Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Golden words

Have you ever seen a movie so many times that you know each and every dialogue by heart? You can probably lip-sync the entire movie so perfectly that sometimes you wonder why is it that you can't remember Newton's laws in such a word-perfect manner despite having to mug it a few zillion times.

The first time we got a TV & VCR in our house was in 1984. It was the year of Olympics in Los Angeles. It was also the year when for the first time our country broadcasted the TV signals to the entire nation and a few bit and pieces of live action. My dad had bought the TV and VCR just a month or so before it all began and the first movie we watched was a Kannada movie. Then my cousin got us our own copy of 'Mackenna's Gold' - starring Gregory Peck and Omar Sheriff. It's one of the best movies that I have ever seen and later on I found out that the whole thing was shot inside the Hollywood sets. Over the years I saw this movie probably a 100 times or more and my flatmate gets amused when I repeat word for word when it comes on TV. Of course whenever I see that much gold (a whole mountain), I sometimes wish I had 1% of that :-))

Speaking of Gold, why is it that it is valued so much? Ok I know the answer - scarcity. Today gold is valued and respected so much that currencies and commodities all have the backing of bullion. If a government wants to print money it should keep aside a similar value of gold. Remember how in the balance of payment crisis of 1989 we had to send two shiploads of gold to UK in order to get foreign currency? Now I wonder, what if someone comes up with a huge cache of gold on one fine morning? Or someone deciphers Leonardo Da Vinci's formula to turn lead into gold? The market would be gutted with so much gold that the entire economies, stock markets, and everything else would instantly collapse because there is no collateral backing. What a scary thought!

Did you know that when Napoleon won his first war he celebrated his victory by eating his food from aluminium plate and spoon, while his other generals ate from gold plates? This was because in those days aluminium was so scarce that it was valued more than gold. Look what a couple of centuries have done to the value of aluminium. Gold has held its value for thousands of years but will it ever suffer the fate of aluminium - only time can tell.


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