My best friend

A best friend is someone whom you can go back to anytime, yes, even after a fight. I so realised that my best friend whom I have dumped many a times owing to lack of understanding or time, is still waiting there for me. Hence, I believe, it is time for me to go back and spend some time. The reason why the previous sentence hangs in there and is not complete is that the list is long and typing it out would have wasted my precious time. Hence, here you go:–

I plan to start crossing out books from this list as and when I read. Feel free to add to my list. And I do not think am a big fan of Harry Potter, so those ones might just stay there in the list!

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis

10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling

23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling

24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling

25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

27. Middlemarch, George Eliot

28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving

29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck

30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson

32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett

34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute

38. Persuasion, Jane Austen

39. Dune, Frank Herbert

40. Emma, Jane Austen

41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery

42. Watership Down, Richard Adams

43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

46. Animal Farm, George Orwell

47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian

50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck

53. The Stand, Stephen King

54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

56. The BFG, Roald Dahl

57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome

58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell

59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman

62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden

63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough

65. Mort, Terry Pratchett

66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles

68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding

71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind

72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

74. Matilda, Roald Dahl

75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding

76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt

77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins

78. Ulysses, James Joyce

79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens

80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

81. The Twits, Roald Dahl

82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

83. Holes, Louis Sachar

84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake

85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson

87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons

89. Magician, Raymond E Feist

90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac

91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo

92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel

93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett

94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

95. Katherine, Anya Seton

96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer

97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez

98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson

99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot

100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie.

Which one of these have you read?

The Indian Economic Survey – highlights

Here are the highlights:–

  • Indian economy is estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2011-12 mainly due to weakening industrial growth. The Economic Survey 2011-12, however predicts 7.6% GDP growth in 2012-13 and 8.6% in 2013-14. India remains one of the fastest growing economies of the world as all major countries including the fast growing emerging economies are seeing a significant slowdown.
  • The services sector’s share in GDP has climbed from 58% in 2010-11 to 59% in 2011-12 with a growth rate of 9.4%. Agriculture and allied sectors are estimated to achieve a growth rate of 2.5% in 2011-12. The industrial sector has performed poorly, retreating to a 27% share of the GDP. Overall growth during April-December 2011 reached 3.6% compared to 8.3% in the corresponding period of the previous year.
  • Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI) was high during most of the current fiscal year, though by year end there has been a clear slowdown in price rise.
  • Monetary policy was tightened by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to control inflation and curb inflationary expectations.
  • The Economic Survey expects the growth rate of real GDP to pick up to 7.6% in 2012-13 and faster beyond that.
  • Gross capital formation during the third quarter of 2011-12 as a ratio of GDP was at 30%, down from 32% one year ago.
  • Preliminary calculations suggest that the growth rate of GDP in 2013-14 will be 8.6%. These projections are based on assumptions regarding factors like normal monsoons, reasonably stable international prices, particularly oil prices, and global growth somewhere between where it now stands and 0.5% higher .
  •  The Economic Survey suggests that the progressive deregulation of interest rates on savings accounts will help raise financial savings and improve transmission of monetary policy.
  • Other key areas include the deepening of domestic financial markets, especially corporate bond market and attracting longer-term inflows from abroad.
  • Efforts at attracting dedicated infrastructure funds have begun.
  • India’s foreign trade performance will remain a key driver of growth. During the first half of 2011-12, India’s export growth was a high 40.5%, but has been decelerating since. Imports have growth rapidly, by 30.4% during 2011-12 (April-December).
  • Similarly, country’s Balance of Payments has widened to $ 32.8 billion in the first half of 2011-12, compared to $29.6 billion during the corresponding period of 2010-11.


For more details, click on:–


Indian railway budget live — First price hike in ten years!

Minister Dinesh Trivedi is all set to present the Rail Budget 2012. The budget session is expected to start around 12:00 noon.

What is in store this time? A hike in the rates?

The wait is almost over. After being adjourned over shortage of coal in Bihar, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, Lok Sabha, will open for the budget session in the next few minutes.

