Monday, January 19, 2015

Humor in Money - THE PUNTER AND THE INVESTMENT BANKER

HUMOUR IN MONEY

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Here is a fiction short story I wrote 4 years ago, in the year 2011, on a day the stock market was fluctuating wildly. 

Have a Laugh.

THE PUNTER AND THE INVESTMENT BANKER
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

He was not a Bull. 

He was not a Bear. 

He was a Punter. 

Yes, that is why 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.

He never “analyzed” the share market – he just speculated by sheer gut feeling.

He instinctively knew how to time the market. 

That is why he always made money  whether the stock market boomed or it 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 he continued to make more and more money. 

Earlier, in the good old days, 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 or smartphone 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 massive heart attack. 

They rushed him to the best hospital in Mumbai.

The doctors 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 smartphone  and he continued making a lot a money and he was very happy.

But the doctors were not happy.

The doctors 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 his smartphone and they even banned all visitors except me, his best friend, 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.

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 through hell  unimaginable mental agony at not getting information about the stock market – the very thing that had been his bread and butter  even the raison d'etre of his existence.

After lunch he dozed off.

Then he suddenly he woke up, and he asked me, “What is the time?”

“2:30,” I said.

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

“He is coming at 4...” I said.

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

“Your son will be busy now, in his office…” I said.

“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 dialled his son’s mobile number.

Soon his son came on the 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. You just do what I say. Sell all my shares – do you understand  sell 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 trading account, don't you...” the old man shouted to his son.

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

The old man 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 he 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.

All financial experts recommended that everyone buy shares as the market was going to go up and 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. 

The experts kept quoting analysis in technical 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 huge losses – except the old man and me.

Did I say: “The old man and Me?” 

Yes, the “Punter” and Me seemed to be the only two people who had made a profit in this sock-market crash.

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.

I called up my broker and told him to immediately sell off all my shares.

The Punter must have made a huge profit selling off all his shares just before the stock-market crashed.

And, as always  playing along with him  I too had made a small fortune by selling off the few shares I had. 

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 Punter heard the news of the stock-market crash from a careless nurse.

The Punter got so excited on hearing the news of the share-market crash, that he almost went crazy with excitement and happiness thinking of the huge amount of profit he had made. 

The frenzy of ecstasy caused his blood pressure to go haywire  his heartbeats ran amok  and suddenly  the Punter collapsed and died.

I gave a condolence speech at the old man’s funeral in which I praised him profusely.

I told everyone how I had made a fortune in the stock-market by just following him blindly.

Later, the old man’s son took me aside, and he 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 I am an investment banker. I don’t go by gut instinct, like my father did. I analyze things. I never imagined the stock market would crash so badly. In fact I thought the market would go up and it would be foolish to sell such excellent blue chip shares,” the young man said.

I looked at Punter’s son, and I asked him, “Are you trying to tell me that you did not sell all the shares as your father had told you to do?

“No. I never sold those shares. I am big fool. Had I listened to my father and sold all the shares, I would have made a big fortune. But I did not sell those shares,” the young man said, with a tone of regret in his voice.

“I cannot believe it. You never sold the shares? Not even a single one?” I said.

“No  I did not sell even one single share,” he said.

“Then why did you lie to your father that you sold all the shares?” I asked.

“Because I wanted him to die happy,” he said, I lied to my father because I wanted my father to die a happy death.”

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
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This Story is a Revised Version of My Story THE PUNTER written by me 4 years ago in the year 2011 and earlier posted by me online in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 25 May 2011 
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