Thursday, September 28, 2006

The one in which Szerelem realises she is royally screwed.

I shouldn’t even be blogging. But after spending the whole morning working on problems like the one below (and that’s an easy one), I desperately need a break.
I have blogged about the pain that is my advanced macroeconomics class. But as of now it’s simply killing me. I have my midterm early next week and I thought it would be ok. Despite that fact that its 40% of my grade. And then at the end of class this week I asked my prof “It’s an open book exam, right?” and he looked at me with raised eyebrows and as if I had gone mad and said “No”. How was I to know??!! He never specified and in all the courses I have done under him the exams have always been open book. Well, that was that.
C and I looked at each other. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

Not helping is the fact that there are people in my class who can solve lagrangians mentally. I mean what kind of alien freaks are they?? Anyway, I have till Tuesday to study like mad and pray that this exam doesn’t turn into the unmitigated disaster I have a feeling it will be. So, wish me luck!!!

TR, in response to your comment here, my current love for econs is a grand total of zilch. Partly because I spent the most frustrating last two hours trying to mathematically derive the econometric regression equation for growth. And somewhere in the midst of it realized that Edith Piaf on my ipod was crooning La Vie On Rose. Even the universe was conspiring to mock me. And then, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. So not true. What I regret is thinking I am smarter than I actually am and taking a grad school course. GAH!!!

I also ditched M and cancelled our meeting for tomorrow. Because, I explained, having a relaxed conversation is best saved for a time when I don’t have integrals and difference equations floating in front of my eyes.
M: So, next you’ll tell me you saw an indifference curve crossing the road?
Szerelem: That is SO not funny. Do you realize this exam is half my grade??!!
M: What’s the point of doing well in a subject when it turns you into such a paranoid maniac? You are already complaining you don’t have enough time to read. I can imagine you’ll soon start gushing about Jeffrey Sachs instead of Albert Camus.
S: What?? No!! Sachs is an idiot. And undergrad econs was fun. This is different.
M: Well, videogames are fun too and less stressful.
S: I am totally not in the mood to have this conversation again. I need to study.
M: Fine. Run along. Channel your inner geek. I know you can do it.
S: *groans* Can you not mock me??!!!

Before I take off to solve more economics. The New Yorker has a really nice article on string theory and the problems physics is facing now. (Also, read Brian Greene people. He’s brilliant.) C and I were talking about physics in macro class this week. How math is the language of physics. How physicists are driven by a certain sense of ‘beauty’ and ‘elegance’. And as rudimentary as my physics is even I can see the beauty in E = mc2.
It may be my frustration of having spent most of the day working with clucky mathematical equations, but beauty in economics? I just don’t see it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rant! Rant! Rant!

What I want to know is this: Wtf, no seriously, wtf were the people at Nike thinking when they decided to commission this ad??!!
Were they thinking at all?? I would venture to guess not. Sods. When I saw it for the first time I wanted to take my Nikes and burn them(1). Rest assured, I’m not buying anything from Nike anymore(2).

Then again, on repeated views there’s a ridiculously funny side to it. Zidane is more lethal than bowling balls, American football players, trucks and aerial swinging machines. Is that what you’re saying Nike? Cos Marco boy went down like a ton of bricks with that one head butt. 'Every athlete has his own inner armour'(3), my foot.
Meh. And where are they going to air this craptacular ad? In Italy? And where else? And so much for everyone moving on(4).

Whatever, I just needed to rant to get this out of my system.
Materazzi, I don’t care if you were paid $50,000 for the ad. The bottom line is this: Zidane owns your sorry ass. So there.

1: Well, I’d really like to do that but they are the only running shoes I have. And I don’t have money to buy new ones. It’s the thought that counts right?
2: Well, not for eons anyway.
3: That’s the tag line.
4: I demand Adidas come up with a re-butt-al ad.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Economic Thoughts

You’d think that a Nobel Prize winning economist would have had some fabulous brilliant insight that had actually won him that Nobel Prize. Then you go for a lecture and hear stuff like sound institutions and governmental will are very important factors in determining economic growth. (Unsaid: Of course measuring these factors is very difficult so we just ignore them in our models.)
I mean seriously. I don’t need some Nobel Laureate to tell me that. Jeez. No wonder I’m getting fed up with economics.

Anyway, Ill be bitchy and state that the speaker was Michael Spence. Who as M says won the Nobel for stating that people in a market don’t have symmetrical information. In his words "Duh!!"
Also speaking was Paul Romer, whose New Growth Theory I applied to a specific country for my first ever economics paper. I told him that when I met him. And was questioned by my Associate Dean as to what I had said that caused Mr. Romer to grin so broadly. Oh well, he deserved to be flattered. I don’t analyze just anybody’s work. Heh.

