Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My foodie fantasies

I often fantasize about food.
Of course I have dreams where I create technology to the obliterate energy shortage of the world. It generally is a amalgamation of more efficient machines and in-situ electricity generation. But this post is not about that. Its about my food dreams.

I dream about being surrounded by tandoori items - from murg angara to chicken tikka, from fish tikka to rosht ghost. In my sleep, I can almost feel the taste on my taste buds.

Then there are other nights where I am in a orchard specializing in nothing in particular - infact, it has grapes, apples, chikus, watermelons & bananas - all at the same place. Entierly mindful of the fact that there is a very little chance of having a the suitable climate for it to happen, I allow myself a little leeway - for its just a dream!

Then there are nights where I conjure up images of my mother cooking some wonderful food for me. Any food that she cooks tastes delicious to me - As I believe, is the case with everyone else.

Then there are nights where I have a full punjabi meal with makke-di-roti , sarson-da-saag & lassi. On other nights, I don a more continental taste with lasagna, steak & baked bowl finding favour.

PS- This post have been specially prepared for those people who are planning to throw a party. If your platter includes any of the aforementioned items, please do call me. I will grace the occasion with my presence. :P

PPS- If you dont know my address/phone number, and want to invite me for a party, no problem. just email me at . I WILL contact you.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

MicroFinance - The double bottom Line

MFIs(Micro Finance Institutions) are businesses, they exist to make money; as do any other business.
One can not charity on borrowed/dreamt-up money. Or as the recent banking goof-ups(?) have told us, One cant enjoy luxury on dreamt-up money.

But for now, we are talking about MFIs, which take pride (and rightly so) in doing a social good - by lending loans to fulfill dreams, ambitions, needs.

So its only natural that they have two bottom lines, one that talks about the financial status and other, about the social.

This also in turn tells about the company's average loan balance as a % of per capital GDP of the society of operation. Essentially it talks about the the average lending as a % of average earning capacity of the locality.

A double bottom line undoubtedly helps MFIs attract soft lending and investments from socially responsible investors However,having a double bottom line also means that MFIs may also undertake less profitable activities if it fits the social good framework. After all, if it reflects positively on the bottom line, it is a good investment. These efforts can lead to a higher cost structure for the business, although in some cases, this may also be rewarded with higher yields.

PS- I was reading through the ways in which a valuation of MFI is conducted, and this seemed so different from the single minded bottom-line corporate culture that I had an insurmountable urge to write about it.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

I am elated

Tulir - a NGO - (with whom I have been associated with for more than a year now) just received a mail from a guy(gal) saying that he(she) saw my blog through the Microsoft Student partner (MSP) link and that he(she) was really touched by my previous post on Tulir.

Further he(she) wants to work with this team to help in eliminating child sexual abuse. It feels really good if one gets even a single person to help in a cause you believe in.

Here is an excerpt from the mail:
"...when i read a blog by a student from IIT -madras called ankit ashok who had mentioned about an NGO where he was working and thought it was something i found was a real social problem and have been wanting to do something about it, but did not know how to go about and realised that i could really do something about this problem if i was a part of your organisation."

Boy, I hope more people will get interested in eradicating this social evil.

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Scope for Microfinancing in India

I was born at a nondescript place in rural Bihar. Today, when I look at the the place, I see a lot of potential - waiting to be leveraged. An educated youth wanting to enhance his skills just so much as to get a job; A cattle manager wishing to increase his cattle strength to supply milk to larger consumer group (btw, I was amazed by this guy's implicit economic concepts- he talked about economics of scale and incremental cost vs production - though not in those words) ; a trader that sees a potential for home-made incense sticks.

There are a lot of needs that exist and wants that can be created among the population in the countryside. Many of them have the desire, the dream of making it big - to grow. But one of the major road blocks in executing these (seemingly) ambitious plans is the non-availability of loans to (seemingly) non-credit worthy clients.

This is where a microfinance firm comes in. These guys are supposed to see the demand critically, analyse the credit-worthiness of the person; And provide support for these people to grow.

There is little point in giving loans for consumption, the growth comes only for money used in productive way. If the loan is spent in celebrating some thing, true - the money goes into the economy and keeps the ball rolling. But if the same amount is used invested in a business, the economic effects are multiplied many times over.

It's this growth of small enterprises that really drives the economy. I hope that MFIs will help in extensive proliferation such small/cottage/medium size industries and leverage our country from a developing to a developed one.

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