Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Split

Long long ago, I had opened a trading/demat account with ICICI Direct with the hopes of cashing in on the stock market. The stock market was just about starting to deal with the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the U.S (also known as the father of the current recession) and I thought I will buy low, sell high.

The way I purchased shares was simple and something which every other rookie does: ask the local stock guru for a purchase tip. Using that methodology I bought Bharti Airtel and Larsen & Toubro.

But then I wanted to buy some shares on my own. I mean, where's the originality of thought in just asking some allegedly smart folks and then buying shares? Where's the hard work? Where's the sweat and the pain? So, one day, when I generally felt like it, I purchased Reliance Communication and Kotak Gold (ETF). Of course, I did no research and both purchases were based on gut feeling that the stocks would go up.

Once the recession actually sunk in and the stock markets tumbling, I did the most convenient, Ostrich-eque, thing: I stopped looking at the value of my stock portfolio. ICICI used to send me statements and I used to shred them without looking. The companies, whose stock I owned, used to religiously send me their annual reports, and I would give that to the kabadiwala and earn 25p (or maybe less). I completely stopped following the stock market.

Circa September 2009 and I finish reading "One up on Wall Street" by Peter Lynch (courtesy my illness). Inspired, motivated, I opened my ICICI Direct online account; the market was catching up and I was optimistic about my stocks rebounding. Unfortunately, most of my stocks were in the red. The stocks recommended by the stock gurus were the reddest (40% losses in both).

After a lot of moping and cursing the gurus behind their back, I started researching on my reddest companies. Well, turned out that both Airtel and L&T had announced a 1:1 split in one of the past months -- the time I was emulating Rip Van Winkle. After a bit more rummaging around, I found out that my portfolio still showed the stock quantity as before the split. The price of the stock, though, was the one after the split!

No wonder the 40% loss!

After a bit more googling, I discovered that ICICI Direct doesn't update your portfolio after something like a stock split; you have to do that yourself!

The 40% losses turned to 15% gains. It's like discovering the 500 bucks, which you thought you had lost, but was actually hidden in one of your pockets.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Routine Post

You thought I would be gone for long, yet I continue to surprise ...
  • The Jaundice case is closed. Or so I thought. It seems that I have to be careful for many months to avoid relapse. And for that I have to start eating home food (why do you think I fell sick at the first place). As I never learnt to cook, except the occasional maggi and sandwich, my mom will not only be teaching me but also helping me set up my kitchen. Wonder how the cooking experiment will go, given my lack of patience. Maybe you will see me in the next Top Chef.
  • I finished reading the book called "Know Your Body". Published long long ago by Reader's Digest. Quite a simple yet enlightening read. Other than informing me about my innards, it repeatedly points out the most known yet ignored thing to keep your organs in shape: exercise, quit smoking, keep a balanced diet, don't be tensed. As my guitar teacher once aptly said, "All the information is available (on the internet), it's the application which is lacking."
  • I usually don't talk politics, but this one stuck out: the Congress' austerity drive. Shashi Tharoor's comments were highly irresponsible for a politician. Not just the "cattle-class" traveling, but also his reasons on why he didn't stay at Kerala Bhavan: he needed privacy and a gym. Also that he had already blogged about it days ago, thus the matter was closed. Mr Tharoor, it's the Bhavan of the state of whose capital's MP you are. I'm sure you can do something about its issues, rather than complain about it and shrug your shoulders. Also, maybe you should stop tweeting, as it's really not helping you in any way. With regards to the austerity drive itself, I'm undecided. Although the skeptic in me says that most likely they are acting in a penny-wise, pound-foolish manner.
  • Today I was reminded of an incident which happened an year ago. I was trying to get to Bangalore city station and, as is the case in Bangalore, none of the auto guys were willing to come (or ply only at exorbitantly high rates). One guy though stopped and also agreed to follow the meter reading -- despite the fact that it was "one and a half time"! Five minutes into the journey he says "Sir, please don't feel bad or angry, I want to play a game just to pass the time." Curious of what this was, I agreed. The game was nothing but a series of questions, to which he wanted ultimate answers. I only remember a few of his questions (in all there were 10):

    • Who are you?
    • Where are you?
    • Where are you going?
    • Where do you want to go?

    I wasn't in any philosophical mood at that time (rarely ever am I in that mood), so I gave the most obvious proximate answers (Rohit, Bangalore, City Station, City Station). Our fellow was, of course, not impressed; repeatedly telling me that these weren't the ultimate answers.

    I look around today with all the people facing quarter-life crises, asking the same questions and not being satisfied with their answers.
Stop thinking. Move forward!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


I had another liver function test yesterday and all things came out in the normal range. I'm cured! Yay!

Jaundice took from me more than a month of my time, a big chunk of my strength and stamina, and 2 KGs of my weight (maybe I will become faster). The only positive part being I managed to read a lot (6 books).

It will take another 2 weeks before I can start training again. Till then the only exercise I can do is take 20 minute walks (yuck). My first target would be the Bangalore Cyclothon on Oct 11th. It's a 50 KM ride and if it were two months ago, I wouldn't have been worried about finishing. Today, that's not the case.

Sometimes I feel that the tough part is not to push hard, but to hold back (t.w.s.s). And these coming 2 weeks will be hard.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The race I never ran

Today was supposed to be the day I ran my first full marathon. Sadly, during the time of the race, I was 1000 miles away sleeping and reading. Sad, anti-climatic, depressing.