Suman ran across the field with the shin high grasses caressing him and parting away as he moved across. With the spring sun behind him and a clear sky beckoning him- he ran with a joy in his heart.
And then he stumbled. Something hit his toe and he stumbled forward. When he looked back- the sky darkened to grey and a pot of gold lay in front of him. Glittering and shiny. He bent forward to pick a solitary gold coin lying on the field, but the standing grasses suddenly transformed themselves into protector and keeper of their treasure. The grasses joined themselves to form a matted covering, protecting the gold coin from Suman’s hands.
And almost spontaneously, the pot of gold shifted! It moved along the grass trail he made earlier as if it was dragged along by an invisible hand. The more he ran, the more he found the distance between the pot and him increasing.
No, no – it can’t be it can’t be!
When he lifted his eyes from the receding pot of gold to the horizon- he saw three figures. Somehow Suman could see them clearly. Laughing, joyous mixed with occassional smirks towards Suman.
Arun,Ravi and Shekhar- high fiving each other, while the pot of gold lay at their feet. Suman felt a stab of pain hit his chest. He grimaced.And suddenly it became clear the futility of his position. He was running on a treadmill.
No, No, No- thats mine!
But his voice was muffled and choked. A mute cry. A silent groan.
Suman woke up with a start. His chest heaving slightly and a thin bead of perspiration was threatening to make its way across the jugular vein.
Suman got up and lurched across the living room. His shirt clinged to his back and he needed some cold water!
My throat feels like sandpaper.
As he opened the door of he refrigerator he expected the inside light to guide him towards the bottle. It didnt glow up. The current was gone. But thankfully the bottle was still cold. Reasonably.
Suman gulped almost half the bottle in one go,but nursed the other half on the dining table for the next two hours. Trying to remember the dream but felt like holding back water in his palms. It quickly precipitated back in his memory, except some bits and pieces here. The intensity of feelings- the intense fear when he saw the pot of gold moving away, the despair and disappointment when he couldnt run behind it.
Get a grip, boy. Get a grip.
At about 10, he has an appointment with Manish. Strangely Manish made him write a different address as they spoke over the phone, than the one on the visiting card. His mind instantly went to the Gordon Gekko character. Manish didnt look like him, but maybe he transformed himself into one when he was trading.
As his car meandered across the lazy and jammed traffic across the city, he was slightly tensed. He knew nothing, and all he wanted was to make money. Why did he feel afraid ? He always felt afraid of new experiences. As he came across the venue, he was taken aback by how bucolic the setting was- the neighbourhood looked peaceful!
He anticipated that the environment will magically transform itself from a tranquil, serenity he was experiencing right now to a high pressure, boiler room kind of situation inside. He braced up.
As he moved through the glass door, he was struck at the realisation of being wrong, so badly. In front of him were Manish, Puneet and another guy- all busy at their respective desks. Manish was gleaning at the screens but in front of him lay a thick sheaf of papers and a well worn book. Something by Ed Seykota.
Manish stole his eyes from the screen at the man standing at the door and greeted him with a warm smile -“Hey Suman come over.”
Puneet too looked up from what seemed like a bunch of reports and a sheaf of papers, a calculator lay over them. Puneet got up and exchanged the pencil in his right hand to his left and extended it to shake hands.
Suman was slightly dazed, a slight disorientation- on encountering something so much unseemly. The third guy sitting at the corner didnt even notice the new developments in the room. With his eyes fixed on the thick bunch of papers and newspapers, he sat on his chair- almost inanimate.
Suman didnt expect a one on one conversation with Manish to have two more people for company. Manish thrusted the conversational ball to him by expectantly looking at him to explain himself.
Suman at once braced himself weighed down by the burden of vulnerability, rather the admission of vulnerability.
“Manish, I want to learn to trade and invest”
Thats it! There is no turning back now.
The words hung in the room like stale smoke. For a long time- no one said anything. Puneet kept looking at him. Manish leaned back on his chair. The room intermittently disturbed by the faint ruffling of sheets.
Manish looked at Puneet and finally turned to Suman and said- “Alright”. The words rang in Suman’s ears like an orchestra.
Puneet interjected- “But the path wont be easy, though! I, Puneet Khurana, will equip you with tools to understand psychology and finance together”
“And I, Manish Dhawan – will teach you how to put your emotions at one side and trade…”
A chair pulled back from the back of the corner of the room, and the almost inanimate reading man got up, raised his hands and bent his back to stretch himself. Puneet and Manish looked back and smiled.
“Suman- meet our third partner- Soham: listen to him carefully boy, when he speaks! He believes in reading 500 pages a day- so when he speaks hear him carefully”
500 pages! Thats humongous!
Suman peered into his eyes and saw through the bespectacled frame- a pair of eyes which were mischievous* and intense* at the same time.
“Hello Soham, I am Suman. I intend to learn investing from you”
A warm handshake and an even warmer smile, came from Soham.
Soham spoke haltingly, measuring his words, weighing the implications- “Its not an easy job Suman I can promise you that. But if you are here for some intellectual pow-wow there is no better place to be”
1 year later:
The TV in the cafeteria blared out at full volume:
“…Rajeev, the markets have dropped 25% in the last two months- and this is the worst June we are looking at. We are heading lower following Chinese real estate cues. Where do you think the bottom is?”
“Sonia, we have been repeatedly saying that fundamentals are looking suspect for a long time and the market is just reacting to that. Chinese fever and Middle Eastern political problems are threatening high crude and a global deflation. And we expect markets to head down lower. Our advice to investors will be to avoid this kind of markets, and book losses if need be”
The mood at the table was sombre. No chest thumping admission of doubling or tripling of corpus. Arun’s face looked like it was hit by a truck, as he saw the index tumbling down. Shekhar didnt say much- but almost all stocks he had been touting for the past few months were shedding the flab.
But like last time, Suman didnt share the mood. At one level- nothing did change. At another level- everything changed. Suman closed his eyes for a moment, almost to collect all his determination and resolution – a moment to recollect all the teachings of Manish, Puneet and Soham over the past 12 months-
He opened his eyes. He lifted his mobile from the table. A few jabs- a number came up on screen.
“Yes, Ashutosh- this is Suman speaking. Can you please put in an order of 7000 for Indag Rubber?”
Folks, Suman had to learn all of this in 12 months- but you need not.
Manish Dhawan of Mystic Wealth , Puneet Khurana of Pragmatic Investing and myself are joining forces to arrange a workshop in Delhi where we will share how to master investing basics and principles over the course of 1 day. It will bring you at par with professionals of the game and give you tools and ways to beat the professionals in their own game.
At one level- Manish will discuss his trading strategies, his investing strategies, his system and will be giving away his system for free.
At another level- Puneet will discuss how to adopt behavioural psychology to detect imbalances in the the market and avoid the mistakes rookies do.
And yours truly, will be there to teach you- moat thinking, valuation shortcuts- where the opportunities are there in the markets and where do the threats lurk. A free wheeling session where you can ask everything you always wanted to ask an expert but never could find one!
Its said that life doesnt give you many chances- but when it does you will be a damn fool to miss it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is that chance!
Buy your tickets now, folks! There is a limited early bird discount as well!