  • Trivedi starts reading out his maiden budget.
  • “Safety concerns not satisfactory,” says Trivedi. Hope to hear some solutions too!
  • Anil Kakodkar committee’s recommendations on ‘rail safety’ might be put to practice.
  • Attention to be paid towards pending projects. There are 487 pending projects in all!!
  • Trivedi feels the need to get down the operating ratio which is 95%. Basically he means to say that the operating expenses are really high on a base of the revenues. So this means profit is not much. And that means some cess, taxes and price hikes for us!
  • Gross budgetary support of Rs7.35 L crore for railways.
  • All unmanned level crossings to be abolished in next five years.
  • Railway investment in the 12th Plan to be Rs7.35 lakh crore. It was Rs1.92 lakh crore in the 11th Plan.
  • Railway Safety Plan for 12th Plan will be Rs16,842 crore.
  • Require Rs14 lakh crore in next 10 years.
  • To modernise 19,000 kilometers of tracks.
  • Focus on Northeastern States and Jammu and Kashmir
  • Railways to increase manufacturing of safe coaches.
  • Will introduce wagons with high payloads.
  • Railways aims to contribute 2% to the GDP. Currently, it is 1%.
  • Indian Railways Stations Development Corp will redevelop stations and maintain them on pattern of airports. Only if our stations can look like airports!
  • Highest ever allocation of over Rs 2,000 crore over 2012-13 to modernise signalling and telecommunications.
  • Faster trains that will travel at 160 km/hr
  • 725 km of new line in this year.
  • Mumbai railways: Conversion of electrical system to be completed for suburban railways by 2012-13.
  • Anew train connecting Agartala with Bangladesh to improve bilateral ties and improve connectivity in North East. Is China listening? Well, we have not reached Arunachal, so all well!
  • Have a wait-listed ticket?  You could accommodation on alternate trains now!! 
  • Rs 1,100 crore to improve passenger amenities like escalators at stations, sms/ email for e-tickets, book-a-meal before train journey, railway meals and housekeeping. Hope so!
  • Dedicated freight corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni and Dadri to JN Port, with partial funding from World Bank.
  • Three disaster management training centres at Bangalore, Kharagpur and Lucknow
  • Catering through global tenders on a few premium trains! Whoa, so pizzas and pastas of the world on board? Or would it be an English breakfast this time?
  • Better toilets too. I was about to ask!
  • New passenger services- 75 new express trains, 21 passenger trains.  Lok Sabha television feed crashes.
  • And Trivedi returns to say that railways is not doing all that well! Yes, we know. And that means?
  • Sale of tickets through post offices. Why did they not think of this before?
  • Garib Raths to have disabled friendly coaches
  • 2100 specially designed coaches for disabled
  • Budgetary support not at required levels. Well, not enough to pocket?
  • Guru Parikrama special trains on Amritsar, Patna and Nanded routes. 75 new express , 21 new passenger trains in 2013.
  • NO STEEP HIKE says Trivedi, let us wait now what the hike is like (At 1:40 PM)
  • Extra 2 paise per km for suburban and second class, Mail and express train by 3 paise per km, airconditioned 3 tier by 10 paise per km, airconditioned 2-tier by 20 paise per km and airconditioned 3-tier by 30 paise per km. Now let us wait for the general budget and see what all price hikes would add up to the final ticket prices.
  • Some funny poetry to end his speech!

Click here for other details and highlights:–

Confessions Of An Investor

I have decided to turn my blog into a confession space. Ah don’t worry, I will not bother you with my personal issues and please am not going through any life crisis hence no agony aunts invited! But if you are Uncle Sam, do let me know what you are doing to your economy and thus mine and thus thus my funds!

Happy New Year Everybody!

But every year with the New Year, one is boggled with the issue of where to invest? Well, had I invested over a period of time, I would not have been writing this post. But again, mistakes, confessions, repent, rants, vents and “truths” make it to autobiographies and books…blogs too!

So, yes I have not made my investments as yet. I know March 31st is the last day of this financial year but my company shall declare war by February 14th (By Jove, what a date to choose!). Hence, here I am looking at various options I could have evaluated or still can to save my tax liability. Please feel free to drop in your suggestions.-

Maximum deduction under section:–

80C = Rs 1, 00, 000

–This includes life insurance premium paid for self, spouse and children
–Premium paid for Ulips with a lock-in period of five years
–Principal amount repayment of a home loan (only from approved lenders and if you possess the —-property and hold it for at least five years after completion)
–Equity-linked savings schemes with a lock-in period of three years
–PPF contribution with an annual limit of Rs 1,00,000 (it has been raised from by Rs 30, 000 this year) and a lock-in period of 15 years
–Monthly contribution towards PF
–National Savings Certificates with a lock-in period of six years
–Investment made in five-year bank fixed deposits
–Tuition fees paid for children for full-time education in India

80CCF (infra bonds) = Rs 20, 000 ( I believe the last date is already over)

80D (health insurance premium) = Rs 35, 000 (Caveat – Rs 15, 000 for self, spouse and children;
Rs 15, 000 for parents and an additional Rs 5,000 for parents above 65 (not for both, either of them).

80DD (medical treatment on disabled/handicapped dependent) = Rs 50, 000

80E (interest repayment of education loan) = Rs 40, 000

80G (donation to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) = Rs 20, 000

80GGC (donation to political parties) = Rs 10, 000

And what will help me:–

–Let me first have a look at my PF contributions. That should take care of a certain portion of my 80C

–My life insurance premium will in any case be there and have already paid it

–Have already invested in infrastructure bonds

— I can save extra through the PPF this year as the limit has been raised from Rs 70, 000 to Rs 1, 00, 000 but will this really help?

Now I need to look for ELSS. Any recommendations here?

  1. 1.       Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver Fund
  2. 2.       Fidelity Tax Advantage Fund
  3. 3.       Franklin India Taxshield Fund
  4. 4.       HDFC Taxsaver Fund
  5. 5.       Religare Tax Plan

(As recommended by analysts)

My question is, the market might just go down a bit more with worries over lower quarterly corporate earnings results that will be announced later in January 2011. Should I wait and watch for the NAVs to go down before investing?

Btw, watch out for this space, I have identified a few funds in the markets that give better returns than the benchmarks and fell marginally when the markets came crashing. A dream? Not really, but let me get back with my full analysis!

Adios till then and be good!

Let me live

These stilettos hurt oh God,
lemme run around bare feet in the garden
I don’t find fun in these important issues of life,
lemme just enjoy it to the fullest
I don’t understand why the sun is red,
but I love the red hot bun that it looks to me
Donno why it is raining here and not there,
but I want to dance to both the tunes
Wonder why I need to grow up,
but I see no point in being like you
lemme enjoy the sun
let the small little girl have some fun