Monday, July 6, 2009

Roger Federer wins 15th Grand Slam title

Roger Federer has won Wimbledon finals against Andy Roddick in five dramatic sets and regained the title he lost to Rafael Nadal last year. This is his sixth Wimbledon title and 15th Grand Slam title. He has also broken the record of Pete Sampras. The Swiss Champion Tennis player won 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 16-14 and surpassed Sampras’s 14 Grand Slam wins. He has also become world’ number one tennis player. After losing the finals Roddick said “I just want to say congratulations to Roger, he deserves everything he gets” Federer is also the only player in tennis history to win the same two Grand Slam tournaments back to back for four consecutive years (2004-07).
Grand Slam Titles Record Holders::
15 – Roger Federer
14 – Pete Sampras
12 – Roy Emerson
11 – Rod Laver
11 – Bjorn Borg
10 – Bill Tilden
8 – Ken Rosewall
8 – Ivan Lendl
8 – Andre Agassi
8 – Jimmy Connors
8 – Fred Perry

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What is economic recession?

These days everybody is talking about some recession. However most of them don’t know much about it. Just they know that the world economy is suffering from recession. Today I will discuss what exactly is economic recession. If you refer any economics book, there you will see that the word ‘recession’ means reduction of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for at least two quarters. Let’s see the official meaning of recession from the United States-based National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). It defines economic recession as
“a significant decline in the economic activity spread across the country, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP growth, real personal income, employment (non-farm payrolls), industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”
There is one more term called depression which is more severe than a recession. Depression is the extreme case of recession, a depression is normally characterized by abnormal increases in unemployment, restriction of credit, price deflation or hyperinflation, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations. The most well-known depression is the Great Depression of 1929 that affected most of the economies in the world for around ten years. The depression began during the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
But let’s forget the depression, focus on recession, better say the latest recession which has created troubles in our lives. The most important reasons for economic recession of 2008-2009 are high oil prices, high food prices, and a substantial credit crisis leading to the bankruptcy of large and well established investment banks like lehman brothers as well as commercial banks in many nations around the world. These fluctuations in world economy has caused increased unemployment, high inflation etc. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has predicted that at least 20 million jobs will have been lost by the end of 2009 due to the crisis – mostly in “construction, real estate, financial services and the auto sector” – bringing world unemployment above 200 million.
So I think you will be interested to know what has caused this major economic upheaval in the world? What is main reason behind falling share markets across the globe and bankruptcy of major banks? Who is responsible for this? Let’s see.
Boom in US real estates
A few years back there was big boom in US real estate industry. The reason behind this boom was low interest rates on housing loans and many other easy credit solutions. Actually it became quite easy for US people to take home loans. As a result of this, more and more people took home loans and thus the demands for property increased which ultimately increased the home prices. Also, there was enough money to lend to potential borrowers, so the loan agencies relaxed the loan conditions to increase their market base. And they did the terrible mistake as they completely ignored the customer’s repaying capacity while giving the home loans.
Real estate boom and overbuilding of houses finally led to a surplus inventory of homes, causing home prices to decline beginning from the summer of 2006. Once housing prices started depreciating in many parts of the U.S., refinancing became more difficult. Home owners, who were expecting to get a refinance on the basis of increased home prices, found themselves unable to re-finance and began to default on loans as their loans reset to higher interest rates and payment amounts. In the US, an estimated 8.8 million homeowners – nearly 10.8% of total homeowners – had zero or negative equity as of March 2008, meaning their homes are worth less than their mortgage.
Sales volume (units) of new homes dropped by 26.4% in 2007 as compare to 2006. Further, a record nearly 4 million unsold existing homes were for sale including nearly 2.9 million that were vacant. This excess supply of home inventory placed significant downward pressure on prices. As prices declined, more homeowners were at risk of default and foreclosure.
Arrival of Financial investment banks in real estate boom
During the booming period, these sub-prime loans became lucrative part of their investment portfolio for lenders as they were expected to yield a very high return in view of the increasing home prices. Also the interest rate charged on sub-prime loans was about 2% higher than the interest on prime loans due to the involvement of higher risk. Inspite of the risk involved lenders were confident that they would get a handsome return on their investment as a sub-prime borrower will continue to pay his loans installment, the lender would get higher interest on the loans. If a sub-prime borrower could not pay his loan and defaulted, the lender would have the option to sell his home to get his money back. So there was very less risk in this sector as in both the situations the Sub-prime lenders were in profit. The sub-prime loan market thus became a fast growing business in US.
Most of the big investment banks heavily bought these loans (known as Mortgage Backed Securities, MBS) to diversify their investment portfolios. Due heavy buying of Mortgage Backed Securities of sub-prime loans by major American and European Banks, the problem, which was once confined to US propagated into other countries.
As the home prices started declining in the US, sub-prime borrowers found themselves in a big dilemma. Their house prices were decreasing and the loan interest on these houses was increasing. Now they could not manage a second mortgage on their home so it became very difficult for them to pay the higher interest rate. Most of them became defaulter on their home loans and vacated the house.
Since the home prices were falling rapidly. The lending companies, when they went into the market to sell the house to recover the loan amount, found that the loan amount exceeded the total cost of the house. This caused major losses to Citigroup ($55.1 billion) and Merrill Lynch ($52.2 billion).
So this is how the current economic recession started.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

