Saturday, March 31, 2007

A tale of a dog, another dog and...yet, another dog!

Ever wondered what it's like to be surrounded by pets (note the use of the word in the plural sense)?

Sure, pets (ok, dogs to be more precise) are a lot of fun and therapeutic and all that jazz but, ever wondered when it stops getting fun and moves onto a game of tact and diplomacy that would prove mind-boggling even for the most dog-loving of all dog-lovers.

Now, most people- when they are enlightened about the existence of not one, not two, but three dogs in my house- wonder what I was thinking about to get so many dogs?
So before I ramble on about the purpose of this post a little class in history won't hurt. Now the history of the dog-invasion into my house began with the first one...a pom-turned-spitz-turned pom (the metamorphosis being due to different attempts at identifying this dog's jaat by the vets and trainer in succession). Now this dog landed up on our doorstep primarily due to a childish whim by the cross-bred kids (read, my sis and I) who were still reeling under the influence of the now ancient movie, *&^$%#2@ (sorry, have forgotten the name of the movie, but it had that "didi tera dewar deewana" song). With the arrival of the dog began the reign of "Scamper-raj" for 9 long years. With this long reign came a complacency in the said dog's (namely, S Sr.) life. Then came fate with a diabolical twist in the form of my sister's friends, who decided to gift her a pup...and so began my sister's strange fixation for a lab and hence, we searched high and low (and rejected an adorable boxer pup), and finally found one. Alas, my mom having grown quite used to the reigning S Sr.'s quiet, accomodating ways sought to bring home the friskiest pup of the litter. Lo and Behold, our home is assaulted by a new pup in the form of S Jr.. Now, this latest addition does'nt go down too well with the reigning dog, who shows her displeasure by warding off all friendly advances made by the newbie. Hence, after a quick round of consultations, our home in a sudden flurry of activity sees a new pair (or should I say, 2 pairs) of the form of the previously rejected boxer (looks like the system of 1st lists and waiting lists for admission does also prevail in doggie land...what a pity! Is there no non-competitive place left?). And thus, began the maha saga of the three dogs...a saga that would give even Ekta Kapoor a run for her money.

Now, a lot of people ask me how it feels like to have so many dogs..."it must be exciting", they add. Well, sure it's exciting. The only problem is the continuous tightrope I feelings can only be compared to that of a much-married man with a mistress...such is the misery(read associated problems of inter-cannine jealousy). Play/pet one and the other jumps...I have to constantly juggle between the three, running outside to be pounced upon by the new entrants who in turn fight over the attention and then run back in before the older one brings down the roof with her barking (Do i hear you wonder abt the cause for baking? Well, it's just to reassert her presence. And as to why the older one and the yonger ones are kept separate...well, they've chosen to mark out specific territories for themselves).

But all said and done, having gone through the trouble of an endless cycle of cleaning up after them, feeding them in turn, reassuring them that the other isn't getting more/better food or attention, etc. etc., it is a LOT of fun! The very fact that they're all so different makes it better. S Sr, is the cultured, civilized one while S Jr. is the little tub of lard that will shower u with lots of attention, broken bones and a million slurpy doggie licks and finally, D's the rogue who never takes well to classes in manners but, still fascinates me with her brilliant intelligence (no, she's actually really smart and not just smart in comparison to Snoopy's's rather unfortunate that her name is such a misnomer!)

While it's true that my sis and I play the little "it's your dog" game when it comes to cleaning up or being held responsible for all their misdemeanours, we all know that life would never be the same for any of us now, without these dogs. Their antics are sheer entertainment...Sigh! they're the only things I'll miss the most when I finally leave this place...any chances of having a PIL to allow dogs as resident scholars in institutes of academic learning?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I can't think of an appropriate title for this one

A certain prof. in our dept. keeps yelling at us in between classes ('cos we're so sleepy)...she tries to seem nonchalant about it and tries to pretend that she's treating us like "adults" (yeah, the eco slogan of protest) and tells us that we have a "choice" to make. According to her, the "market's extremely competitive" & if we don't buck up, "we'll be thrown out of the market". According to her, "thanks to globalization...we can no longer afford to be like our grandmother's generation...we can't hope to be content getting married and raising 2 kids...'cos even our future husbands will expect us to earn and pay the EMIs for the (to-be) apartment..."

Well, with all due respect, I'm sure she's absolutely right...but, if we're to assume "perfect competition" outside an educational institution, should'nt it exist inside it as well? Now, that set me off to thinking about it and here's what I've come to believe...

What are some of the salient features of perfect competition? Yes, we all know you know's free entry and exit of consumers & producers, existance of multiple buyers & sellers, perfect information in the hands of the consumer (so that he can make an informed, rational decision), and all units of the goods sold are homogeneous ( if there's no difference, people can easily switch over to other products thus, aiding perfect cmpetition by forcing firms to be in pure, absolute competition and to be "price-takers" & not "pice-makers").

Now, for the purpose of simplicity, ceterius paribus (ok that term was not really reqd., but it's the only thing that'll continue to haunt me even after 3 years!)...let's take our beautiful dept. and test these conditions...

1. Existance of multiple buyers (students) & sellers(teachers)...True

2. Perfect information in the hands of the buyers...Umm, given the fact that they keep tricking us with the false lure of attendance on non-working days and make us come for tedious seminars (of course, there are some exceptions where the speaker does turn out to be good) and the like, I'd say the condition stands invalidated!