I’m not usually so harsh on economics and economists. But a lot of what they say has become terribly redundant. Not to mention the fact that economics research is just pure math and in a conference, well, it’s very hard to present that. So many generalised, common sensical, dumbass statements tend to be made.

I should know about the math. My advanced macro class is driving me nuts. I don’t know what insanity possessed me to take the masters level class. Arghh. All these lagrangians and hamiltonians, perturbations and exploding equations. If I had put in so much effort studying math in my class 12 exams I would probably have topped the CBSE.
How was I to know economics would descend into this?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Let's Objectify: Zinedine Zidane

Roswitha has very kindly asked me to blog about Zidane as part of the ongoing “Project Objectify”. And me being me, Zidane being Zidane and this being a legitimate reason to dedicate a long rambling post to him, how could I ever say no?

So, Zinedine Yazid Zidane. Or, why I started watching football.

I don’t think there is any aspect of Zidane’s life, his skill, his technique that hasn’t already been analyzed to death. And therefore, nothing I can say about Zidane on any of those would be new. In any case, what I do want to blog about is my absolute adoration for Zizou.

Growing up, I wasn’t much enamored by football. Cricket was my sport of choice. My first cogent memory of football is the 1998 World Cup. I remember watching the final. Brazil vs. France. Everyone I knew was supporting Brazil. I was supporting France, for no other reason than that, well, it was France. I remember those two goals. I remember thinking that Zidane made for such a strange footballer. That bald patch on his head – it just didn’t fit. I didn’t become a football convert after that though. But I did remember Zidane. He was one of the few footballers who I knew by name. Frankly, who can forget a name like Zidane?

Then, I came to college. Cricket was non existent and everyone followed football. And one day I sat with a friend and watched a recording of that Champions League Final. And, omg, was I convert.
To see Zidane score, to watch him on the field, his roulettes - that is pure joy. And pure sport. There is such beauty in his movements, such grace, fluidity and elegance.

That Zidane has often been compared to a ballet dancer is not strange, because a dancer he is. And then there are his close ups during a match. Sweat drips off him by bucketfuls (it’s a result of his thalassemia). There is rarely a smile. Only complete, absolute focus. It’s almost as if you can watch him out thinking his opponents, strategizing. Zidane wasn’t at his best during his last couple of years at Real. He admitted as much. But he was still better than most players could dream of being.

And then there was the World Cup. How could people write him off?? I didn’t. Though I sat in perpetual fear of France being knocked out during stage one. And then in the knock out stage, it was almost like he was another player. He was back.
Before the final, Zidane said he wanted to dedicate the team’s great run to their fans – but only those who supported them from the beginning. I read that and squeed “Me!!Mememememememe!!” Yep, that was a shout out to me from Zizou himself.

When I started watching Zizou play, his head wasn’t yet clean shaven. That bald patch made his moves seem even more surreal. He was gawky off the field (He still is. Andrew Hussey once wrote that he sits delicately. Like a girl, with his legs crossed.) And he wasn’t considered cool or a hot football stud.

And I ask you this: did anyone see this mans face? Have more gorgeous intense green eyes ever existed?? I think not.
He is beautiful. Does he not look like a Michelangelo sculpture? The chiseled face, square jaw line, intense eyes, bald pate. And he has the cutest booty. Ever. And when he smiles the way his eyes crinkle. Gosh, I just drool.
As final proof of Zizou’s utter desirability, the picture below. How many people can manage to look incredibly hot and sexy in a purple and white t-shirt? I rest my case.

I know it’s become almost impossible to mention Zizou without the World Cup finals being brought up. In any case, I have already blogged about the final and the craziness that followed before. Gosh, I miss the way my blog had turned into a mini Zizou shrine during the WC.

Also, Zizou’s moved on and I wish everyone else would as well. Please take note Marco (
he was supremely arrogant and physical taunting doesn’t count) Materazzi and Sepp Blatter (Robben Island, my foot).
I just have to say though, can you imagine if Zidane actually didn’t have a sister? He could’ve turned around to Materazzi’s comment of “I’d rather have your sister” and said “Well that’s too bad, you little jackass cos I don’t have one!” GAH!! Oh well.

Other ‘Project Objectify’ posts on
Theirry Henry, Fabio Cannavaro and Rafael Nadal.

Monday, September 11, 2006

December is booked!

The trip has been planned. The tickets have been bought. I am now almost completely broke. And quite happy with myself.
It hasn’t quite worked out as planned. Spain was getting a bit impossible. It was expensive to fly there from Italy and traveling within the country would have been very time consuming. So, Spain is out and England is in. Italy and England for one whole month. Two weeks each. And I get to spend my birthday and usher in the New Year in London. Am terribly excited.
Nitty-gritties of the trip are being worked out and all travel advice is welcome! Also welcome, recommendations of places to see in England and around London.

