Spirits still high in pub

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  • Published 27.10.08

Saturday, 7.30pm: The Tavern in Bangalore’s Museum Road, a favourite watering hole among techies and the BPO crowd, is half empty because of a steady drizzle.

Waiting for his friends to arrive, Manoj Dev says: “The conversation here last Diwali was about the rising stocks. It was a time to flaunt money; now I guess it’s good to hide whatever little you have.”

Manoj, 28, who has been in three jobs in four years — with Infosys, Wipro and now with an IT services major — is not scared about a possible recession in the US.

“Job security has never bothered me; I think none of us in IT is afraid,” he says between pints of beer. “What we find scary is that the sensex has wiped out our savings.”

Manoj doesn’t want to discuss his losses but adds this is the best time to buy stocks. His friend P.J. Kishore, 29, who has just arrived, agrees.

“Having worked in the US, I know every economy will have ups and downs. But the Indian economy will bounce back because there is so much opportunity (in the country).”

“So far, my portfolio has eroded by more than 60 per cent,” he grins, sipping ale. “The economic crisis is a lesson for young investors like us.”

At another table, Deepu Sahadevan and A.K. Urs are doing the “state-of-the-economy speech”. “Those in ITES are watching two things: the downturn in the US — which translates into a good time for outsourcing — and the upcoming presidential polls. An Obama may make things difficult with legislation against outsourcing,” says Deepu, 37, an IT company team leader.

“But this is a great time to buy stocks if you are looking three-five years ahead. It’s only the new investors who bought stock at high prices who are spooked,” Urs says.

“By next January, things will be different. Let’s do a bottoms up to that,” Kishore says, ordering another ale.

The next stop is Taika, where assorted actors, theatre-wallahs and French teachers have hit a decibel level higher than the techno that’s playing.

Krishnan Vaidyanathan, 39, waves and beckons. The chartered accountant, sitting alone and nursing a fresh lime, is with an accounting BPO. “I don’t drink; I put all spare money in the market,” he jokes.

“I lost some, gained much more in the last 10 years. I will still put my variable pay due next week in stocks,” he says. Why? It’s a good time to buy shares of infrastructure and healthcare firms, he says.

Krishnan had picked up stocks when the sensex was around 9500 and exited when it zoomed pass 19000, making a small fortune.