Linkfest:Nov 19, 2012

Some stuff I am reading today morning:

Learning to love volatility (NassimTaleb)

Three positive signs in a dismal market (TRB)

Why the fiscal cliff could be a big deal (Moneygame)

Luck and skill untangled: The science of success (Wired)

Will Gautam Adani get it right? (Mint)

From Ponty to Monty (ET)

The Patel factor in Gujarat elections (BusinessLine)

The 11 lessons that 10 VCs taught me (Rodinhoods)

Obituary: Bal Thackeray (NYTimes)

The history of the Shiv Sena-A Communist perspective (CPIM)

Its eerie in Mumbai

The shops are closed.

Milk booths have run out of milk.

People are removing the Diwali lights.

Other than the main roads, there is no traffic on the roads.

Everyone is expecting a bandh on Monday.

Non-Mumbaikars would never understand the hold Balasaheb Thackeray had over Mumbai.

Hell, he changed the name of the city from Bombay to Mumbai.

Truly a tiger has died today.

Cigars & Rudyard Kipling

Was at a mall yesterday.Wanted to buy some cigars but wife wouldn’t let me.

Was reminded of this great poem “The Betrothed” by Rudyard Kipling

Open the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.

We quarrelled about Havanas — we fought o’er a good cheroot,
And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.

Open the old cigar-box — let me consider a space;
In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie’s face.

Maggie is pretty to look at — Maggie’s a loving lass,
But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass.

There’s peace in a Larranaga, there’s calm in a Henry Clay;
But the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away —

Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown —
But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o’ the talk o’ the town!

Maggie, my wife at fifty — grey and dour and old —
With never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold!

And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are,
And Love’s torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar —

The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket —
With never a new one to light tho’ it’s charred and black to the socket!

Open the old cigar-box — let me consider a while.
Here is a mild Manila — there is a wifely smile.

Which is the better portion — bondage bought with a ring,
Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string?

Counsellors cunning and silent — comforters true and tried,
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride?

Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close,

This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
With only a Suttee’s passion — to do their duty and burn.

This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.

The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.

I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall.

I will scent ’em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides.

For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o’ Teen.

And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year;

And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
Of stums that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight.

And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o’-the-Wisp of Love.

Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire?

Open the old cigar-box — let me consider anew —
Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you?

A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.

Light me another Cuba — I hold to my first-sworn vows.
If Maggie will have no rival, I’ll have no Maggie for Spouse!

Book Review:Whatever the odds

This post is in continuation of my Book Review series (see here)

I love reading business biographies as it gives a great insight into how businesses operate.

This book “Whatever the odds” is written by KP Singh, the Chairman of DLF.

The author gives a candid account of his personal life and loves but shies away from revealing the “trade secrets” of his business dealings.After the Robert Vadra expose, one can understand why.

Yet if one reads between the lines, one gets the sense of how business is done in India.The influence of politics and politicians to make/mar business fortunes is chronicled well.

I also liked the way KP Singh handled some tough situations-from getting out of the Army, to evicting a difficult tenant, handling farmer’s egos etc

There is a beautiful verse in the book which HD Shourie told KP Singh when his fortunes were at the nadir and he was fighting for his survival:

Kunde Mukhalif se na ghabarye eh akab


Yeh to aata hai tujhe uncha uthane ke liye


O Eagle, do not get scared by the gutsy storm coming from the opposite side


It is coming only to lift you higher


I would recommend this book to readers jinko samajne ke liye ishaara hi kaafi hai !!

Site Review:Fundoo Professor

This post is in continuation of my site review series (see here).

Fundoo Professor is a blog written by well known investor Sanjay Bakshi

Sanjay teaches at MDI Gurgaon , which probably explains the name of his blog.

Sanjay is committed to the Munger/Buffett investing school and the blog reflects that.

Some of his posts are excellent and worth rereading again and again.Some of the posts that fall into that category are Vantage Point,Flirting with Floats etc

He has simplified his style of writing-using folksy humor,pictures etc.Sometimes he discusses his stock picks.For example, he is a big believer in Ajay Piramal and Piramal Enterprises.

Would recommend this blog to readers who have a value investing bent of mind.

Check it out for yourself !!