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My Friend Sancho

My first novel, My Friend Sancho, is now on the stands across India. It is a contemporary love story set in Mumbai, and was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008. To learn more about the book, click here.


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I am currently on a book tour to promote the book. Please check out our schedule of city launches. India Uncut readers are invited to all of them, no pass required, so do drop in and say hello.


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Click here for more about my publisher, Hachette India.


And ah, my posts on India Uncut about My Friend Sancho can be found here.


Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Category Archives: Old memes

Where your taxes go: 21

Building malls.

You have to wonder what we have learned in the last 60 years. The BMC is reportedly planning to “construct ‘municipal malls’ at various spots in the city,” where “prices of commodities would be regulated ... so that they could ‘cater to the masses’.” Mumbai Mirror rightly lashes out:

All this focus on a ‘business enterprise’ comes at a time when hundreds of roads across the city are still dug up, a large part of the Mithi river is yet to be cleaned up though the monsoon is already here, the city’s massive parking problems need urgent solutions, the Jijamata Udyan needs a thorough clean-up, octroi evasion is depriving the BMC of crores of rupees, the question of adequate and 24/7 water supply is still to be resolved, most BMC schools are on the verge of closure, and Mumbaikars on the whole want the city’s crumbling civic services to be improved.

The populist rhetoric accompanying the proposal is startlingly naive. These malls, a ‘civic official’ is quoted as saying, will “accommodate small shops that have been forced to shut because of big malls and also the BMC’s development projects.” The BMC should ask itself a few basic questions: If some small shops have shut down because of big malls, why is that so? When they don’t regulate prices outside those malls (with good reason!), how will regulating them inside the malls help? If those shops could function at a price lower than the market, wouldn’t they have destroyed the big malls, instead of the other way around? Isn’t the whole point of a market to satisfy the needs of the consumer, and is there any point accommodating stores inside government malls that the consumers have rejected outside them?

My prediction: If any such malls come up, they will become vehicles of enrichment for rent-seeking officials. Space within the malls will be allocated to merchants at the discretion of municipal officials, and corruption will be rampant. These malls will not turn a profit. You and I, again, will end up as shmucks. And the roads will still have potholes.

(Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Also see: 1, 2, 3.

My essays on taxes and government: Your maid funds Unani, A beast called government.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 06 June, 2007 in Economics | India | Old memes | Taxes | Politics


An alternative energy source no one’s talking about

A cow’s sexual energy. It has been reported:

A farmer was trampled to death under the hoofs of his cow because he was blocking the animal as it was rushing to mate with an ox, the City Evening News in Northeast China’s Jilin Province reported today.

[...]

“The cow was too anxious and snappish since this was her first mating,” said the daughter-in-law of the ox owner, adding that cows can easily get out of control when in heat.

I propose a government fund to study the feasibility of cowthanol. Funds won’t be a problem—what do you pay taxes for?

(Link via email from Kartik Varadpande. Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90.)

Update: Dilip Chitre writes in:

Apropos of using cows in heat as an alternative source of energy there could be other explanations. Perhaps the Chinese cow in question was protesting against the sexual posture described by Vatsyayana in the Kama Sutra as ‘Congress of the Cow’ (not to be confused with the Indian National Congress which is a kind of politicians’ orgy). Chinese cows seeking liberation and rejecting sexist postures are a revelation. Was the cow rushing on to mount the bull to settle a gender issue when it trampled its owner to death?

A valid point, worthy of serious debate. Meanwhile, here’s more on the Congress of the Cow: 1, 2.

Posted by Amit Varma on 25 May, 2007 in Old memes | Cows


Technique and attitude…

... are irrelevant in the case of Virender Sehwag’s loss of form, according to one group of people. The problem might just be evil spirits. MSN reports:

An interesting Tantrik Pooja was held at the banks of Yamuna near Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj to bring Virender Sehwag back to form.

