Sunday, June 24, 2007

Here Come the Big Bucks

My husband decided a few months back that our savings are being wasted, just lying there in the bank. I agreed whole-heartedly with him that it is a bit foolish to earn piddly rates of interest in a savings account when you can invest it for higher returns - however , my own interest in the matter dwindled shortly thereafter as I find the whole finances thing very tiresome.

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?) ....

Vijay: Hello?

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

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:'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?


  1. You get nothing! You are wrong... I cant flap/move/wiggle/jiggle whatever my ears... they are extremely sensitive, so I dont move them around too much...

    And no, I am not revealing too much.. You are extremely accusatory now a days..

  2. thank you soumava. that comment makes a lot of sense for this particular post. yeeesh..

    do something useful and give vijay some stock tips...although he says he lost money on the last one you gave him. et tu??

  3. pssst, pssst ... duh duh .... send me all your money ... i will invest it "wisely" and if anything is left by the end of it ... i'd be happy to send most of it back.

  4. Y, you still have not understood. How can i loose money on shome's tip. i still haven't sold those scripts. shome, i am still all ears for your advice.

  5. VIJAY! Pls leave your name next time!!

  6. I may be nitpicking but how did you hear a dial tone on the cell phone??

  7. duh duh .... am glad you're yelling at someone else for a change! once i have commented i always check the follow up comments with much trepidation :)

  8. '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!'.

    That really is neat logic! Gives me a way to rationalize my bad investments.. I suddenly feel like an intelligent investor! ;)

  9. ok - so being the great guy that i am, i did some research for you. here are my findings:
    1. It is not 'Balrampur Cheeni' but 'Balrampur Chini'.
    2. Their website is - which is encouraging. clearly they are thinking about chini in general and refuse to be limited by their innate Balrampur-ness.
    3. I think they realized that you would be dissatisfied and they have a website ( for investor grievances with an email id as well. I think you should send them a strong mail demanding a refund!

    toodles for now duh duh.

  10. invest in stocks whose prices are going up and sell those whose prices are going down :-)

    really boss - expected more from u !

  11. Anonymous - you are right! that was the 'toot toot' you hear when a call ends and not the dial mistake. considering how integral that point is to the telling of the story, i cannot thank you enough...what a USELESS BUILD!! Who are you? are you Vijay again? Anon comments are just so...aaargh...

    And all the others - thanks a lot. I knew I could rely on you to help. You have been just about as useful as the dial tone comment.

    You are all the reason I keep writing. ;-)

  12. Just sell all your stocks (use every tip you can find in 'The Mahabharata'... the tips are certainly there - saama-dana- dhanda-bedam!) Invest it in blue-chip stocks or mutual funds and forget about it for a long time!

    Seriously, I SO empathise with you on the investment bit - my husband is running around thinking of buying a house - which city, what budget, how many rooms - no, i get no answer for any of these, just an enigmatic 'wait and watch'!

  13. oye - yeh kya ho gaya? where has all the joyous orange-ness gone? and why do you need me to verify a word before i can post my comment? why duh duh, why? is it something i said?

    PS: if you didn't want me to comment you should have used a colour based verification system :)

  14. ganju, considering your color blindness, why would i need that?

  15. that's what i'm sayyyinnngg. i'm colour blind so i wouldn't be able to post - duh duh!

    oh and its 'colour' not 'color' :) these americans i tell you!

  16. You will not believe it, but just about 6 months back, a bunch of my know-it-all ex-colleagues were discussing investing in the very same stock - Balrampur cheeni!! And they actually did it! I forgot to check with them about what happened to it, but I imagine its the same as your post! Totally loved your description of the conversation btw!

    Oh and WHERE do you find beautiful park and fresh air again?!!

  17. Still Searching,

    You're right. I don't believe it! I thought my husband was the sole investor. And I totally understand why you would have made them your ex-colleagues. I love my husband too much to make him an ex, though...(Vijay, please sell NOW, at least!)

    The beautiful park and fresh air? Great question. I don't find it much at all. This picture was in Hyde Park, London, when we were on holiday. But I did love Lodhi Gardens in Delhi as a kid, too, and plan to start haunting it again someday soon.

  18. ok as ex-biz news person - balrampur chini is not so bad!! :) cheer up!


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