Kush Tandon Kush Tandon's bibliography
Sunday
Jul242005

Shantaram

Gregory David Roberts has seen India with a clearer eye than I have. It will knock you off. But then I have'nt lived the adventures he has, so far.

A few weeks ago, at milktea's blog, I read about "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts. Last week, during traveling to Southwest, I read 100 pages (out of 900 odd pages) on the plane in one go. Certainly, one soon realizes that we are reading someone who is a poet and has a heart of gold. As I continue reading this book, let me leave you with two quotes:

"I was a revolutionary who lost his ideals in heroin, a philosopher who lost his integrity in crime, and a poet who lost his soul in a maximum-security prison. When I escaped from that prison, over the front wall, between two gun-towers, I became my country's most wanted man.

Luck ran with me and flew with me across the world to India, where I set up and ran a free clinic in a crowded Bombay slum. I joined the Bombay mafia, and worked as a gunrunner, a smuggler, and a counterfeiter. I was chained on three continents, beaten, stabbed, and starved. I went to war. I ran into the enemy guns. And when those wilderness years of hunted exile came to an end, when I changed my life, when I stopped running onto the knives and started running into the light of love instead, I wrote the novel, Shantaram, that was based on my wild and wicked life."

- Gregory David Roberts www.shantaram.com

"....Anyone who walks away from Shantaram untouched is either heartless or dead or both. I haven't had such a wonderful time in years."

- Jonathan Carroll, author of White Apples


Friday
Jul082005

London, The real bulldog

In respect to the fortitude and stoic “bulldog spirit” of Londoners in the face of this horrible attack, I am providing a gateway to London Blogs, BBC, and other resources through The New York Times and The Economist. Please follow the references.

Attacks in London

The Economist

Friday
Jun102005

Where is oil in the new world endgame?

Let's start discussing two very commonly held wrong perceptions even by people with seemingly astute knowledge of current affairs and history.

a) "We will soon build a world order that will be free of oil and gas politics." Oil and gas politics and intrigue are here to stay for a long time and has been with us for a while, primarily since World War I. The truth is that current or any administration in USA does not control oil politics contrary to lot of hyped coffee house talk we all hear around. Thirty-forty years from now, maybe we will be a hydrogen economy (the best-case scenario in terms of alternate energy) but most probably that it will be through derivative process of natural gas. Who are the top four countries that have the most reserves in natural gas: a) Russia, b) Iran, c) Qatar, and d) Saudi Arabia? In any case, the stock of OPEC as a whole is on the rise during 21st century. If tar sands become viable commodity anytime soon, then Canada will be in the mix too for oil and gas politics as an added major power broker.

A new player in the game is China in the way they are aggressively leasing exploration and production rights all over the world and buying other companies. On the other hand, India, Pakistan, and Iran are signing on a giant gas pipeline deal. There is talk of another pipeline through Turkmenistan, Pakistan to India for natural gas.

To a great degree, the US hands are tied. They are in the high stakes game and there is no way out, only a smarter way to play the game and perhaps conservation is just one route - one that can be achieved through some self-discipline.

b) "Oil will almost never cost less." History will tell you that oil and gas is the most fickle commodity. The pricing of oil is done through futures market and even the slightest perception that the inventories in USA are glutted and/ or China and India will not sustain the current growth, the price will be tumbling down to rock bottom in six months. In 1998-99, the price of crude had plummeted to ~$10/ barrel and most of the aggressive exploration and production in many parts of the world except Saudi Arabia was deemed unprofitable for nearly three years. In 1998-99, part of East Asian economy had slowed down. The price of oil is neither controlled by Saudi Arabia or USA only - a host of factors play into supply and demand equation, like state of world economy, Russia, Venezuela, Norway, Mexico, emerging technologies, etc.

Rockefeller with Standard Oil tried his best to control the pricing of oil but failed most of the time even though he became very rich in the process. I do not think at present the oil companies wield that kind of power anymore. I would encourage the students of politics and world affairs read "Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power" by Daniel Yergin. Oil industry has made more people from pauper to prince to pauper again than any profession. However, the general consensus by the pundits is that in bigger picture and long run, the oil will cost more in future barring a number of ups and downs (quite ruthless ones) because the cheaper oil is depleting very soon.

End Note: The article was written before much publicized CNOOC's offer for Unocal.

Monday
Apr252005

Churning like a meter while your life waits at a crossing

Monday
Apr252005

Why I made this weblog?

One of the reason I made this weblog is to keep drawing and writing....to continue experimenting. In 2001, at Indiana University, I took a studio art class. Usually, the homework assignments were quite elaborate and time consuming - average of 10 hours/ week. However, daily we also used to do fast pen sketches on our own to develop an "eye" for detail and uniqueness. I will keep sharing some of the pen sketches - they are easy to scan as opposed to more elaborate larger drawings. Usually, they take 2-3 minutes to draw but one has to make the effort to quickly compose the idea.

I need a catalyst to keep me drawing and writing.

 

A Girl Reading at the Union, An Old Chevrolet Truck, A Chinese Dancer Mask, and Thrift Shop in Bloomington (Indiana) (From top to bottom)