TATA Nano – The One Lakh Car

So friends the world’s cheapest car is out in the market with plenty of great features. It’s Nano, TATA’s Nano. It will go on sale later this year. Tata chairman Ratan Tata has called this car as People’s Car at the Auto Expo in New Delhi. It has been designed will meet all safety norms and all foreign environmental criteria
The 4-seater Nano, with an engine around 625cc, will have a dealer price of only 100,000 rupees ($2,500), about half the cost of the cheapest car on today’s market, which is maruti 800. .

However it didn’t happen in one night. Tata planned the car years ago as a safer and more affordable alternative for the millions of middle-class Indians.
These are some specifications of Nano :
Length: 3.1 metres Height: 1.6 metres Width: 1.5 metres
Engine: Rear-wheel drive, 2-cylinder, 623 cc, multi-point fuel-injection petrol engine. Engine is rear mounted. Tata said it was the first time a 2-cylinder gasoline engine was being used in a car with single balancer shaft.
Safety: Tata said the Nano has an all sheet-metal body, with safety features such as crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat-belts, strong seats and anchorages, and the rear tailgate glass bonded to the body. Tyres are tubeless.
Environment: Tata said tailpipe emission performance exceeded current regulatory requirements, and the Nano had a lower overall pollution level than two-wheelers made in India. It said high fuel efficiency (20 km/litre) ensured low carbon dioxide emissions.

Just to let you know in india it has been named as 'LAKHTAKIYA' which means 1 lakh bucks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Coorg - Unexplored India Incredible India

We were planning a break from hectic daily life and someone suggested COORG, a hill station situated near Mysore. It was really a trip to remember in the land blessed by Mother Nature. The main town is known as madikeri or mercara, with small towns like kushalnagar, virajpet etc.

I had done extensive googling for coorg and somehow was able to get contact no. for some hotels and homestays as well. We had two options for accommodations over there.

1. Hotels in madikeri / kushalnagar / virajpet.
2. Homestay in coffee plantations.

I suggest homestay; the homestay I booked for myself was Bethri Riverside Homestay (Ph. 08274254602), on the way from virajpet to madikeri at 10 kms from virajpet. It is situated in front of a river in coffee plantation of Mr. Boppanna. The only thing that you need to plan about homestays is their charge (1500-2000 bucks per day).

We started from Bangalore on Friday night by Airavat KSRTC bus 11 pm and thought of reaching there by morning 6 – 7 am however the journey was around 5 hours and we reached virajpet by 4 am. We decided to stay in virajpet till morning as my homestay was some 10 kms from there. We managed a nice deluxe room in a nearby hotel for 400 bucks.

Accommodation Alternative: You can easily find budget hotels in madikeri around bus stand (400-500 bucks daily). If it is not peak season, you can search hotel after landing there else you should have advance booking.

Travel Alternative (Recommended): Start by first bus in morning from Bangalore. Better to take own\rented car to reach homestay\madikeri by noon and stay there for that day. Roam around the homestay and enjoy the nature. Take nice sleep for next two very hectic days.

DAY 1:
We were tired of journey so had a nice sleep till 9 am. The moment we opened the door of my room’s balcony, I found myself in a whole new world of nature at its best. We roamed around in virajpet and then started for our homestay by 12 noon. We managed to get auto from virajpet to Bethri Riverside Homestay for 100 bucks. The homestay is maintained by Mr. and Mrs. Boppanna. They offered us nice lunch having traditional kodava food. By 3 pm we went to river in front of homestay and spent couple of hours sitting on the stones in the shallow river. All you guys planning to find some romantic place won’t find better alternative.

The problem that you may face in some homestays is mobile network coverage (BSNL is available in many places though). We too didn’t find it so planned to go either Madikeri or Virajpet for making phone calls. As Madikeri was in our next 2 days destinations so we decide for virajpet. We walked to main road, some 1 km from homestay and found an auto easily. There we made our phone calls and went to an old church which was well decorated for X-Mas. After this we came back to homestay by 8 pm. They served dinner by 9 pm, Guys don’t miss kodava cuisine, for sure you will find many new dishes.

DAY 2:
We woke up at 7 am and got ready for a morning walk. The climate was very chilled with dense fog making it hard to saw anything far. We passed coffee estates one after the other and clicked many snaps. Morning in a coffee estate was simply fabulous, must for anyone visiting coorg. By 9 am we were back to our homestay and got ready for our expedition.

We hired a taxi for 1500 bucks for whole day. You can easily find buses too but they take too much time, so taxi is recommended. We started at 10am and planned following destinations for Day 2 as they are all in close proximity.

