How Economic Models are Made (or What Heads of Institutions I will be Applying to Should Not Come Across

>> Thursday, August 21, 2008

(N.B. Judging by initial reactions, I hasten to add that this post does not reflect my knowledge of Mathematics, Economics or Physics. This is just one of those silly conversations people have when faced with too much of Economics)
"He Dharti ma, mujhe apne god me samale!!"

"No, nothing, not even a budge," Bonky observed and tilted her head in thought. "Maybe you have got the words wrong. These goddesses are very picky about the words you say."

"Hmm, should we be more specific you think? Maybe ask her to open a crevice and then add the 'god me samale' bit?"

"If you ask me, she would get offended if you treat her like a kid. Next you know, the earth will start contracting again and we will end up right next to the Russians and Bangladesh will become a mountain."

"As admirable as your Geography is, I think its worth an effort."

The revised version of the classic suicide appeal was exclaimed again with full fervour with no tragic results and we were left mulling over the undivided road yet again.

"You know what I think? Dharti ma has done her work. Now we need to appeal to the god of roads. The earth is probably all hollowed and awaiting my corpse. We need to pray to the road to divide and let me access my grave."

"Trying to commit suicide, are we? Is this because they abolished the examinations for masters at Presi? Come, come now, we know suicide is too drastic a step, do not we? Try breaking a leg or something," remarked an interloper.

"We have an examination for masters? Since when? You think mundane stuff like this drives to me to desperation? Ye hardly know me, interloper."

"Of course we do," said the interloper, ignoring everything else but the reference to examinations. "Don't you remember PM telling us some girl only drew a downward sloping line when asked what a budget line was?"

"No. Who is PM?"

"Uh, the Indian Economy professor, but never mind that. Why in the world are you looking so thoughtful? Last I saw you looked thoughtful was when you were making paper balls to throw at..."

"Yes, never mind that. Ask me that question again."

"Why in the world are you..? Oh, oh, you mean what is a budget line?"

"Seriously, what is a budget line? It is a downward sloping line. What more could we add? That it looks like a rainbow from afar if drawn with one of those multi coloured pens?"

Bonky, appalled by my ignorance, added her own intellectual input to the answer, "It has a negative slope. Oh, and in case supply is rationed.."

Quelling her with a glance, I continued, "Let me think out the answer without trying to write downward sloping lines have a negative slope. Oh, oh wait, I know, a budget line is a downward sloping line. This means it"

"Oh yes," Bonky interrupted icily. " I can not mention downward sloping lines have negative slopes but you can mention downward sloping lines slope downwards. Not only are you a despot, you are a..."

"Careful with your language. I have a feeling I might be blogging about this later."

"You blog about us?? You mean our conversations and everything?"

"Of course not," I remarked airily. "Now stop interrupting my answer. So, since a budget line slopes downwards, we can assume the force of gravity acts on it."

"We can assume what," she exclaimed.

"I am just incorporating a bit of tenth grade Physics. You should know gravity now. You studied Physics at high school, did not you? Waste of time in my opinion, when you had to end up as an economist and forget about gravity. So, where were we? Oh yes, let us assume slope of budget line is -1. It can be anything really; we just need a negative value. So do not go stretch the syllables of the word 'what' again. Acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/sec². Now, we will proceed to equate them. Therefore, -1= 9.8 m/sec². Bonky, why are your eyes popping out?"

"Are they? I never noticed. The weather, perhaps? Tell me," she added conversationally," do not you think equating -1 with 9.8 is rather pathbreaking? Not many people dare to do it."

"I did not equate it with 9.8, Bonky," I replied, a strained note creeping in my my voice due to all the unnecessary explanations. " I equated it with 9.8 m/sec². And close your mouth. What with all the eye popping and mouth gaping, you are beginning to look like Fishface"

"That, of course, makes all the difference."

"Now for the last bit of my answer and pray do not interrupt me again. Cross-multiplying, we can say -1/9.8 = m/sec². Bonky, I see you goggling again. It is a very unnerving habit. Get rid of it. Sec² cannot be negative, since it is a square, which implies meter is negative. However, we know distance is a scalar quantity and can not be negative."

"So? Go on. You interest me enormously. How will you deal with this obstruction to your brilliance?"

"So, Bonky, all it proves is that a budget line does not exist. The concept of a budget line is mathematically unsound and hence, all we have learnt in Consumer Behaviour is based on the foundation of mathematically incorrect theories. Which means our Part 1 examination was one big lie."

"You know," remarked Bonky, after thinking it over a bit," I think the ground vibrated a little. Want to try that prayer again?"


A Hurried Update

>> Monday, August 18, 2008

Have been country-hopping a bit lately. The world is a very nice place with amazing things to look at, wonder at, and glare at. But you can not do much about it cooped up in rooms with computers and air conditioners.

Had a very rushed week at Mumbai. Managed to see a couple of roads and the airport. The only journeys I had involved me falling asleep on my way to anywhere. Hope to see more of the city soon, but what with this, that and brooding over the future, will probably have to put it off. The best part about the trip was that it helped in making a decision. The city, as wondrous and mysterious as it is, is not very kindred to aspiring pseudo- economists. Hence, it is removed from list of cities I can haunt next.

Also, Fish Faced Follies completed two years on August the fifteenth. As someone once said, have cake.


What ho

>> Friday, August 08, 2008

Apparently, dinner parties are not hosted to give one a chance to practice their incinerating skills. Hosts tend to look askance at guests who forage toothpicks from the appetizers and burn them on floating candles. Yelling "Burn, you heathen, burn" and jumping up and down excitedly is also not advised. It is little things like these which make parents dub you as an anti social and talk about psychiatrists in hushed tones.

Being a final year student abruptly changes your life. The subject stops seeming like something you decided to take a vacation with before finding your niche in the world. Companies actually attempt to provide us with jobs without blanching inwardly. Everyone around you looks younger, and teachers and students fall back comfortably into a back-slapping relationship. This is the right time to call yourself an adult. Unless you are doodling tornadoes in your notebook while your professor gives you a lecture mostly wandering around the topic "You are the future."

Hence, having kept aside everything I love the most, days and night are spent mostly on oil, oil prices, inflation, more oil, cartels, complaining incessantly about why hair styling prices rise with rise in price of oil, interviewing rich, snooty people, even more oil, and discussing with bus conductors what they think the political impact of oil price rise is. As fascinating as the exercise is, all it seems to lead to is frayed nerves, an impatient attitude towards oil in general, and a hatred towards buses in particular.

So, on days not spent wondering about oil, we take photographs. Which I will now proceed to unveil to the discriminating public, for one of them (the pictures, not the discriminating public) is very dear to my heart, namely,

which is the dearest view on earth. You are viewing Presidency, from my secret spot.

The world viewed from under an umbrella is a very beautiful place. Specially when its three people under a very purple umbrella and you are walking on a very unknown road to a very known destination.

The known destination. Accompanied by very buttery pao bhaji and what seems like people shooting a Bhojpuri movie.

And how such trips are destined to end.

Being a senior is turning out to be a most interesting experience. Though random thoughts about burning toothpicks in Indian Economy classes require to be quelled. Specially since they do not provide us with floating candles.


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