According to an India TV report, the Mahakali Pooja was allegedly organised by the dashing batsman’s relatives and implemented by a distant relative, but there was no quote or evidence to suggest their involvement. Probably, it was a fan’s idea, masquerading as a distant relative.

However, the visuals did show Havan fire, two pair of stumps - one on each side, some statues, a photograph of Sehwag and a bat with which “he had been dismissed without scoring.”

So the next time Viru swishes outside the off stump, the evil spirits that made sure it hit the edge of the bat will stay away, and good spirits will probably make sure he middles the ball and it goes for a boundary. Why didn’t we think of this earlier? Can we have a “Tantrik Pooja” for the entire team, please? And one for this blog also, so no one is ever displeased by what I write!

And while checking my earlier posts on superstition, I came across this one on the predictions made by astrologers before the World Cup. Heh.

Now I’m off to get me some spirits.

(Link via email from Ullas Marar.

Some earlier posts on superstitious nonsense: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 18 May, 2007 in India | Old memes | Astrology etc


God vs Tuberculosis

BBC reports:

Hindus have launched a last minute appeal to prevent the slaughter of a sacred bull which has tested positive for tuberculosis.

The bull, Shambo, lives in a shrine in Llanpumsaint, Carmarthenshire.

I have just one question: if the bull is sacred, how come God allowed it to get Tuberculosis? Tuberculosis is more powerful than God or what? Shouldn’t people be praying to Tuberculosis then?

(Link via email from Sanjeev Naik. Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 13 May, 2007 in Old memes | Cows | Small thoughts


Where your taxes go: 20

Spending thousands to deny Rs 2:

The Department of Posts is prepared to spend thousands of rupees on expensive litigation in the High Court to prevent a 75-year-old pensioner from getting an additional benefit of Rs 2 as part of his pension.

Sigh. And how ironic that every time this gentleman buys something, he is contributing to the thousands of rupees spent to deny him his Rs 2. Such it goes.

(Link via email from Kunal.

Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Also see: 1, 2, 3.

My essays on taxes and government: Your maid funds Unani, A beast called government.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 23 April, 2007 in Economics | Freedom | India | Old memes | Taxes


Where your taxes go: 19

Subsidies for pilgrimages. The Times of India reports:

In its determination to protect Haj subsidies, particularly in view of the ongoing elections in UP, Centre has told Supreme Court that it was ready to offer similar support, at state expense, to pilgrimages organised by other communities.

Positing its offer as being in sync with the “secular ideals” of the Constitution, Centre virtually made a policy announcement by agreeing to provide financial assistance to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and other religious communities.

This is not secularism. To me, secularism has two implications:

1 A complete separation of state and religion.

2. Every person in this country having the right to follow a religion of their choice, as long as they don’t impose it on others.

The right to follow a religion of your choice, of course, is completely different from a right to having your religion sponsored by other people’s money, which is nothing short of theft. Do remember, after all, that “state expense” comes from my pockets and your bank account and suchlike. Money does not fall from the skies, and even if the government actually printed money to afford these subsidies, inflation would result, which is an indirect form of taxation.

If Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh genuinely believe that pilgrimages deserve to be funded, I recommend that they shell out their own money for the purpose. There is no justification for taking away our hard-earned money and spending it on building votebanks for themselves.

(Link via SMS from little n.

Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Also see: 1, 2, 3.

My essays on taxes and government: Your maid funds Unani, A beast called government.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 15 April, 2007 in Economics | Freedom | India | Miscellaneous | Old memes | Taxes | Politics


Katrina and the cow

It seems that the cow that Akshay Kumar was shown milking in Namastey London is named Katrina. Can you guess what it would have been called when it was younger?

Katrina Calf.

Ok, sorry! It might be sleep deprivation…

Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 06 April, 2007 in Arts and entertainment | Old memes | Cows


The Cows must be fuming

Imagine you’re a cow. Every morning, some ignorant cowherd comes to you, grabs your boobs, and milks you. This happens day after day after day, and the only way out is beef. You’re likely to be one pissed cow, but you might also rationalise your situation and say, “Well, at least my milk provides nutrition to the benevolent human race, which has done such wonderful things to the world, like, um, whatever. Why should I object?”

