December 26, 2009

Close to the Year End

Usually at this time of the year, everyone tend to think of the important events over the past 12 months, and how things have changed. Well, let me also think along similar lines, and see which have been the biggest events for me:

1. Changing Jobs: The biggest surely is the fact that I have shifted my job – and though this has come close to the end of the year, this would shape my next year. If the plan plays out, 2010 would surely be rocking.

2. May Elections: I think the second most important event was the May 2009 up-circuit in the market. It changed a lot of things – just the 9/11 in the US, things would never be same again. And this is not just a random comparison, it did break a lot of things.

3. Trading Losses: I tried to time the market a few times last year, and most of times failed miserably. Hopefully things would change next year, and I would be able to trade the markets better. Losses aren’t my biggest concerns, but I did let go of some of the basic principals of risk management. Hopefully would stick to them next year.

4. Honda City: I would be buying Honda City today, and this certainly would be an important event for me. This would be my first ever car, and I certainly would have a nice time next year driving it. Hopefully would move around a lot of places in Mumbai. Along the same lines, I got my Nikon D90 camera as well – and pretty soon would be posting nice pictures taken using it.

5. HK Trip: I went to HK twice after a long time (relatively, it was just 14-15 months in absolute terms), and really had a nice time on both the trips. Planning to see some European countries in 2010, and hopefully there would be some business trip coming along :P

As for my expectations from the next year, this list is quite simple (only professional, and public-life related):

1. Do good in work, and be a better trader – want to become a better trader, and be able to trade the direction of the markets as well. Have been trading volatility for some time now, and I think I should take some sizeable bets on the direction side as well.

2. Keep Healthy, and lose some weight - Would try to lose 1 Kg weight every month, and hopefully should be 65 Kg by the end of 2010. Have been attending a lot of parties in the recent times, and that has really added to the weight problem. Would avoid fried foods, and cheesy items.

October 31, 2009

Is Change Good?

Q: Why do we like change?

A: You get to select the new ‘You’, and leave the old guy behind.

October 25, 2009

Job 2.0

I have recently switched my job, and have started going to my new office. This was after working for close to two and a half years at my first job.

Not too many things have changed, and I would essentially be doing the same things. However, this time I would also be working towards getting the business started from scratch, and hence there are additional challenges in the role. In the earlier role, everything was in place before I had joined, and hence the operational bit was quite smooth. Lets see how this pans out – would know a great deal more by the end of 2009.

Change is always good, and one should always take on fresh challenges. I realized I was getting too comfortable in my job, and didn’t really think too much about ways to generate more and more money. I think that was the prime factor which made me think about the switch – I need to be on the edge to think of ways to increase the P&L. If that is not happening, then there is something wrong. There are so many opportunities in the market place, with so many changes taking place. And the market remains inefficient, so there is plenty of money to be made.

It also gives me an opportunity to know a lot more people than I would have otherwise known. There are a lot of college seniors working at the new place, and over the course of next few weeks, I should get to know them better.

October 7, 2009

The Theory of Relativity

Everything in the world seems to be relative. When I was a small kid, the dreams were also very small. Ok, not so small, but decently small. As I grew up, everything kept changing in relation with the environment. And as things stand today, the aspirations have also become bigger.

In my school days, I used to dream of going to Europe. Not that I knew too much about the place, but somehow it was always my dream destination. I wanted to travel Europe on road. I still haven’t achieved this, but this no longer remains my dream. The dreams are now very different, and much bolder. I want to travel all around the world, and want to see the important events across the globe.

Happiness is also proving to be a relative commodity. I had initially thought that I would be very happy as I had travelled to a couple of countries in Asia. However, whenever I look at my friends travelling to more exotic locations, suddenly my happiness vanishes. And I’m left with an empty feeling of being left behind. In an absolute sense, I should be happy, and one trip per year seems reasonable. However, on the relative scale, I am very far behind my friends. Most of them have travelled more than two continents, and I still haven’t been able to add to the tally I was born with.

I wish we didn’t have such feelings, and we would be able to enjoy the life in absolute terms. It would be much more enjoyable that way.