1. Dubare Elephant Camp: It is 28 km from madikeri, so start early if you plan to watch elephant bath which starts at 9am. We reached there by 11:30am so missed it. Though we got elephant ride (100 bucks per head) for which time schedules are 11am-1pm and 4pm-5pm. After that half an hour journey to our next destination…..

2. Tibetan monastery: This is a must watch for all visitors. You enter a whole new world of Tibetan culture. Plan to have sufficient time to spend in monastery compound. You can also do shopping at the Tibetan market outside the monastery. By 3 pm we had our lunch in kushalnagar and went ahead for another 20 minutes ride to …...

3. Cauvery Nisargdham: It is bamboo forest on island sort of places surrounded by river Cauvery. You can have elephant rides here at much economic rates (10 bucks per head). Nice place to spend evening especially for kids. Next place was madikeri, an hour of journey through mesmerizing hilly coffee estates.

4. Raja Seat. It is located in madikeri near to bus stand. It is a garden with a beautiful scenic view of the valley. Moreover you can see musical fountain show, which is worth watching. Front of it you have a Toy Train, attraction for kids.

After this we started way back to our homestay, another 10 km from madikeri. By 9pm we were there and had a sumptuous dinner at homestay and planned for next day before going to sleep.

Alternative Day 2 (Recommended): Start early morning to reach Dubare camp by 9 am, then go to Monastery and add Harangi dam in to your plan, thereafter have lunch in kushalnagar and go to Nisargdham and be there till evening.

Day 3:
Next morning was as magnificent as the day before, chirping of birds and smell of fresh coffee added a new flavor to it. We had our tea and went for morning walk into the estate by 7am till 9am. By 10 am we packed our luggage, as we have to catch our bus in night from madikeri. We started after having another nice and heavy breakfast. Our first stop was……

1. Talacauvery: 48 kms from madikeri, it took us one and half hour steep mountain ride via Bhagamandalam. It is believed to be birth place for river Cauvery. After visiting pond and temple we climbed up 1000 steps on nearby hill and found amazing view of coorg.

2. Bhagamandalam: on the way back from Talacauvery we stopped here, place where 3 rivers are believed to meet, place of religious interest only, can be skipped.

3. Abbey falls: This waterfall is very near to madikeri. Nice water fall to watch, only thing we missed was bathing there as it was not allowed. You need to walk 1 km or so from main road through a beautiful way down to waterfall. I wish to see this waterfall in rainy season, hopefully next visit.

4. Omkareshwar temple: Next stop was omkareshwar temple, 1 km from bus stand. Only temple of its kind, having architecture of mosque, its worth watching.

Our taxi dropped us at bus stand by 6:30 pm, where we kept our luggage in a cloak room. Our bus was at 11:15 pm, so we went to Raja Seat to spend evening over there. After that we had our dinner and roamed around in market before catching KSRTC Airavat bus for Bangalore.

Alternative (Recommended): Start with Omkareshwar temple in the morning and then go to abbey falls. Move ahead for Kakkabe and Iguthappa temple. After this have lunch and go to Bhagamandalam and Talacauvery. Evenings will surely be more pleasant and lovely at Talacauvery, and then you can come back to madikeri and spent sometime at Raja seat before leaving for Bangalore.

I hope this review will surely be helpful to you in planning a memorable coorg trip.

Bon Vo……..

Friday, April 13, 2007

Minors revisited......

Here comes the worst part of my engineering ………………… Exams, minors are back and this times they seem to have sharpen their axe. In last four years of engineering they have always horrified us ,something that suddenly comes and break smooth running life ride. Suddenly some study sites appear on laptop screens …….orkut is still minimized ( don’t worry………hehe). Fortunately these are our last minors which works like a feel good breeze. Subjects like Embedded systems , distributed systems and Neural networks are more like rocket sciences rather than something related to computer science. Evenings are bit changed in these minor emergency time…….guys are found at xerox shops tryin to break DA SYLLABUS CODE. Anyways night outs are again the best part of minors and maggi is undoubtedly its lifeline.

The only good thing about these minors is that fortunately we are not detained this time in any of subjects due to short attendance. Though attendance is not so crucial for more almost all teachers but somehow students are always detained in the name of attendance. Last time even I missed one of my minors due to my interviews. So this time I have to give an additional exam to compensate my previous sins …… hehe. Anyways we are optimistic cult and are always ready to celebrate end of minors ……. till next exams are forced on us. However these are our last minors of engineering and after this we have much awaited ……….. last final exams are waiting for us.

Monday, March 26, 2007

My favourite lines


When the things go wrong,as they sometimes will,
When the roads you are trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low,and the debts are high,
And you want to smile ,but you have to sigh,
When the care is pressing you down a bit ,
Rest if you must,but don't you quit.

Life is a queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failures turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
It's when things seems worse,that you must not quit.