Science, commerce or art, none of the three domains can forget the importance of Greek letters. Alpha, beta, gamma and other Greek alphabets have become such an important part of our daily life that even songs have started using them (Remember Give me some sunshine from the movie 3 Idiots – “Likh likh kar pada hatheli par| Alpha, beta, gamma ka chaala | Concentrated H2SO4 ne poora |Poora bachpan jalaa daala…”).
In an MBA program, many feel these greek letters are back to torment them again after their engineering days. Options and Futures is one such area where the Greeks are sacrosanct and command the respect every peace loving Indian has for Bapu. The first time you listen to it – delta, gamma, thetha or rho- they all sound – yes you guessed it, it’s all Greek. And, then comes along Prof. Venkatesh. He makes them sound like English, Hindi, Tamil or any other vernacular language you are familiar with. Indeed, he makes these terms so simple that they sound like Newton’s laws of motion to a quantum physics student.
The beauty is in the way the markets function. They seem to have their own methods of ensuring that justice is done to a company’s ability, sooner or later. But, for the small part of my life that I’ve interacted with people, most seem to demonstrate a phobia for finance, especially the markets. This has accorded the area, a prominent and notorious position, something beyond the reach of the common man. Many of us play the markets, many invest, but we are reluctant to understand what exactly goes into the making or breaking of fortunes. Investment is something every individual (I’m talking only of that proportion of the populace who earn sufficiently to risk an investment) considers as a means of expanding his wealth and expanding his capabilities.
The quantum of one’s wealth, earned through a job, a business or an investment, is a barometer of one’s ability. We deny ourselves the opportunity to invest in a more efficient manner and understand how the markets function by remaining ignorant. To close, I recall an anecdote from Atlas Shrugged, the Ayn Rand classic. The character Francisco says, “Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think” – something all of us should give some thought to!
– Prannoy Kankaria