In other news, my cousin was in town over the weekend, which was therefore spent eating fatty food and drinking cocktails at 11 am in the morning. Needless to say I didn’t manage to get much work done. I did however manage to spend time with my favorite Englishmen – Ralph (Fiennes) and Daniel (Day-Lewis). I do not feel the need to use surnames.

Speaking of Ralph Fiennes, I am wondering about the probability of running into him while in London. I am hoping that he might be on stage at West End at that time, though I highly doubt it (especially since the since the Faith Healer has just finished its run on Broadway). Hmmm. Perhaps I should consider stalking or the like.
Omigosh, I need help!!

Monday, September 04, 2006


I had forgotten that I live in a city where sudden rain – no, make that sudden torrential rain – can never be ruled out. Its one reason I always, always carry my umbrella with me. (That and the fact that I was once stranded in the rain and had to pay $15 in cab fare for what is actually a two minute walk.) The two weeks I had been back however, were marked by clear blue skies and warm, balmy sunshine.

So, I guess I wasn’t to blame when I decided last Wednesday that carrying an umbrella around was a bit unnecessary. Especially since I was going to the library (a fifteen minute walk from home), it was wonderfully sunny and I was carrying a tiny bag which looked bulky and overstuffed with an umbrella in it.
I walked into the library in sunshine and walked out forty minutes later to be greeted by grey skies, thunder, lightning and yep, torrential rain.
Arggh! I was stranded in the library for half the day. Which, come to think of it, is a great place to be stranded. But still, I had errands to run and couldn’t finish any of my work.

And to think I should’ve learnt from my previous experience of being caught in the rain. Anyway, my umbrella is back in the bag and nothing can make me venture outside without it. Even if rain has not been forecasted for the entire month.


Over dinner a couple of days back, A (new French student in class) and I had the following conversation:
A: So which part of India are you from?
Me: The North. Why?
A: Well….you don’t look very Indian
Me (strong sense of déjà vu): Oh. Let me guess, I look more Moroccan/Algerian/Iranian/Turkish/Spanish right?
A: Yes!
Me: Yeah, well this is like the zillionth time I have had this conversation with a French person.

Oh, what the heck. I am the poster girl for multiculturalism.
The conversation was fun on the whole. We discussed, among other things, the upcoming Presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, Ségolène Royal, Jacques Chirac, Camus (am reading Exile and the Kingdom), last years riots, Zidane, how the World Cup was healing for France and showcased a new Germany, Michel Polnareff and Indochine (the region and the movie).
Sigh, I love the French and I really, really want to go back to Paris!!


It seems that I can not mention Ralph Fiennes’ name without adding, or rather blurting out, “He’s so hot!” It’s often quite embarrassing and I wish I could keep my tongue in check, but I can’t help myself.
I am helping T with some research work this term and was in his office when I saw a DVD of The Constant Gardener lying on the table and dissolved into a fit of gushiness.

“Have you seen it? Isn’t it really good?? Isn’t Ralph Fiennes fabulous in it??? Isn’t he so hot????” I think poor T was a bit taken aback at my enthusiasm. Though he recovered quickly enough to ask “What is it with this guy? I get the same reaction from my fiancée every time she sees his picture!”
I was about to say she has great taste when he mentioned his ‘observation’ that apparently Fiennes appeals only to women over twenty-five. GAH!!! I completely disagree, good taste has nothing to do with age and any attempt to correlate the two is pointless.
Needless to say I am not, repeat not, twenty-five years old!


Andre Agassi ended his 21 year professional career yesterday. It was sad and made me want to cry. Agassi was one of the last remaining sport stars I really admire and who I grew up watching, still playing professionally. And now he has retired as well. He’s such a class act. So much heart, so much life, so much spirit. Love him. And I love that he is with Steffi Graf. They seem so perfect together. He should have and deserves a fabulous post retirement life.

First Zizou, now Agassi. It’s been a sad year for me sports wise.

Talking of Zidane (yes, that was a cheap way to change topics - so headbutt me), he was at the Danone Nations Cup final in Lyon yesterday. He sponsors the tournament and seeing him with the kids was just so adorable. I completely drooled and died. According to the Guardian he has been having a nice quiet life, post the World Cup. Taking his kids to school and watching Madonna’s concert in Paris!

There was also a post match interview yesterday where the interviewer tried to act smart by asking Zidane if fair play was a value he would like to impart to the children?
Zizou’s answer (roughly translated): “Of course, and I am not the only one who promotes it. Children have to learn from things and it forms a part of their education. If this question is referring to my red card, let’s just say that is the past. I hope that these children will never do something like that in their lives. I will say it to them, as I say it to my children, never do that.”
Awww… I just drooled and died - again.