Friday, January 20, 2012

PUNTER - My Favourite Short Stories Part 83


My Favourite Short Stories Part 83
PUNTER
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Here is a short story I wrote quite recently:

He was not a Bull. 

He was not a Bear. 

He was a Punter. 

Yes, that’s we nicknamed him: “Punter”.

He did not bother about gobbledygook like fundamentals or technicals. 

He did not have an inkling of financial algorithms and risk heuristics and never “analyzed” – he just speculated by sheer gut feeling.

He instinctively knew how to time the market. 

That’s why he always made money, whether the stock market boomed or crashed.

He had made so much money that he could have retired and enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, but then, he had got addicted to making money by playing the stock market.

Yes, he got a kick out of “making” money rather than “enjoying” his money. 

So despite his advancing years he kept on playing the market with more and more vigor and continued to make more and more money. 

Earlier he would spend his entire time in the ring at the Stock Exchange on Dalal Street. 

Now he would sit all day, all stressed up, in his room, glued to his TV, flipping all the financial channels, his fingers on his laptop for instant online trading via the internet. 

He had no interests, no hobbies, no pleasures, no loves – he just enjoyed one thing – playing the stock market and making money. 

One day his lifestyle took its toll and he had a heart attack. 

They rushed him to the best hospital in Mumbai and they all said he would require a bypass surgery. 

So they admitted him to the best room in the hospital. 

Instead of relaxing there, he sat whole day watching the stock-market channels on the wall-mounted TV, doing feverish online trading on his laptop and he continued making a lot a money and he was very happy.

But the doctors were not happy and said that all this share-market business was causing him a lot of excitement which was not good for his already erratic heart, so one morning they suddenly removed the TV and the laptop and even banned all visitors except me and his son, who was a successful investment banker.

“Total rest,” the doctors warned all of us, “he needs total rest, both mental and physical, and only then will he be able to stabilize and be ready for the surgery.”

It was the first time he had to suffer a day of total rest isolated from the outside world and it was the worst day of his life. 

The entire morning he kept asking about stock prices and asked me for my cell-phone to connect up and find out, but I refused since we were told to strictly isolate him from that world. 

I could realize that he was passing though hell, unimaginable mental agony at not getting information about the very thing that had been his bread and butter, even the raison d'etre of his existence.

After lunch he dozed off, and then he suddenly he woke up and asked me, “What is the time?”

“2:30,” I said.

“Good. There is still time. I want to speak to my son.”

“He is coming at 4...”

“No. I want to speak to him now. It is urgent.”

“He’ll be busy now, in his office…”

“I told you it is urgent. Just get him on the phone…” he said excitedly, his breathing getting heavy.

“Okay. Okay. Calm down,” I said. 

I dialed his son’s mobile number, and when the son came on line, I asked him to speak to his father.

“Sell all shares,” the man shouted at his son via the mobile phone.

“What?” I could hear his son’s surprised voice.

“Don’t ask any questions. Just do what I say. Sell all my shares, understand, all my shares, everything. Do it now. Today. Before the closing bell. Sell everything online. Right now. You know the user id and password of my account, don't you...”

“Okay, Papa,” I could hear his son’s voice before he disconnected.

He kept on pestering me to ring up his son and confirm, so I rang up his son half an hour later.

“Yes, Papa, I have sold all the shares in online trading,” the son confirmed.

The old man seemed tremendously relieved and went to sleep peacefully.

That night, at home, sitting before my TV set, I watched with concern as all the share-market experts on the financial channels predicted that the market was very solid and bullish and recommended that everyone buy shares as the market was going to go up and up. 

Invest ... Invest ... Invest ... Buy ... Buy ... Buy ... all the experts said in unison. 

The market was at an all time high but things were looking so good that it was going to rise phenomenally and your investment would probably double in a few months, all the experts predicted. They kept quoting analysis in jargon I never understood to substantiate their predictions.

Next morning the stock-market crashed. 

It was the biggest fall ever in the history of the share-market. 

Most investors were wiped out. 

Everyone incurred big losses. Except the old man and me.

Did I say: “The old man and me?” 

Dear Reader, you’re surprised, aren’t you? 

Let me tell you what I did. 

The moment the Punter had finished speaking to his son, I went outside the room and I called up my broker and told him to immediately sell off all my shares.

The Punter had made a huge profit and, as always, along with him, I too had made a small fortune. 

As always, I had blindly followed the Punter and, as always, I had profited by blindly imitating whatever he did in the stock market.

The moment he heard the news (from a careless nurse who told the old man that the hospital was abuzz with news of the stock-market crash) the Punter got so excited that he almost went crazy with excitement and happiness. The frenzy of ecstasy caused his blood pressure to go haywire, his heartbeats ran amok, and suddenly, he collapsed and died.

I gave a condolence speech at the old man’s funeral in which I praised him profusely and told everyone how I had made a fortune in the stock-market by just following him blindly.

Later, his son took me aside and asked me, “Did you really sell all your shares?”

“Yes,” I said, “I had blind faith in your father.”

“I wish I had blind faith in his mysterious ways. But then I am an investment banker. I don’t go by gut instinct. I analyze things. I never imagined the market would crash so badly. In fact I thought the market would rise and it would be foolish to sell such excellent blue chip shares. So, I never sold those shares. I am big fool. Had I listened to him and sold all the shares I would have made a big fortune. But I did not sell those shares,” said the young man.

“You never sold the shares?”

“No.”

“Then why did you lie to him?”

“Because I wanted him to die happy.”


VIKRAM KARVE 
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 fiction short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL 

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@sify.com
vikramkarve@gmail.com

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
   

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