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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Tribute to Graham and Dodsville

The Humble Beginnings:-

It is only apt that I should begin this blog with a tribute to the prodigal student of the authors of the book, from the title of which I derive the name of this blog. The student is none other than Warren Buffett, I discovered him much later in my pursuit of knowledge.

The world didn't begin in such an organised fashion; nor did it begin with the words 'Let there be light'. It was built one step at a time. It probably started way back circa 1991-92, when I bought my first shares. I became the owner of 10 shares of Dhanalakshmi Bank Ltd. - then the brahmin's bank - after my father decided the time was ripe for me to become the proud owner of Rs.1,000 worth of shares. It led to me opening a bank account, even as a minor. Well, the habit of saving had been inculcated into me from the day my father's cousins decided to gift me a post-box shaped piggy bank. It was blue in color with black top and in plastic. The coins went in through the slot and there was a key to open the box too. I don't think I ever thought much of money, back then. The opening of the bank account and my choice of commerce stream for pre-degree introduced me to the world of banks, savings, stocks etc. My active interest in stocks picked up much later. In college, I ended up learning the various basics of commerce and by the time it was over, it was time for me to join CA in 1994. In the meanwhile, a good thing happened. There was a quiz competition based on stock markets conducted by the PRO of Cochin SE at the Kochi AIR. Of course, I won the first prize - it was a Stock Market kit from Dalal Street Journal. That probably sowed the seeds. After Inter CA I tried to dabble in stocks after an audit with a stock broker. It ended in a disaster. I never saw the transferred certificate from one of the companies I bought - Good Earth Organics and I still have the second one - G.R.Magnets - not traded after being Z listed in BSE. I didn't look that way for another 3 years. In the meanwhile, I was reading all I could find about stock markets and stocks in ET and I had joined ICFAI's CFA course. (It's another story I had to drop it).

In the meantime, lot of good things were happening in the Indian stock market. The days of bad delivery seemed to be over with the arrival of NSDL and online stock brokers. The market was experiencing another down-turn. This site caught my eye. (This is why I refer to myself as a serendipitious individual. Things just start coming together when I am ready. This is a post-facto observation.) I executed my first trade on April 12th, buying Godrej Soaps Ltd (which later split into Godrej Industries and Godrej Consumer Products) and Reliance Industries. It was on the same day that a stock-broker in Delhi committed suicide. Despite the usual caveats from the home front, I was more convinced that I was on the right track.

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