December 10, 2004


There is a wedding hall right behind office. This hall is a paragon of effective resource utilization, hosting two weddings a day at the very least. Music starts playing at atrocious decibel levels from about 10:00 am in the morning, and continues till about 6:00pm on especially auspicious days.

Last morning a highly respected and even more highly uninteresting professor of finance was educating yours truly on the nuances of pricing credit derivatives. I am subjected to this privilege once a week. “Literature… and Finance?” he says each time he sees me, as if the pain of this transition were his, not mine.

He handed me a printout of some scholarly thesis on credit derivatives (I am hoping that using the term repeatedly will help me understand what it means.) The document began with a quote by Omar Khayyam, and I was happy that at least two lines of text were speaking to me in a language that I could understand.

The wedding hall staff began testing the microphone “Hello Martians! Can you hear us? Is there a weather out there?” I decided to digress from Finance into regional weddings, only to be informed that South Indian weddings happen early in the morning and are a painful event, and will I start studying now? I stopped imaging the professor’s painful early morning wedding some hundred years ago, and buried my nose in the papers.

For an hour, he persisted in explaining to me how perfectly normal individuals (with families, friends, and cable TV) actually spend their whole work-life entering into fifteen financial contracts to avoid losing 0.01% of the money they had invested in one risky deal ten years ago. He turned the page each time I asked “But why would someone do that?” Apparently, like war and disappearing socks, credit derivatives are a reality of life one has to learn to live with.

Just as the professor and I gave up the struggle and silently lamented each other’s stupidity, the wedding hall DJ inaugurated his day with:

“Tumse milna, baatein karna, bada achha lagta hai
Kya hai yeh? Kyun hai yeh? Haan magar jo bhi hai…”
I sped out of the room to call up my manager and inform him that my eddication for the day was over!

Note: After a month of being surrounded by them, I finally got invited to a Maharashtrain wedding. My Bai’s 14-year-old neice is getting married next weekend. Dunno what to say.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is a 'credit derivative'? You've made me curious. Please give some gyaan.