Sounds plausible? Now, keep imagining that you’re that cow, and tell me how you’d feel when you read this report of what your milk was being used for:

After speculations regarding the date for Bollywoods most talked about wedding were finally put to rest, the fans of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan are now wishing that the star couple have a blissful married life.

However, 50-year-old Bhani Bhagat from Varanasi took a bath with scalding milk praying to wish for the couples successful married life.

‘‘This is the Gwal-Bal puja done by my ancestors for appeasing the heavenly powers especially Goddess Durga and Shitla for public prosperity, especially for granting blissful married life to would be and newly married couples,’’ news agency UNI quoted Bhagat as saying after taking the fuming bath amid a swollen crowd of devouts.

Bhagat took bath with scalding milk, ghee and kheer amid the beating of drums as an offering to Goddess Durga in the Saptsagar area in Varanasi.

“They maul my boobs for that?” Yes, they do, imaginary cow. I bet even the dinos weren’t so stupid, and if they’re extinct, don’t we deserve the same? Pah.

(Link via email from Prabhu.

Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 02 April, 2007 in Old memes | Cows


Celina Jaitley’s bedsheet

I have concluded that the only way for the Hindustan Times to beat the Times of India is to publish HT Tabloid, a section on their website, in their print edition. Millions will instantly subscribe for the joy of reading such prose early in the morning:

Despite delivering a dud like Red at Box Office, sultry Celina is enjoying a sound sleep at home these days. The lady has apparently found solace in her favourite bed sheet and rolls into her bed whenever she gets time just to get the feel of it.

The actress accepts that she is obsessed with a particular brand of bed sheet. Says the siren- “I can compromise with anything but not my bed sheets”.

Capacious! We are also told that “she even goes to the extent of carrying her favourite bed sheets wherever she goes.” Her bedsheets aren’t the only thing she carries, though. She is quoted as saying:

Yes, it has to be my puppy whom I carry everywhere. I think he gives me the best company. I can’t carry a big dog so I have chosen a puppy who keeps me busy when I am free.

I protest. It is my right as a citizen of India to see Celina Jaitley carry a big dog. A really big dog. A dog bigger than herself, with glasses and manicured paw-nails. Please organise.

(Previous posts with Purplocity/Verniness: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 26 March, 2007 in Arts and entertainment | Old memes | Purplocity/Verniness


The “capri-clad stems” of Katrina Kaif

The colour of the day is purple. I find it hard to believe that the prose below could have been published in all seriousness. It is so monstrous that it is beyond parody.

Today, Katrina Kaif looks like a horse.

No, not a nag but a fine, stunning thoroughbred, of equine grace and striking stature as she perches down from leggy heights and yawns.

It’s been a long, tiring press day, and the gorgeous Katrina canters around to keep herself awake, and insists she must leave. She wraps her plain white shirt tighter around herself, sits down casually crossing those magnificent capri-clad stems, and tosses me a smile. Ah, she’s finally deigned to let me pester. [Link.]

I suppose it takes a special skill to write like this. Perhaps they have tuition classes in the small towns of India for it, conducted in various vernacular languages. Shudder!

But I can imagine why the writer felt the need to go beyond ordinary prose. Katrina Kaif is stunning, in my opinion the hottest lady in Bollywood today. I am utterly baffled why, when she had reportedly begun going around with Salman Khan, Salman was reportedly running after Aishwarya Rai. Dude, there is no comparison. Pah!

(Link via email from reader Annette.

Previous posts with Purplocity/Verniness: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 22 March, 2007 in Arts and entertainment | Old memes | Purplocity/Verniness


Objectification of cows

I object!

(Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 21 March, 2007 in Old memes | Cows


Where your taxes go: 18

Advertising campaigns for governments.

It’s quite possible that Amitabh Bachchan did the ads for UP for free, but my contention is that the government shouldn’t be wasting our tax money in producing and broadcasting advertisements for itself.

