks - even the 1st of January was not free from it, there being three bomb explosions somewhere in Assam -and so many other things. At the same time, the new year, in re-inventing itself every 365-odd days, also brings with it the hope of a better tomorrow; a tomorrow that is already the present for all of us. What a wonderful word the word "present" is! Today is a present to us from Father Time. We must make the best of it!

We, in India, saw the world through glasses that were gleaming and speck-free in the month of January; the stock market was above all previous highs, the Sensex touching a phenomenal 21000 in the middle of that month. From then, until the end of the year, we had travelled down to sub-10000 levels, having touched a bottom close to 7800 some time in October. The world economy drove the sensex down, gold and dollar prices up, and industrial and general growth indices near rock-bottom as the sub-prime crisis took with it huge banks and non-banking financial institutions; several private companies also went under, especailly auto manufacturers - the erstwhile giants of the auto business like Chrysler, Gen. Motors, etc.

There were tremors and rumours for sure: at one time, the second biggest bank in India (and the largest in the private sector), the ICICI bank was itself under a cloud and people rushed to withdraw their money from it. This rumour, like many others, proved to be unfounded, but it is also true that the Government of India, the Department of Treasury and the Reserve Bank of India had to announce a slew of measures - not once, not twice, but over three times, to keep the market sentiment in a positive direction; the last such package was announced only yesterday. We do, therefore, expect the stock market to open positive the coming Monday, i.e. on the 5th of January.

The terror attacks in Mumbai were timed at the worst time: they were repulsed successfully, but there were no winners, since the spirit of Mumbai was almsot trod under the feet of fundamentalists. Over 180 people , including tourists from abroad and several decorated police officers, died in the 60-hour mayhem that occurred between the 26th and the 29th of November, 2008. Stocks of the hotel industries fell, esp. those that were affected in the attacks, viz. the stocks of Indian Hotels Ltd. (Taj Hotel is a part of their offering) and the East India Hotels Ltd. (the Oberoi, Mumbai, is from their stable).

Now, over a month later, these stocks have recovered, as has the stock market generally, as it hovers near 10000 once again. Will it breach this mark decisively this time? I don't know, but I sure hope so.

I bought a handsfree bluetooth device a few days ago over the net through ebay India. Redeeming a discount coupon that I had received earlier, the bluetooth cost me just over 730 INR. The first instrument that was sent to me from the Delhi trader whose product I had bought was defective - not working. I got in touch with the owner and he asked me to ship it back to them! I did, at a cost of Rs. 80/=, but thankfully, the new piece arrived within 5 days, and it is working perfectly! As I write this, I am listening to a popular Hindi song from the seventies called "Chudi nahin ye mera dil hai, dekho, dekho, toote na ..."   

Inas, my elder daughter, whose name appears sporadically in this blog, has gone for a "waiting" today evening,  and I must go and fetch her at or about mid-night. Hannah is studying hard for the upcoming examinations that will start, for her, in mid-January. Muharram is going on, and soon, will pass.  Nishrin must be busy in the parlour, as usual. Dad must be at home, watching some or the other TV serial - his favourite pastime. Mom must have gone to the mosque for the "maghrib" prayers and the sermon thereafter. 

Life, in this way, goes on ...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great entry there, T! Let's just hope the economy gets better soon, atleast by the time we teenagers make it to the job-world. Say hi to your family for me. Have a great year ahead!