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Of Cricket, Market and Surprises

April 4, 2008

Indian cricketers have a thing or two for surprises! And of course inconsistency.
From the mammoth totals of 600+, to the deep abyss of 76 in a single innings, the effort to surprise,stun and bewilder the rest of the cricket watching junta is commendable.[Somebody quipped, this is the exact reason, why we love our team. Supporting for Australia is so bland. The outcome is known even before they toss]

Surprises!Bewilderment! Just another day at the office for a Tiger regular Indian.

And when our cricket team is not delivering surprises, our markets are. At the last count, I had this impression that recession is in US of A.

Wrong I was. Surprised I am now.
Apparently since January, DJIA has fallen 6% and we ahem…ahem [drums please] 27% [50 percent retracement of bull run since May 2006 dip] .[For the sake of comprehensiveness, DJIA has fallen all over 17% while we have almost touched 38% levels for the bull run from May 2003]
And it continues to bewilder the sane people around me. Just like we are left scratching our heads after Sehwag hit a 9.
I don’t know what to attribute this to. [Part of the package which comes with suspense]
Do I put my finger on easy P-note participation?
Or do I put my finger on lack of dollars in a country million miles away?
I don’t know. But I can guess.
P-note– The ephemeral symbol of Indian fiscal foolery. P-note, a permission for quick, easy, anonymous money. P-note, a welcome sign for the cash rich phoreners to play roulette in India. Its not a Russian roulette, for the outcome is always clear. The gun always points towards India.
You know we love those phoren people, with those leather briefcases filled with dollars and millions of them. So what do we do?
Common sense says, have a total list of the guests you allow and tightly control the flow.
But we loved those dollars more than India’s long term growth. So what did we do?

“Hell! with the long term develo-crap boys!
Come one , come all… no list for you all.
This India is an open casino,
for all ye,American and Latino
if you have got the dollar, nameless you shall be,
as long as there is money to make, go along the spree”

Thats P-note for you. And you know what happens when RBI says, ban the P-notes. Not that it had not been tinkering with it. But well, we Indians love those dollars way too much for our own good. And our market tumbles[bloodbath of Oct 2007]. The pain of a lost Casanova type lover.

These days we are sort of busy, wading through the surprise and pain filled trench of suspense. All the while looking for some “fresh global cues”. And by the time, we wade, the Sensex have fallen 27%.
Its sad, partly because it just reaffirms our lack of self worth in our growth story. As Ajit Dayal says, India should have been an island of sanity. Notice the phrase, should have been.

India needs dollars. Lots of it. Agreed. And if they want and ask for profits in the meanwhile, it is justified. But take monies from people who have a direct partaking with the Indian growth story. And when you stick with the story through thick and thin for years together, thats called a relationship. We need relationships and not one-night stands in casinos.

But yes, it came as a surprise to me, to know that policy makers are still shackled in their lure of easy dollars.

Inspired and simplified from one of my favorite economy watchers Ajit Dayal’s views on The Honest truth in the post The Indian Rope Trick

Comments, brickbats, praises, mail them to sohamdas [at] gmail [dot] com. I am listening.
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