(Update: Reader Hemant brings my attention, via his comment below, to an Amitabh quote in the article in which he says that the ads were funded by the SP. If so, then this is clearly a wrong example, as your taxes may not be involved in this particular case. My bad, sorry! My larger point about government advertising, though, remains.)

A government should not need to advertise, its efficiency or inefficiency will be evident to all the people it governs. By all means, let a political party advertise its achievements with its own money, but to spend taxpayers’ money on it is a waste.

(Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Also see: 1, 2, 3.

My essays on taxes and government: Your maid funds Unani, A beast called government.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 20 March, 2007 in India | Old memes | Taxes | Politics


Nikhat Kazmi redefines Verniness

I’ve written before on the mediocrity of the film reviewers of India’s broadsheets, and Nikhat Kazmi illustrates that better than anyone. It’s a pity, in a way, that Jai Arjun Singh busted her for plagiarism: we’re stuck with her original stuff now, and it is monstrous. Consider these lines from her review of 300:

In case your appetite for bloody violence failed to find satisfaction with Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, just go for 300. You won’t be disappointed because the level of violence, once again, reaches an all new high in this Hollywood flick which transforms war into unadulterated gore. And it does it without losing its aesthetics. So that, you get to see heads being decapitated and flying on screen and humans being impaled, chopped and chutnified in palettes that have been specially tinted to create a canvas where the colour of blood is black and the body count is beyond cognition.

Is a worse sentence possible than that last one, which careens beyond redemption from that first misplaced comma onwards, as if in a parallel universe where grammar and simple writing are vices, not virtues? To top it up, she then writes: “The tale is pre-history.” Pre-history? Hello?

This kind of a review would be understandable from a seventh-standard schoolgirl trying badly to impress with her knowledge of English (probably her second or third language), and her contrived insights. It is sad that our country’s most-read English paper should carry such writing. Why are the editorial standards of our newspapers so terribly low?

(Link via email from Rahul Bhatia.

Previous posts with Purplocity/Verniness: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 19 March, 2007 in Journalism | Old memes | Purplocity/Verniness


Your maid funds Unani

This is the latest installment of my column for Mint, Thinking It Through. It is an elaboration of my concerns behind my ongoing series, Where Your Taxes Go, and I’d like to thank all the readers and bloggers who have sent me links for that. Keep them coming, and keep expressing your outrage on your own blogs as well.

These are good times for Unani. In his latest budget, the honourable P Chidambaram allocated Rs. 563.88 crores for the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. I kid you not, I am not making this up for your satirical amusement. That departments exists. And you work your ass off, and make sacrifices, so that it can be funded. You and your maidservant.

On my blog, I have a section called “Where Your Taxes Go,” where I document strange instances of how our taxes are put to use. There is much there that is trivial and amusing—a moustache allowance for a havaldar in Lucknow, compensation for a bank employee mistakenly declared dead, salary for an 11-year-old teacher, relocation of monkeys from New Delhi to MP (only Rs. 25 lakhs). There is also much there that underscores the irresponsibility of our politicians—toilet refurbishment allowances for Jharkhand legislators, parliament hold-ups that cost 20k a minute, the 90 lakh free TVs that the DMK promised in Tamil Nadu to get elected there. Most of us are so used to government wastage that we shrug this off. “Pata hai yaar,” we say together in a gruff chorus of a billion nonchalant voices. “So what is new? Gorment is like this only.”

Read more...

Posted by Amit Varma on 08 March, 2007 in Economics | Essays and Op-Eds | India | Old memes | Taxes | Thinking it Through


Cows are climbing the food chain

It’s chickens today, it could be humans tomorrow. Behave.

(Link via S Pyne via email from Great Bong. And also via separate emails from Manish Manke and Prasenjeet Dutta. Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85.)

Update: Rishi writes in:

Do you not realize that the Time of Eating approaches? Dread Mhulhu walks the earth again, giving forth rancid milk and rewarding chickens for their aeons-long worship of the Great Old Ones by Eating them First. Words cannot describe the horror of Dread Mhulhu.