Note: A lecturer once asked us(in jest, of course) what the "opportunity cost" of attending these seminars were...well,Ma'am, the opportunity cost is great enough to warrant an entire study! Just think about it, it means a couple of hours of sleep lost in the morning, dis-utility in the form of apprehension and the cribbing(during the preceeding week) about the sleep to be lost and the boredom to ensue, and the dis-utility caused due to anxiety arising from the realization of the amount of piled up pending work, that couldn't have been completed on that half a day! Now, that's a thought for the welfare economists who say that welfare is reached by "maximum happiness for maximum numbers", by that logic "maximum unhappiness for maximum nos" would cause a situation of what? I shall leave you to figure that out...for the time being I've digressed enough, time to return to my argument..

3. Completely homogeneous products- Ever compared a Fiscal lecture hour to say, an applied stats/monetary class? Thus, the null hypothesis (that there's no significant difference between the products) is false!!! (Ya Ya, I did actually learn at least 1 thing after 3 sems of App. Stats/Econometrics and Computer Applications in Eco.)

4. Free entry & exit- Do we get to stroll into class whenever we want...No, not as long as (like sane Stella Marians), we're pursuing that 'Holy Grail' in every Stella Marian's life- attendance! So, there's no free entry. Now, how many times do u remember wanting a gate pass desperately, only to be rejected, surprise surprise, there's no free exit as well! (That ought to explain all the scaling over/jumping over boundary walls that we partake in)
So, that condition also, does not apply to our dept!

5. Perfect Competition among the buyers & sellers- College Day just got over---enough said!

So, now 4 conditions out of 5 don't apply, leading me to believe that if perfect competition and the free market mechanism actually prevailed in our college...our dept. should have been thrown out by the market mechanism...which, my past 5 sems' marksheets (glaringly) tell me hasn't, either the dept. of economics is not very economic or the market is not so cruel...if a non-perfectly competitive dept can survive in this so-called "perfectly competitive market environment", their uneducated, non-competitive & soon to be unemployed students, will also scrape through!

Note: For those friends of mine who're going through the early-life career/education crisis...don't worry, there's still hope(albeit, in the form of 'wedded bliss') ! *cheeky grin*

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why do all the fashionistas land up in the Dept. of Economics?

(OK, to begin with I'm not highly passionate about my chosen subject or anything, but this is what trying to study ET- Economic Thought, for the uninitiated- does to me. This post was inspired by a certain friend of mine who quakes with fear at the sight of some of my classmates!)

Many of the students in the various Sciences have often commented on how 'inappropriately' suited some of my classmates are to the pursuit of intellectual greatness. Often, I've overheard people secretly bitch about how, 'well-turned' out we are and how we consider our college a ramp...well, to those people, I have only one thing to're absolutely right. It is true, we do sort of represent the stereotype of the quintessential Stella Marian that outsiders think of.
We are (or, at least the 'public faces' of our class are) fashionable and do appear to be greatly interested in well...the vagaries of life, if i might call it that.

But, in our defense, I'd have to point out that we're just fulfilling the exacting standards demanded by our chosen course of intellectual pursuit.

The great study of Economics can be said to begin with the Classical School and it's founding great-grandfather Adam Smith. Now, what does the Classical School state? If you've succesfully been bored by repetitive lectures on this, every sem, you'll know what it is...yes, it's supply side economics. Basically, this implies that whatever you produce will conveniently be demanded on account of it being produced. Hence new "wants"(no, not "needs", as any economist worth their salt will tell you, they ARE different!) are inspired, much like the demand for ipods (no one wrote to Apple & asked them to produce it). In economic terms, this boils down to "supply creates its own demand".

Then came the great disaster that led to economists, the world over clucking and greying and writing angry missives to each other, in an attempt to solve it (Oh! Did I mention that it also led rogue wannabe economists like me to the brink of bleary-ness, exasperation and tone-deafness...thanks, to the number of times people got yelled at for sleeping during these lectures!). This was the Great Depression of the 1930s. Here was born the great Keynes who was instrumental in solving, to an extent, the problem of business cycles. Mr. K (later, Lord K.) kicked classical economics on its backside and brought in demand side economics in through the back door. This school of thought basically says that producers should produce those commodities that consumers specifically hold a gun to their head and ask them for (ok, so maybe it wasn't so dramatic, but it would'nt hurt to imagine that it was!) other words, the consumer's the king.

Then came the Oil crisis of the 1950s (or was it the 1970s?), where there occured the problem of Stagflation (inflation + unemployment, FYI, this was a crisis 'cos theoretically, there's supposed to be a trade-off between inflation and unemployment i.e., if u reduce one the other will increase and vice-versa). To cut a long story short, this unfortunate state of affairs (though i must admit, this state is pretty commonplace now) led to the Classical school slaying the Keynesian school and the re-emergence of the Neo-Classicals (or, New Classicals) as the new emperors of Economicdom.

Then again another series of events took place, this time leading to the victory of the Keynesian School of thought in the form of the Neo-Keynesians.

Thus, this cat and mouse chase game continues till the present day, with no one quite sure anymore, of exactly which school they belong to. Anyway, the purpose for this whole spiel on economics was to bring out the cyclical nature of Economics (ya, okay so i also made a failed attempt to sound intellectual!). Trends(or should I say, schools of thought) keep returning!

Now, coming to Fashion...Do I see you wearing those polka dots, gypsy skirts, aviator glares, boot-cuts, etc. Well, guess what they were around even in the '70s!

So fashion is cyclical and surprise, so is Economics...get the drift? So my dear aforementioned friend from the Sciences, when you see my department going all bling and sporting the latest fashion accessories, remember, we're just being good economists!!!

Disclaimer: Please don't even think of quoting any of this in your the blog mentions, it's bogus crap after all!