• MARCH 26, 2007

Lady luck or false prayers?

Every billboard screamed at us that there were 1 billion hearts beating for the Men in Blue. Well, even if we assume that this 1 billion number always thrown about is true and that the 300 million people who are struggling to live on a daily basis were actually more worried about the performance of the Men in Blue rather than keeping their plates full, the net result for all is the same. The Men in Blue have been humbled and are on their way home soon. End objective not achieved. Mission failed.

Sounds like many of the investors in the technology stocks in the 1999-2000 "bubble" all of whom had their hearts skipping each time the NASDAQ and the Indian tech stocks hit circuit breakers on the way up. Their wallets probably felt the thuds when they all lost money on their way down as the bubble (like all bubbles do) deflate. And we see these cycles repeat with higher frequency and the same level of pain with each new "theme". Remember the India Shining story publicised so well by the BJP-led NDA coalition. And the more recent India Resurgent and India Incredible stories doing the rounds of the media?

Every time the poor man on the street is attracted to some theme and becomes a believer, he shovels his hard earned money into the stock market for the free ride. Then, whack!, like the slap of some heavenly force the poor bloke finds his investments shredded to nothing and his life's earnings evaporated. All those holidays with the family, all the money saved for the children's education, all that money earned with decades of hard work is in the red. So deep that it will take an act of god to get them out. Just like how the Men in Blue needed an act of god to bail them out of their plane ride back to India - and a definite life in living hell.

But you cannot burn an effigy of a stock nor can you stone a stock. And how many acts of god do we need when actually we can improve our own understanding and not get swayed by those large posters telling their hearts to skip a billion beats.

So, rather than get carried away with emotions and what your friends tell you at dinner parties and family gatherings, educate yourself better and be more informed about events around you. There may be a way to getting rich quickly and maybe some have found the secret recipe. We haven't. And nor has lady luck always been a reliable guide. Ask the Men in Blue. Maybe they will realise that instead of all that work in front of the cameras and all their modelling assignments that little extra bit of trainig, of team practices, of soberness, of humility - maybe these simple things that matter would have been more reliable. Maybe.

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