Posted by Amit Varma on 08 March, 2007 in Old memes | Cows


Where your taxes go: 17

To the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.

This year’s budget allocation: Rs. 563.88 crores. (PDF link.)

Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Also see: 1, 2, 3.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 07 March, 2007 in India | Old memes | Taxes


On the Taliban, DJs and cows

When the Taliban bans music in the areas where they’re in charge—this one is in Pakistan, not Afghanistan—it’s hardly surprising: we all know what they’re like. But you wouldn’t expect a bunch of people in Haryana to ban DJs, would you? Well, they have. And here’s one reason why:

Due to high volume of music preferred by DJs, people can’t milk buffaloes and cows in the morning as the animals are unable to sleep at night.

Monstrous. Even cows have a right to pardy!

(Link via email from Gautam John, who spotted it on Youth Curry. And yes, I know I said no more cow posts, but the public demand is driving me nuts. So here you go. Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84.)

And in case you missed it, the Taliban has also effectively banned shaving. It’s good news for Afghan lice, but it adds an urgency to the War on Terror. After all, Gillette needs to expand into new markets.

Posted by Amit Varma on 06 March, 2007 in India | Old memes | Cows


Where your taxes go: 16

In paying too much for condoms.

(Link via email from reader Jayakamal Balasubramani.

Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Also see: 1, 2, 3.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 04 March, 2007 in India | Old memes | Taxes


Astrologers, dead men and the World Cup

given their predictions for the World Cup. Daruwalla says:

In 1983, the combination in the Indian team was that of Capricorn (Kapil Dev), Cancer (Sunil Gavaskar) and Libra (Mohinder Amarnath), which worked wonders. Even this time, captain Rahul Dravid (Capricorn), Sourav Ganguly (Cancerian) and Virender Sehwag (Libran), may repeat the success story.

With 15 guys in each squad, you can probably get any combination of sun signs that you desire, and it is not unlikely that all the squads may contain a Capricorn, Cancer and Libra. Note that both gentlemen are being cautious, though Jumaaaaaaani more or less counts Australia out of the running. No matter what happens, though, I’m sure believers will note only the parts of their prediction where they seemed to have got it right. Always, the confirmation bias.

(Some earlier posts on astrology etc: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.)

My take on the World Cup: After a close perusal of some fine coffee beans (followed by their consumption, as is necessary for the ritual to be successful), I have come to the conclusion that my earlier post on this subject, written months ago, was somewhat off target. To my list of seven favourites, I add an eighth: New Zealand. I don’t think I can get any more precise than that.

Posted by Amit Varma on 03 March, 2007 in India | Old memes | Astrology etc | Sport


Aren’t you glad we’re on top of the food chain?

If you have the stomach for it, check out this guide on how to make a steak. The images are graphic, so be warned.

It reminds me of Tolstoy’s chicken, actually. It would be quite enough to make me a vegetarian if I hadn’t already gone down that path, and returned. Immense self-loathing comes, but I’m reconciled to that.

(Link via email from Gautam John. And, um, this is my last post on cows. So, for the last time, here are my previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 28 February, 2007 in Old memes | Cows


Where your taxes go: 15

To space.

You see any earthly reason for it? I don’t.

(Where your taxes go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Also see: 1, 2, 3.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 22 February, 2007 in Economics | India | Old memes | Taxes


Cows and financial markets

Widgets are often used to illustrate concepts of economics, but I have long believed that cows bring far more value to the table. (To begin with, widgets can’t moo.) This is beautifully illustrated by a piece by Mark Gilbert in which he presents us “the world of money recast in bovine terms.”

Can anyone tell me where I could purchase a Collateralized Lactating Obligation? Even I want to play…

(Link via separate emails from Neelankantan and Anand Krishnamoorthi.

Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82.)

Posted by Amit Varma on 20 February, 2007 in Old memes | Cows


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