September 17, 2009

The Last Days

I wrote this poem more than 4 years back – during my last few days at college. For some reason, I have come back to read this after every two years since then. And even though most of the things don’t hold true anymore, I always seem to connect with this one:

Silence haunts me today
Emotions follow the path of betrayal,
Hope and sorrow, joy and pain
All juxtaposed on one heart

I can feel the winds, blowing through the two doorsIn my room, 
facing each other, opened
Helped in their movement by the fan above
Colliding across my body in the middle

The end is always gloomy
There is no such thing as a happy partition
Conscious and semi-conscious minds on the roads
Endless treats and confessions and proposals

The moment is here, very close
When it all ends, life restarts
When you badly screw up your life,
You only need to format it, destructively

Old bonds broken, no strings carried forward
Ties snapping, emotions unreflected back
Present lived against the past
Past forgotten for the future

Waves in a string, all starting at a point
Some getting high, some keeping low
All enjoying life for a wavelength
And then, culminating into a node

A node, the destiny for all
The brightest and the dullest
All getting into the black hole
Getting lost, and forgotten, forever

August 29, 2009

Why there is no word called ‘Bear-sh*t

To start with, let me put the disclaimers first:

1. Normally I don’t talk about markets in this blog, as this is my gate away from the world. However, this thought came to me on a lazy Saturday morning while sipping a cup of tea, and hence I thought it qualified for being put here.

2. I have a very strong belief that most of the asset classes in the world always trade at a premium over their fundamental value – defining fundamental value as what people would earn if they indeed keep the asset till perpetuity. I have a term for it as well – the ADR phenomenon. It goes like this – any ADR can anytime be converted into the underlying stock, and hence the value of an ADR will seldom fall below whatever an investor can earn by buying the ADR and then immediately converting that into stock. So, ADRs most of the time trade at a premium to the intrinsic price of the underlying share. The price of the stock here is the ‘Opportunity Value’ of the ADR – which could be derived any time the investor wants to. The same rational goes for the stocks or any other asset class – they always trade at a premium over what people can earn by holding them to perpetuity (their “Opportunity Value’). Only in times of deep recessions and market crashes do they trade below their values. So, more than 80%-90% of the times there is a bubble in the market.

Now building on my belief about the perpetual asset bubble in the world, any rational person would most of the time expect the market to correct (looking deeper into the terminology here – market falls are called ‘correction’, while the rise in markets are given terms like ‘bubbles’, ‘frenzy’, and ‘euphoria’). So, there is an inherent bias in the market where more people always believe that markets should fall. Whether they expect the fall to happen immediately or later is where the opinion differs, but they are all united in their belief that they are over-valued. There seems to be slight sophistication in thinking ‘Bearish’ – anyone who thinks markets would keep on rising is termed a naive retail speculator, whereas anyone who can substantiate a market fall is an ‘Economist’ or a ‘Trader’. So much are the professionals in the field biased against the bulls that they have named the ultimate description of crap as ‘Bull-sh*t’.

So, little wonder that all the ‘E’s and ‘T’s of the world are united in terming the latest rally as overdone, and are predicting another crash to happen ‘any moment’. No one likes a rising market – anyone can make money there. The dumbest of people end up making the most mullah in a bull market – as they don’t have the slightest of fear about a market fall. If one was born in US in the last 1970s, and discovered their senses in mid-1980s, then he/she saw was an ever rising market. How on earth would someone explain him/her that markets could fall as well. They were living in a ‘fool’s paradise’. NNT also warned against the bull markets, and bought deep OTM options – in the full knowledge that markets one day would fall big, and he would make a killing. He did make it, but that came after years of painfully watching the market move up, and seeing all his options expiring worthless (he did get all his money back, but that was from the sale of his books, rather than from the markets). No one ever loses everything in the market – either you make money, or you learn.

In the end, everyone is right about it – but seems that if you do not think about it too much, you are right on more occasions than the rational thinkers. You might lose everything you made in just one bad year, but then, its the same with the other side as well. So next time an expert warns you against a crash, just tell him that you would rather lose money in a couple of crashes, than being worried about it for all your life. And for all the ‘bears’ in the world, there is one simple answer - ‘Ignorance is Bliss’.

August 1, 2009

IT Returns and Bills

Now I’m relatively at peace with myself. Somehow I lose it when there are too many pending things, specially things which are out of my control. Now, I have settled quite a few of things which were nagging me.

One of these were the IT-returns. Even though the process is decently simple, the complicated part was getting in touch with the CA, and then getting all those photocopies and bank statements. It was getting nightmare-ish for me to get everything at one place, and so I decided to do away with the CA. I think it makes much more sense to file your returns yourself (much like my belief that people should invest their money themselves, rather than going through consultants and mutual funds)

Other disturbing things were pending utilities bills, and a fine of the Credit Card delayed payment. I absolutely hate to pay fines, for monetary as well as disciplinary reasons. More so in this case as I had actually made the payment on time, and for some reasons the payment failed, and they had reversed the transaction in my account a couple of days later which I didn’t check. So, I had to fork out a fine of Rs 600 on a Rs 800 bill. I find this completely outrageous – and the funny thing is that inspite of this daylight robbery these banks lose billions every quarter :).

