Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Thank you US and your financial crisis

Some thank yous going out because I feel good I'm in India. Here goes,

- Thank you black market: For having such a large presence in the Indian housing sector. Were it not for your preponderance, we'd have all kinds of regulations and control. We still do but even you know how that works.

- Thank you politicians: For having the foresight to grab all the land you could. Before anyone else, it was you who realised that without a house, there can't be a housing crisis.

- Thank you Government: For being so occupied in grabbing land, defending archaic real-estate laws, tweaking FSI and going tipsy in urban planning norms. If you weren't, you might have created a Fannie, Freddie or Sally here in India (what would you call it? Mortgages United National Association, i.e. Munna? or Public Mortgages of India Enterprises, i.e. Pummie?). Full marks for staying away (officially) from the housing market in India.

- Thank you builders: For holding on to your fantastic profit margins. Your steadfast refusal to cut the prices of your homes means that no one is buying your houses any longer. And if people stop buying houses, then how can there be a housing crisis? (PS: We admire your firm belief that Ma Durga, Lord Kuber, Lord Rama and the accompanying Gods in the coming festive season will shower riches on your prospective buyers who will then buy your houses.)

- Thank you banks: For holding on to your pants. For not going overboard in throwing money to people at Churchgate Station and Dadar to buy houses through your loans. For not then packaging these loans as attractive investments for other banks to buy and sell.

- Thank you RBI: For keeping banks under check. Even if there's only so much you can do when every bank and their aunts wants to offer money to builders and home-buyers, you realised early that this shit can blow up and went to DEFCON 1 by increasing risk weightage on mortgages.

- Thank you citizens of India: For understanding what flat broke feels like. For paying your credit card bills on time. For buying houses to live in and not to bet on. For paying your home loans on time. And more than anything else for saving.

- And special thanks to that person who coined the saying "aamdani athani, kharcha rupaiya" warning many generations that, well, you can't spend more than you earn. Duh. If only that one small country in the West had heard it earlier, perhaps this world might have looked different today.