Now, Vijay is usually the most practical and intelligent of people that I know. Most of the time, he handles life with admirable grace. However, there are these times when he enters into an alien zone, which is marked by blind enthusiasm, unjustified self-belief and totally devoid of even the teeniest modicum of sense. These are rare occasions, but I shudder at the thought - because there really is no way to handle him then.
So, anyway, the day after our conversation on finances, I got a call on my cellphone at work.
Vijay: I did it, honey!
Me (apprehensive at his unusual enthusiasm): What did you do?
Vijay: I have opened an account to start playing in the Stock Market!
Me (surprised, and feeling a sudden prescient chill): You have? But what do you know about this?
Vijay: It's very simple, honey, it's all common sense.
Me (unconvinced): Achha? That's great...
Vijay: I bought my first stock, too...
Me: Really? What did you buy?
Vijay: (brimming with pride) It's great.. I bought a whole lot of stock in 'Balrampur Cheeni'
Me: (Stunned into silence momentarily. At such an announcement, who wouldn't be?) ....
Me: You did WHAT? BalRAMpur CHEENI? What the heck is that??
Vijay: No, no, honey, I have it all figured out. It is going to be Diwali in a couple of months, right? At Diwali time, sale of sweets are sure to rise sky-high. Sugar is used in sweet- making ..(By now, he senses that there is real danger of my hand crushing my cellphone to bits, so moves on quickly) So anyway, the thing is, the stock is sure to rise and we will make a killing! Ha ha!
Me: (muttering to myself) Killing...good idea...Deep breaths...one...two...three...
Vijay: Hello? Hello? (Decides it's time to take the high ground, changes to plaintive tone) I thought you would be happy that I am taking so much initiative. I have thought about this properly.
Me: (mustering up every ounce of sarcasm from every vein in my body) Of course you have. This is possibly the smartest thing you have ever done. I am sure our money is going to multiply exponentially...(abandoning the sarcasm for the far-more-satisfying good-old-fashioned wifely rant)...How COULD you invest in something called BijLANI SUGARCANE?
Vijay: (Relieved, thinking that this is where the confusion lies) No, no, honey...not Bijlani Sugarcane..It's Balrampur Cheeni...
Me: (all veins, including sarcastic ones, about to explode): That is WORSE! Who does that? Who buys stock in companies with names like Balrampur Cheeni? Have you lost it? Is this a joke? It's not April Fool's Day, is it? You're joking right? Ha ha ha ...
Vijay: Umm...I'll call you later, okay? I have to go now.
Me: (trying hard to be reasonable and keep out the threatening tone from voice) Vijay....what are you doing with our money?
Vijay: Honey..you'll see...just trust me on this. I've thought this through. You'll see...Okay, bye!
(Click. Dial Tone. Most sensible thing I've heard all morning)
So, a number of months have passed since this conversation took place, and needless to say, the inevitable has occurred. 'Balrampur Cheeni' rose by 2% around Diwali, only to plummet to unimaginable depths subsequently.
Since then, on the advice of some friends and with sheer good luck, Vijay has expanded his portfolio and his other investments have not proven so disastrous. However, every bit of gain made on all the other stock has been wiped out completely by the losses on the wretched Balrampur Cheeni ( I just noticed the initials...coincidence, you think? Never mind, this is a family-type blog).
Anyway, the indomitable Vijay still insists he has it all figured out. Sometime back, he came and tried to convince me that he has fine-tuned his master-plan for beating the stock market - 'See, you only make a profit or loss when you sell...So, as long as I don't sell, I can never lose! So I will never sell it! And we will never lose! Great, na? Ha ha!'.
This singularly masterful piece of logic has rendered ineffective all of my efforts at pleading and cajoling him to sell the damn Balrampur Cheeni stock.
He stands firm.
And Good ol' BC? Not so. It continues to plunge everyday.
So this is a plea to any stock-market-savvy, kind-hearted souls out there: if you have any advice to give Vijay, please do it. I assure you: as long as we think you're over four years old, we WILL listen. Can hardly do any worse, can we?