Went on to watch Harry Potter yesterday at IMAX, and the 3D part was absolutely amazing. I think the movie was decently good, though am still not sure if it was as good as the hype. This was my first Harry Potter movie, and even though I ideally planned to watch them in order, I realized that way I may have to watch all of them on small screen.

July 5, 2009

When in Joka, talk like …

This is a straight rip-off from the IIMC website (


This is a short guide meant for fuchchas entering IIMC. This will help you acclimatize better to your surroundings – and will ensure you have no excuse for your linguistic shortcomings.

The Basic Ones

1. Globe (n, adj)

Used to denote the non-specificity of a certain comment. Globe typically includes statements which are true in all conditions, or statements which are vague and impertinent to the question at hand.

Usage: When the prof. asks, “What are the implications of this particular policy” an answer like “While this policy could herald a new dawn into the country’s future while there exists the possibility of it failing. A careful study needs to be undertaken to assess the pros and cons and then apt and timely decisions need to be taken for this policy to be successful”. This term can also be used as an adjective – “Yaar, Bahut Globe paper tha”


2. Bakar (n)

This is used to denote arbitrary talk mostly among friends that consumes most of the time of the residents of Joka. Bakar typically happens for the whole night particularly among jobless members of various hostels.

Usage: “Yaar, kal raat bakar karke baithe hue the”


3. Geela (adj)

Given the skewed sex ratio at IIM, this adjective is a form of putting a social price on trying to woo a member of the fairer sex. Depending on who is using it, this term would be applied to an individual who is mostly found talking to members of the aforementioned gender.

Usage: “Woh banda to confirmed geela hai” or “Aisi geeli harkatein karna chod de”


4. Aandozz/Machandozzz (interj.)

Aandozz literally means “bring it on”.  Used to signal the coming of a new challenge. Machandozz is used by other people who are wishing good luck to the people saying Aaandozzz. Machandozz is also used after someone has performed commendably as encouragement. Again the number of “zzz” will indicate degree.


“XL meet aandozzz”
“Guys, go kick their ass. Machandozzzz!”


5. Putlake(v)

Used to indicate disagreement with someone or something. Typically the guilty party is asked to be “putlaked”. Also used as a celebratory gesture to celebrate birthdays and pre-placement offers.

Usage: “Putlake Arjun Singh. He’s spoiled our entire system” or “Putlake admin”


6. Putcrack / Putfight(v)

Used as encouragement before an important event.
Usage: “Best of luck for the case. Putcrack!”


7. Fatleez(adj.)

Used to indicate a dire situation.
Usage: “yaar, merit toh class mein fatleez ho gayi hai. Kuch bhi samajh nahi aa raha”


8. Lessss(adj.)

Used to indicate how lame a particular situation/comment is. The more the number of “ssss” the more stupid it is.
Usage: “Yaar less jokes mat mar”


The Academic Ones

1. DP/CP (abbr.)

Stands for “desperate participation” and “class participation”. While classroom participation means commenting in a way which takes the discussion forward and more importantly gets you a better grade, desperate participation typically comes from a middle-to-backbencher who feels his grade is slipping away and needs to absolutely establish his presence.
Usage: “Yaar itna DP mat maar.”


2. Freerider (n)

Member of a group who shoulder little to no responsibility. Such members are soon ratted out and frowned upon by the more hard-working members of the group. The best freeriders are those who escape from being labelled as one.
Usage: “We don’t want any freeriders in our group”.

The Message Board Ones

1. CAMs (abbr.)

Stands for “Can’t Agree More”. It is used to indicate agreement with a previous statement. The more the number of trailing “sss…” the more is the agreement.

A: “I think Sachin should’ve played the T20 world cup”
B: “CAMssssss”


2. htia(abbr.)

Stands for “hajaar thanks in advance”. To be used on the bulletin board while asking for answers to a particular question that is bugging you, or a particular software that you need.
Usage: “Does anyone know how to mail-merge in office? ~htia”


3. nsoi (v)
Stands for “enjoy”.


4. chocs and mishtis assured
Used while asking for a favour, typically as a reward for lost things on the bulletin board. This is typically an area for your creative energies and you can promise other things too.
“Guys I’ve lost my calculator. Anyone who can find it please call me!
~chocs and mishits assured”

June 7, 2009


India is slightly strange in the sense there are no popular eating-joints where you can drive-in, stay for an hour reading some novels, surf the internet, and move out. Most of the places are overly crowded with people, and one can hardly go there alone and enjoy a cup of coffee or sandwich.

I am still waiting for the day when we would have McDonald's/'Barista'/'Cafe Coffee Day' on all the important roads, and one can stop their cars, grab a drink and enjoy some silent moments there.